If you live here and have always lived here, what I’m about to write is second nature to you. But if you’ve moved here from somewhere else in the country, recently or a while ago, or you’re even thinking about living here, I’m sure you’ve asked these two questions; how far away is Summerville from the beach? And then, which beach is the best?
There are many differing opinions on which is best, but I’ll just share my opinion today. It really depends on how you want to experience the beach.
Folly Beach has the best waves and is where all the surfers go. It truly is on its own “beach time” with a laidback casual energy. On the creeks near Folly Beach you can find the shrimp boats, and get some great seafood at some of the restaurants out there. Tourism is big on Folly, as they have the Tides Hotel, some smaller motels, and lots of homes for rent. The fishing pier is a great place to watch the waves crash in. They also have events on the fishing pier such as monthly shag night hosted by the Charleston County Parks. Folly Beach County Park is at the end of Folly that’s open to the public. They have bath houses and a concession stand that’s open during the summer. Lifeguards keep the swimmers safe and there’s plenty of parking. Plenty of parking is relative at any of the beaches, parking is tight everywhere. Just a tip, when you park anywhere at any of the beaches, make sure your tires are totally off the road. This avoids getting a parking ticket, or even towed. From Summerville, Folly Beach is about 35 miles and takes a little under an hour to get there.
Isle of Palms is also a popular beach in the Charleston area. It’s formed by the Inter-coastal Waterway and the ocean. They have miles of beaches, a marina, great local restaurants and is very community oriented. They have plenty of condos and houses to rent, and places to stay. The resort, Wild Dunes, is at the end of Isle of Palms. It offers all the resort style amenities such as golf, tennis, on-site dining, as well as homes for rent near or on the beach. The Isle of Palms County Park offers plenty of parking, seasonal lifeguards, showers and concession stands. From Summerville, Isle of Palms is 38 miles away and takes under an hour to get there.
Sullivans Island is connected to Isle of Palms, separated by Breach Inlet. It’s actually my favorite beach in the Charleston area. It still has that old beach town feel with older houses, larger lots, front porches, and no hotels and few rentals. This keeps the tourists on the beach to a minimum. There’s some good restaurants on all the beaches, but Poe’s Tavern on Sullivan Island is definitely my favorite. It was named after author Edgar Allen Poe who was stationed at Fort Moultrie in the early 1800’s. Be sure to sit outside or on the porch. There’s plenty of history on Sullivans with Fort Moultrie and remnants of the military being there. Sullivans Island is 32 miles away and takes a little over half an hour to get there.
On all these beaches you can walk pretty much anywhere. Isle of Palms and Folly you can rent chairs, umbrellas, and all that you might need for a day at the beach. Live music of all kinds grace the evenings, and the nightlife is active. There are lots of rooftop bars and restaurants that are fun to sit out and enjoy the breeze and the ocean view. While most of the islands are extremely busy during the summer, my favorite time to go to the beach is the winter. Hence why I’m writing this post in January!! You do have to bundle up but walking the beach on a crisp morning with very few people brings a sense of peace and calm. If you hit the tide just right you’ll also find some great seashell treasures, maybe even a sand dollar or two. Let me know which beach you like best and why.