There are several reasons why locals love Folly Beach: the breezy, laid-back atmosphere, miles of sandy beaches, and its reputation as one of the best places to surf on the east coast. With an abundance of short-term rentals and eclectic shops and bars, the island is a popular destination for spring breakers. Below are my tips for spending a fun-filled week on Folly.
Places to explore:
- Folly Beach County Park: Located on the western end of the island by the Folly River, this popular stretch of Folly Beach is a great place to spend the day with family. There’s a lifeguard on duty during tourist season. Dogs are welcome on the beach during certain times of the year. For more information visit the county park’s website.
- Morris Island Lighthouse: This storied lighthouse just celebrated its 140th anniversary. It was constructed in 1876, but when the jetties in the Charleston harbor were constructed a decade later, the ocean currents were forever altered causing rapid erosion of Morris Island. Today the lighthouse is several hundred feet off shore. Street parking is available at the eastern end of the island, and it’s a short walk to the beach for a view of the lighthouse.
- The Pier: Stretching over 1,000 feet into the ocean, Folly Beach’s pier offers breathtaking views of the island. It’s also a great spot to see dolphins. Special events are held throughout the year including evening mixers during the warm summer months.
Getting there: Folly Beach is approximately 20 minutes from downtown Charleston (it could take longer depending on traffic, avoid rush hour). Follow signs to James Island and continue on Folly Road until you drive over the bridge onto the island.
Best place to watch surfers: Folly is known as one of the best places to surf on the east coast. Head to the “washout,” an area with choppy waves near the Morris Island Lighthouse, for the best chance to see surfers. If you’re hoping to try surfing yourself there are several instructors on the island.
Where to eat: Most restaurants on the island have a laid-back atmosphere. Rita’s has a nice outdoor patio and with live music on the weekends. Taco Boy is a local favorite and budget-friendly.