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10 Phenomenal Beaches near Summerville, SC (within 1 hour)

From Folly Beach and Isle of Palms to the epic Driftwood Beach, some of the state's most picturesque beaches are just a short drive away from Summerville. 
Isle of Palm Beach in South Carolina

While Summerville may be tucked away from South Carolina’s immediate coastline, that doesn’t mean the allure of sandy shores and salty waves is distant. 

In reality, some of the state’s most picturesque beaches are just a short drive away. 

From the world-renowned Folly Beach and Isle of Palms to the epic Driftwood Beach, this coastline has plenty of adventures for all types of beach enthusiasts.

Whether you’re a sun worshipper, an avid beachcomber, or just seeking a refreshing splash, these coastal gems offer a welcome retreat. 

Discover the best beach destinations near Summerville!

1. Sullivan’s Island Beach

A small rock jetty enters the water on Sullivan`s Island in South Carolina.
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Summerville: 31 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing, fishing, kayaking 
  • Amenities: parking, restrooms, boardwalk, dog-friendly

The nearest beach to Summerville, Sullivan’s Island Beach stands as a coastal jewel, untouched by the commercial trappings that have overtaken many shores. 

This pristine stretch, encompassing over 2.5 miles of the Atlantic Ocean’s embrace, offers visitors a chance to experience nature in its rawest form. 

The beach’s undisturbed sands, paired with a backdrop of the iconic Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse, are a testament to its timeless allure. 

For the enthusiastic beachcomber, activities like swimming and shelling beckon, while the calming tide pools and gentle ocean waves add to the serene charm. 

Moreover, this haven welcomes four-legged friends, making it a favored spot for dog lovers. 

Although amenities are sparse, the beach does offer essentials like parking and boardwalk access. 

Sullivan’s Island isn’t just a beach; it’s a return to nature’s unadulterated beauty.

2. Isle of Palms Beach

Waves in the Atlantic Ocean and the beach at sunrise, in Isle of Palms, South Carolina.
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Summerville: 33 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, beachcombing, kayaking, surfing, bodyboarding
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, rentals, lifeguards, parking, pier, restaurants, concessions

Spanning seven miles of immaculate shoreline, the Isle of Palms Beach stands as a testament to natural beauty and leisurely charm. 

This coastal gem is renowned for its crystalline sands caressed by calm waters, making it a preferred spot for generations. 

The beach entices not just with its scenic splendor but with an array of activities, from invigorating swims to tranquil shelling sessions and spirited sand games. 

On the amenities front, it’s hard to rival: with vigilant lifeguards, refreshing outdoor showers, and rentals for beach chairs and umbrellas available. 

Add to this a range of nearby restaurants and shops, and it’s evident why Isle of Palms is hailed as one of the most holistic beach experiences in the region.

3. Folly Beach

Folly Beach in South Carolina
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Summerville: 34 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, beachcombing, kayaking, surfing, bodyboarding
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, rentals, lifeguards, parking, pier, restaurants, concessions

At Folly Beach, tranquility meets tradition, offering visitors a serene coastal experience. 

This picturesque beach is not only famed for its extensive, beautifully designed fishing pier but is also home to the renowned Folly Beach County Park, which boasts over 4,000 feet of ocean frontage. 

Perfect for those in search of some solace by the shore or a strategic fishing spot. 

While amenities such as seasonal lifeguards, beach chair and umbrella rentals ensure a comfortable beach day, the park’s specific regulations—like designated crossovers and no disturbance of natural resources—show a commitment to preserving its natural beauty. 

With a myriad of restaurants and bars nearby, Folly Beach seamlessly merges relaxation with convenience. 

4. Kiawah Beachwalker Park

Kiawah Beachwalker Park
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Summerville: 41 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, beachcombing, kayaking, surfing, bodyboarding
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, rentals, lifeguards, parking, concessions

Nestled on the west end of Kiawah Island, Kiawah Beachwalker Park is a coastal gem, boasting the distinction of being the island’s sole public beach. 

The park promises 10 miles of pristine sandy shores, often less crowded than its counterparts, offering expansive waterfront views and a unique glimpse of both the ocean and river. 

As visitors traverse the boardwalk, they’re enveloped by a canopy of live oaks and palmettos, all while catching sight of native wildlife. 

A plethora of amenities await beachgoers—from seasonal lifeguards to beach chair and umbrella rentals. 

While designated picnic zones provide a scenic backdrop for al fresco dining, the adjacent grill facilities further enrich the experience. 

With its unmatched serenity combined with modern comforts, Kiawah Beachwalker Park is truly Kiawah Island’s crowning jewel.

5. Seabrook Island Beach

Seabrook Island Beach
Source: unsplash
  • Distance from Summerville: 42 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, fishing, beachcombing, kayaking, surfing, bodyboarding, hiking
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, rentals, restaurants, tennis courts, golf course

A 42-mile drive from Sumemrville, Seabrook Island Beach stands as an oasis of tranquillity, an embodiment of exclusivity on a private island

This serene destination, encapsulating the untouched allure of nature, is not just any beach—it’s an experience preserved only for Seabrook Island’s residents, their esteemed guests, and those privileged to secure a rental via platforms like Airbnb or VRBO. 

The majestic trees sheltering deer and pelicans, miles of trails for exploration, and the magical sight of dolphins frolicking close to the shore elevate its uniqueness. 

