A funky little beach town, Folly Beach is often penned “The Edge of America” because of its six mile stretch of shoreline that seemingly tips a hat to the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. Real estate on Folly Beach consists of oceanfront estates, ocean view condos, Intracoastal townhomes, and inland houses. Generally, oceanfront real estate on Folly Beach ranges in price from $1 million to $3 million, depending on the square footage, upgrades, acreage, and location. Condos with views of the ocean range in price from $260,000 to $400,000. Vacation rental and short-term rentals are available for designated homes and condos; prices on rental units vary depending on the season. Hotels on Folly include the upscale Tides Hotel, Waters Edge Inn, and Regatta Inn. Unlike the beaches of Kiawah Island, Seabrook, and Edisto, Folly Beach is a true seaside town with a rather rambunctious crowd comprised of wealthy homeowners, barefoot natives, tanned surfers, and relaxed tourists. Locals often lament to “keep Folly Folly,” which is a plea for city municipalities and federal agencies to guard against over-development and from visible beach erosion. Read More
As a result of a few incidents involving intoxicated beach-goers, Folly now bans booze from its beaches. However, residents and visitors need only walk down the boardwalk to find a refreshing beverage at one of Folly’s famous drinking holes. Restaurants and bars such as Taco Boy, Rita’s Seaside Grill, Lost Dog Cafe, Snapper Jack’s, Folly Beach Crab Shack, Blu Restaurant and Bar, and Planet Follywood offer delicious dishes, cold beer, and creative libations. Once the appetite is whet, residents and visitors can enjoy perusing through the surf shops, jewelry, art, and gift stores located down the main strand. An eccentric town, Folly has a 1960s aurora, Jimmy Buffett vibe, and fresh Bohemian style. To this end, bathing suits are the same as dress suits, unruly hair is a given, shoes are optional, and margaritas always have salt rims.
From a historical standpoint, Folly is famous for its legendary pirate tales, brave bootleggers, and wartime heroes. Dating back to 1696, the island was known as “Coffin Island.” Folklore suggests that the name was given because ships would dump disease-ridden passengers here in an effort to avoid quarantine. During the Civil War, Folly became a favorite spot for Union troops to coerce. Because of its thick, jungle-like forest, the name was changed to “Folly,” an English word meaning “dense foliage.” By 1920, Folly Beach was a popular hangout for locals, and the subsequent construction of the pavilion, pier, boardwalk, and oceanfront hotel all contributed to Folly’s fortune as a place for beach-lovers to permanently call home and business owners to invest in coastal real estate.
Perhaps Folly’s most iconic structure is the Morris Island Lighthouse, a registered historic site that was originally erected in 1767 by the Colony of South Carolina. Through the years, battles, wars, hurricanes, and sand shifts all caused damage to the lighthouse. Since 1800, Congress has continuously appropriated funds to repair and restore the lighthouse to its original radiance. Save the Light, a grassroots organization established in 1999, has worked diligently to keep the structure standing. Remarkably, the lighthouse still has the capability to shine, even though the restoration is not yet complete.
Recreational activities in Folly Beach include fishing off the pier, surfing the waves at Washout, biking through designated trails and lanes, paddleboarding down the Folly River, and, of course, basking in the sun. The town does not have its own recreation department, but organized sports are offered through the City of Charleston and nearby James Island. Folly Beach County Park is located on the west end of the island and is a great place to catch some rays. Lifeguards are on duty according to the season. Children residing on Folly Beach are zoned for James Island Elementary, James Island Middle, and James Island Charter School, all of which are top-rated schools affiliated with Charleston County School District. Nearby by private school options include James Island Christian School, Porter-Gaud School, The Nativity School, Charleston Collegiate School, and the Charleston Day School.
Folly’s carefree, laid back attitude, intrinsically married to its salty spirit, makes it the perfect home for those who desire to embrace its eccentric persona.
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