Folly Beach, SC

Folly Beach was not always the laid-back beach town it is today.

Despite stories to the contrary, the island was not named in honor of a monumental mistake. Instead, it was called Folly because of the thick folly brush that engulfed the island. It was named Folly Island by Union Troops, who spent weeks of ridiculously difficult labor clearing the brush in the center of the island. The dense outer brush was the perfect cover for Rebel spotters, totally obscuring troop movements as Union forces mounted attacks on Confederate outposts.

For years Folly Beach has been Charleston's playground... and life on the island revolves around the Atlantic Ocean

Before being known as Folly, the island had a more morbid moniker – Coffin Island – and for good reason. In the early 1700s several hundred bodies washed ashore from a ship that had sunk offshore. From that point, the island was used as a drop off point where ships would expunge their sick and dead before entering Charleston Harbor.

But with its new name it became the happy little island known as the “Edge of America.”

For years Folly Beach has been Charleston’s playground. In it’s hay day in the ‘20s through the end of the World War II, carnival rides and big band leaders like Glen Miller and Tommy Dorsey attracted people from up and down the East Coast. By day visitors would lie in the sun and play in the warm waters of the Atlantic. By night they would dance to some of the biggest names in music under the stars of the dancing pavilion. The island even served as a muse: the great George Gershwin holed up in a bungalow on the island while composing the American classic Porgy and Bess.

Recreation is life on Folly Beach, and life on the island revolves around the Atlantic Ocean. The Folly Beach Pier draws anglers from around the world, and the Washout, on the northern end of the six-mile-long island, is the premier surf break in the Southeast. The island also features a full service marina and boat landing.

Just 15 minutes from downtown Charleston, Folly Beach is ideally suited for those desiring a sunny, seaside retirement, yet concerned about straying too far away from the civilized world.

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