With amenities ranging from bike rentals to gourmet restaurants, it’s more than just sand and waves. 

Seabrook Island Beach offers an unmatched blend of privacy, natural splendor, and upscale conveniences, making it a coveted retreat for those who can afford it.

6. Boneyard Beach on Bulls Island

Boneyard Beach on Bulls Island
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Summerville: 43 miles +ferry
  • Activities: beachcombing, kayaking, hiking, photography
  • Amenities: ferry, picnic area, trails

Nestled within Cape Romain National Wildlife RefugeBoneyard Beach on Bulls Island offers adventurers a once-in-a-lifetime experience, epitomized by its eerie landscapes of driftwood and untamed beauty. 

Accessible only via the Bulls Island Ferry, this secluded gem invites visitors into an untouched haven of nature. 

The beach’s unique landscape, dotted with skeletal trees, is a haven for beachcombing and photography enthusiasts, while the island’s trails usher explorers through a vibrant ecosystem, home to alligators, nesting loggerheads, and nearly 300 bird species. 

Essential amenities like picnic areas and restrooms complement this natural spectacle. 

As the ferry returns, sunset paints the skies, turning this adventure into a transcendental experience. 

If you’re seeking unspoiled coastal allure, Boneyard Beach is an escapade not to be missed.

7. Driftwood Beach in Botany Bay

Botany Bay beach, Edisto Island, South Carolina, USA
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Summerville: 46 miles
  • Activities: hiking, photography
  • Amenities: picnic area, trails

Driftwood Beach on Botany Bay offers a breathtaking, FREE alternative to Boneyard Beach on Bulls Island. 

This secluded shoreline in South Carolina bursts with history and natural wonders. 

As part of the Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve, its untouched beauty safeguards endangered birds’ nesting grounds. 

While reaching the beach is an adventure itself, passing under a tree canopy and over a restored bridge through the marshlands, the true spectacle awaits on the coast. 

Dotted with massive driftwood and a carpet of shells – which visitors must respectfully leave untouched – this beach invites contemplation and discovery. 

Besides its rich history tracing back to the Gullah-Geechee people and the Civil War, this site boasts a unique coastline, teeming with marine treasures. 

Come low tide, and the sprawling beach reveals more of its secrets.

8. Edisto Beach State Park

Sunset breaking through the storm clouds at Edisto Beach, South Carolina.
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Summerville: 46 miles
  • Activities: swimming, fishing, kayaking, hiking, wildlife watching, picnics, camping
  • Amenities: trails, showers, restrooms, campground, picnic tables, grills

Tucked away on Edisto Island, some 46 miles from Summerville, Edisto Beach State Park offers a tranquil coastal haven. 

Visitors are invited to a beachcomber’s paradise where the shores are adorned with shells and treasures like elusive shark teeth. 

This pristine getaway stands out for its extraordinary oceanfront campground, where campers nestle within the embrace of a maritime forest, lulled by the gentle hum of waves at night. 

This less-traveled gem provides an uncrowded experience, allowing visitors to discover their personal nook of serenity. 

Rich with diverse activities, from hiking to kayaking, the park ensures an immersive nature experience. 

Its amenities, including trails, picnic tables, and showers, elevate the comfort of the stay. 

At Edisto Beach, you’re not just by the sea, you’re woven into its enchanting narrative.

9. Edisto Beach

Waves in the Atlantic Ocean and morning light on beachfront homes at Edisto Beach, South Carolina
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Summerville: 48 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing, fishing, kayaking, hiking, picnics, surfing, bodyboarding
  • Amenities: restrooms, parking

Located 48 miles from Summerville, Edisto Beach emerges as a charming alternative to the more frequented Edisto Beach State Park. 

Spread across 4.5 miles of tranquil shores, it’s a bastion of undisturbed natural splendor and quaint, low-lying houses. 

A key allure of this serene coastal haven is the easy accessibility: 37 public beach entrances dot Palmetto Boulevard, and while some intersections offer off-street parking, free curbside parking is the norm. 

Moreover, dog enthusiasts can rejoice. While leashes are required during the summer months, for the remainder of the year, pets roam under owner vigilance. 

Engage in beachcombing during low tide, indulge in sunbathing, or simply revel in the rhythmic waves – Edisto Beach promises a pure, unfiltered coastal experience.

10. Hunting Island State Park

hunting island state park and beach in south carolina
Source: dreamstime
  • Distance from Summerville: 87 miles
  • Activities: swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing, fishing, kayaking, hiking, picnics, surfing, bodyboarding, camping
  • Amenities: restrooms, showers, rentals, campgrounds, lodges, trails, pier, boat launch

An 87-mile drive from Summerville, Hunting Island State Park beckons as South Carolina’s top retreat, offering both tranquility and adventure. 

With over a million annual visitors, it’s no secret that this gem, boasting five miles of unspoiled beaches, has something for everyone. 

Whether you’re eager to catch a sunrise, embark on a shark teeth hunt, or kayak through serene inlets, there’s no shortage of activities here. 

Beyond the natural allure, the park houses the historic Hunting Island lighthouse, an iconic structure allowing panoramic views from its peak. 

Those seeking an immersive experience can settle in at one of the 100 available campsites, making weekend getaways perfect. 

Complete with clean facilities, pristine beaches, and diverse wildlife, this destination is an unmissable haven for weekend adventurers.

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