What’s summer without a beach retreat? Sun-seekers love Charleston’s idyllic coastal location and climate. Of course, there’s a lot more to love about this harbor town, from candy-colored homes to cobblestoned streets. Plus, it’s also home to many trendy rooftop lounges, restaurants with soul-satisfying food, and historic neighborhoods with gorgeous architecture. Additionally, even beaches aren’t hard to come by in the Charleston region, and there are many options for a beachfront/oceanfront hotel in Charleston, SC, on the beach. Not only can you stay facing the ocean, but there are also options to stay overlooking the waters of the Stono River, Clark Sound, and the many creeks and water bodies around.
With so many top things to do in Charleston, you’re sure to have a fabulous beachside vacation in this Southern city. So, are you ready for your stay by the shore? Here are 11 of the best beachfront/oceanfront hotels in Charleston, SC, on the beach.
Table of contents
- HarbourView Inn
- The Inn at Middleton Place
- The Cottages on Charleston Harbor
- 20 South Battery
- The Vendue
- Tides Folly Beach Hotel
- The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina
- Harborside at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina
- Wild Dunes Resort
- Regatta Inn
- Water’s Edge Inn
- Recommended Beach Bars/Restaurants in Charleston, SC
- Recommended Things To Do in Charleston, SC
- Best Beach Areas in Charleston, SC
The HarbourView Inn is a gorgeous beachfront/oceanfront hotel in Charleston, SC, on the beach. This historic hotel, which overlooks the Folly Island Channel, offers spectacular views of the water. While not all 52 rooms have harbor views, you can request one, which also happens to have balconies. If you want to splurge, the top-floor suite has a gas fireplace and two furnished balconies. You’ll love up-to-date technology, with strong and free Wi-Fi, convenient outlets, and well-placed USB ports. Despite no restaurant, there’s a fabulous breakfast with baked goodies, courtesy of the local Saffron Bakery, which you can enjoy on the rooftop terrace with water views. Relax, drink coffee, and play board games at the atrium level and attend daily cheese and wine receptions and evening cookies and milk ones in the harbor-facing lobby.
The Inn at Middleton Place
If your idea of waterfront living includes staying by the river, then you’ll love the Inn at Middleton Place. This immersive rural retreat overlooks the Ashley River and sits on a 17th-century plantation a few miles north of Charleston. It feels a world away, surrounded by live oaks and featuring ivy-covered structures and stunning landscaped gardens. It’s no wonder that it’s considered one of the best hotels in Charleston. While some rooms face the gardens, the best ones face the river, complete with floor-to-ceiling wrap-around windows. In-room Keurigs, huge bathtubs, and other comfy mod-cons ensure that your stay is as good as the view. Meals are served at the onsite restaurant, which is famed for its delectable seasonal southern fare. Finally, the lower terrace pool is a great place to relax in summer.
The Cottages on Charleston Harbor
The Cottages on Charleston Harbor are one of the best beachfront/oceanfront hotels in Charleston, SC, on the beach. This is one of Charleston’s best-kept secrets, and for good measure – 9 out of 10 cottages line the harbor. What’s more, they all feel like a home-away-from-home, with full kitchens, living rooms with fireplaces, and jacuzzi soaking tubs in the bathrooms. Moreover, all of them have screened porches fronting the harbor, complete with hammocks, tables, and couches. Even if you don’t want to do a lot of cooking, there are tons of eating options along the seafront. And while there’s no “beach” here, there are lots of things to do along the harbor, including chartering boat rentals and heading off to explore the waters on your own.
20 South Battery
Looming large at the tip of the Charleston Peninsula overlooking the Ashley River and the Reaches is 20 South Battery, a museum-turned-charming B&B. The five-storeyed mansion faces the lush White Point Gardens, with the ocean just beyond, making for heavenly views. Enter via a grand staircase flanked by marble lions before you step into the front hall and the two-storied ballroom filled with period antiques. Choose from a host of specially designed and curated rooms and suites, each of which comes with spacious, gleaming white bathrooms with showers and bathtubs. So, there’s no 19th-century plumbing here! If you want to splurge, we recommend the Lathers Suite, which has a mahogany four-poster that was carved in early 1800s Cuba! Clearly, every room is unique, but they all have sofas, Bluetooth alarm clocks, and smart TVs.
