Looking for the most affordable beach towns to live in South Carolina? You’re in the right place.
Here are the top beach towns that are both safe and budget-friendly.
Located just north of Pawleys Island, Murrells Inlet offers natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and a low cost of living.
Murrells Inlet is known as the “Seafood Capital of South Carolina,” with fresh catches daily and waterfront dining along its wooden boardwalk, the MarshWalk.
You’ll find everything from casual seafood shacks to upscale restaurants featuring local shrimp, crab, and fish. When you’re not dining out, you can drop a line in the inlet or enjoy the picturesque views of the saltwater estuary.
Housing and utility costs in Murrells Inlet are well below the national average. Home prices are 2% lower, while utility bills are 17% higher; the trade-off for living in such a gorgeous place is worth it. Gas and transportation prices are only 10% above average.
Outdoor lovers like Brookgreen Gardens Sculpture Park and Huntington Beach State Park will appreciate the natural surroundings. These spots offer walking trails, wildlife viewing, and access to beaches and tidal creeks just minutes from town.
Closer to home, the MarshWalk boardwalk is perfect for cycling, jogging, bird-watching, and sunset strolling.
Pawleys Island, a small coastal town, has maintained its shabby chic character with historic cottages and natural, undeveloped areas.
Life here comes with a lower cost of living. As a single adult, you can expect to pay around $35,700 per year in living expenses, slightly below the state average.
Housing costs are slightly higher than the national average, with a median home value of $420,000. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment averages $1,455 per month.
The Grand Strand region is known for world-class golfing, and within 5 miles of Pawleys Island, there are ten top-rated golf courses. You can also go fishing in the surf or from the marsh bridges.
With 60 miles of coastline, the beach is the main attraction. Go swimming, sunbathing, kayaking, or enjoy the picturesque sunrises and sunsets.
Edisto Beach is an affordable beach town with a relaxed vibe and natural surroundings. The average one-bedroom apartment here costs around $1,150 per month. This sea island paradise offers an escape from the hurried pace of life.
Edisto Beach’s 4.5 miles of uncrowded coastline and surrounding marshes provide opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing, boating, fishing, and bird watching.
You might spot dolphins playing in the surf or pelicans diving for fish. Rare fossils, like three-toed horse teeth, skate jaws, whelk egg cases, and whale and shark bones, have been found along the shore.
Edisto Beach State Park has hiking and biking trails through maritime forests and salt marshes. Golfers will enjoy the 18-hole course with scenic coastal views. The Edisto Marina has slips for rent and a boat launch for exploring the Intracoastal Waterway.
This tight-knit community has a rich cultural heritage and culinary scene. Long-time residents, known as “Edistonians,” value simplicity, nature, and tradition. Local restaurants serve fresh-caught seafood, Lowcountry boils, and homemade pie.
Check out the Edisto Island Museum to learn about the area’s natural and human history. Historic churches like the Episcopal Church of the Cross and Presbyterian Church have stood here for over 200 years.
Annual events include the Edisto Shrimp Fest, Chili Cook-Off, and Christmas Tree Lighting.
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Garden City Beach
Located just south of the popular tourist destination of Myrtle Beach, Garden City Beach has a more laid-back vibe and a lower cost of living. The average rent for an apartment in Garden City Beach is only $1,761 monthly.
You can find small beach cottages and condos to rent for under $1,000 a week in the off-season and around $1,500 a week during the busy summer months from June through August. If you’re looking to buy, the median home value in Garden City Beach is $330,000, almost $100,000 lower than the national average of $410,200.
Healthcare, transportation, and utility costs are more affordable here than in most countries. The total cost of essentials for a single adult, including housing, food, transportation, and health care, is estimated at around $39,135 per year. Sales tax and income tax rates in South Carolina are also lower than average.
There are plenty of free or low-cost activities in Garden City Beach. Go for a swim or sunbathe on the beach, visit the famous Garden City Beach Pier, or check out the Garden City Beach Arcade, which offers games, rides, mini golf and more.
You can go kayaking or paddle boarding in the inlet or bike ride along the coast. The Garden City Beach area also has over 60 golf courses, with affordable rates, especially in the off-season.
Cherry Grove Beach
Located in North Myrtle Beach, Cherry Grove offers scenic natural beauty minus the crowds and high prices of its famous neighbor.
The median home price in Cherry Grove is $315,000, and renters pay a typical $975 a month for housing—less than the national average. The lower cost of living means your dollar goes further, whether you want to buy a vacation home or live there year-round.
Cherry Grove Beach has a rich history of charming beach houses, shag music from bars and restaurants along the main drag, and wide, empty beaches. The pace is slow and relaxed, perfect for a quiet walk along the shore or an afternoon of sunbathing and swimming.
Drop by the Cherry Grove Oceanfront Park or historic Cherry Grove Pier for scenic views of the coastline and fishing spots.
Mount Pleasant is an idyllic beach town just 20 minutes from Charleston, with a surprisingly low cost of living. As a popular vacation destination, you’ll never run out of things to do, but you’ll pay a fraction of the price compared to other resort towns.
The median household income in Mount Pleasant is around $106,000 a year, while the national average is close to $80,000. Mount Pleasant homes for sale range from $46K – $5.99M, with the average price of a 2-bed single-family home only $579K.
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment starts at around $1,000 per month. These lower living costs mean your dollar will stretch further, allowing you to live an easygoing beach lifestyle without breaking the bank.
Walk the Ravenel Bridge at sunset, paddle the waters of Shem Creek, catch live music at The Pour House, or stroll through the streets of the Old Village filled with locally-owned shops.
Mount Pleasant has activities for people of all ages at little to no cost. Some other top attractions are Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, Boone Hall Plantation, Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, and Palmetto Islands County Park.
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