Each of the Charleston SC beaches in the area has its vibe and coastal character – and its own set of rules. Check out our guide so you’re prepared before you land on the sand.
Folly Beach (cityoffollybeach.com)
- This barrier island beach has a laid back atmosphere and is often frequented by locals and surfers.
- No possession or consumption of alcohol is allowed on the beach.
- Traffic can get heavy and parking can be a problem if you arrive after 11 a.m. during the busy season, so you may want to consider an early morning beach visit.
- Folly Beach Fishing Pier is open daily 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and has a full-service restaurant, fishing, rod rentals and restrooms.
- Surfing without a leash is prohibited. Through Sept. 15, surfing is prohibited from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from 2nd Street East to 3rd Street West (the swimming zone).
- Folly Beach County Park (9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Labor Day) has lifeguards, outdoor showers and snack bar. Parking is $7 per vehicle weekdays; $10 on weekends through Labor Day.
- Dogs are not allowed on the beach from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Sept. 30. All other times, they must be leased.
Isle of Palms (iop.net)
- This beach is popular among tourists because it has a selection of shops, restaurants, bars and public restrooms.
- The area of Ocean Boulevard from 10th Avenue to 14th Avenue is set aside for beachgoers and is known as “front beach.”
- For access to picnic tables, showers, restrooms and a playground, you might want to park at the Isle of Palms County Park for Parking is $7 a day on weekdays and $10 a day on weekends through Labor Day. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Labor Day; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in September/October. The beach area in front of the park also is staffed by lifeguards during the summer season.
- City parking lots and metered spaces are also available.
- Alcohol is prohibited; no glass bottles on the beach.
- Dogs are allowed off leash on the beach from 5-9 a.m. through Sept. 14 and from 4 p.m. to 10 a.m. Sept. 15 to March 31. At all other times, dogs must be on a leash – even in the water. Visitors do not need a dog license.
- Much of the island and its beaches are private.
- The only public beach access is at Kiawah Beachwalker Park on the west end of the island. It has restrooms, picnic areas with grills and boardwalks. Parking is $7 a day on weekdays and $10 a day on weekends through Labor Day. Park hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Labor Day; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in September/October. Lifeguards are on duty seasonally.
- At the park, dogs must be leashed at all times.
Sullivan’s Island (sullivansisland-sc.com)
- Plan for a day trip to this beach as it has very few short-term rentals and no hotels or motels.
- Parking can be a problem if you arrive after 10 a.m. There are no public parking lots; street parking only. Be sure to obey posted signs and don’t park in any private yards or driveways.
- There are no public restrooms or showers, and alcohol is not permitted. No lifeguards are on duty.
- Dogs are allowed off leash on the beach from 5-10 a.m. and on leash from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. through Sept. 30. All dogs visiting the island must have a dog permit and should wear the town-issued collar while on Sullivan’s Island. Permits and collars are available at Town Hall, 2050-B Middle St.; 843-883-3198.