Our guide to
Post and Courier Staff
would argue that if it has sand, water and crabs, it's a beach. Others would
argue that's the community pool. But whatever your definition of "beach,"
different people have different needs when choosing a local beach destination.
a 27-year-old College
of Charleston graduate and obsessive surfer says, "When I go to the beach, I
have one thing on my mind: waves. And girls ... I guess that's two things." Then
there's 41-year-old Justin Lake. Unlike Keelan, Lake has all the chicks he can
handle. In fact he has four of them -- his wife and three daughters. So while
Keelan is looking for a beach with good surf and single women, Lake is looking
for a spot where he can take his family to "get some peace and quiet" (if that's
possible with two 6-year-olds and a 9-year-old).
there are many factors to take into account when choosing your favorite strand
of sand -- waves, crowds, age, water sports, animal laws, parking, alcohol laws,
you name it. And you thought going to the beach was as simple as grabbing a
towel and sunblock. Well, it isn't. (You need a swimsuit.)
So if you have
kids like Lake, we'll suggest the ideal beach. If you want to
surf like Keelan, we've got that covered, too. Want to take the dog for a walk?
Some beaches are more canine-friendly than others.
your needs are, we'll highlight the good, the bad and the sandy and get you
headed in the right direction (which is east, essentially).
If you're into
surfing, this part of our beach guide is a no-brainer: go to the Washout at Folly Beach.
Tim McKevlin, whose family started McKevlin's Surf Shop in 1965, it's "the best
spot in South Carolina."
isn't exactly a heavyweight with the international surfing community, it has
made the pages of several international surfing magazines and even a few
well-known surfing videos.
And it's easy
to find. At the traffic light take a left and the small strip of beach is almost
two miles down. When the houses disappear and rocks line the beachfront, you're
there. When it comes to wave action, the determining factor is wind. Unlike good
surfing spots in Hawaii or California, the waves here usually depend on it.
true surfers will head to Folly, some who live closer to Sullivan's Island and
Isle of Palms would rather take their chances east of the Cooper. So here are a
few alternate locales 22-year surfing veteran Sean Schwartz said surfers should
try, including "near the pier at Isle of Palms and behind Bert's Bar on
there's a sandbar (near 25th Avenue) on the Isle of Palms that makes for some
surprisingly good waves," Schwartz said. Also, a place he claims is a fairly
well-kept secret (at least it was) is "The Point," which is located at
the very end of Wild Dunes.
"There is a
great short right and left that can dump there," he said.
surfers that and they'll understand," he added.
because Schwartz has revealed some of his favorite spots, doesn't mean he isn't
protective of them.
"Just be sure
to tell beginners that when the waves are good, stay home. All it does is stink
up the lineup."
ME (WHEN I LEAVE)
If you're idea
of going on a date involves getting an online password or anything inflatable,
you need to get out more. And we have just the beach spot.
The best beach
for young singles is Folly. If you're on the market, or even "just looking,"
Folly will rarely disappoint.
a longtime College
of Charleston "attendee" (in his own words), loves coming to Folly just to check
out the ladies.
generally go for guys like me, so I've just decided to stop worrying about
impressing them. I pretty much just go to the beach and stare," he said.
locations that feature "talent" include the beach behind the Windjammer, Banana
Cabana and Coconut Joe's on Isle of Palms.
boardwalks that head out to the beach, keeping you in touch with the sand and
the bar at the same time.
And if you
happen to be on Sullivan's, hang around Dunleavy's, Bert's and Poe's Tavern. All
located in the heart of the island, they feature a mixed crowd and aren't too
far from the beach.
"I love Poe's
because I can get a burger and just sit and watch people come and go. And while
there are plenty of ugly people in this world, there are still some attractive
ones, too," said 29-year-old Steve Peters.
beaches have their spots for singles, Folly is best for the younger crowd (and
those desperately hanging onto youth), while Isle of Palms and Sullivan's have a
more diverse set of generations.
ALL IN THE
On the other
hand, if you already have kids and can't find anyone to sell them to, we have
the right spot for you. The Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island are
unquestionably the winners of the family beach award. (Note: This is not a real
Ward Wilson visits the Isle of Palms every year the week after the Fourth of
July. He comes with his wife and two kids from Iowa. They stay at Wild Dunes and
"it's a chance to unwind." For one week out of the year, his biggest concern
isn't persuading a jury to find his client innocent, it's getting his 5-year-old
out of the water at the end of the day.
"Now that's a
chore," he said.
looking to crack into a case of warm PBR, Folly Beach is your best bet.
"We're one of
the last beaches you can carry a cooler on," said Folly Beach Chief of Police
George Tittle. "However, no cans or bottles (are allowed) on the beach. But as
long as you keep it in your cups or cooler ... you can have it on the beach," he
On the other
hand, if you're going to IOP or Sullivan's, be warned: Alcohol is prohibited on
"No alcohol is
allowed on the beach or on the roads," said Janet Mauldin, city clerk for the
town of Isle
of Palms. That's right, drinking and driving is out of the question.
even drink and walk," she said.
