Who doesn't dream of living by the beach? And who would say no to a community that offers safe streets, plentiful job opportunities, and fantastic facilities? But why restrict yourself to either one or the other? South Carolina is packed with towns, villages, and cities that combine superb amenities with a stunning beachside location. The only real problem you face is choosing which of the many communities to make your next home. If you need some inspiration, check out our round-up of the 10 best places to live in South Carolina near the beach.
10. Murrells Inlet
What was once the lair of the infamous Blackbeard is today a charmingly quaint fishing village with more than enough to please even the most discerning buyer. For those who love spending time in nature, there's a plethora of outdoor activities to get involved in, from kayaking to deep-sea fishing. For those who prefer to eat fish someone else has gone to the effort of catching, 'the seafood capital of South Carolina' has plenty of restaurants to tempt your tastebuds. The waterfront is a great place to soak up the vibe and catch some live music, while the stunning Brookgreen Gardens with its collection of sculptures is a culture vulture's dream. Factor in safe streets, excellent schools, and a great standard of living, and you can understand why it's considered one of the best places to live in South Carolina.
9. Garden City Beach
Located just seven miles from the bright lights of Myrtle Beach, Garden City Beach is a charming little beach community that packs a big punch. Its relaxed vibe, laid back lifestyle, and family-friendly ambiance are huge draws in themselves. When you factor in the stunning stretch of beach, the abundance of outdoor activities, the vibrant live music scene, and the charming pier, it becomes easy to see what draws so many tourists to the town each year. And when you consider the low crime rate, great school system, and excellent property options, it's just as easy to see why so many of them decide to make their visit more permanent.
8. Hilton Head Island
Famed for its gorgeous beaches and championship golf courses, Hilton Head Island has been a popular tourist destination for generations. But it's not just tourists who love it. According to areavibes.com, the community has a crime rate that sits 57% lower than the South Carolina average and a 'livability score' of 74/100 (excellent, in other words). With plenty of amenities, a family-friendly atmosphere, and, of course, world-class golfing on tap, the attraction is undeniable.
7. Folly Beach
As charleston.com writes, Folly Beach is a laid-back, beach community famed for its giant fishing pier, its rich culture, a huge, wonderfully eclectic mix of surf shops, restaurants, gift shops, offices and bars, and, of course, it's history as the town where George Gershwin composed the classic, Porgy and Bess. If you like your home town to be hip, happening, and wonderfully unique, you'd be well advised to set your sights on this charming little corner of South Carolina.
6. Myrtle Beach
Of all the beach towns in South Carolina, Myrtle Beach is probably one of the most famous. And for good reason. Boasting 60 miles of coastline and a huge collection of amusement parks, water parks, golf courses, and high-rise hotels, it's the perfect place for an action-packed vacation. But as rockethomes.com notes, what many people aren't aware of is that as much as it's a great place to pay a fleeting visit, it's also a fantastic place to make your home. While the average income is slightly less than the US average, residents benefit from an outstandingly low cost of living and a great selection of very affordable housing options. And then there are all those great amenities, which, despite what some people might think, aren't just for the tourists.
5. Seabrook Island
If you long to live somewhere with a sea view, a great standard of living, and a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere, you might want to cast your eyes in the direction of Seabrook Island. In fairness, you'll need to be earning a pretty sum if you want to move here (it's nothing if not exclusive, and as for the property prices... well, sky-high doesn't come close to describing it). But thanks to the great range of amenities, the beauty of the natural landscape, the incredibly low crime rate, and the small-town charm, it's more than worth the investment.
4. Mount Pleasant
With a population just short of 100,000, Mount Pleasant has grown exponentially in the past few years. And yet somehow, it still manages to retain its small-town charm and laid back, friendly vibe. Set just 2.7 miles away from Charleston, the beachside suburb offers a wealth of amenities, fantastic job opportunities, and a median income which, at $97,176, is one of the highest in South Carolina. The residents are friendly, highly educated (62.2% have a bachelor’s degree or higher), and clearly enamored with their very delightful little town. Property prices are, as expected, on the high side (expect to pay around $479,038 for a three-bedroom house), but few would argue it's not worth the expense.
If we're talking about the best places to live by the beach in South Carolina, we couldn't fail to mention Charleston. With charm for miles, history for days, and more culture than you'd think possible, it's a little slice of southern paradise that's guaranteed to leave you spellbound. Gorgeous beaches, cute boutiques, cobblestone streets, quirky cafes, and some of the most historically interesting architecture in the state - if all this sounds your kind of thing, you know where to head.
2. James Island
The beautiful community of James Island is packed with history, culture, and the kind of natural scenery you'd travel miles to find. Lapped by the waters of Charleston Harbor, crisscrossed by the Stono and Folly Rivers, and boasting acres of marshland, the island is a haven for waterbirds and other creatures. But it's not just animals that get a kick out of this gorgeous little place. Thanks to its laid-back vibe, superbly safe streets, and plentiful amenities, it's just as popular with creatures of the two-legged variety.
1. Kiawah Island
As pamharringtonexclusives.com notes, Kiawah Island is the ideal destination for property seekers looking to combine the charm of the Lowcountry with the still beauty of the coast. Located just 25 miles from Downtown Charleston, this private island community is an exclusive retreat with plenty to offer. You might have to spend a small fortune to buy a home here, but if you can stretch to the mortgage you can expect a great shopping district, 10 miles of golden beach, 30 miles of hiking paths, and breathtaking views over the Atlantic.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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