Huntington Beach, South Carolina
Unlike its Myrtle Beach neighbor 17 miles to the north, Huntington Beach has no high-rises, no throngs of tourists, and no tacky souvenir shops. This is where the locals go to get away in summer. The sweeping Grand Strand beach, part of Huntington Beach State Park, is a serene spot known for excellent surf fishing and bird-watching. The salt marshes and freshwater lagoons here rank among the East Coast's top birding locations.
What to Do: Watch for alligators in the lagoon and loggerhead sea turtles in the surf. Naturalists lead kayakers through the grass marshes and saltwater creeks. Nearby, you can tour Atalaya Castle, a historical Moorish-style home, and visit the adjacent Brookgreen Gardens. Camping is popular, with sites near the beach.
Getting Here: From Murrells Inlet, take Highway 17 south for about three miles. The park entrance is on the left.