2023 NC/SC Beach Guide! Family Friendly Beaches Near Charlotte

By Union County Macaroni Kid January 22, 2023

With more than 3,000 miles of tidal coastline between both North and South Carolina, there's no wonder that our beaches attract visitors from all over the country. But which beaches are best for families? That's an age-old question and we hope that you agree!

North Carolina

Carolina Beach is a popular spot for swimming, fishing, surfing, and kayaking. Its soft clean sand and depth of activities for kids of all ages make it a family favorite. It features a wide coastline with shallow ocean floors, lifeguards on duty, and generally calm waves toward the shores. One of the most popular features for families with kids is the boardwalk, featuring fun amusement park rides, carousels, carnival games, and food stands. Plus, the surf school is a great option for older kids who want to learn something new.

Kure Beach is known for its calm waters and sandy shoreline, making it a great spot for families. Offering 5 miles of shorelines which makes it perfect for sunbathing, picnicking, and playing with your children. It's a great place to go boating, surf-fishing, surfing, and beachcombing and offers shaded picnic areas and grills where you can prepare and eat your meals as well as changing rooms and showers.

Wrightsville Beach is known for its wide beaches and plenty of beach activities and is regularly voted North Carolinas top beach. Families love it for its sparkling turquoise waters and miles of pristine shorelines. Make the most of your trip to Wrightsville by exploring all of the available activities including surfing, kiteboarding, sailing, stand-up paddleboarding and so much more.

Emerald Isle is a great spot for swimming, fishing, and shelling and offers mile after mile of sugary white beaches accessed by wooden walkways. While there is less to "do" there, you can be sure to find your family fun flying kites or playing in the sand. There's also a water park, great restaurants, and a marina where you can rent a pontoon for adventuring. 

Ocracoke is a great destination for beach camping, kayaking, and swimming. On Ocracoke Island, you’ll find miles and miles of pristine, undeveloped—and, best of all, uncrowded—beaches for you to enjoy. Especially for families who enjoy camping, there's a state park beach and that is the only oceanfront "accommodation" available. Otherwise, you'll stay in the village, where you'll find great shopping, restaurants and fun activities for your family. You're also within a short ferry ride from Hatteras, with its lighthouse and other great histories. 

South Carolina

Myrtle Beach is well-known for its boardwalk, amusement parks, and lively nightlife. Myrtle Beach boasts amusement parks that offer everything from water slides to roller coasters to race tracks. While the shopaholics of the family spend time at the outlet malls, golfers of all skill levels can flock to one of the area's more than 100 courses, and then the whole family can enjoy pirate or medieval-inspired revues during dinner. It is also probably one of the most budget-friendly beach destinations in South Carolina, with a myriad of lodging options ranging from budget hotels off the beach to private home rentals with direct beach access. 

Isle of Palms is a small beach community featuring 6 miles of accessible shoreline. It is a great choice for families who want to escape the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach, as it offers a more relaxed atmosphere. In addition to Front Beach, the barrier island offers two championship golf courses (both of which are open to the public) and loads of water sports activities, including kayaking, fishing, and surfing. Families should set their sights on the centrally-located Isle of Palms County Park, which boasts amenities like chair and umbrella rentals, outdoor showers, and seasonal lifeguards.

Folly Beach is located about 10 miles south of Charleston on Folly Island. It's the perfect day trip for Charleston visitors when the weather's right. It's known for its laid-back atmosphere and it's a great spot for fishing.

Kiawah Island is a beautiful barrier island off the coast of SC with plenty of activities for families, from world-class golf to beachcombing and fishing. Some even say that it is the closest you'll come to paradise in South Carolina. While most of the beaches are private - belonging to the beachfront properties available to rent, Beachwalker County Park features a public stretch of sand with amenities like seasonal lifeguards and outdoor showers. Kiawah Island's landscape also yields several scenic bike trails, and waterfront golf courses - so there is plenty to do for a family trip. 

Edisto Beach touts itself as the last family-friendly beach in South Carolina, mostly because there are only 1,000 full-time residents and no major developments on the island. If you are looking for sand and sun, without the hustle and bustle, Edisto is the perfect spot for you. Looking for more adventure on your trip? No problem: you'll head to Edisto Beach State Park for hiking and biking trails and a nearly 2-mile stretch of seashell-covered sand.