Tides Folly Beach : The only full service hotel on the island, The Tides is completely renovated. It’s an enchanting oasis, right on the sand. All of the rooms offer a full ocean view, each with a balconet that, if left open, makes it feel as though the waves are crashing right outside of your door (which they are). The hotel amenities are well worth the nightly rate, it is situated right at the end of Center Street (main street), and is within walking distance of everything on the island.
There are also a number of B&B’s, AirBNB’s, and rentals offered on the island, so if that is more to your liking, go for it! I suggest you do your research though, from April – August, the island is very popular.
EAT & DRINK
Blu : an incredibly chic, yet casual, restaurant, located right off of the lobby that offers a full (and diverse) menu. I highly recommend the Crab Cakes and the Chicken & Dumplings.
Roasted : a coffee-house/ice cream shoppe/convenience store, located right by the pool. They brew Starbucks coffee, offer old school ice cream truck options, and are full of snacks and sunblock. I usually hit up Roasted twice a day – large iced tea in the morning, strawberry ice cream in the evening. It is so nice to not have to run into town, if you just need to grab something before hitting the beach.
The Patio Bar : Situated right off the sand, this bar offers a full-service lunch and dinner menu, great drinks, and an insanely relaxed atmosphere. The ambiance ebbs and flows, based on the crowd, but it’s the perfect place to grab a Happy Hour cocktail and wait for the sun to disappear.
Taco Boy : A great little Mexican place on Center Street. Right in the heart of downtown Folly, the food is delicious and the drinks are potent. It is a fun place to spend an evening, whether at a table or at the bar. There’s always something going on, and there’s always entertainment available. I highly suggest grabbing a table on the outdoor patio, it makes for a great atmosphere, and lots of people watching! It’s also a great place to hunker down if you have kids that want to roam around themselves, it’s a great home base in the middle of everything.
Rita’s Seaside Grille : I love Rita’s. Seriously. When I took a solo trip to Folly, after a couple of days, I felt like a regular. It’s a family restaurant/bar that offers seating in the main dining area, the bar, or on the outside patio. There are also a number of tvs (indoors and out), making it a great place to catch a game. As I learned, very quickly. When you’re in the middle of Braves country and you ask them to put on the ALCS because the Red Sox are playing, be prepared to defend your fandom. Just sayin’. Rita’s offers an array of seafood, burgers, salads, etc., that are locally produced and extremely fresh. It’s great place with a great atmosphere.
Lost Dog Cafe : Adorable. Dogs are always welcome (obviously). This is where you want to head for breakfast or lunch, even if you’re on the go. Such a cute place with great food. Be sure to try the bacon, egg, and cheese, on a fresh plain bagel. You’ll be glad you did. Trust me.
Woody’s Pizza : If you’ve just left the beach and don’t feel like showering, this is your place. Not to say that it’s super casual, but it’s a typical pizza and sandwich shoppe. Plus, the fact that most beers are $2 from 4p – 7p, is a big draw with the after-beach crowd. The pizza is great, the sandwiches are as well. It’s a really fun, relaxing, the-sun-took-everything-out-of-me place, to fill up before heading to bed, to do it all over again tomorrow. Yum.
All of the restaurants that I mentioned above are also bars (as well).
Snapper Jacks : Before you even get a drink, get yourself up to the roof deck. Incredible views of Folly Island, the ocean, and Charleston (on a clear day), make this bar a must-do. The drinks flow easily here. The food is okay, too. Snapper Jack’s is known for their Raw Bar. So, if that’s your thing, you should definitely eat there, too. I loved their drink menu. Classic cocktails, specialty drinks, and a full service bar (on each of the 3 levels) make this place a hot spot to check on while in FB.
Surf Lessons : An extremely popular surf spot, it’s definitely something to try in Folly, if you’re interested. I recommend hitting up the folks at McKevlin’s Surf Shop, located steps from The Tides, on Center Street. As many times as I’ve been to FB, I’ve always heard great things about the people at McKevlin’s and how everyone loves their lessons.
The Lighthouse : The Folly Beach Lighthouse sits at the northernmost point on the island. It’s about a 4 mile walk from the hotel, but if you’re one of those people who love to walk the beach (and scope out real estate, while you’re at it), this is as scenic as it gets. 8 miles round trip though, so call for a ride, if you need one.
Water Sports : Obviously, there are a an abundance of water sports available on the beach. Everything from jet skis to parasailing is there, so feel free to try them out, to your heart’s content.
The Folly Pier : As you can see from the photo below, the Folly pier jets out into the ocean. It’s a great walk, especially with an ice cream (or a beer), and is an insane spot to watch a lightning storm. Lots of fishing happens on the pier, so listen for cheering while someone reels in a catch. Also, you’ll question whether you want to get back in the water, the next day.
Outside of Aruba (and Boston, of course), Folly Beach is my absolute favorite place on this planet. It is a comfortable spot. Built for relaxation, and letting things go. I know I do, and I’m a control freak. It’s like nothing else exists, off of the island. You’ll come back (if you come back) feeling refreshed and counting the days until you can get back there.
You can’t go wrong with Folly Beach, South Carolina.