Islands and Beaches of the
South Carolina Lowcountry
Fripp Island is the most seaward of the the state’s sea islands. Located halfway between Charleston and Savannah, it is locally positioned between Hunting Island State Park to the north and Pritchards Island to the southwest. A wide marsh and estuarine system separates these islands from the larger St. Helena’s Island to the northwest. The upland acreage of the island is approximately 3,000 acres. Fripp has approximately three miles of beachfront along the Atlantic, though some parts of beach are fully submerged at high tide.
Fripp Island is located approximately 20 miles from Beaufort and is connected with the city via U.S. 21.
Harbor Island, a private 1400-acre barrier island on the Atlantic seacoast, is located outside the city of Beaufort. The natural beauty of the island lies in its graceful sand dunes covered with sea oats and coastal grasses, and in its tidal waters and saltwater marshes.
Three miles of pure, untamed sandy beach is waiting for your exploration, relaxation, and play. Walk among the terns, pelicans, egrets, herons, and horseshoe crabs or sit in the sands and bask in the sun while watching the dolphins play.
Sunrises, flowing waters, gentle breezes, sunsets, and spacious views make your vacation retreat an experience worth repeating. A peaceful, gated community exists with nature on Harbor Island.
Harbor Island Rentals has the largest selection of villas and homes on the island. http://harborisland-sc.com
Hunting Island State Park is the most popular state park beach in South Carolina. It is a 5,000 acre park with 3 miles of natural beach. White sands and warm waters grace this state park preserved for visitors and locals to “get back to nature”. Hunting Island State Park is located just 16 miles east of Historic Beaufort on US 21.
Hunting Island has a 200 site campground with showers and dressing rooms on the beach. There are also a boardwalk, nature trails, lagoon, fishing pier and boat landing. In the center of the park stands a historic lighthouse which provides a magnificent view of the shoreline from the top. Hunting Island Lighthouse is open for viewing daily with an admission fee. Hunting Island is also a popular nesting ground for Loggerhead turtles.
There is a visitor center located within the park with a pond that is home to turtles and alligators. For reservations call (843)838-2011 or visit southcarolinaparks.com/hunting-island
Port Royal Sands
The Town of Port Royal is located between the Beaufort River and Battery Creek in the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry. Way down on the southern tip of the town of Port Royal, you will find a wonderful area where Battery Creek flows into the Beaufort River. From the sandy beaches you can get some great views of the river and estuaries. A ramp here lets you launch boats onto the rivers. A long boardwalk runs along Battery Creek, and is a popular place for strolling and fishing. Near the end of the boardwalk is a large observation tower. You can see for miles around from the upper levels of the tower.
Within walking distance are the town of Port Royal’s walking trails, consisting of a 3.1 and a 5 mile walking and jogging path. The trails are marked and wind through the town village area, Live Oaks Park, Cypress Boardwalk and Sands Beach and Boardwalk. www.portroyal.org
Daufuskie Island is South Carolina’s southernmost barrier island. It lies roughly one mile south of Hilton Head Island, SC, three miles north of Tybee Island and 12 miles north of Savannah. The island is about 5 miles long and 2.7 miles wide and is only accessible by water.
Transport can be arranged at www.daufuskiefreeport.com . Typical travel time by ferry is about 45 minutes. There is approximately 3.5 miles of beachfront on Daufuskie Island. The Island has a rich history, and is the site of Pat Conroy’s teaching experiences that were the basis of his first novel The Water is Wide, and the motion picture Conrack.
The Town of Edisto Beach is located about 45 miles south of Charleston and is accessed via US 17, the coastal highway and state route 174. The town is a quiet, old-fashioned, family-style beach without a lot of commercial development. There is good fishing and shelling along the length of the Town beach, and especially on the popular state park beach.
Hilton Head Island
This is a nice wide beach and is relatively uncrowded. Amenities include restrooms and a drink vending machine. It is great for bike riding. There is parking across South Forest Beach Rd at the meters. This beach is also equipped with mats that make it wheelchair accessible.
This beach is located at Coligny Circle at Pope Avenue and South Forest Beach Drive. It’s the island’s busiest beach. There are restrooms, changing rooms, water fountains, sand showers, and other amenities. The town has recently added mats designed to make the beach wheelchair accessible at this location.
Burke’s Beach is located off William Hilton Parkway at Burke’s Beach Rd. Parking is limited.
Dreissen Beach Park
Dreissen Beach is also off of William Hilton parkway, at Bradley Beach Rd. It has plenty of parking, rest rooms, sand showers and vending machines. It has a playground and a few picnic tables. There is a boardwalk to the beach. This beach is equipped with mats that make it wheelchair accessible.
Folly Field Beach
Folly Field beach is located on Starfish Road, a right turn off Folly Field Road. Parking is somewhat limited, but restrooms, sand showers and water fountains are available. This beach also is equipped with mats that make it wheelchair accessible. It is a favored beach for surfers.
Fish Haul Creek Park
This beach is on Port Royal Sound. This beach offers privacy.
Islander’s Beach Club
This beach is intended primarily for locals and their guests. Parking is available only for those who purchase annual permits, which are limited to Hilton Head property owners. Amenities here include restrooms, changing rooms, a playground, soft drink machine, sand showers and a few picnic tables. It’s located off Folly Field Road at Sparkleberry Lane (actual address is 94 Folly Field Rd.). This beach also is equipped with mats that make it wheelchair accessible.
Other Beaches, South to North:
In Sea Pines Plantation, at the “toe” of the island near the South Beach Marina, is the Calibogue beach. There is no public parking. However, you can get there by walking or bicycling. At high tide there is little or no beach; and tidal currents will move you up or down the beach depending on flow. There are no amenities here. This is a pleasant and uncrowded area where you will see dolphins and other wildlife.
Tower Beach is located at The Sea Pines Plantation. This beach is intended for use by property owners and their guests. Parking is restricted to property owners. It is accessible to anyone by bicycle or on foot. It provides restrooms, water fountains, and a picnic area with barbecue grills.
Sea Pines Beach Club
This beach is also in The Sea Pines plantation. It offers many amenities such as restrooms, showers, food service, a bar, picnic tables, and seasonal entertainment. It is attended by lifeguards and has limited parking. The Sea Pines trolley provides transportation to the Beach Club from the Greenwood Drive parking lot, Harbour Town and other locations.
This beach is in Shipyard plantation and is accessible to those staying in Shipyard or visiting the Sonesta Resort. Parking is available at the very end of Shipyard Drive.
Palmetto Dunes Beach
This beach is accessible to guests staying in Palmetto Dunes Plantation and can also be enjoyed by visitors to the Palmetto Dunes Resorts. There is a pleasant ocean-front bar from which the beach can be admired.
Westin Resort & Spa
This beach is accessible primarily through the hotel, which is limited to hotel guests. It is only a few hundred feet from the Islander Beach Club.