Folly Beach is where Charleston goes to kick back – along with other Carolinians seeking a beach experience less hectic than Myrtle and more down-home than Hilton Head.
Folly Island, roughly 10 miles south of downtown Charleston on S.C. 171, is a small barrier island glued to bug-filled creeks and dangling in the Atlantic.
The allure is beach. From one end to the other, the sand is fine and dries to a pale tan. The variety is in the beachscape.
Near Center Street, which passes for downtown, the vibe is more Grand Strand in the midsection: Crowds of sun-seekers relax on the sands on either side of the popular Edwin S. Taylor Fishing Pier. Its wood planking is 23 feet above the beach, and it’s the second-longest pier on the East Coast.
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The two-story shelter at its tip offers great views up and down the coast; at the pier’s land-end is popular Locklear’s Beach City Grill. Folly is billed as “The Edge of America,” and that feels true at the island’s ends. It’s a half-hour walk from the pier to Folly Beach County Park at the southwest end. In season, lifeguards are on duty.
Dine near Center Street. Start your day with great coffee and croissants at the fun and funky Lost Dog Cafe. Lunch? Taco Boy, which has 11 kinds of tacos (pork to portobello).