02Piccolo Spoleto Sand Sculpting.JPG (copy) (copy)

A sand creation of Earth the annual Piccolo Spoleto Sand Sculpting Competition on front beach at the Isle of Palms. Andrew J. Whitaker/ Staff

Our rolling, swirling flat beaches are the number one attraction in the Lowcountry. 

The ocean, with its smells and sea life, define who we are even if we haven't been to the beach in awhile. But you can be sure that if you have visitors, they will want to go to a beach. 

The question is which one. Each one has it's own character, flavor, and amenities - or lack of them - and you have to decide before you go what's most important. 

Do you want the low-key family beach that is Sullivan's Island? Because there are year-round homeowners there, they want to keep it unspoiled while still acknowledging that they are a destination for a portion of the area's 7.2 million visitors. 

Or maybe a beach for family with a bit more grown-up entertainment after hours? Isle of Palms might be the place for you with its small row of shops and beachfront bars next to a county park complete with restroom amenities.

Want more funk? Try Folly Beach where there are beach bars and restaurants lining the main drag, and surfers collect on the far end of the island at the Washout. The town calls itself "The Edge of America," and it hosts the parties, the bands, and the alternate lifestyles. Here, too is a county park in the center of town with parking and amenities. 

More upscale? Try Beachwalker Park on Kiawah. It's a beautiful beach with miles of pristine sand, and restaurants are just a short drive away at Freshfields or Bohicket Marina. Restrooms and beach showers are available here, but come early. Locals know this is a great option. Sunsets dazzle here.

Still further away is Edisto Beach - about an hour from Charleston city limits - a place where families gather at old-fashioned beach houses. Amenities on the island are slim, but there is a park on the beach where you can camp out for the day.  

And these options don't even include the places that are still pristine, but are really about going back to nature. Long walks through the brush lead to beautiful vistas, but you need to pack in all your needs - and make sure you bring them back out. 

Whatever your dream of a beach might be, the Lowcountry has got you covered.

- Stephanie Harvin  

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