Southeast

10 South Carolina Beach Resorts from Myrtle Beach to Hilton Head Island

Local writer Karon Warren takes you through the top South Carolina beach resorts for summer relaxation and making family memories.

When temperatures start to rise and a warm, sultry breeze wafts through my hair, my thoughts always turn to sun, sand, and surf—lazy days laying in a lounge chair as the sun heats up my skin, only to be cooled by the salty ocean air coming ashore with the waves. Whether spending time with my kids as they build sand castles or finding some alone time with my husband, there’s no place we’d rather be than taking in the beach at one of South Carolina’s top beach resorts.

There’s great variety in these resorts, from top-of-the-line luxury to budget and family-friendly accommodations. Regardless of which you choose, they all share something in common. When you want to throw open that balcony door and feel the warm breeze blowing in off the Atlantic as you step into the sunshine, these resorts deliver.

And for those bringing the kids, don’t worry about keeping them entertained. While they’ll relish those hours splashing in the sand, surf and swimming pools, many of these resorts also offer hours of entertainment. From kids clubs with a full itinerary of activities to bike rentals to DVD and gaming rentals, there’s no shortage of fun to be found.

North Myrtle Beach

1/4

When looking for a family vacation getaway, Avista Resort in North Myrtle Beach welcomes families with a wide selection of aquatic activities. Once the kids are suited up, they’ll be hard-pressed to decide where to start: the inside swimming pool or one of two outdoor pools? Or maybe they’ll grab a tube and jump in the lazy river instead. For the youngest guests, there’s even a toddler pool with a water curtain in the middle. Of course, the beach and ocean are just steps beyond the pool area, so building sand castles and shelling can definitely be a part of the day’s activities.

Avista Resort

North Myrtle Beach, 4.5 miles to Barefoot Landing
8.2 Very good (1950 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.9 / 10
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Hilton Head Island

1/4

The Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island offers plenty for families and couples alike. A comfortable lounge chair under the palms by the swimming pool with a frozen drink in hand? Check. Quick access to the beach when you want to swim in the ocean or walk along the beach? You got it. Rental bikes for exploring the many paved trails along Hilton Head Island? Of course. Delicious meals served up in an open-air restaurant overlooking the pool so you can embrace the fresh ocean breeze? Absolutely.

And if you’re coming on girlfriends getaway, make plans to spend some quality time together at the Arum Spa. Time at the spa, sipping cocktails by the pool, and catching rays on the beach are all great reasons to return to this resort again and again.

Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island

Top rated
8.8 Excellent (3138 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
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Isle of Palms

1/4

Located in Isle of Palms near Charleston, Wild Dunes Resort welcomes everyone from families to couples to multi-generational travelers. Accommodations range from standard hotel rooms and vacation rental homes to beach condos.

Across the property, you can brush up on your golf swing on two different Tom Fazio-designed courses, or bike along the many paved trails. The tennis players in your group can play a match on one of the resort’s 17 Har-Tru courts. Likewise, you can choose from a selection of restaurants, whether it’s a burger and fries or fresh seafood, the resort caters to all appetites and ages. When you’re ready for dessert, revel in your favorite ice cream flavor at Duney’s Ice Cream Shop.

Wild Dunes Resort

8.3 Very good (6872 reviews)
Excellent Location 9 / 10
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Kiawah Island

1/4

Located 21 miles south of Charleston, The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort welcomes couples with five-star service in a relaxing, beachfront setting. Although the natural dunes and the beach itself are some of the main draws of this property, couples also come here for the five championship golf courses around the island. When playing The Ocean Course, you can see miles of ocean from every hole. But beware — those unobstructed views also allow strong Atlantic winds to play havoc on your game, making this one of the most challenging courses.

Other outdoor recreation includes biking, both on paved trails and on the beach, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, nature walks, and more. In fact, you’ll never know what wildlife you might spot during your time on the island­ — everything from dolphins in the surf to herons gliding above the marsh to turtles along the boardwalks.

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Resort

Top rated
8.6 Excellent (32 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.8 / 10
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Myrtle Beach

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One of the reasons that the Island Vista Resort in Myrtle Beach is one of South Carolina’s best beach resorts for families is that the majority of rooms are suites. Having a separate living room plus a full kitchen means you have a lot of room to get comfortable. While the kitchen is nice, not everybody wants to cook on vacation, so head to Cypress Room for dinner. Although it features an upscale menu of steak and seafood, this on-site restaurant is actually quite relaxed. If you prefer to take it easy in your room, order up some pizza, which is made fresh onsite.

Beyond the spacious suites, you’ll find a plethora of water amenities. A large indoor swimming pool shares space with a lengthy lazy river that resides in what feels like a cave. Beyond, the outdoor swimming pool and lazy river are shaded by palm trees, giving the area a tropical feel. And just beyond the pool deck, you can stroll out to the beach, which stretches out behind the hotel.

