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Sands Beach — Port Royal, South Carolina


SC Picture Project  |  Beaufort County  |  Sands Beach


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Sands Beach

Sands Beach borders the southern portion of Port Royal, where Battery Creek flows into the Beaufort River. The beach was created from dredge spoil when the State Ports Authority built a terminal here around 1958. Although SPA recently closed this terminal, the beach it created remains a beloved part of the community.

The Sands

Tony Bigley of Beaufort, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Since its creation, “The Sands,” as it’s called, has offered an opportunity for visitors to access a beach without having to travel too far from home. The beach found here is unique in that one can drive almost directly up to it, which makes it a great option for the physically impaired. Shark teeth and shells are abundant here and are popular among those searching for a surprise.

The Sands

Tony Bigley of Beaufort, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The boardwalk at Sands Beach is known as the Henry Robinson Boardwalk, named for Port Royal’s former mayor, who retired in 2011. Stretching a half-mile mile along Battery Creek, the boardwalk offers fantastic fishing, photography, and wildlife viewing opportunities. At one end, an observation tower offers exquisite 360º views of the surrounding landscape.

Sands Beach Observation Tower

Tony Bigley of Beaufort, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

In September of 2017, the boardwalk was badly damaged by the force of Hurricane Irma. When repairs were made, wooden slats were used in place of concrete to allow the structure to be more permeable. The cost of the project totaled nearly $130,000, and the popular landmark closed for two months while repairs were made. The boardwalk is now in excellent repair and one of the most popular destinations in Port Royal. Sands Beach is open every day of the week during daylight hours.

The Sands - Hurricane Irma

Allen Ford of Beaufort, 2017 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Reflections on Sands Beach


Barry Gooch, a Port Royal native who provided the two shots below, recalls childhood memories of Sands Beach:

Sands Beach in Port Royal

Barry Gooch of Port Royal, 2007 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

“When I was a child, the beach created a fantastic playground for exploration and provided me with an ample supply of sharks teeth and other fossils. The dredged sand created a perfect swimming area for the local kids and we spent many nights camping on our ‘private’ beach.

“Around 1960 the US Navy landed a large LST (ship) near the spoil area to offload supplies for Parris Island. Up to this time, the point was inaccessible to vehicles and access was limited primarily to us kids who didn’t mind wading through shallow water and a narrow area of pluff mud to reach our ‘private’ playground.

Sands Beach

Barry Gooch of Port Royal © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

“But life changed and when the Navy finished their exercise left a road and narrow causeway over the low-lying area, which opened the beach up to automobiles.

“My dad and other fishermen were quick to take advantage of the road and ramp left behind, and in a short time it was transformed into a boat ramp. As its popularity increased, the ramp became a favorite with teenagers and young marines as the smooth waters of the adjacent Battery creek provided an ideal site for waterskiing. And what goes hand-in-hand with water skiing? Sunbathing of course, and the sands became a popular site (and an alternative to the 20-mile drive to Hunting Island beach) for sun-worshipers.

“Despite the erosion and settling of the dredged sand, the beach remains popular with sunbathers to this day. Eventually the county paved the old sand and rock boat ramp, and today it is one of the premier boat ramps in Beaufort County.

“I’m unsure when the boardwalk was constructed, but it provides an excellent site for a leisurely scenic stroll to enjoy the water, and fishing and crabbing are popular activities.

More Pictures of Sands Beach


The Sands in Fog, Port Royal

Nicholette Johnson Carroll of Beaufort, 2019 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Sands Beach Observation Tower

Tony Bigley of Beaufort, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Sands Beach Observation Tower

Tony Bigley of Beaufort, 2018 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Sands Beach Info


Address: Sands Beach Road, Port Royal, SC 29935
GPS Coordinates: 32.371026,-80.686928

Sands Beach Map

Please Share Your Thoughts!


Did you enjoy this page? Do you have any information we should add? Send us your comments below — we can't wait to hear from you!

6 Comments about Sands Beach

SCIWAY says:
July 15th, 2018 at 8:00 pm

Hey Tony, we will forward your contact information along!

Tony King says:
July 14th, 2018 at 9:14 pm

I would like to contact Barry Gooch, by email. I knew him back in the 50s when my dad was stationed at Parris Island. I am the guy who tripped on and exposed that sword that he got.

Julie Roberts says:
April 20th, 2017 at 9:31 pm

Wondering the distance by water from Sands to the Parris Island bridge, please?

SCIWAY says:
June 25th, 2015 at 2:45 pm

Hi, Carol! Here is the website for the City of Port Royal. Hopefully, someone there can help you with your question. Good luck! http://www.portroyal.org

Carol C says:
June 25th, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Are weddings held at the Sands?

Nancy Watts says:
August 29th, 2014 at 9:08 am

Does anyone have a phone number for the the Shark’s Tooth Hunt coming up in October?




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