Coined as the “Edge of America,” Folly Beach, South Carolina is a picturesque getaway that sits next to the Atlantic Ocean. With beautiful views, activities for all ages, and the guarantee of some hard-earned rest and relaxation, there is something to delight each and every member of your family during your stay.
If you make Folly Beach your vacation destination, it may be hard to narrow down the very best things to do to make your trip a memorable one with so many sites and activities to consider.
Let’s discuss some of our favorite activities, from the most fun, relaxing, and interesting, that you can do at Folly Beach to get the most value from your trip as possible.
Do you see the beautiful beach and stunning serene water in your mind? Let’s dive right in!
Folly Beach County Park
Why You Should Go
A visit to Folly Beach, South Carolina would not be complete without a trip to Folly Public Beach at the Folly Beach County Park.
Folly Public Beach offers something for everyone; whether you’re looking to spend the day out on the water hitting the waves or relaxing on the sand just taking in sunshine. The ocean waves of the Atlantic provide the perfect place to boogie board, take out a boat, water ski, jet ski, or even fish along the shore or from one of many nearby piers. It’s not Hawaii, so the waves aren’t totally extreme.
They may, however, be a tad too big for your little ones, so keep a close eye while they splash in the surf.
If you’re like me and dread the walk to and from the parking lot while hauling beach supplies and children, it’s super convenient that Folly Beach parking is just 500 feet from the beach, allowing you to save time trekking to your spot and sparing your back the pain of carting a cooler and toddler simultaneously. Seriously. The beach is supposed to be relaxing, after all!
There are picnic tables and places to relax along the pier if you want to stop and enjoy and snack or drink and take in the sounds of the ocean with a bird’s eye view of the beach.
Speaking of birds…
Bird Key Stono
This isolated sandbar is located across the water from Folly Beach County Park.
Bird Key Stono has become a nesting site for many migratory birds due to the lack of human activity in the area which has allowed them to flourish. Bird species that you may see include herons, gulls, black simmers, and pelicans
While you shouldn’t touch or approach the birds on Bird Key Stono, you are welcome to photograph, film, and sightsee while there. Just be sure to maintain an appropriate distance from the birds so they don’t fly off.
If you’re an avid bird watcher, nature lover, or just want to try out something off the beaten path, a visit to Bird Key Stono provides a brush with many stunning birds that will delight your family and add something special to your vacation.
Folly Beach holds several festivals throughout the year that celebrate things like community, heritage, music, food, and entertainment. Regardless of what time of year you visit, there will probably be a festival during your stay. And we can’t recommend them more highly!
The Sea and Sand Festival is their longest-running festival, and it is a blast! The weekend-long festivities consist of a sandcastle-making competition, live performances by local music acts, and pageants.
Food vendors and other boutique shopping is available, and you may find something special to take home and commemorate the trip.
The Riverfront Revival is another great one. Touted as a “love letter to South Carolina’s Lowcountry,” this two-day country music festival features live bands and regional food that highlight some of the most delicious and famous Southern American dishes.
Speaking of food, the Taste of Folly is another food-focused festival featuring famous dishes indigineous to the region.
With cocktail-making competitions and themed food days, local establishments get to show off their skills through live demonstrations and, of course, followed up by tastings. It’s a delightful and delicious event to attend!
Wave Watch Playground
The Wave Watch Playground is perfect for kids and tots that don’t love to get wet but still want to have fun. Despite the name, it is a dry playground perfect for little ones to get their wiggles out while you sit back and catch your breath.
There is a tub slide, climbing net, and swings to keep your children busy. There is even a free library on site in case you would like to read a good book while the kids frolic and play.
Don’t worry if your child is a budding escape artist. The Wave Watch Playground is completely closed in to keep your children safe and give you peace of mind.
The Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve
Why You Should Go
The star of the Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve is, of course, the lighthouse. The Morris Lighthouse is not an active lighthouse anymore, but this historic structure is still nonetheless impressive to view up close and provides great photo ops
Inlet Heritage Preserve is far less crowded than Folly Beach making it the perfect spot for a quiet walk or romantic picnic with someone special.
You get more exclusivity than say the Folly Public Beach, but with equally impressive views that will keep you in awe of the natural beauty while you spend some secluded time with that special someone.
Why You Should Go
If you have the heart of a sailor but lack the experience, then booking an adventure with Sail Folly is a happy medium to consider.
Sail Folly was founded in 2017 and with Captain Johnny Stevens at the helm, and it has become one of the best and highest-rated sailing excursions on Folly Beach. You and your family will board the 27-foot catamaran and be featured on a tour of the salt marsh and river by one of their certified sailors.
You stand a very good chance of seeing pelicans, dolphins, herons and other animals while out on the boat so keep those cameras ready!
Restaurant and Bar Hop
Whether you spent your day lounging on the beach or at a music festival, Folly Beach offers no shortage of delicious dining options to end your day on a high note and with a full belly.
The Washout is a casual bar and restaurant that delivers when it comes to savory seafood. The Crab Cake Sandwich, Shrimp and Grits, or Blackened Tuna are all excellent options if you want a taste of the sea with a little Southern flavor infused.
If you or your kids don’t love fish, they also have non-seafood options. There’s also an impressive array of signature cocktails and local brews to imbibe to finish the day with a happy buzz in your new happy place.
Pier 101 Bar and Restaurant offers gorgeous views both inside and outside. The inside of the restaurant feels like a modern diner while the outside offers a more laid-back feel without sacrificing the view.
Should you choose to dine there, we recommend eating outside, as the views of the beach and coastline are an extra treat while sitting comfortably under the shade of your private umbrella. Your family can fill up on Jerk Chicken Wings then splurge on the Raspberry Donut Cheesecake for dessert.
If you’re looking to splurge on and indulge in a fine dining option, High Cotton is an upscale establishment that can’t be beat. Seated at white tablecloth table or in a leather-bound chair at the bar, you can dine on dishes like Antarctic Salmon or Filet Mignon with a side of Lobster Mac n’ Cheese or a Mushroom and Green Pea Risotto.
Looking for a great brunch spot? High Cotton has you covered there too. You and your guests can choose from options like Beignets, Brioche French Toast, or Smoked Salmon and wash it all down with a refreshing Mimosa Trio.
Folly Beach is Calling
Whether you long for a day at the beach, a trip out on a boat, or a fun-filled festival full of live music and local vendors, there is something for everyone in Folly Beach, South Carolina!
Map of Things to Do in Folly Beach
Frequently Asked Questions about Things to Do in Folly Beach
Can you rent an umbrella or chairs at Folly Beach Public Beach?
Yes, you can rent both upon your arrival at the beach.
What is the best time to visit Bird Key Stono?
If you visit Folly Beach during nesting season, which goes from mid-March to mid-October every year, you will not be allowed onto Bird Key Stono as to not disturb the birds. Therefore, Bird Key Stono is best between November and February.
Where can I buy tickets for Folly Beach Events?
A list of all the upcoming festivals in Folly Beach is available here. Some events allow you to simply show up and pay for admission, but others allow for advance booking online.
What kind of sailing packages does Sail Folly offer?
Depending on your preferences, group size, and budget there is a tour for everyone. There are options such as a private Sunset Sail or Dolphin Watch tour. Visit Sail Folly’s website for complete package options.
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