Isle of palms sc - charleston sc beaches

Charleston SC Beaches Guide – IOP – Folly – Sullivans – Kiawah


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 - charleston sc beachesIsle 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.

Kiawah Island

  • 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 Lighthouse - charleston sc beaches

Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse/photo by NPS

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.

If you have any questions on any of the Charleston SC beaches then please give us a shout!