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South Carolina Beach Suggestion?

We're looking for a get-away within driving distance of Atlanta. Ideal would be a condo with a view of the ocean and restaurants nearby for takeout and/or perhaps outdoor dining. Adding that we're not crazy about a resort-type setting.

Thank you!

Posted by
3013 posts

I'm going to check out accommodations!

Thanks so much Wally!

Posted by
3013 posts

The Brookgreen Gardens looks lovely and like something we'd really enjoy - thank you acraven for suggesting it!

I'll also look at accommodations at Pawley's Island and Murrells Inlet - thank you Agnes!

Posted by
2716 posts

You have received some great suggestions.
To comment on some of the areas already mentioned:
I love Isle of Palms and the town of Mount Pleasant SC, both to the north of Charleston.
However, many people are moving away from Mt. Pleasant now, due to heavy traffic in the town. There is a commercial port there on the river side of town, with large container ships coming in, and truck traffic (trying to get to the port) backs up in the town.

But Mt. Pleasant is a lovely town. It has unfortunately grown by leaps and bounds in the last 15 years. It used to be a sleepy tiny town. Do go to the Old Town area for a walk around, and to Patriot's Point to see the aircraft carrier and ships on display. Great restaurants in Mt. Pleasant.

Isle of Palms is, of course, on the island, so if you don't plan to drive back into Mt. Pleasant a lot, you won't encounter the traffic.

Pawleys Island (north of Isle of Palms and Mt. Pleasant) has a more rustic, old-fashioned feel, with many old not-very-fancy beach houses being in the same family for 3 or 4 generations. It has a much more natural, undeveloped feel than Isle of Palms. Lots of sand dunes left undisturbed much as they were in the 1950's. Very few restaurants. No traffic, no noise.

One more choice south of Charleston: Folly Beach. An old fashioned beach town with an inlet at the end of the island. Walk to the northernmost tip of Folly Beach to see Morris Island Lighthouse, which is now stranded out at sea because of the beach erosion over the last 100 years.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_Island_Light

Folly Beach is definitely not a resort, it's "shabby chic" with old clapboard houses, several restaurants, and a pier that extends out into the ocean for fishing. Pretty good shrimp and fish at its restaurant, too. It's another 1950's type town that has a great beach. Many condos and beach houses for rent. Tip: stay near the north end of the island, so you might be able to look out the window of your rental at night, and see the lighthouse's rotating beam of light, still warning ships.
P.S. If you eat at a restaurant on Folly Beach, watch out for an obnoxious character who likes to sit down at your table, talk to you, and buy your meal. He's Bill Murray, the comedian and actor, and Folly Beach is one of his favorite places. He lives in Charleston and owns its baseball team, The River Dogs.

Posted by
3013 posts

Thank you Rebecca for the great suggestions too!

We've wondered about Folly Beach so will check that out too! It sounds cool!

Posted by
4946 posts

You have some great suggestions.

We love Charleston, so plan on visiting. Myrtle Beach is OK, but I wouldn't make a point to go there.

We live on St. Simons Island, Georgia, on the Georgia coast. Our beaches are good, with Jekyll Island being the best local. There is a lot more to see than just going to the beach.

The Golden Isles are only a bit touristy, that is what makes it more attractive than a place like Myrtle Beach or Daytona Beach, FLA>

Posted by
2845 posts

Our #1 favorite is Isle of Palms, #2 is Hilton Head but pretty much the entire town is a resort. #3 is St. Simons-its #3 because we lived in SC for 25 years.

Posted by
774 posts

Just across the SC/NC line is Oak Island. I've spent several months there and recommend it as a viable option. The town of Southport is really nice and still fairly "small town" and Wilmington is just across the harbor.

Posted by
3013 posts

So many great suggestions - it's nice to have a small adventure to research!

geovagriffith, it's been several years since we've been to St. Simons or Jekyll - will take a look. In the past, we've always enjoyed St. Simons.

KGC, Oak Island sounds interesting!

