Whether you're taking the kids out for sandcastles and swimming lessons, or your friends need a day suntanning with gossip and a good book, Charleston beaches have something for everyone. We're known for gentle waves, fun beachside events and friendly neighborhoods, but how do you choose which one to visit?

Check out our short guide to plan a day-trip on the coast: Kiawah Island(opens in a new tab): Known as one of the most popular southeast wedding destinations, Kiawah Island is all about Southern comfort and luxury. Not only can you enjoy ten miles of untouched beaches, the family can explore forests, sand dunes and enjoy wildlife. The Island is mainly known for its impressive golf course and resort, so if you get sick of the surf, you can trade it for turf. Coastal Living Magazine recently voted Kiawah the “Happiest Seaside Town.” Isle of Palms(opens in a new tab): Six of the seven miles that make up Isle of Palms are accessible beaches, which are used by a number of year-round residents as well as thousands of visitors and guests. Many of the beach houses on the island are available for rent. It's quiet and perfect for families who want a subdued getaway. Rent or bring some bikes and explore the island through its many bike paths!Folly Beach(opens in a new tab): Folly Beach is where the action is! Catch some waves at the most popular surfing spot in the area. But note: From May 15th to Sept. 15th surfing is prohibited from 10 am to 6 pm from 2nd Street East to 3rd Street West, known as the swimming zone. From September 16th to May 14th, surfing is allowed in any area except surfing is always prohibited 200′ from the fishing pier. Build sandcastles and enjoy the sun on these wide beaches. If you want to escape the coastline for lunch, break with a picnic and check out the pier or gaze at the Morris Island Lighthouse in the late afternoon.Seabrook Island(opens in a new tab): Exclusive and serene, Seabrook is a privately-owned island for members and their guests to enjoy. That's right, you have to join the Seabrook Island Club to gain access to its amenities, but it's worth it. Miles of pristine beaches, gorgeous dunes, old live oaks and more await. You can enjoy ultimate comfort, plus switch between playing in the waves and playing in the pool. Sullivan's Island(opens in a new tab): Sullivan's Island is a truly day-trip spot, with hardly any vacation rentals and no hotels available. A serene and casual neighborhood, it offers the best in family-oriented activities. Bring your buckets, bikes and blankets for an all-day sun fest! Be sure to pack a cooler, too. This island is so quiet, it only offers a handful of restaurants. You'll feel like you live there!

Remember to check beach guidelines and rules before you travel!