The best part of vacationing to Charleston SC is that not only can you be captivated by the history and charm of historic downtown, but you can completely relax on the sandy beaches of Charleston’s barrier islands and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. One of our favorite beach getaways around Charleston is Folly Beach SC. The eclectic surf town has recently become a top tourist destination for so many reasons. From Civil War-era history, to world-class surfers, and top-notch eateries, a Folly Beach vacation is everything in one.

Folly Beach sits just a short 15-minute drive from downtown Charleston and is a town steeped in its own history beyond the Holy City. Its lack of consistent policing made it a favorite among pirates in the early 1700s. Fast-forward to the Civil War, where Folly Beach was used as a stronghold for Union soldiers due to its close proximity to Fort Sumter. The city has even uncovered cannonballs from this era on Folly Beach! We recommend watching the sunset behind the old lighthouse to envisage a period past of sailors and shipwrecks.

The latter half of the 20th century brought a new crowd to Folly Beach – surfers – which to some extent, made Folly Beach what it is today. The beach town saw its first surfboard in the 1960s,  and the subsequent laid back surfer vibe has played a vital role in how the city has grown to become the surfer town that it is today. A locally known spot is “the Washout,” an area of the island that was washed out during Hurricane Hugo which, despite offering one of the best breaks for surfers, is also a beautiful, tranquil spot to walk to. Local surfers claim that the best surfing on the South Carolina coast is at the Washout and surfing remains a popular activity at Folly Beach for residents and visitors alike. Surfing lessons are available from many reputable surf schools on the island, and ocean awareness and surfing techniques are taught. 

Folly Beach is ideal for water sports. Swimming is allowed on all the beaches on the island, with public beach access at the end of every block. Folly Beach County Park, at the west end of the island, offers a wide expanse of sandy beach, dressing areas, outdoor showers, restrooms, and a picnic area. Beach rentals of boogie boards, beach chairs and umbrellas are available during the summer, and lifeguards are on duty throughout the summer season as well.

If you like to be in the center of the action, try the Center Street Beach. Like its namesake, it is the beach that is considered the “the center of everything” and covers an expanse on either side of the Folly Beach Fishing Pier. Boogie board and jet ski rentals are available here.

The Folly Beach Fishing Pier is for more than just fishing. A full-service restaurant on the pier offers inside or outside dining with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. For evening entertainment, the pier has music on select weekends from April through September. A shelter at the end of the pier offers a prime location for finding a bit of shade, while watching fishermen reel in “the big one” or surfers catching a wave.

Today, Folly Beach is a top vacation destination, with its surf vibe, eclectic community and laid-back dining and drink spots to compliment a beach getaway. Head to Taco Boy for the best Mexican-inspired, beach food experience where Olé meets “hey Y’all,” or grab some snacks and free coffee from Bert’s, the funky, local supermarket. Here you’ll find a variety of products from sushi and $1 hot dogs, to fresh produce, incense sticks and handmade soap. After the beach refuel with a mouth-watering burger from Rita’s Seaside Grill, or a cold beer at Lowlife Bar. Neither will disappoint.

A Folly vacation can be whatever you make it – a quiet escape, a sandy fun-filled family weekend, or an oasis close to downtown Charleston with plenty to do for everyone. With our portfolio of luxury vacation rentals that include beachfront, private pools and chic coastal homes near the center of everything Folly, you’re sure to find the ideal spot for both families and groups of friends seeking a relaxing break away.