Charleston is one of America’s true gem cities. Known as the “Edge of America” for its easternmost protrusion into the Atlantic, Charleston is full of rich history, gorgeous architecture, and award-winning southern and world cuisine.
Most people think of it as quintessential Old South, with its long history of plantation owners, business high-rollers, and lavish homes. But just over the bridge, a mere 10 miles to downtown Charleston, is a laid-back Palmetto paradise, where flip-flops, mopeds, Hawaiian shirts, and partying-hardy reign supreme. The gem of an island town known as Folly Beach.
Here you’ll find exciting nightlife, great food, swimmable beaches, and all that southern charm you’ve heard so much about. You can sip and snack oceanside at one of many beach restaurants, or simply hop on your beach cruiser (the sand is packed and bike friendly), head up the boardwalk, and knock around town. And you’ll be glad you did. While Charleston is a truly must-see east coast city, the vibe can be a bit stuffy for us beach lovers. So lay down your dinner fork, and head on over to Folly if you’re looking to cut loose, soak up some sun, or generally take the hoity-toitiness down a notch.
Folly Beach is an island, connected to mainland South Carolina by a bridge. It’s densely populated with cute beach homes, restaurants, bars, and plenty of beach shops. If you fly into Charleston and make a last minute decision to check out Folly Beach, don’t fret on beach gear. You’ll be able to rent chairs, umbrellas, whatever you need. You can even take surfing lessons.
With so many warm months on Folly, there are water sports aplenty. You can rent jet skis, kayaks, beach cruisers, and you’ll find your fair share of windsurfing, kitesurfing, parasailing, and paddle boarding too. The island has numerous beach fronts, some of them exceptionally wide, which makes for great beach games, whether paddleball, volleyball, badminton, beer ball, or beer drinking. Hey, we like sports of all kinds here at Beach Baby.
Boating is a coveted Charleston pastime. And whether you’re out in a yacht, or a kayak, you’re on the water, and that’s an accomplishment. You can charter sailboats, motorboats, and fishing boats with ease, depending on how you enjoy your time off-land.
There’s tons of live music to be had on Folly, from Chico Feo’s, The Sand Dollar and Loggerhead’s, to seasonal street festivals. But the quirky folks of Folly don’t stop there.
Check out this Bill Murray-themed Polar Bear Plunge:
Back to the City: Charleston
Take a little video-stroll:
If you’ve paid Folly Beach a visit, there’s a high likelihood you were visiting Charleston in the first place. Folly is a bit of an unlikely destination on its own as far as the beach is concerned. But not for any reason other than being eclipsed by the posh old town it neighbors. Either way, you might be ready for some snazz in your step after loafing about the paradisian eateries and dive bar masses of Folly, and Charleston is just the antidote for that.
Whether you’re browsing crafts at the historic market in the old city, touristing it up on a ghost tour, or simply dining on a crispy alligator salad at Poogan’s Porch, Charleston will leave its colorful mark on your southern-fried soul.
For the beer-loving crowd, consider an afternoon jaunt up to the Holy City Brewery in North Charleston. This local brewery cranks out some fine beer in a nice open space for beer drinking and socializing. And it’s not too touristy, as it’s a bit outside the downtown. We like the deep cuts and local hangs. And growlers are the perfect way to sip fresh, local beer on the beach.
With any luck, you’ll catch some of their live music:
But the Pourhouse is always a smashing success for that ‘back in town’ boogie. With regional and national touring acts, this east coast music hub is a perfect stop for quality rockin’ n rolling, jamming, and getting down to some southern bluegrass.
Some of that Carolina bluegrass:
Whether you’re scouring the Spanish moss-covered remains of a historic Civil War battleground, touring an old plantation, carriaging about by horse and buggy, or drinking light beer on Folly Beach with the laidback crowd, Charleston and its surrounding neighborhoods have a whole lot to offer, packed into an accessible, endlessly scenic area. From southern BBQ joints to fine dining, whether local seafood or just a snack of boiled peanuts, you’ll be culturally and culinarily enriched by a jaunt to this extra special southern haven.