The Ultimate Guide to Waterfront Homes in South Carolina

Beach and oceanfront Homes in South CarolinaThe Ultimate Guide to Waterfront Homes in South Carolina

Deciding you want to live along one of South Carolina’s many gorgeous waterfronts isn’t a tough decision. From rivers to lakes to the Atlantic coast, South Carolina offers a waterfront home to fit all types of water enthusiasts. 

Whether you’re looking for fishing, boating, jet skiing surfing or a combination of these exciting aquatic activities, South Carolina waterfronts offer some of the best quality of living in the entire country. With so many types of waterfronts and waterfront homes to choose from, how do you decide which waterfront home in South Carolina is the best for you? 

To help you decide which type of property is right for you and your lifestyle, we’ve put together this ultimate guide to waterfront homes in South Carolina. In this guide, you’ll discover everything you need to know when buying a waterfront home in South Carolina.

What to Consider When Buying a Waterfront Home in South Carolina

Before we dive into the different waterfront homes for sale in South Carolina, it’s important to go over a few things to consider when buying a South Carolina waterfront home. There are many different types of waterfront homes in South Carolina. Likewise, South Carolina is comprised of three distinct regions, with each offering its own topography, unique features and types of waterfront living. 

The three regions of South Carolina and the types of waterfront properties each offer are: 

  • The Upstate

The Upstate consists of the areas located in the top northwest corner of the state. The Upstate is comprised of the cities of Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson to name a few, and features parts of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and its foothills. You’ll love matching the breathtaking mountain views with the riverfront and lakefront homes for sale in the Upstate. 

  • The Piedmont (Central)

The piedmont consists of the central regions located from the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains to the coast. The piedmont is comprised of several counties such as Chester, Lancaster and Richland, which is home to the capital city of Columbia, South Carolina. The Piedmont plays host to a wide variety of waterfront, riverfront and lakefront homes. 

  • The Lowcountry (Coastal Zone)

The Lowcountry, or coast, is easily the most popular and desirable region to own a waterfront home in South Carolina. The Lowcountry features a combination of rivers, lakes and, of course, the Atlantic Ocean. A few of the most popular destinations across the South Carolina Lowcountry and coastal zones are Myrtle Beach, Charleston, Pawley’s Island, Hilton Head and Kiawah Island. 

Once you have an idea of which South Carolina region offers you the best quality of waterfront living, it’s time to make a few more specific considerations before settling on the property that’s right for you. When choosing a waterfront home in South Carolina, it’s also wise to make a few additional considerations such as: 

  • Common Flooding Issues 

One of the most important considerations you’ll want to make involves flooding issues in the area you’re considering buying a waterfront home. Many times, riverfront and lakefront homes are especially susceptible to flooding issues from heavy rainstorms and the fast-rising water levels that accompany those storms. 

Likewise, oceanfront homes in South Carolina can experience flood threats from seasonal hurricanes and tropical weather. Although this is where hiring a top-level realtor comes into play, be sure to cover your bases and ask about common flooding issues ahead of settling on a riverfront, oceanfront or lakefront home. Of course, common flooding issues also impact other areas of buying a waterfront home in South Carolina including homeowner’s insurance rates and the types of policies or coverages available.     

  • Type of home construction 

The type of home construction is another important consideration when looking at various South Carolina waterfront homes for sale. Understanding whether the home is constructed of brick or brick composites, metal or wood is important and will help you decide whether or not a certain waterfront home is right for you. Beyond this, you’ll want to consider other waterfront construction aspects such as drainage options, built-in views and water access.    

  • Bulkheads 

As you ponder the building features you’re looking for in a South Carolina waterfront home, you’ll also want to consider bulkheads, which are manmade barriers built between your land and the water. Bulkheads are designed to help prevent erosion and most waterfront properties in South Carolina need one to be up to code. If the South Carolina waterfront home you’re looking at doesn’t have a bulkhead already in place, you’ll want to ask about this and check local regulations before making an offer or moving forward with a purchase.  

  • Docks

If you’re interested in boating and looking for a South Carolina waterfront home where you can store your boat or enjoy other activities, then a dock is an important aspect to consider when buying a home. Docks are not a given when buying a waterfront home in South Carolina so you’ll want to ask about this and go over any questions you may have with your realtor before making any offers. 

If the home you’re considering already has a dock installed, then you’ll want to ask about things such as its condition, size and age. If there isn’t already a dock in place, then it’s important to inquire about any permits you’ll need and the general process for building a dock in the city or county where the home is located. After all, what fun is owning a South Carolina waterfront home without a dock for swimming, lounging and boating? 

Although these are all important considerations to make, it’s equally important to determine the specific features you’re personally looking for in a South Carolina waterfront home. The decision is ultimately yours to make and you can always improve the property to fit your lifestyle or meet the unique needs of your waterfront home. 

Types of Waterfront Homes in South Carolina

With three distinct regions across the state and no shortage of bodies of water to choose from, there are plenty of options for anyone looking at buying a South Carolina waterfront home. 

