Folly Beach is filled with fun outdoor activities, great food, sunshine, and good vibes, and there is no shortage of things to do. In the summer months this Charleston beach town is absolutely buzzing with tourists and locals looking to kick back, unwind, and enjoy some good old-fashioned sunshine and freedom.
Being a Charleston local, I’ve spent a lot of time exploring Folly Beach. I’ve had lots of this sunshine and freedom I speak of, and I’m here to share some of my personal favorite things to do at Folly Beach with you.
Here goes nothing. Enjoy!
1. Hang out on the beach
To start with the most obvious one — the best activity on Folly Beach is often to simply just hang out on the beach! There are six miles of beautiful beach to explore and enjoy, with the waves lapping on the shore and the tide rising and falling throughout the day.
Sometimes all you want to do is find a comfortable place in the sun, sit down, put your sunglasses on, and relax. As long as you follow the rules (or learn how to bend them), you can do that all day long on Folly Beach, and it is highly recommended!
2. Walk the Folly Beach Pier
While the Folly Beach Pier is currently under construction, it has always been a place that is worth checking out during your visit to Folly. Located right beside the Tides hotel at the end of Center Street, the 1025-foot fishing pier juts out into the Atlantic Ocean, with a gift shop, ice cream shop, benches lining the entire boardwalk, and a raised observation deck at the very end.
Renovations on the pier are expected to be completed in the Spring of 2023.
3. Go see the Morris Island Lighthouse
Located just north of Folly Beach is Morris Island, a barrier island with a rich history that is only accessible by boat. There stands the Morris Island Lighthouse, with waves crashing at its base.
The lighthouse can be seen by driving all the way down to the northern tip of Folly Beach, parking your car and walking the half-mile or so down to the end of the beach at the Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve. When you reach the beach you’ll see the lighthouse directly in front of you.
The iconic structure was Charleston’s active lighthouse until 1962, when it was deemed a lost cause due to coastal erosion and was replaced by the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse.
4. Check out the Folly Beach County Park
On the western tip of Folly Beach is the Folly Beach County Park, a public park open 8am to sunset complete with plenty of beachfront amenities at the Dunes House structure, complete with a large viewing deck known as the Pelican Watch Pavillion.
This is not only a cool place to explore, but also one of the best spots on to watch the sunset on Folly Beach, as the beach wraps around the southern tip of the island, with a clear view of the sunset over the marshes to the west.
5. Visit the shops in town
In addition to its natural beauties, Folly Beach is also a vibrant beach town, with plenty of cool shops to peruse during your stay. Some of my favorites include the two surf shops, McKevlin’s and Ocean (who coined the nickname “Edge of America”), Mr John’s Beach Store, and more.
6. Explore the river with Sail Folly
For those looking to see Folly Beach from a different perspective, there is no better way than to get out sailing on the river. There are several different companies offering sailing excursions at Folly Beach, but Sail Folly is the best.
Sail Folly has two 27-foot catamarans that are perfect for exploring the salt marshes and catching some breeze, pulling up on a sandbar to swim, and any other waterfront activity you can think of, including the popular sunset sail. Bring your own beverages and up to six people on a relaxing sail in the rivers and creeks of Folly Beach!
Bookings and more information at sailfolly.com. Use code ECHILL for $10 off!
7. Stock up at Bert’s Market
A staple of Folly Beach is the local grocery store, convenience store, and deli, Bert’s Market. Open 24-7, Bert’s is one of the core components of Folly Beach, providing supplies and refreshments with an abundance of character. Even if you don’t need anything, it’s highly recommended that you stop by Bert’s during your time at Folly Beach, just to see the place. It truly is special.
Bert’s is also the home of the cheapest, most satisfying lunch on Folly Beach — find their hot case stocked with your choice of a cheeseburger, BBQ sandwich, or spicy chicken sandwich for under $5!. You can’t beat that anywhere else on Folly!
8. Brunch at Lost Dog Cafe
Lost Dog Cafe is a special, dog-friendly restaurant located on Huron Street, just off the main strip of Folly Beach, with some of the best food to be found anywhere on Folly. They open early, 6:30am for breakfast and close right after lunch at 3pm, making it the perfect place to grab brunch.
Expect a mix of Southern cooking with healthy-vegan friendly options, and delicious coffee and mimosas that will keep you buzzing all afternoon. Lost Dog is a must when considering restaurants in Folly Beach, and should be on your list for at least one visit.
9. Have a drink at Chico Feo
Located right across the street from Bert’s Market is Chico Feo, another special establishment making up the very fabric of Folly Beach. This outdoor bar and taco spot has reasonable prices, an impeccable atmosphere, and a laid-back bar staff serving up delicious drinks and ice cold beers all day and all night.
With live music several days and nights per week, Chico Feo is a local favorite and a place that will certainly offer an unforgettable experience that is a must when hanging out at Folly.
10. Catch live music at The Bounty Bar
A relatively new addition to the main strip on Center Street is The Bounty Bar. Owned by the same folks who own The Royal American downtown, this bar brings a beached-out version of one of Charleston’s finest drinking establishments.
Not only does Bounty Bar have excellent food, affordable drinks, and a great bar staff, they also host live music on weekends featuring a rotating cast of locals doing unique performances. All shows are free and bring a much-needed dose of local music to the beach that went missing when Surf Bar closed down in the summer of 2021.
For their food specials and live music schedule, check them out on Instagram.