Folly Beach is more than just a beach, it's a whole island community that is like an entirely different world from the rest of the Charleston area. Folly Beach calls itself "the Edge of America," and the drive to the Island down Folly Road feels sufficiently long enough to make that seem true. Once you drive over James Island and across the marshes and Intracoastal waterways into the city of Folly Beach, you'll find yourself in a true beach community, replete with surfers, hippies and laid-back locals. Folly differs from the other beaches in Charleston County because it seems to be less a suburb than both IOP and Sullivan's, and less a resort than Kiawah. Folly does not have the palatial beach homes that are found all over Sullivan and IOP, nor the expansive resort cottages, hotels and golf courses found along Kiawah Island. On Folly, you'll find local restaurants, beach gear shops, and dives in the commercial district, and small homes, and more modest beach rental units along the beachfront. Folly Beach is known for having some of the best surfing along the East Coast. Be sure to check out the Washout along the northern end of the island for the best surfing. Travel to the northern tip of the island, where you can park your car street-side and walk the path leading up to the tip of the island where there is a fantastic view of the Morris Island Lighthouse, as well as plenty of fishing going on most days.
The beach is not the best for sunbathing or for swimming, perhaps because it is just south of the channel into Charleston Harbor. The water is rougher and waves higher here, making it more suitable to surfing. Also be sure to visit the Folly Beach Fishing Pier and see the Morris Island Lighthouse.