Island Vista Resort

Myrtle Beach, 3.2 miles to Broadway at the Beach
8.7 Excellent (624 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.3 / 10
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Myrtle Beach

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Pack up the kids, and get ready for a fun and active vacation at this expansive Myrtle Beach property. At the Holiday Inn Club Vacations South Beach Resort, you can take a dip in both indoor and outdoor swimming pools or head straight to the beach. Kids will love the water slides, where they can race to the bottom, and then rush to climb back up to go again.

There’s also Splash Cove, an interactive climbing structure with water sprayers, water slides, and a dumping bucket where they can climb around and immerse themselves in the water, and a lazy river for floating the hours away. If that’s not enough, there’s the family video and game room, plus the opportunity to make arts and crafts at the activity center.

Holiday Inn South Beach Resort

Top rated
Myrtle Beach, 4.5 miles to Broadway at the Beach
8.7 Excellent (623 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9 / 10
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Myrtle Beach

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Everything at this Myrtle Beach resort speaks to the best in luxury. At Marriott OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes, each villa is a two-bedroom condo that includes a full kitchen and living area that go a long way in making guests feel at home. Spacious private balconies are wonderful for watching dolphins swim along the shore, catching a sunset or basking in a warm ocean breeze.

Throughout the property, there are several pool areas, including a children’s pool with water features, an on-site putting green, and direct beach access. When you’re ready to eat, try the poolside Woodsy Grill & Pool Bar for American cuisine (burgers and sandwiches) or watch the seagulls glide across the setting sun at the Sand Dollar Grill. If you’re ready to retreat to your room for the evening, you can cook in your room, or have dinner delivered from one of Myrtle Beach’s many popular restaurants.

Marriott's OceanWatch Villas at Grande Dunes

Top rated
Myrtle Beach, 4.9 miles to Broadway at the Beach
9.4 Excellent (218 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.3 / 10
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Myrtle Beach

1/3

Since 1960, The Caravelle Resort has been a favorite vacation spot for families year after year thanks to a focus on family-friendly amenities. Accommodations range from efficiencies to suites to condos, all of which cater to families by offering amenities like kitchenettes, DVD players, and free WiFi. Outside, kids will play for hours in the block-long poolscape that contains a large heated pool, a hot tub, a lazy river, a kiddie lazy river, and the Wild Water Pool where you’ll find an array of dumping buckets, water sprayers, and fountains. There’s even an indoor swimming pool so rainy and cool days don’t stop families from enjoying the water. Just behind the hotel, you can walk directly onto the beach and start building sand castles or splashing in the surf.

The resort also has two on-site restaurants: Santa Maria Restaurant and Marco Polo Pool Bar and Grill. Start your day with the Southern-style breakfast buffet (biscuits and gravy) at Santa Maria, but heading to Marco Polo for a grilled burger or gourmet hot dog for lunch or dinner. Then cool off with some ice cream at Pirate’s Cove Ice Cream and Sandwich Shop.

The Caravelle

Myrtle Beach, 3.9 miles to Broadway at the Beach
7.5 Good (1493 reviews)
Very good Location 8.2 / 10
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Pawleys Island

1/4

Located in Pawley’s Island along South Carolina’s Hammock Coast between Myrtle Beach and Charleston, the Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort provides families a family vacation without the hustle and bustle of a crowded beach vacation destination. In fact, it’s perfect for family reunions and multi-generational family trips thanks to a variety of accommodations that include condos and suites as well as larger beach houses. You’ll find an equally large selection of activities for the entire family. Think outdoor pool plaza complete with lazy river and mini water park and bike rentals, or head straight to the beach for plenty of sunny hours building sand castles and swimming in the surf.

Litchfield Beach & Golf Resort

8.2 Very good (2637 reviews)
Excellent Breakfast 8.8 / 10
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Surfside Beach

1/4

One of Surfside Beach’s only beachfront hotels, the Holiday Inn Oceanfront @ Surfside Beach offers a great escape for couples or girlfriend getaways. Overlooking the ocean, the pool deck includes a swimming pool, hot tub, fire pit, and cabanas. Plus, the beach just steps away, where you can walk along the surf or sit back and soak in some rays. You can even savor a meal overlooking the ocean at Shoreline Restaurant, the property’s full-service restaurant serving up steak, seafood, and chicken entrees. Plus, all guest rooms come with private balconies. Not all of them face the ocean, so try accessing for one that does.

Holiday Inn Oceanfront @ Surfside Beach

7.8 Good (739 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.8 / 10
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Feature image courtesy of Visit Myrtle Beach