The beach is a popular vacation destination for people in Charlotte and the surrounding areas. Charlotteans often spend a week at the beach over the summer, visiting the same beach year after year once they find the right spot for their family.
Charlotte is a convenient 4-hour trip from several beaches in North Carolina and South Carolina. Each beach offers a slightly different experience and different amenities. If you prefer a quiet beach with fewer tourists, you might like Bald Head Island or Emerald Isle in North Carolina. If you prefer a busy beach with arcades and lots to do, you might like Myrtle Beach.
Here’s a look at some popular beaches around North and South Carolina within 4 hours of Charlotte:
North Carolina Beaches
Bald Head Island - Accessible only by ferry or private boat, Bald Head Island offers a truly unique coastal Carolina experience. The water and land are pristine and the preferred transportation is the bicycle. There are still plenty of restaurants on the island, but most people visit Bald Head to get away from it all and turn off their cell phones.
Carolina Beach and Fort Fisher - Carolina Beach and Fort Fisher are off the coast of Wilmington, NC. Carolina Beach is a bit busier than Fort Fisher, which is more residential and historical. Both offer great beaches and close proximity to restaurants and activities. In Carolina Beach, you can walk to the boardwalk for hot donuts or take your kids for rides at the carnival. In Fort Fisher, you can visit the Confederate Fort and the aquarium.
Oak Island - You might recognize the name, but the Oak Island that’s become famous for treasure is up in Nova Scotia. Our Oak Island offers gorgeous beaches and a quieter beach experience, especially if you visit off the peak season. It’s part of the Brunswick Islands, which includes the unique Bald Head Island and Ocean Isle Beach, another popular NC beach town that’s a bit busier.
South Carolina Beaches
Isle of Palms and Folly Beach - Isle of Palms and Folly Beach are both beach towns outside of Charleston. Both beaches are close enough to the Holy City to go into Charleston for dinner - go to Husk if you can get in. Isle of Palms offers a high-end beach experience. If you want to splurge, Wild Dunes has a great beachfront location with restaurants and shops on site. Folly Beach is the more laid-back option with its beach shops and casual dining.
Hilton Head - Hilton Head is an island off the South Carolina coast, just north of Savannah. The proximity to Savannah makes this an attractive option, but you really don’t need to leave the island. Golf is very popular on Hilton Head, but you can easily have a great time if you don’t golf.
Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach - Myrtle Beach is busy. There is a ton to do and a lot of visitors every year. But there’s a reason it’s busy. The beaches offer soft sand and there are tons of restaurants and other activities along the beach and the Grand Strand. Many of the high rise hotels and condos offer indoor pools for rainy days and there are non-beach activities nearby, like Ripley’s Believe it or Not and plenty of putt-putt golf. North Myrtle Beach offers many of the same amenities with a fewer high rises, so it's a bit less crowded during the peak season.
Pawley’s Island and Murrell’s Inlet - Pawley’s Island and Murrell’s Inlet are both nearby Myrtle Beach in location, but worlds apart in atmosphere. Both offer a quiet beach experience with fewer high rise condos and fewer people. The beaches are soft and sandy. Your kids will have fun searching for shark’s teeth in the shells along the shoreline.
Let us know which one is your favorite! Enjoy the adventure!