The three main types of waterfront homes to choose from in South Carolina are:    

  • Lakefront Homes 
  • Riverfront Homes 
  • Oceanfront Homes

Of course, there are variations of each of these waterfront home types such as creeks for rivers and inlets or bays along the coast. This will all come down to your personal preference and flexibility in the type of waterfront home you’re looking for.  

Lakefront and Lake Homes in South Carolina

Lakefront homes in South Carolina are some of the most sought-after types of waterfront properties in the southeast. You can find lakefront homes in all three regions of the state – the Upstate, the Piedmont and the Lowcountry.   

Although you’ll find lakefront homes in all regions of South Carolina, they’re widely available across the Upstate and Piedmont, or the central part of the state. 

Lakefront Homes in Upstate South Carolina

Popular areas in the Upstate for lake homes and lakefront properties include: 

These are all popular destinations across the Upstate for lakefront homes. While there are plenty of lakes located across the Upstate, a couple of the most popular lakes for waterfront homes in Upstate South Carolina include: 

  • Lake Hartwell 

Lake Hartwell is located in Anderson County, South Carolina, and is owned and maintained by the US Army Corps of Engineers. With more than 50,000 acres, Lake Hartwell spans from South Carolina to Georgia and serves as a border between the two states. The lake is a popular weekend destination for many water-based activities such as boating, wakeboarding and fishing. 

There are always plenty of homes for sale on Lake Hartwell or you can find lots for developing and building your own home. Currently, there are more than 300 homes and lots listed for sale on Lake Hartwell with a median price of $55K.        

  • Lake Greenwood 

Lake Greenwood is located near Ninety Six, South Carolina, and is one of the most popular lakes for buying a waterfront home in Upstate South Carolina. With over 11,000 acres, 200+ miles of shoreline, and 20 miles of serene lake waters to enjoy, you are sure to find a home on Lake Greenwood that suits your waterfront lifestyle. Lake Greenwood is situated along the western part of the state and offers some of the best lakefront living in the area. 

To the south is Lake Greenwood State Park where you can enjoy the natural wonders of South Carolina. Lake Greenwood is a great place for boating enthusiasts as there are several marina and boat launches that allow easy access to the water. Currently, there are 18 homes listed for sale on Lake Greenwood with prices ranging from $200K to $1.8M.          

Lakefront Homes in The Piedmont

As you make your way across the Palmetto State, you’ll also find a variety of lakes and lakefront homes for sale in the Piedmont. The Piedmont offers a short drive to both the mountains of the Upstate and the beaches of the coast, making it an ideal location for anyone looking to escape for the weekend and enjoy some natural scenery. While the Upstate and the coast each offer beautiful natural environments, the Piedmont is an excellent area of South Carolina to raise a family and run a business or pursue your career. 

With the capital city of Columbia situated in the middle of the state and the Piedmont region, this part of South Carolina has several lakes and lakefront homes for sale. A few of the most popular lakes for lake homes in South Carolina include:  

  • Lake Murray 

Named for the lead engineer on the Saluda Dam project, Lake Murray is a reservoir lake owned by SC Electric and Gas with over 650 miles of shoreline. The lake covers four counties – Lexington, Richland, Saluda and Newberry – and offers a range of water activities such as boating, swimming and fishing. 

There are currently 74 waterfront homes for sale on Lake Murray near Columbia, South Carolina. With prices ranging from $200K to upwards of $2M, Lake Murray is not the cheapest waterfront option in South Carolina. 

  • Lake Monticello 

Situated only about 40 miles from Columbia, Lake Monticello offers 7,000 acres of lake to enjoy and it is also owned by South Carolina Electric and Gas. Although Lake Monticello does not permit motorized watercrafts such as boats and jet skis, it is a top destination for anyone who loves fishing and nature walks. 

Currently, there are 8 homes and lots for sale on Lake Monticello. As one of the more affordable waterfront housing options in South Carolina, Lake Monticello homes range from under $100K to over $200K plus. Lake Monticello offers lots of untapped natural environments and water-based activities to go with a slow laid-back pace and serene waterfront lifestyle.     

  • Lake Wateree 

With over 13,000 acres of lake to enjoy your favorite activities, Lake Wateree offers something for all different types of water enthusiasts. Lake Wateree is situated only 30 miles from the capital of Columbia and spans three counties – Lancaster, Fairfield and Kershaw.  

Currently, there are 29 waterfront and lakefront homes for sale on Lake Wateree with a median list price of $299K.  

Riverfront Homes in South Carolina

South Carolina is home to many beautiful and naturally winding rivers, streams and creeks. Riverfront homes in South Carolina can be found in every state region including the Lowcountry or coast where many tributaries run out to the Atlantic Ocean. With so many different rivers, streams and tributaries to choose from, finding riverfront homes in South Carolina do not need to be difficult. 

