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Explore famously funky Folly Beach with our Charleston beach guide

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Folly Beach is a Charleston area beach destination.​ Wade Spees/Staff

You may remember that we highlighted the fun things to do on Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island a couple weeks ago. Well, now we're back with a guide to another one of Charleston's popular beaches. 

This laid-back Lowcountry beach marches to its own drum, locally dubbed "famously funky" and recently touted as family-friendly. From the breezy bars to the surf shops, here are some of the best ways to explore Folly Beach this summer. 

Folly Beach

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Dog Rules: No permit required unless Folly Beach stay is longer than 30 days (then, $3 fee); dogs must be on a leash at all times; dogs not allowed at all on beach 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 1-Sept. 30.

Parking: $5-$15 parking at Folly Beach County Park from 8 a.m. to sunset; $7 a day (paid in designated box) public parking in lots at beach access points on most city blocks; some parking meters; free street parking with tires off pavement.

Food + Dining

Pier 101 Restaurant & Bar

Live music, lunch and dinner are available at this restaurant on the Folly Beach pier, which will be closed in parts for two years while a new steady structure is built. The first phase could start as early as September, so get your pier fix in this summer while you can. 

BLU Beach Bar & Grill

Enjoy casual oceanfront dining at this restaurant inside the Tides Hotel. 

Rita's Seaside Grill

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Three crush drinks from Rita's Seaside Grille are Mango Crush (from left), Black Cherry Lemonade Crush and Hawaiian Crush. File

American fare reigns at Rita's, which has a dog-friendly patio, award-winning chili and weekend brunch.

Sand Dollar Social Club

Membership is required for this Folly Beach social club that features ping-pong tables, dartboards, pool tables and an outdoor bier garden. There's shagging (the state dance, that is). 

St. James Gate

This Irish tavern has many whiskeys, seafood entrees and a year-round garden patio. 

Snapper Jacks

"Come for the food, stay for the view" at this three-story restaurant with a rooftop bar featuring live music. 

Taco Boy

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Taco Boy's buffalo chicken, citrus slaw, bleu cheese and salsa cruda taco. 

There's one downtown but there's also one on Folly, featuring an iconic turquoise door and outdoor patio. Get your street corn and tacos here.

Surf Bar

This relaxed local watering hole is known for its live music and signature Painkillers. There are indoor and outdoor spaces, and admission is always free.

Loggerhead's Beach Grill

Get your crab dip, loaded tots and peel 'n' eat shrimp at this beach bar, which also features live music. There's also brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Dolce Banana Cafe


Ice cream at the Dolce Bana Cafe. Provided

Get your fro-yo here to cool off on a hot day. 

Slice of Folly

Just want a slice of pizza to rejuvenate you after a long beach day? This grab-and-go locale will do just the trick.

Center Street Coffee

Coffee roasted on James Island and pastries from local bakeries await.

Wiki Wiki Sandbar

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Artist Jeff Kopish's sculpture made from grocery bags, tuna cans, plastic bottles, beach umbrellas and trash bags on a rebar mesh is "stuff that could've ended up in the ocean," says operating partner April Bennett, in the octopus room at Wiki Wiki Sandbar on Folly Beach Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Wade Spees/Staff

If the sprawling giant octopus and nautical decor doesn't win you over, maybe the fresh poke and island cocktails will. 

The Juice Joint

For a light, fruity refresher, try this juice and smoothie bar.

Chico Feo

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A bowl of curry goat that Hank Weed from Chico Feo prepared. Brad Nettles/Staff

It's "your local skulduggery spot" with funky decor, live music and festive food from tacos to pho. 

Black Magic Cafe

With its colorful seats and natural, locally sourced ingredients, this coffee, breakfast and lunch spot is a Folly Road favorite.

Folly Beach Crab Shack

Crack some crabs at this beach shack that's been serving up seafood for two decades.

Planet Follywood


Folly Beach has an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants, and beach-themed stores. A proposed Folly Beach ordinance would ban chain businesses. Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

This year-round bar serves a "Surfer's Starter Bowl" for breakfast to start the morning right before riding some waves. You can also enjoy lunch and dinner indoors or on the outdoor patio. Fried okra, corn dog nuggets and flounder bites make the menu.

Jack of Cups Saloon

Housemade sangria. Need we say more? Well, we will. There's also delicious food. 

Woody's Pizza

Pizza and subs are available for takeout, delivery or dining in at the full bar and patio. 

