Residents of Folly (rhymes with Polly) Beach like to think of themselves as free spirited, counter-cultural mavericks. And things are sorta of funky-cool on the island that bills itself as the Edge of America. In our opinion, Folly offers up the most authentic beach town atmosphere in the area, complete with a vibrant mainstreet district that is home to surf shops, restaurants, bars, t-shirts shops and Town Hall. You'll also find one of the East Coast's largest fishing piers, Morris Island Lighthouse, hundreds of vacation rental homes and the beachfront Holiday Inn (an edifice whose controversial approval still upsets locals). To cement its cool status, Folly attracts surfers far and wide to the Charleston area's best breaks at The Washout on the island's northeast side.
Although the past decade has seen its share of knockdowns for new construction, many of the classic old beach cottages still stand. The lots are mostly smaller here, which gives the homes a cozy, intimate setting. If you're looking for an unpretentious community by the sea, Folly Beach should be your first stop.