Folly Beach, the 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
You'll likely catch the fin of an ocean friend on a dolphin tour, or try out a sunset cruise or kayak paddle.
Paddle boarding tours are also available through the Isla Surf School, along with surf lessons and a summer surf camp.
More of a landlubber? Try bike rentals from Cool Breeze — hourly, daily or weekly.
Want a few more wheels? You can rent golf carts at this rental company.
And this company has them both.
Yet another way to explore land awaits at Folly. Rent a moped by the hour or the day.
Food + Dining
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.
Enjoy casual oceanfront dining at this restaurant inside the Tides Hotel.
American fare reigns at Rita's, which has a dog-friendly patio, award-winning chili and weekend brunch.
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).
This Irish tavern has many whiskeys, seafood entrees and a year-round garden patio.
"Come for the food, stay for the view" at this three-story restaurant with a rooftop bar featuring live music.
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.
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.
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.
Get your fro-yo here to cool off on a hot day.
Just want a slice of pizza to rejuvenate you after a long beach day? This grab-and-go locale will do just the trick.
Coffee roasted on James Island and pastries from local bakeries await.
If the sprawling giant octopus and nautical decor doesn't win you over, maybe the fresh poke and island cocktails will.
For a light, fruity refresher, try this juice and smoothie bar.
It's "your local skulduggery spot" with funky decor, live music and festive food from tacos to pho.
With its colorful seats and natural, locally sourced ingredients, this coffee, breakfast and lunch spot is a Folly Road favorite.
Crack some crabs at this beach shack that's been serving up seafood for two decades.
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.
Housemade sangria. Need we say more? Well, we will. There's also delicious food.
Pizza and subs are available for takeout, delivery or dining in at the full bar and patio.
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.
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.
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.
This neighborhood grocery is a centerpiece of the Folly Beach community, serving up fresh foods, snacks and coffee along with truly local vibes.
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.
Get your vapes and CBD oil products at this shop.
You'll find surf gear, beach apparel and gifts here.
Maui Jim, Costa and Ray Bans are among the brands you'll find at this beach store.
From sandcastle-making equipment to beach balls and flip-flips, you can find your beach needs here.
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 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.
Beauty & Health
Take your beach relaxation to the next level with a massage on top of your day by the ocean.
"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.
Get a color or cut at this Folly Beach hair salon.