The Washout

Local musician Eddie Bush is one of the many Lowcountry regulars to strum a session at this Folly Beach bar. He's there on Fridays from 9 p.m. to midnight. The menu includes casual fare such as sandwiches, tacos, burgers, wings and seafood baskets.

Lowlife Bar

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"Eric Estrada" frozen spiced pina colada at Lowlife Bar on East Hudson Avenue just off Folly Beach's Center Street. Wade Spees/Staff

Get your $10 cocktails here, with names such as Toni Basil (gin), Billy Ray Valentine (rum) and Eric Estrada (pina colada). Pair your cocktail with a bite, like the pimiento cheese plate, kale and apple salad or fried chicken sandwich.

Lost Dog Cafe

This laid-back beach cafe serves breakfast all day long from bagel sandwiches to burritos to pancakes. There are also lunch treats like the Mahi salad or chicken salad croissant.


Bert's Market

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Kira Campbell, of Columbia, right, and Josh Edwards, buy cake and other food for Kira's birthday at Bert's Market at Folly Beach on Saturday, July 15, 2017. Marlena Sloss/ Staff

This neighborhood grocery is a centerpiece of the Folly Beach community, serving up fresh foods, snacks and coffee along with truly local vibes.

McKevlin's Surf Shop

Surfers, this is the spot for you. McKevlin's offers board and wetsuit rentals along with gear for sale. You can also book surf lessons if you're looking to take the plunge or just improve your ride.

Cloud 9 Vape & CBD

Get your vapes and CBD oil products at this shop. 


You'll find surf gear, beach apparel and gifts here. 

Aqua Beach Store

Maui Jim, Costa and Ray Bans are among the brands you'll find at this beach store.

Beachwear & Gifts

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Folly Beach. Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

From sandcastle-making equipment to beach balls and flip-flips, you can find your beach needs here. 

Mr. John's Beach Store

One of my favorite things to do at Folly is peruse the shops for seashell jewelry, twine bracelets and tiny knickknacks. I've made a little collection over the years, and Mr. John's, which has been around since 1951, was a staple to my supply. 

Ocean Surf Shop

Ocean Surf Shop offers board rentals and repairs along with apparel, sneakers, sunnies, skateboards and accessories.


That's right, another beach shop! This one also holds your beach needs and wants.


Folly Beach County Park

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Andrew Grimmage and Morgan Grier dance at the Moonlight Mixer at the Folly Beach Edwin S. Taylor Fishing Pier. Michael Campina/Special to The Post and Courier

The Folly Beach County Park has its own parking lot by the pier, along with beach chair and umbrella rentals. There are outdoor showers, a snack bar and a gift shop. During the summer, you can shag on the pier at the Moonlight Mixers featuring beach music and dancing. 

The Washout

The best surfing spot at Folly Beach is called the Washout, and its waves are even said to be some of the best along the whole South Carolina coast. It's also a cool hangout spot for those looking to watch surfers from the shore. 

Charleston SUP Safaris

For your stand up paddle boarding hopes and dreams, head to SUP Safaris, where you can book tours and lessons or rent equipment to venture out on your own.

Flipper Finders Boat Sea & Kayak Tours

You'll likely catch the fin of an ocean friend on a dolphin tour, or try out a sunset cruise or kayak paddle. 

Isla Surf School

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A surfer rides a wave at Folly Beach. Grace Beahm Alford/ Staff

Paddle boarding tours are also available through the Isla Surf School, along with surf lessons and a summer surf camp. 

Cool Breeze Bike Rentals

More of a landlubber? Try bike rentals from Cool Breeze — hourly, daily or weekly. 

Folly Beach Golf Carts

Want a few more wheels? You can rent golf carts at this rental company. 

Folly Beach Bike & Golf Cart Rentals

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Golf carts have become a common sight in Charleston area communities like Folly Beach. File/Brad Nettles/Staff

And this company has them both.

Folly Beach Moped Rentals

Yet another way to explore land awaits at Folly. Rent a moped by the hour or the day. 

Beauty & Health

Sacred Body Massage & Healing Arts

Take your beach relaxation to the next level with a massage on top of your day by the ocean.

Malama Massage Therapy

"Balance the body, calm the mind and align with the spirit" with some massage therapy, from the Hawaiian Lomi Lomi to a Light Touch Energetic Massage.

Headlines at the Edge

Get a color or cut at this Folly Beach hair salon.

Reach Kalyn Oyer at 843-371-4469. Follow her on Twitter @sound_wavves.

Kalyn Oyer is a Charleston native who covers arts & entertainment and food & bev for The Post and Courier. She's a music festival & concert photographer and used to write about music for the Charleston City Paper, among other publications.