Despite the place not having a restaurant, 20 South Battery serves a delicious breakfast sourced from the best places around town. Plus, they even serve dry wine and individual cheese plates in a daily reception. If you’re looking for a spectacular, jaw-dropping by-the-sea experience in Charleston, then this would be it.
The Vendue is a gorgeous beachfront/oceanfront hotel in Charleston, SC, on the beach. Not only that, but it’s also one of Charleston’s best boutique hotels and one of Charleston’s best historic hotels too. It’s easy to see why – a row of historic late-18th-century warehouses combines to make this sprawling boutique hotel. Choose from 84 different rooms, all of which are unique in their own way. While some have exposed brick, others have fireplaces. What’s more, you’ll also find little frivolities, like gilded “hands” as curtain pulls and French bulldog doorknockers. When it comes to food, the onsite restaurant serves delicious meals, while the rooftop bar with amazing ocean views is perfect for finger food and drinks. Did we mention evening cookies and milk at turndown? Yep. And, of course, the waterfront park and the waterfront are right out, well, front.
Tides Folly Beach Hotel
The Tides Folly Beach Hotel sits at the end of Folly Beach’s main drag and is the only one of its kind on the island. For one, it’s one of the few hotels that sit right on the shoreline – you can practically jump directly onto the sand from the rooms. What’s more, it boasts a wonderfully bohemian oceanic vibe with a gorgeous shade of oceanic teal in all rooms. Sea-inspired art, sand-friendly furnishings, and hardwood floors aside, the place even has oceanfront rooms with balconies. The best bit? All suites face the ocean. Sigh. Downstairs, the open-air pool offers superb ocean views and is even heated in the winter. Drinking and dining are taken care of by the coffee shop and the restaurant and bar, which serves delicious drinks and local fare.
The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina
The beachfront lining doesn’t get any better than at The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, the best beachfront/oceanfront hotel in Charleston, SC, on the beach. For a town that has a waterfront lifestyle, waterfront hotels aren’t a dime a dozen in Charleston. And that’s what makes the Beach Club so special! This LEED-certified hotel, Charleston’s only one, sits on the banks of the Cooper River fronting the marina. Thus, it offers many exciting seafaring amenities such as sailing lessons, hourly downtown water taxis, and boat excursions.
What’s more, almost every room has a waterside view, especially from the private balconies with Adirondack chairs. A beachy palette of light yellow, periwinkle blue, sea-salt green, and a wall of windows makes them all the more gorgeous. Downstairs, you’ll find amazing outdoor seating in the form of cabanas, fire pits, and lounges where you can unwind with sea/marina views. And, of course, there’s the massive pool deck with a huge family-friendly pool, a smaller adults-only one, a hot tub, and a bar. What more could you want?
Harborside at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina
The Harborside at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina at the southwest corner of Mount Pleasant sits overlooking a wonderfully sandy stretch of the Cooper River. Basically, it’s a fabulous front-row seat to stunning sunset views over Charleston Harbor. Choose from a host of rooms with OTT coastal chic decor – think sailboat and seashell motifs – but you’ll love them all. Beachy palettes aside, the digs range from basic rooms to sea-facing ones, complete with furnished private balconies. When you want to get out of the room, lounge by the pool or the beach area, both of which have cabanas, daybeds, and even poolside bars.
Afternoons are best spent at the peaceful Estuary Spa that’s decked out in soothing coastal colors. Aside from the onsite gym, there are even beach cruisers that you can rent to explore the sandy stretches on your own. Wind up the day at the seaside restaurant and bar that offers delicious bites and drinks.
