This is what I consider blue water- Grace Bay Beach in Turks & Caicos.

When you think of blue water in the United States where do you think of? Chances are you don’t think of the bluest water in South Carolina. My immediate first thought goes straight to the gulf coast of Florida or perhaps the Florida Keys. Behind that the water in Big Sur California. Other than that, I personally wouldn’t describe any water in the United States as “blue”. Well, I’m sure Hawaii would fit that description, but I’ve never personally experienced it. The prettiest water I’ve ever seen? Hands down Turks & Caicos. The straight-up teal color of the water is like nothing else I’ve experienced in the world. It makes even the gorgeous waters of the Bahamas just seem subpar.

But back to the US. I grew up going to beaches in South Carolina and have paid a few visits to North Carolina beaches as well. And one word I’d never use to describe the water in either state is blue. I have a hard fast rule that I won’t get in any water I can’t see my feet in. And I don’t get in the water in SC. That’s why I was so shocked when our friends at SIXT reached out with a study that named a South Carolina beach as having some of the bluest water in the United States.

They ranked 50 of the most beautiful bodies of water in the U.S. if you’re like me and want your blue water fix then give this list a once over. Here is what SIXT said was their methodology for compiling this list. “We color-picked more than 50 of the best bodies of water in the U.S. and found the nearest color shade to illustrate the various colors of water available in the nation. Colors are accurate as of February 17, 2023.” Use your own discretion, as I said before I wouldn’t use the words bluest water to describe any beach I’ve been to in South Carolina. But to each their own.

The Bluest Water In The United States According To SIXT

  1. Blue Hole (Santa Rosa, NM)
  2. Chena Hot Springs (Fairbanks, AK)
  3. Las Olas Beach (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
  4. Grand Lake (Grand Lake, CO)
  5. La Jolla Cove (San Diego, CA)
  6. Sail Bay (San Diego, CA)
  7. Lake Conway (Edgewood, FL)
  8. Lake George (Lake George, NY)
  9. Coeur d’Alene Lake (Coeur d’Alene, ID)
  10. Glass Beach (Port Townsend, WA)
  11. Ditch Plains Beach (Montauk, NY)
  12. Latigo Beach (Los Angeles, CA)
  13. Betterton Beach (Betterton, MD)
  14. Monterey Bay (Monterey, CA)
  15. Maryland Beach (Ocean City, MD)
  16. Great Salt Lake (Salt Lake City, UT)
  17. Corolla Beach (Corolla, NC)
  18. Poipu Beach (Kauai, HI)
  19. Lake Tahoe (Reno, NV)
  20. Gulf Shores Beach (Gulf Shores, AL)
  21. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve (Honolulu, HI)
  22. Clearwater Beach (Tampa, FL)
  23. Coligny Beach Park (Hilton Head Island, SC)
  24. Crystal Lake State Park (Barton, VT)
  25. Table Rock Lake (Branson, MO)

Some of these are lakes, which does make sense. I have seen some pretty blue lake water, the first that comes to mind is Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada. I’ve also seen photos of Bear Lake in Utah that I’d describe as clear. North/South Carolina lakes-not a chance. I still can’t see how anyone could mention the words bluest water with South Carolina. Respectfully I have not been to Hilton Head Island and I’m sure it’s miles better than Myrtle Beach. But the Atlantic just can’t compare to the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean in my opinion. Am I missing something here? Perhaps it’s time to plan a visit to Hilton Head? Can I really get my blue water fix this close to home?

You can read the full study by SIXT here as well as see the color of the water in each of these locations.

This South Carolina Beach Is One Of The "Greatest Beach Towns In America"

If you grew up in the Carolinas chances are you have a favorite beach town you grew up going to. Or one you take your family to now. We have no shortage of fantastic seaside escapes. Even growing up in North Carolina I have to admit I’m typically a South Carolina beach person. While I tend to go to the general vicinity of the Myrtle Beach area (thanks to friends who have houses and free is for me).  I’ve already read quite a lot of these types of articles and now have several other SC beaches on my must-visit list. Just need to find the time to get to them! Recently I came across yet another publication naming some of the best beach vacation spots. And my interest peaked like always. And of course, somewhere in South Carolina was included when Thrillist created a list of “The 20 Greatest Beach Towns In America”. But with so many fantastic destinations, which made the cut to be recognized?

The list compiled by writers at Thrillist details 20 of the nation’s beach towns in a variety of states. In addition to a general summary of the destination, they also make sure to let you know the must-eat spots and what you can’t leave without. You can read their full article here. Or keep reading to see which South Carolina town was named one of the 20 Greatest Beach Towns In America! And a couple of others that stuck out to me as personal favorites of mine or bucket list destinations!

  • Folly Beach, SC

    There are two main areas of South Carolina beaches you’re either in the Myrtle Beach vicinity or near Charleston. Both are wonderful options and have different vibes. Thrillist chose to recognize Folly Beach which is one of the closest beaches to Charleston, SC. Folly is also no stranger to being recognized as a best beach. While you’re there you can easily venture into Charleston for the day or a meal but there is plenty to do there as well. From surf lessons, charter fishing, a water park, parks, and who could forget the beach? Choose from 6 quaint beach inns, or go with a rental property for your accommodations.  You won’t have any trouble finding a place to eat either. The hardest part? Deciding which delicious restaurant to go to!

    Want to visit Folly Beach? Here’s all the info you need for your trip.

  • Nags Head, NC

    This is far from the first time we’ve seen the Outer Banks town of Nags Head mentioned on this type of list. Nags Head is situated in the northern Outer Banks between Jockey Ridge State Park to the north and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore to the south. Everything you want and need in a quaint beach town? You can find in Nags Head. Stay in a beach house, seaside motel, or a beachfront hotel. When you aren’t on the beach take a moment to shop at boutiques, surf shops, an outlet mall, or pick up some groceries. Cooking on vacation not your thing? It’s not mine! Nags Head features a wide variety of restaurants no matter what you’re looking for. Relax with some fine dining or grab a casual bite. Just don’t let any beach trip end without getting some seafood.

    Get all the info you could want on Nags Head and planning a trip here.

  • Tybee Island, GA

    Another beach town recognized by Thrillist is Tybee Island, GA. I’ve only had the opportunity to visit Tybee once for a quick day trip but I will be back. Tybee is a short drive from one of my favorite cities Savannah, GA. In fact, it’s branded as Savannah’s Beach. This quant barrier island is home to Georgia’s oldest lighthouse. Between Savannah and Tybee you’ll find Fort Pulaski National Monument which is located on Cockspur Island. Other fun activities include a bike tour, birding, kayaking, and the beach. 

    Get info about Tybee Island here.

  • Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

    Yes, this and the next beach town I’m shouting out are not a reasonable drive from the Carolinas. But I felt them worthy of being named as some of my favorites. Carmel-by-the-Sea in California is an easy drive from San Francisco and is home to some incredible scenery, historic sites, art galleries, restaurants, and boutique shops.

    Find more info here.

  • Narragansett, Rhode Island

    I’m going to preface this with I haven’t actually been to Narragansett but after a visit to Newport, I have a massive appreciation for Rhode Island beaches. While it’s understandable that America’s smallest state may not be on your short list of places to visit- it should be. Rhode Island beaches have everything you think of when you of New England beach towns. So whether it’s Narragansett, Newport, Watch Hill, or any other town- do yourself a favor and visit!

    Get info here.