10Best Beaches of the Carolinas

  • Wrightsville Beach, N.C.

    The shape of the coast at Wrightsbille Beach, north of the Cape Fear River, creates ideal waves that attract surfers from all over the East Coast. The town of Wrightsville Beach has enough stuff to find everything you need without all the tourist traps you don't particularly want.

    Photo courtesy of joyfnp/iStock Editorial

  • Myrtle Beach, S.C.

    Myrtle Beach boasts beautiful white-sand beaches with more free access points than any beachfront town in the nation, as well as more than 100 golf courses, thousands of great hotel rooms and restaurants, and excellent nightlife, shopping and entertainment. Perfect for family fun, a romantic couples retreat and golf groups.

    Photo courtesy of Simplyphotos/iStock

  • Hilton Head Island, S.C.

    The upscale seaside resort of Hilton Head offers more than just a beautiful day at the beach. Golf, tennis, cycling and more in a relaxing Lowcountry setting might be just what the doctored ordered for a tranquil vacation.

    Photo courtesy of Heidi McDowell/iStock

  • Corolla Beach, N.C.

    Drive your vehicle (four-wheel drive only) north to Corolla Beach, a secluded stretch of coast that runs all the way to the Virginia border. Spot wild horses grazing in the dunes and build a bonfire on the beach.

    Photo courtesy of McIninch/iStock

  • Kiawah Island, S.C.

    This private barrier island is a playground for the upper class. In addition to its lovely beaches and Lowcountry scenery, Kiawah Island offers excellent golf, tennis, cycling, fishing and native Gullah cuisine.

    Photo courtesy of Dale Goodwin

  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore, N.C.

    This scenic stretch of natural beach is perfect for those looking to get away from civilization. Visitors can park their cars on the beach and swim with little contact from the outside world.

    Photo courtesy of Alexander Kolomietz/iStock

  • North Myrtle Beach, S.C.

    Myrtle Beach's less popular sister is actually the preferred vacation locale of a growing number of visitors. It offers sess-crowded beaches plus upscale accommodations, shopping and dining, and a downtown that revolves around beach music and shag dancing.

    Photo courtesy of Steve Walker

  • Oak Island, N.C.

    This charming little beach town is perfect for quiet family vacations and romantic couples getaways. Featuring more beach homes than hotels and beautiful stretches of undeveloped coastline, this is a great place to get back to nature.

    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

  • Folly Beach, S.C.

    Much of the coastline around the port of Charleston is swampy and fed by rivers, but Folly Beach offers a nice, natural, sandy beach and a small but thriving town in close proximity to the historic Southern city.

    Photo courtesy of Dave Allen Photography/iStock

  • Pawleys Island, S.C.

    Discover the best-kept secret of the S.C. Lowcountry in this charming island village. Featuring natural beaches, world-class golf and an "arrogantly shabby" atmosphere, Pawleys Island is the ideal place to escape for a laid-back beach vacation.

    Photo courtesy of Jupiterimages