All the Rules on Folly Beach

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    All the Rules on Folly Beach
    Published: May 4, 2022

    When headed to Folly Beach, rules may not be the first thing on your mind, but the authorities out there can be strict, especially in the summertime when people are flocking to Charleston’s beaches, so it’s a good idea to be familiar with the do’s and don’t’s in the eyes of the law. What you do from there is up to you.

    Folly Beach has rules about dogs, parking, alcohol, and fishing, and depending on your beach day plans different ones may apply to you.

    To make things easier, we’ve broken down the important rules of Folly Beach, and organized them into neat little sections. That way you can enjoy a fun day on the beach without having to pay a ticket.


    Dog at the beach

    Folly Beach can be pretty strict on dogs, and in the peak season there are no dogs permitted on the beach at all for most of the day. Things are more lax in the off-season, but in the peak season you’ve got to know what’s up.

    • May 1st – September 30th: No Dogs Allowed 10am to 6pm
    • October 1st – April 30th: Dogs welcome

    Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times while on the beach. Some folks do get away with letting their dogs off the leash, but the regulations state that they must be leashed.

    Finally, something that goes for everywhere. If your dog leaves a big ole’ steaming pile of turd on the beach, please clean it up. Even if it’s just a small turd, clean it up. Nobody wants to step in a pile of poo.


    Example of the parking situation on Folly Beach. Photo borrowed from the Post & Courier.

    A fact that locals know but tourists don’t is that if you pay for parking on Folly Beach, you are being scammed. The paid lots charge exorbitant amounts of cash, when you could just drive down the street and park for free on the side of the road.

    However, there are some strict rules about parking on Folly Beach that are important to follow. They will not hesitate to write you a parking ticket, which is $60 right out the gate.

    Anywhere on the beach where there’s a house and there’s enough room to park on the side of the road is fair game, unless there are signs that say otherwise.

    The same rules apply for parking on the side of the road anywhere else, but Folly Beach is fairly specific about it. The following are the parking rules as listed on the City of Folly Beach website, in my own words:

    • All four tires must be off the road.
      • If there is a white line, all four tires must be inside the white line.
    • Park only with the flow of traffic, and parallel to the street.
    • Don’t block driveways.
    • Don’t park on a sidewalk or crosswalk.
    • Park at least 20 feet away from nearest intersection.
    • Park at least 15 feet away from nearest fire hydrant.
    • Don’t park on the dunes.
    • Don’t take up handicap spots if you’re not handicapped.
    • Yellow or red street lines means no parking.
      • Don’t park behind those lines either.

    The main rule is keeping all four tires off the road. If you can handle that, then you can park for free at Folly Beach.


    Drinking on Folly Beach, pre-2012. Photo borrowed from the Post & Courier.

    For many, alcohol and beach days go hand-in-hand. Folly Beach is a great place for that, with the town offering a wide variety of restaurants and bars and plenty of party-loving people to enjoy them with. However, drinking on the actual beach can be problematic, so you will want to keep the rules in mind.

    The law, as written, is that there is no possession or consumption of alcohol allowed on the beach.

    This is not something they are lax on either, so you will want to either leave the booze at home or find a crafty way to drink on the beach without getting caught.

    While I am not going to advise anybody on how to break the law, Slate has produced a handy guide called How To Drink In Public that may be of use to you.

    Some other Folly Beach rules related to alcohol, food, and its containers:

    • No glass allowed.
    • No plastic, styrofoam, or balloons allowed.
    • No littering.

    There was a time when drinking was allowed on Folly Beach, and things used to get pretty crazy over there on weekends. This being a college town and all, there was no shortage of parties.

    The Infamous 2012 Folly Beach Party.

    However, on 4th of July Weekend in 2012 some fools decided to bring a keg on the beach without a permit, and then fought the cops who told them they couldn’t have the keg. After that the city banned drinking on all of its beaches across the board, and those who still wanted to drink were left to do so in secret.


    Folly Beach fishing pier.

    Fishing on Folly Beach, and in the greater Charleston area, is known to be excellent. There is a fishing pier right in the center of town (currently under construction until Spring of 2023), and you can fish off the beach as long as you’re outside of the swimming area.

    The designated swimming area is located right next to the pier, where they have lifeguards and such. The rest of the beach is not regulated in this way and technically you can fish anywhere.

    Keep in mind the beach is often packed with people during the months of May through September, so you will have to find a more remote location to fish.

    Down by the Morris Island Lighthouse is a nice, secluded area where nobody swims because the currents are too strong. That’s where I’d recommend if you’re trying to do some shore fishing in the summertime.

    Otherwise, there are many fishing charters in the area that will happily take you out on the water for the day. Check out Fishing Booker to see what’s available.

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