SAY NO TO
If there's one
thing that cracks up Folly Police Chief Tittle, it's thongs.
The man who
once said "The buttocks showing is not proper" will reluctantly admit there
aren't any specific laws against wearing thongs, "butt" he'd rather if people
line is: "As long as they're not up parading around, it's OK," he said.
As far as Isle
of Palms and Sullivan's Island
go, the rules are fairly similar.
"We do have a
clause where people can't have any of their private parts showing," said Mauldin
about the Isle of Palms' stance on indecent exposure.
will go out and tell them to put clothes on and if they don't, they'll be
ticketed just like anybody else," she said.
In case you're
wondering, police code for illegal possession of crack is "11357."
MY DOGS ARE
If you're one
of those people who can't even go to the bathroom without your dog by your side,
listen up. Here are the rules for the local beaches concerning man's best
Leash laws are
in effect at all three beaches. When you can have your canine on the beach and
when you can take him off the leash (if at all) differ at Charleston's public
At IOP -- the
most dog-friendly of the three -- dogs are allowed on the beach at all times,
but they must be leashed. The only time dogs can run free is 5-8 a.m., and the owners must be with the dog(s) and have a leash in
Island, no dogs are allowed on the beach 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Dogs must be leashed 6
p.m.-5 a.m. Between 5-10 a.m. dogs can be free, as long as the owner is with the
dog(s) and carrying a leash.
Folly is the
least dog-friendly. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, dogs can't be on the beach, period.
During the other times, dogs must be on a leash.
think local law enforcement isn't serious about the rules.
"I think we've
warned enough," said Chief Tittle.
enough signs up all over the place, so people should know."
The fine for
breaking the leash law is pretty hefty on all three beaches. If you don't follow
the rules, a fine can be as much as $500.
other animals, the rules are a bit more hazy.
Sullivan's Island Chief Danny Howard, the other day somebody called to tell him
that there was a different kind of animal on the beach -- a ferret.
"To be honest
with you I'm not really sure what the law is in regards to ferrets. The law
specifically says dogs. I hope the Ferret Owners Society doesn't decide to have
a conference down on the beach," he said.
A DAY AT
nothing more annoying in the Lowcountry than trying to find a parking place. And
the beach is no different.
On Folly the
problem is obvious -- the island is small, and there are more people than there
are places to park. The beach has a couple of lots and some mini-parking lots
and, of course, parking is legal all along the streets as long as you don't park
on someone's property and keep your tires off the road.
On the Isle of
Palms, where parking is the most plentiful, there are a couple of municipal lots
where people can pay a flat rate ($5) and park all day. These lots are located
around the front beach area (Palm Boulevard) near many of the beach's stores,
restaurants and bars. Isle of Palms also has metered spaces around the newly
renovated front-beach area.
no parking lots, and it can be tough to find a spot to park when the beach is
busy. You can explore any of the "stations" (each block on Sullivan's has a
station number) to look for parking, you just never know which road will yield
the best results.
Folly and Isle
of Palms asks that when you do find a spot, get all four wheels off the road to
avoid a ticket or being towed.
"Unfortunately, a lot of our streets are difficult to get four tires off," said
Sullivan's Island Chief Howard. "We just ask that you get as much off as you
MINUTES AFTER EATING
If you don't
like lying on a towel and reading a book, there are plenty other activities to
enjoy at the beach.
you can rent a power ski. Sun & Ski (588-0033) on Folly Beach rents power skis
for a half-hour and hourly. Rates are $45 for half-hour, $75 for an hour (and
$10 more for an extra rider). Or try Tidal Wave Water Sports (886-8456) on Isle
of Palms. The company's rates are $75 for one person for an hour. For two
people, it's $95 and for three, $105. To rent one for an half-hour, it is $20
less ($55 single, $75 double, $85 triple). Just be sure to call for
If you want to
check out the beach from a slightly different angle, try parasailing. Also known
as skydiving for wimps, it can be just as fun. The City Marina (853-4386) offers
parasailing through Tidal Wave Water Sports on the Isle of Palms. Prices are $55
for 600 feet high or $75 for 1,000 feet high.
generally lasts between 8-14 minutes. If that sounds too daunting, take a friend
up for the same price and share the terror/experience.
If you like
volleyball, the place to be is the Isle of Palms. In fact, it is the only beach
that features several volleyball courts. With courts in the general vicinity of
the Windjammer and Banana Cabana, there's always a game to be found.
And if you
prefer the more grounded sport of fishing, you can head out to the Edwin S.
Taylor Fishing Pier on Folly.
County residents, it is $5 for adults to fish and $3 for children. For noncounty
residents, it is $8 for adults and $3 for children.
No matter what
your reason for going to the beach, this much is a constant: Melanoma and
dehydration are for real, kids. So pack some sunscreen and some water.
BEST BEACH BETS
idiot-proof chart will explain which
beach is best
YOU HAVE A
YOU WANT TO
YOU WANT TO
YOU HAVE A
AND QUIET: Sullivan's
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES: Folly/IOP
WANT TO GET