The forecast

Thursday: Partly sunny and humid, high 85 degrees, 20 percent chance of afternoon rain, but should be dry for fireworks.

Friday: Sun and clouds, high 86 degrees, 30 percent chance of rain.

Saturday: Sun and clouds, high 89 degrees, 30 percent chance of rain.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy, high 88 degrees, little chance of rain.

Source: National Weather Service

For what it's worth, the Seattle-like weather that the Lowcountry has endured for weeks is expected to clear for what is typically one of the busiest days of the year on Charleston-area beaches.

We can at least hope.

If the skies are at least partly sunny, the first day of each of the long summer holiday weekends tends to be the busiest.

Remember Memorial Day Saturday five weeks ago? The traffic and congestion made headlines.

In the past two years, an added incentive has been to have the beach chairs, kids and coolers set up on the sand in time for the “Salute from the Shore,” an “air parade” of military aircraft.

This year, the Salute from the Shore, featuring World War II-era aircraft, is expected to pass the Isle of Palms at 1:40 p.m. and proceed to Edisto Beach just before 2 p.m.

Until the Charleston area started getting noticed on “Best Of” lists, one aspect of our beaches managed to slide under the radar.

The beaches of Charleston County — Edisto Beach, Seabrook Island, Kiawah Island, Folly Beach, Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms (not counting those reachable only by boat) — are a variety pack of sand and surf, running the spectrum from the fun and somewhat touristy to luxurious and exclusive.

Despite some traffic on weekends, especially on summer holidays, all are nearby, by conventional standards. Generally, from downtown Charleston, Sullivan's Island is a mere nine miles away, while the more remote Edisto Beach is about 50 miles.

Just as the sand on the beach is dynamic, going through phases of building and eroding, so are popularity trends for beaches.

After the Folly Beach City Council joined other beach communities in banning alcohol consumption on public property, the beach-going populations have dispersed. This summer has witnessed increased traffic to both Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms.

Here's a guide to navigating the area sands on one of the biggest beach days of the year.

Isle of Palms

General Rules: No alcohol, glass containers, fireworks, bonfires, littering, motorized vehicles or overnight sleeping on the beach.

Dog Policy: Dogs can be leash-free from 5-8 a.m. April 1-Sept. 14 and 4 p.m.-10 a.m. Sept. 15-March 31, but keep the leash in hand and have voice command. Otherwise, dogs must be leashed and owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.

Lifeguards: Only at designated swimming areas at the Isle of Palms County Park at avenues 1-14.

Parking Policy: All four tires must be completely off the street. Don't block beach accesses, driveways, mailboxes or fire hydrants.

Fishing Policy: Fishing off bridges is prohibited.

Noise Policy: Quietness required from 10 p.m.-10 a.m. Sunday-Thursday and from 11 p.m.-10 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Sullivan's Island

General Rules: No alcohol, glass containers, fireworks, bonfires, littering, motorized vehicles or overnight sleeping on the beach.

Dog Policy: All dogs must have a valid Sullivan's Island permit, whether the owner is a resident or a visitor. Dogs can be leash-free 5-10 a.m. May 1-Sept. 30 and 5 a.m.-noon Oct. 1-April 30, but keep the leash in hand and have voice command. Dogs must be leashed from 6 p.m.-5 a.m. May 1-Sept. 30 and noon-5 a.m. Oct. 1-April 30. Dogs are not allowed on the beach from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 1-Sept. 30. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.

Lifeguards: No lifeguards on duty.

Parking Policy: All four tires must be completely off the street. Don't block beach accesses, driveways, mailboxes or fire hydrants.

Noise Policy: Quietness required after 11 p.m.

Folly Beach

General Rules: No alcohol, glass containers, fireworks, bonfires, littering, motorized vehicles or overnight sleeping on the beach.

Dog Policy: Dogs are not allowed on the beach from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 1-Sept. 30. Otherwise, dogs are allowed on the beach, but must be leashed at all times. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.

Lifeguards: Only at designated swimming areas at the Folly Beach County Park at 1100 W. Ashley Blvd., as well as at the fishing pier at 101 E. Arctic Ave.

Parking Policy: All four tires must be completely off the street. Don't block beach accesses, driveways, mailboxes or fire hydrants.

Fishing Policy: Allowed at the beach and from Edwin S. Taylor Fishing Pier at 101 E. Arctic Ave.

Surfing Policy: Surfers must have a leash on their boards and cannot surf within 200 feet of the Folly Pier. Surfing is prohibited in the Swimming Zone (Second Street East to Third Street West) from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 15-Sept. 15.

Kiawah Island

General Rules: No alcohol, glass containers, fireworks, bonfires, littering, motorized vehicles or overnight sleeping on the beach.

Dog Policy: Dogs must be leashed at all times from March 16 to Oct. 31, unless in designated “Dog Use Areas” located east of the Beach Club and west of Beachwalker Park. Dogs can be leash-free from Nov. 1-March 15, except in the “Critical Habitat Areas,” but keep the leash in hand and have voice command. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets. Watch out for alligators.

Lifeguards: Only at designated swimming areas at Beachwalker Park at 8 Beachwalker Drive.

Parking Policy: Parking is not permitted on the roadways within 25 feet at pedestrian-access locations. Beach-access parking is provided at Night Heron Park, Duneside Road (west end), Ocean Course Drive (near firehouse) and Ocean Marsh Drive.

Noise Policy: No loud music on the beach.

Edisto Beach

General Rules: No alcohol, glass containers, fireworks, bonfires, littering, motorized vehicles or overnight sleeping on the beach.

Dog Policy: Dogs must be leashed at all times from May 1 to Oct. 31. Otherwise, keep the leash in hand and have voice command. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.

Lifeguards: No lifeguards on duty.