What makes a beach an awesome place to visit? Nice sand, maybe a snack bar, some good chairs and umbrellas.
What makes a beach a great place to live? We’re pretty sure it’s the same things, plus maybe lifeguards and sunscreen. And we suppose jobs, so we don’t spend all our time being a beach bum.
Wallethub sees it a little more in-depth, and has come out with a list of the best beaches (ocean and lake) to live by. Considering Charleston proper is more harbor wall than sloping shore, we were a little surprised to find that we rated the No. 13 spot for oceans, mostly behind fabulous — and more well-known — beaches in Hawaii, California and Florida.
We suppose they found Folly and Sullivan’s and maybe even that big sandbar in the Intracoastal Waterway by Johns Island.
Wallethub ranked beaches by quite a few criteria, which is where the other small mystery arises. We were in the 80s out of 161 in three of the six categories: affordability, weather and safety, and we hit 110 in the category of education and health. We figured that would put us solidly in the middle of the pack.
We did significantly better with our No. 14 economy ranking, which measures unemployment, growth and bankruptcy rates, among other factors.
But what really sent us over the top (well, into the 10th percentile) was the ubiquitous “quality of life” rating. We were No. 15 in that category, which is worth more than double the other categories — fitting for a beach town ranking, we think.
Myrtle Beach may have us beat in restaurants and nightlife establishments per capita — they are tied for No. 1 in those two criteria — but they fall behind in safety (No. 151) and in education and health (No. 144), putting them at No. 57 overall.
North Myrtle Beach comes in at No. 38, tiny Port Royal makes the list at No. 70 and Beaufort sits at No. 102. Though to be totally fair, the difference is fewer than 10 points between all the S.C. municipalities on the list.
So what does it all mean? The beach is awesome. We’re not sure when we were last actually at the beach, but overall, we’re happy to live here.