8 Best Carolina Beaches for Families

Hunting Island State Park - SC
Hunting Island State Park - SC

There are many wonderful beaches for families in both North and South Carolina. While there are numerous beaches suitable for families, our top picks are as follows: 

  1. Duck Public Beach (NC)
  2. Folly Beach County Bark (SC)
  3. Fort Fisher State Park (NC)
  4. Sullivan’s Island (SC)
  5. Carolina Beach State Park (NC)
  6. Myrtle Beach State Park (SC)
  7. Kill Devil Hills Public Beach (NC)
  8. Hunting Island State Park (SC)

Read on to learn more about each of these ideal vacation spots and all you need to know for your family’s next beach adventure!

1.) Duck Public Beach – NC

Colorful sunrise on a North Carolina beach, waves breaking on a sandy shore framed by dune grass. Duck, NC
Colorful sunrise on a North Carolina beach, waves breaking on a sandy shore framed by dune grass. Duck, NC

The charming small town of Duck, North Carolina lies along a barrier coast known as Outer Banks. The beach is highly rated as one of the best beaches for families and has remained on Travel Channel’s list of best beaches since 2000. 

With access points to the beach situated among the several small neighborhoods in Duck, lifeguard towers ensure safety for swimmers. This extra protection is ideal for families with young children. 

Featuring 7 miles of wide, sandy beach, a boardwalk is a safe way for beachgoers to access Duck’s many restaurants and stores. 

If swimming isn’t your thing, there are plenty of biking trails and natural scenery in Duck sure to please outdoor enthusiasts and bird watchers alike. 

Duck has one hotel and several rental houses. One important tip: book your trip to this popular summer destination early!

2.) Folly Beach County Park – SC

Sunset at Folly Beach County Park in South Carolina.
Sunset at Folly Beach County Park in South Carolina.

Located on the west end of Folly Island, this sandy beach paradise lies sandwiched between Folly River and the Atlantic Ocean. Shallow, gentle waves are ideal for young children. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer, giving parents added reassurance.

Restrooms, outdoor showers, picnic areas, and a snack bar are seasonally available. If you forget your beach chair or umbrella, you can rent them at kiosks on the beach.

The historic city of Charleston is only 12 miles from Folly Beach, with amenities such as hotels, restaurants, and shopping. 

3.) Fort Fisher State Park – NC

Sunset at Fort Fisher, NC
Sunset at Fort Fisher, NC

Located at the southern corner of the state, this beachside state park has something for everyone. Nature enthusiasts are sure to catch a glimpse of rare species that call Fort Fisher State Park home, such as the piping plover and the Loggerhead sea turtle. The beach is six miles long with salt marshes mingling with the sea, making it a treasure trove teeming with wildlife.   

The town of Fort Fisher is rich in Civil War history, and a designated trail winds through the ruins of the for after it the Confederates were defeated in January of 1865. Historians consider the fateful Civil War battle at Fort Fisher the turning point in the war that sealed the Confederacy’s fate.

The historical site is just a few short miles north of the beach and recreation area. The town of Fort Fisher includes amenities such as hotels, restaurants, and shopping, including the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. 

4.) Sullivan’s Island – SC

Sunrise on the beach in Sullivan's Island
Sunrise on the beach in Sullivan’s Island

This small town – home to only about 2,000 residents – has all the Southern charm and hospitality this scenic barrier island has to offer. This historic island dates back to the 1600s and was even home to a Revolutionary War battle. 

Enjoy the raw scenic beauty of the beach in its natural state, devoid of any man-made structures. Birdwatchers will rejoice in the diverse population of marine birds that call this island home. 

Enjoy a simple day at the beach building sandcastles, collecting shells, or take a leisurely stroll along the gentle, lapping waves. 

5.) Carolina Beach State Park – NC

Carolina Beach State Park
Carolina Beach State Park

Located along the barrier coast, Carolina Beach State Park has something for everyone. Whether you’re into fishing, swimming, pontoon boats, hiking, or even scuba diving, Carolina Beach is an ideal vacation destination. 

Carolina Beach State Park offers miles of scenic coastal country dotted with native wildflowers. The park includes tent campsites and rental cabins, with sizes to fit every family’s needs, and a marina where avid fishermen can boat out to explore some of North Carolina’s best fishing spots. 

If you don’t plan on camping in the park, the vibrant town of Carolina Beach has amenities such as hotels, shopping, and restaurants. 

6.) Myrtle Beach State Park – SC

Myrtle Beach South Carolina Drone Skyline Aerial.
Myrtle Beach South Carolina Drone Skyline Aerial.

According to Family Vacation Critic, Myrtle Beach State Park was voted one of the best beaches for families in the country in 2014. This state park offers both a warm, sandy coastline and an exotic coastal forest, where various species of birds and other wildlife can be spotted in this scenic nature reserve. 

If you’re lucky, you can spot a glimpse of the Loggerhead sea turtle, which is a native species of Myrtle Beach State Park. 

Outdoor showers, restrooms, changing rooms, and umbrella and beach chair rentals are available at this beach. Camping is even available if you’d prefer a long weekend over a day trip to this coastal gem. 

7.) Kill Devil Hills Public Beach – NC

beachfront properties along the shore of Kill Devil Hills in the Outer Banks of North Carolina
beachfront properties along the shore of Kill Devil Hills in the Outer Banks of North Carolina

With an unforgettable name, Kill Devil Hills has a rich history as the site of the Wright Brothers National Memorial. Explore this town’s proud history while enjoying the beach’s family friendly scene. Like many other entries on this list, Kill Devil Hills is located in the Outer Banks. 

The beach has lifeguard stations with lifeguards on duty, and during the summer – between Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekend – roving patrols police the beach to ensure everyone’s safety. This means extra reassurance for parents of small children. 

Hotels and rental cabins are available for overnight stays in Kill Devil Hills. 

8.) Hunting Island State Park – SC

Hunting Island State Park - SC
Hunting Island State Park – SC

An ideal location for beachgoers who also enjoy camping, this 5,000-acre beach is located on this secluded barrier island of Hunting Island. Over 100 campsites are available on the island, including electrical sites and water hookups. 

Home to the historic Hunting Island lighthouse, which was destroyed during a Civil War battle and rebuilt after the war, Hunting Island State Park is a popular visitor’s attraction, drawing in more than one million visitors a year. Plan ahead and book your reservation early. 

See Also

US Beaches

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!