Riverfront Homes in South Carolina Upstate and Piedmont

As we’ve discussed, the South Carolina Upstate is home to parts of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers a range of waterfront homes including riverfront homes. Two of the most popular rivers for riverfront homes in the South Carolina Upstate and Piedmont are: 

  • The Saluda River 

The Saluda River is a tributary of the Congaree River. The Saluda River runs through the Upstate of South Carolina down to Lake Murray, the Santee River and eventually reaches the Atlantic Ocean. With homes located across the Saluda River and its tributaries, there are plenty of places to find riverfront homes in South Carolina. The Saluda River is also an excellent place for water-based activities and outdoor enthusiasts. There are plenty of spots to enjoy paddle boarding, fishing, kayaking and other outdoor watersports along the Saluda River.   

  • The Broad River 

The Broad River is another tributary of the Congaree River and runs through parts of the Upstate and down to the Piedmont. The Broad River offers luxurious riverfront homes in South Carolina across several counties such as Richland and Jasper. The Broad River originates in the Blue Ridge Mountains and flows southeasterly through the Upstate and Piedmont of South Carolina. The Broad River offers a great place to enjoy tubing, rafting, fishing and kayaking among many other water-based activities and sports. 

  • The Congaree River 

The Congaree River is a short 53-mile-long river that runs from Columbia to the coast of South Carolina. The Congaree River runs through Congaree National Park and is a popular river destination for tubing, kayaking, fishing and more. One of the highlights of the Congaree River is the Blue Trail, an exciting adventurous way to explore a large portion of the river.   

You can find riverfront homes for sale in South Carolina across all three of these rivers and many of their tributaries, creeks and branches. South Carolina riverfront homes are some of the most exciting pieces of property available in the Southeast. There are currently 43 riverfront homes available in South Carolina.  

Other places to find riverfront homes in South Carolina include the Savannah River and Seneca River. Many of the rivers in South Carolina also run into and out of the most popular lakes in the state. As there are many options to choose from, consider using EZ Home Search’s complimentary tools for finding all types of waterfront properties including those with riverfront access in South Carolina. 

Oceanfront Homes in South Carolina

The coastal region of South Carolina offers some of the most breathtaking and serene properties along the eastern seaboard. Aside from oceanfront living, there are a variety of inlet homes, coastal homes and other waterfront homes available along the coast of South Carolina. Some of the most popular beaches for oceanfront homes in South Carolina are: 

  • Myrtle Beach 

Myrtle Beach is perhaps the most popular of the South Carolina beaches for oceanfront property and building homes. Sitting in the middle of the Grand Strand, Myrtle Beach is the top destination for family fun, championship golf, dining, shopping and generally enjoying the beach lifestyle.

The good news is there are currently more than 3,000 homes for sale in Myrtle Beach with many of them being beachfront and oceanfront properties. The median home price in Myrtle Beach is approximately $300k and the median sold home price is around $272k.    

  • Kiawah Island

Located just 21 miles south of Charleston is Kiawah Island. Kiawah Island is home to the renowned Kiawah Island Golf Resort and offers the top of luxury oceanfront living in South Carolina. From boating to fishing and championship golf courses, Kiawah Island offers a little bit of everything for outdoor and water enthusiasts. 

Kiawah Island is exploding in popularity amongst home buyers as the housing market has skyrocketed an incredible 102% over the last year. With a median home price of $2.4M, Kiawah Island oceanfront homes are some of the most valued in the state and across the entire Southeast.   

  • Surfside Beach 

Part of the Grand Strand, Surfside Beach is a laid-back beach town with plenty of oceanfront to enjoy. The two-mile-long oceanfront of Surfside Beach is complemented by the surrounding neighborhoods and quaint beach lifestyle. One of the neatest features of Surfside Beach is that your home or condo can be rented out for extra income during the busy tourist months. 

With over 200 listings, there is no shortage of homes for sale in Surfside Beach. The median listing home price for Surfside Beach is approximately $385K, which is up 35% year-over-year.    

  • Litchfield Beach

Located just a short drive south of Myrtle Beach sits Pawley’s Island and that’s where you’ll find the neighborhood of Litchfield Beach. Litchfield Beach has plenty to offer anyone looking for oceanfront homes and a quiet, serene beach lifestyle. Litchfield Beach offers two resorts including the heralded Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort. Other nearby attractions include Huntington Beach State Park along with a variety of dining and shopping options for residents. 

Currently, there are 71 homes for sale in Litchfield Beach with a median home price of $485K, according to Although the median price indicates a high-priced housing market, homes for sale here range from $32K to $2.8M.      

Summary of Waterfront Homes in South Carolina 

As you can see, you’ll have a plethora of options available when searching for waterfront homes for sale in South Carolina. There are plenty of lakefront homes, riverfront homes and oceanfront homes for sale in South Carolina. With sprawling mountains, bustling metropolises and gorgeous shorelines, South Carolina definitely has what you’re looking for in any type of waterfront home.   

Find a Reliable Real Estate Agent With The Help of EZ Home Search 

The key to discovering the waterfront home of your dreams is partnering with an experienced real estate agent who understands what you’re looking for in a home. With the help of EZ Home Search, you’ll have access to up-to-the-minute waterfront home listings as they hit the market and become available to purchase. Be sure to register for a free account and stay current on all the waterfront listings in your favorite areas of South Carolina. 

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