A dozen islands within an hour's drive of Charleston make up the Charleston County Sea Islands. Around 10 miles by road southeast of Charleston on the Mt Pleasant side, Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms beckon day-trippers for sand-lounging and reveling on blue-sky days. Around 4 miles in the other direction brings you to James Island, one of the most urban of Charleston's barrier sea islands. A further 9 miles south of Charleston, Folly Beach is good for a day of sun and sand. The other end of the island is popular with surfers.
Upscale rental homes, golf courses and the swanky Sanctuary resort mark Kiawah Island, 26 miles southwest of Charleston, where you'll find those lucky enough to stay here cruising on their bikes along one of the most gorgeous beaches in the South. Nearby Edisto Island (ed-is-tow) is a homespun family vacation spot without a single traffic light.