If you are looking for a fun oceanside retreat with a laid-back atmosphere, from tip to tip, Folly Beach, a finger of sand called "The Edge of America," offers everything from soaking up the sun to dancing in the streets.
Things you can do:
Surf: The Washout, where a strip of huge rocks hug the shoreline, offers a haven for wave riders on the northeastern side of the island, especially when Mother Nature kicks up the ocean. It also offers public restrooms.
Shop and dine: The main thoroughfare of Center Street greets beachgoers and offers sporting shops, restaurants and bars. The street ends at a nine-story, beachfront hotel.
Fish: The centerpiece attraction of the island, the Edwin S. Taylor Fishing Pier, the second longest on the East Coast, offers fishing, walking, birding and wonderful views of painted sunsets or tossed-about waves.
Sightsee: For those wanting a little solitude and a short walk, Morris Island Lighthouse sits in the surf on the edge of Charleston Harbor off the island's eastern tip. A short hike through a nature preserve of windswept dunes ends with a view of the 161-foot treasure built in 1876. A boneyard of trees created by erosion makes for some striking images.
County park: On the opposite end of the island, beachcombers will find Folly Beach County Park. Unlike other stretches of the beach, lifeguards are on duty seasonally along a designated swimming area. Skimmer Flats, a major Eastern Brown Pelican rookery, is visible at the west end. The park also offers seasonal rentals of beach chairs and umbrellas, outdoor showers, portable restrooms, and a snack bar and retail area. Buses are not allowed on weekends, and parking is never guaranteed, so it's best to arrive early.
Other things to do (it is the beach, after all): Catch some rays, read a book, search for seashells and splash in the Atlantic Ocean.
No alcohol, glass containers, plastic bags, balloons, Styrofoam, open fires, fireworks or littering.
Surfing without a leash is prohibited. From May 15 to Sept. 15, surfing is prohibited from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from 2nd Street East to 3rd Street West. From Sept. 16 to May 14, surfing is allowed in any area. It is prohibited within 200 feet of the fishing pier.
Stay off the dunes and use public walkovers.
Dogs are not allowed on the beach 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 1-Sept. 30. Otherwise, dogs are welcome but must be leashed. Dogs are never allowed on the pier. Dog waste must be removed.
Watercraft can be stowed on the beachfront for 12 hours without a permit. They must not be pulled into the dunes or sand fences.
To protect sea turtle hatchlings, no lights are allowed that illuminate the front beach between 10 p.m. and dawn from May 1-Oct. 31.
Parking is available for a fee at city-owned beachfront lots along the island. The county pier and county park have fee parking, and there are privately owned lots across from the pier.
Free parking is allowed in residential areas. All four tires must be off the road.
No diagonal parking unless posted. All parking must be parallel to the roadway.