Posted by
2716 posts

Hilton Head has great beaches and lots of good rentals.
Yes, there's a resort there, or different resort areas with different names, but the whole island is not included in the resort.
There are just regular neighborhoods there with beach access.
You can rent a small older house, walking distance to the beach, for about what you'd pay to rent a 3 bedroom condo.

One advantage of staying at Hilton Head is that it has plenty of great restaurants, so you have lots of choices.
There are several bike rental places. Any one of these you rent from will give you a map of the bike trails.
Wide sandy beaches with lots of condos available with an ocean view.
Lots of trees left for a natural feel.

You can't miss with any of these places mentioned so far.
Except I don't care for Myrtle Beach. It's just a strip along a highway, full of hotels and putt-putt golf courses.
All dunes and most trees were knocked down long ago.
Kind of like Daytona Beach.
It's not the natural beach with dunes, trees, and an old beach town feel you are looking for.

Wherever you end up going among these places, watch out for alligators in ponds while you are walking, running or riding a bike.
Do not swim in ponds, or stand at the edge of a pond taking a photo.
Keep children or your dog away from the edge of ponds.
You're totally safe from them on the beach.
They will be in ponds and in the marshy areas behind the islands; they like brackish still water.
Occasionally they will take a walk through a golf course or across a road; just keep an eye out for them.

Posted by
3013 posts

Alligators - WOW! That's a good tip Rebecca!

Hilton Head is another place that we haven't been to in a long while. I like the idea of many restaurant possibilities - we likely won't be going out to restaurants but hoping for take-out options.

Thank you!

Posted by
2845 posts

I think Charleston has better restaurants than HH. Our view of MB is eew.

Posted by
2716 posts

Agree with Cala; Charleston has better restaurants than Hilton Head, by far.
No contest there.
The difference is, if you stay on one of the islands near Charleston, you must drive to downtown Charleston to get to those restaurants. (A long drive with lots of traffic.)
If you decide to stay at Hilton Head on the beach, restaurants are about 4 to 5 blocks away.

Your best option if you stay at Isle of Palms would be to drive over the bridge (to the mainland) to Mt. Pleasant for restaurants. A lot of downtown Charleston restaurants have opened a second location in Mt. Pleasant.
You also have Shem Creek area in Mt. Pleasant, an area on the waterfront with many good restaurants.

Yep Cala, Myrtle Beach, yuck!

Posted by
3013 posts

I also agree about Myrtle Beach and it's farther for us to travel.

We're leaning towards Isle of Palms - now to find a good place to stay. It seems easier to find a moderately-priced quaint or quirky place to stay in European cities compared to here in the U.S.

I appreciate all of the suggestions!

Cheers!

Posted by
2845 posts

Sharon, we like Waters Edge Restaurant in Shem Creek-you can watch the boats unloading their day's catch, and there is seating on an outdoor porch.

Posted by
3013 posts

Thank you Cala! The seafood looks delicious and I see that they have a take-out option too.

Posted by
2845 posts

We just got home from Hilton Head (a change of plans last weekend when we didn't know if the hurricanes would affect Gulf Shores) and it is fairly quiet now that schools are in session in SC and Ohio. Their menu book said that their restaurants have always been oriented to outside seating, but the one time that we ate at a restaurant instead of getting takeout, the restaurant appeared to have constructed additional covered space outside, complete with the most wonderful fans.

If you like to take walks in natural areas, wear long pants and boots(not sandals and shorts). The Audobon Newhall Preserve is lovely but you have to watch the wide, well-cleared path constantly-I almost stepped on a copperhead on the path. Of course, there was a rattlesnake in my front yard iin Birmingham in 2016, so I guess the copperhead is an improvement over that!

Posted by
3013 posts

Thank you cala! It's good to know that Hilton Head is a good option and I will save it for a possible destination in the future. We have rented a condo in the Isle of Palms area and are looking forward to a get-away this fall.

I'm glad for the reminder of wearing proper shoes and long pants when hiking...I am not a fan of snakes!

Stay well!