The Perfect Beach Town: Folly Beach, SC

Enjoy fresh seafood, surf shops and newly renovated hotels in this laid-back Charleston town.
Article: David Hanson

The Vibe 
It's been said that Folly is Charleston's Venice Beach—more board shorts and flip-flops than khakis and penny loafers. Take Bert's Market. Bert lost the keys years ago, but the 24/7, 365 grocery store lives by its motto, "We may doze, but we never close."

What to Do
The oldest surf shop in South Carolina, McKevlin's Surf Shop (843/588-2247) was opened in 1965 by a family that saw Folly grow without cluttering its beach with high-rises. For the island's best sunset-plus-dolphins view, join locals for some Frogmore Stew at Bowens Island Restaurant.

Where to Eat
Four surfer buddies opened the Folly Beach Brew Pub (843/588-0095), bringing in craft beer to complement long-standing breakfast joint Lost Dog Café (843/588-9669), where locals gather over cinnamon rolls and lingering coffee sessions. BLU (843/588-6658) lures in locavore foodies with super-fresh red drum from Swimming Rock Farms, a nearby sustainable aqua-culture farm, and brown shrimp brought in daily from local purveyors.

Where to Stay
The newly renovated Tides Hotel (843/588-6464) sits right on the beach (from $239). Water's Edge Inn (843/588-9800) has eight rooms and two private villas (from $280).