When the beach is a four-hour drive and you have ONE day to make the most of it, you don’t want to waste time! You want to drive straight to the beach and stay as long as you can before exhaustion sets in and it’s time to drive all the way back home.
Avoid the bigger beach crowds and head to a lesser known beach just south of Charleston, South Carolina, called Folly Beach.
Folly Beach is nestled between the Folly River and the Atlantic Ocean, just fifteen minutes from downtown Charleston. Technically a barrier island, Folly Beach packs a lot of history and charm in it’s seven-mile-long barrier reef.
5 Tips For the Best Kid Friendly Beach Day Trip from the Charlotte Area to Folly Beach, South Carolina
- Shop the Local Stores for Beach Supplies
Pick up last minute beach supplies (not readily available in land-locked stores): shovels, buckets and, most importantly, boogie boards! My kids have so much fun along the beach with just the boogie boards we were devastated when we couldn’t find them in Charlotte. Then elated when there were plenty to choose from at the local Walmart for about $20 each. Walmart is located on Folly Road about 6 miles before you get to Folly Beach. We found that shops along the shore sell them for about double that price!
- Grab Easy Subway Sandwiches
Stock up on cooler items the night before: water, chocolate snacks, veggie sticks and ice. But avoid the soggy sandwich problem by locating the closest Subway to the beach and pop in for family friendly subs you can bring with you to the beach. I have yet to meet a small town that doesn’t have a Subway in it. They are guaranteed EVERYWHERE. There is a Subway on the corner of Center and Huron right in Folly.
- Park for $10
Parking directly in the Folly Beach County Park is only $10 – and even mid-morning on a Saturday in July there was plenty of parking spots. The beach didn’t get very crowded. And the walk from the parking to the water’s edge was a short walk. Port-A-Potties were nearby and Lifeguards kept the beach safe. I was disappointed there wasn’t a shower stall nearby to wash off the sand before we left the beach? There are showers but they are close to the entrance of the park.
- Don’t Miss Tokyo Crepes!
When the afternoon rain showers come (and they always do) take a walk around the shopping streets of Folly Beach and duck into the tourist shops if starts raining. After you buy your required beach shirt or Folly memento mug head towards the beach on the main street and turn left at the last street. Tokyo Crepes is a food truck begging for you to come find it. Off the beaten path? You bet! Try the Banana Dynamite $5, you’ll thank me. Plus savory and breakfast crepes too.
- Eat Dinner on the Way Home
When you are all beached out and you’ve seen all the fun shops in Folly it’s time to head home. Instead of fighting traffic and parking in Folly or even nearby in Charleston, let your GPS locate a few restaurant options an hour or so down the road. Everyone will be ready for dinner and probably ready for a pit stop as well.
Our family is completely smitten with South Carolina beaches! First of all, the water is WARM. In July and August the ocean temps are in the mid-80s. Coming from Oregon it feels like a bathtub! Beaches in South Carolina are free to the public, however parking is often your biggest hurdle.
Even around Thanksgiving the water temperatures are still in the 70s, with air temps averaging 70 degrees as well.