Aug 5, 2016 - Things to Do

Think before you clink: Alcohol rules at 13 beaches near Charlotte

I recently got back from a trip to Litchfield in Pawley’s Island (just south of Myrtle Beach) where my group and I did what most people love to do on the beach and packed a cooler to the brim with cold bottles of beer. We settled in, cheers-ed to the weekend and got to work on both our beers and our books.

That lasted about 10 minutes, when I was promptly warned by another that a security guard was patrolling the beach, assisting the sheriff and looking for people drinking out of glass bottles and handing out fines.

The fines were hefty — if caught, we were going to be charged $250 per glass bottle, and if we were drinking wine, vodka or champagne, we’d be paying $1,092 for that privilege.

We got away with it because we promptly took the cooler back home, but authorities aren’t messing around this summer. Here are the rules on 13 beaches close to home.

Remember, underage drinking is always against the rules.

Carolina Beach – 3 hours, 46 minutes – If you’re headed to the Beach Strand, don’t take any alcohol at all. If you’re driving and parking on the beach at Freeman Park, you can take beer (cans only), but no liquor. Fines vary.

Edisto – 3 hours, 39 minutes – Cans are fine, but each glass container will run you $1,092.

Folly Beach – 3 hours, 22 minutes – There’s a zero-tolerance rule when it comes to any alcohol, and you’re looking at a $1,092 fine, regardless of if it comes in a glass or a can.

Hilton Head Island – 3 hours, 44 minutes – Alcohol is prohibited and will rack up fines up to $500.

Isle of Palms – 3 hours, 12 minutes – No open containers allowed. Fines range from $133 to $1,092 per drink, depending on the officer’s discretion.

Kure Beach – 3 hours, 52 minutes – No alcohol is allowed on the beach at all. Want to test it? If caught with an open container, it’s a $50 fine for your first offense and a misdemeanor charge if you’re caught again. As usual, the stakes go up if you’re drinking out of glass bottles – $150 for your first run-in and a misdemeanor charge any time after that.

Myrtle Beach – 3 hours, 31 minutes – No open containers of any kind. On top of a $153 fine, you can be arrested for violating the rule.

Outer Banks – 5 hours, 55 minutes – Beer is allowed, but no wine, liquor or glass containers. This includes all of the Northern Beaches, Roanoke, Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. Fines vary from town to town.

Pawley’s Island – 3 hours, 46 minutes – Cans are allowed, but glass bottles and spirits will cost you ($250 per bottle and $1,092, respectively).

Sullivan’s Island – 3 hours, 11 minutes – No alcohol of any kind is allowed on the beach and will earn you a hefty $1,100 fine.

Sunset Beach – 3 hours, 27 minutes – Cans are allowed, but glass is not and will get you a $50 fine.

Tybee Island – 4 hours, 5 minutes – This one is tricky: City Hall stated that there was to be no alcohol, in glass or cans, allowed on the beaches, punishable by varying fines up to $1,000, but Tybee’s official website says that cans are fine, but kegs and glass are off limits.

Wrightsville Beach – 3 hours, 40 minutes – There’s a strict no alcohol rule. If you’re caught with it, you’re looking at a $100 citation for cans and $200 for glass bottles. 


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Charlotte.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Charlotte stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Charlotte.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more