Lowcounty locals and vacationers have two choices this Independence Day if they want sand, surf and fireworks, and a little planning can save a lot of stress.
Folly Beach will hold its fireworks program at 9:30 p.m., and Isle of Palms will start its show at 8 p.m.
Traffic is sure to be heavy as people make their way to these beaches. Barrier islands in the Charleston area have particularly persistent traffic issues in the summer as the region grows and more and more people flock to the coast.
"Be patient," Folly Mayor Tim Goodwin said. "Take plenty of water in your car so you can have a drink of something cool if you get caught in your car in traffic."
This year, the launch site is between 3rd and 5th Streets West, Goodwin said. Workers will start barricading that part of the beach at 3 p.m., when visitors there will be asked to move.
On IOP, the show is launched off the fishing pier by front beach. Mayor Jimmy Carroll advised visitors to make sure they pick up their trash when they leave and to be careful not to damage the dunes as they find a place to watch.
Leave extra time this year to find parking, as the town just eliminated perpendicular parking along Palm Boulevard, effectively removing some spots. The lot at front beach has also been converted to an hourly rate with a time limit.
"I would just tell people to come and get there a little bit early so they find themselves a parking spot along Palms Boulevard," Carroll said.
The July 4 forecast on Weather.com predicted a high temperature of 85 degrees with 80 percent humidity. Thunderstorms could develop in the evening.
A thunderstorm can trigger a mass migration away from the beach on even a normal weekend, so sprinting off an island probably isn't the best bet if rain starts falling.
That was Goodwin's suggestion for after the show ends, too.
"Go to the restaurants, hang around, get something to eat and drink, and take your time," he said.
The fireworks display in Folly was washed out in 2016, because a high tide meant there wasn't enough space on the beach to launch them. The display was moved to Labor Day that year.
Carroll said the Isle of Palms has been lucky: It hasn't had a show rained out in the more than 10 years it has shot off fireworks.
One final piece of advice: Avoid any temptation to put on your own show at the beach. Individual launches of fireworks are not allowed on Folly Beach, Isle of Palms or Sullivan's Island.