Wild Dunes Resort
The Wild Dunes Resort is a fabulous beachfront/oceanfront hotel in Charleston, SC, on the beach. The 1,600-acre-huge beachfront Isle of Palms property is home to the Village and the Boardwalk Inn, which offer many kinds of accommodations. Depending on your requirements, these include modern hotel-style rooms and suites, as well as condos and villas. What’s more, all accommodations feature comfy beds and swish mod-cons, and even kitchens in some of them. Downstairs, you have the choice of multiple pools, including an adults-only, a lap pool, and a couple of family-friendly ones too. The day spa, with its treatments and massages, is perfect when you want to unwind. A gym and multiple sea-facing dining and drinking options wrap up the amenities here.
If an adults-only, beachside property is what you’re looking for, then look no further than the Regatta Inn. This stunning adults-only property sits right on Folly Beach and is styled in the nautical fashion both inside and out. All rooms radiate a seaside charm and have king beds, mini-fridges, coffeemakers, gas fireplace, and even screened porches. Your day begins with a delectable homestyle breakfast and ends with an amazing happy hour with free wine, beer, and the world-famous Folly Punch. The best bit? There’s even a golf cart shuttle service from the hotel to the beach!
Water’s Edge Inn
We end the list with the absolute best beachfront/oceanfront hotel in Charleston, SC, on the beach, Water’s Edge Inn. The quiet, serene marsh setting of this B&B has just eight suites, making staying here an intimate and exclusive experience. Some rooms even have balconies with fabulous water views. Your day begins with a fabulous breakfast, after which you can lounge in the hot tub that overlooks the marsh. And since the beach lies across the marsh, the hotel has thoughtfully kitted out golf cart shuttles that take you to the beach in a jiffy, But that’s not all. You’ll find umbrellas, beach chair,s and bike rentals there. Later, come back in time for the 4-7 pm reception, which has a happy hour with their signature “Folly Punch,” as well as light hors d’oeuvres.
Recommended Beach Bars/Restaurants in Charleston, SC
- Fleet Landing, Downtown: The views at this Downtown restaurant are absolutely stunning, but its menu is equally good. Try the lobster and shrimp-stuffed hushpuppies, an absolute crowd-pleaser, especially since the restaurant is a platinum member of the Sustainable Seafood Initiative. Pro tip: make reservations for when the weather is nice.
- Pier 101, Folly Beach: This casual waterfront restaurant is all about classic Southern-style fare and frozen concoctions served with a dose of live music and superb views. Our recommendations? Have the grouper bites or the fried deviled eggs while soaking in panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Recommended Things To Do in Charleston, SC
- Charleston Luxury Harbor Dinner Cruise: Experience Charleston from the water is an altogether different experience. This relaxing dinner cruise is a great way to end the day in this historical city as you dig into a fabulously delicious Southern dinner.
- Charleston Harbor Sightseeing Cruise Tour: We’ve all heard of land tours, but what about a water one? This sightseeing cruise takes you to the best sights of Charleston Harbor, including Ravenel Bridge, the USS Yorktown, and Fort Sumter, among others. The best bit? You’re treated to live narration by an expert tour guide.
Best Beach Areas in Charleston, SC
Charleston is a gorgeous maze of creek, sound, river, and ocean-facing neighborhoods. So, where would you want to stay when you visit this city? First up is Sullivan’s Island, which is one of the greatest family-friendly beach neighborhoods in Charleston. It lies just east of the city and boasts many beach activities. Then, there’s the larger Folly Beach, which is home to a posse of fabulous beach bars, restaurants, and bed and breakfasts. Isle of Palms is a famous golf and tennis destination by the sea, while James Island, with its many plantation homes-turned-boutique hotels, is preferred for its quiet vibe.
It’s hard to mention waterfront living in Charleston without mentioning Downtown. The eclectic and charming neighborhood blends European and old American feels with cobblestoned streets and church steeples. And, of course, it’s home to a wide variety of amazing hotels that fit all kinds of budgets.