First up, congrats to Cyndi. I drew her name to win the paint giveaway from my previous post about Charleston. Today I’m sharing the last post from our trip. Be sure to read all the way to the end for another paint giveaway!
While the first half of our trip to Charleston was spent exploring historical sites and admiring beautiful homes and gardens, the 2nd half was spent at the beach. Folly Beach, to be specific. We packed up all of our stuff, checked out of our first hotel and drove about 20 minutes to hotel #2 so that we could stay right on the beach.
Here is how visitfolly.com describes Folly Beach …
Folly Beach, South Carolina is one of America’s last true beach towns. Just minutes from historic downtown Charleston, Folly Beach is a 12 square mile barrier island that is packed with things to do, see and eat. This is a funky, laid-back, come-as-you-are kind of beach. The pace is invitingly slow, the people are captivatingly unique and the shops and restaurants will receive you with good old fashioned Southern charm and hospitality. It won’t take long for you to feel right at home.
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Folly River, visitors enjoy six miles of wide beaches, surfing, fishing, biking, kayaking, boating, eco-tours, and sea wildlife including several endangered species. The sunsets on Folly are legendary, so make sure you have plenty of space on your camera or smart phone … seriously, free up lots of space!
A few steps from the beach, downtown Folly features an eclectic array of locally owned stores and restaurants. Fun bohemian clothing, beach knick-knacks and surf shops are mixed with fantastic seafood restaurants, casual cafes and one-of-a-kind bars. With live music coming from all directions and fruity cocktails calling your name, your cares will melt away as you become lost in the Folly lifestyle. And when the sun goes down, Center Street becomes a lively mix of beach-casual nightlife and rooftop dance clubs.
Whether you need a beach front home for 20 or a romantic room for the two of you, Folly Beach is the perfect spot for vacations, reunions, beach weddings, or just a quick weekend getaway. Come visit us at ‘The Edge of America’ … you’ll love life on the edge.
I have to say, for a marketing blurb, it’s fairly accurate. Folly absolutely felt like a funky, laid-back beach town. We had some great seafood, some delicious cocktails and listened to some live music. Everyone we met there was friendly and welcoming. The staff at our hotel were exceptionally good (and after the really awful staff at our first hotel, this was a welcome change).
Speaking of our hotel, we stayed at Tides Folly Beach.
What I thought was really unique about this hotel was that every room was truly ocean-front. In the photo above you’re looking at the street facing side of the building. This is where the open air hallways and doors to the rooms are. I’ve put a little arrow on the photo to show the location of our room, we were on the 7th floor.
Once you step into the room, all you’ll notice is the wall of glass looking out the opposite side onto the Atlantic Ocean.
Full disclosure, I did not take that photo. I borrowed it from the web. However, that is basically what our room looked like with the exception of the pretty aqua colored bed spreads. We had some really drab beige colored spreads that were itchy and kind of gross. Also, our room never looked that tidy. One of the outcomes of COVID is that most hotels no longer clean your room during your stay. I’ve stayed in … let’s see … five hotel rooms over the last year and none of them offered maid service every day. The Disney hotels cleaned your room every 3rd day, but the rest did not clean the room at all regardless of duration of stay. The Tides staff did say that you can request maid service, but you have to do so 24 hours in advance. We probably should have done that because by day 3 there was so much sand on our floor that we may as well have been sleeping on the beach.
But … that view!
That view was worth having a little sand on the floor.
While lying in bed you couldn’t even see the beach, just the water, so it felt a lot like being on a cruise ship with the vast ocean outside your window (minus the motion of the ship).
I was fascinated by the pelicans that would glide silently past our balcony. Since we were on the 7th floor, they were right at eye level. I was never quick enough with my camera to get a photo of them from the room, but I did snap this one from the beach.
Looking down from our juliette balcony (if you aren’t familiar, this is a balcony that is only about 2′ wide, no space for chairs) you’ll see the pool.
I took that photo in the early morning before it was full of
screaming children playing. For the remainder of the daylight hours the pool was packed full. As a result, we never went there, choosing instead to spend our time on the beach.
If you step out the door from your room into the open air hallway, you’ll see Center Street which basically ends at the hotel.
This street is lined with restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. I’ve put an arrow on the photo showing our favorite place to eat, Rita’s Seaside Grille.
We ate there three times … no wait … four times. Three of which were breakfast. They had the most amazing Belgian waffles and a delicious peach bellini mimosa.
In the end, our favorite thing to do at the beach is to get up early and walk along the shore.
In my experience not all beach locales are conducive to this activity. For example, we once stayed at La Jolla de Mismaloya in Puerto Vallarta which is situated in a cove that didn’t allow you to walk much in either direction.
But you can walk quite far on Folly Beach (the beach is six miles long). We walked to the southern-most tip of the island where the Folly River meets the Atlantic one morning, and as you can see we pretty much had it entirely to ourselves.
We debated walking up the other direction to see the Morris Island lighthouse, but in the end we decided we weren’t up for the 8 miles round trip.
We enjoyed checking out some of the beachfront homes while we were out walking.
Mr. Q and I dreamed about how amazing it would be to live right on the beach. We don’t even need a big ol’ fancy house like that one. We’d be happy in a little cottage by the sea. But as seems to be the trend in most waterfront locations, there are only a handful of small vintage cottages remaining. I suspect that they get torn down to make way for the huge, expensive homes. Although, to be fair, Hurricane Hugo did blast through Folly Beach in 1989 damaging many of the homes. That may also explain why there are so few small, older beach cottages left.
One last thing. Before you get the impression that the beach always looked like this …
Let me clarify.
That’s how it looked at 7 a.m. before anyone showed up. Later in the day this beach was positively packed with people.
If you’re looking for a quiet, peaceful beach vacation, this may not be the spot for you. However, it’s a great spot for families, and for those looking for more of a party atmosphere.
As we realized at the end of our beach stay, Mr. Q and I are really rather lame. We could have done so much more in Folly Beach, rented bikes, taken surfing lessons, played volleyball, danced all night at the rooftop bars, but instead we mostly just relaxed on the beach, ate delicious seafood, and enjoyed a few cocktails.
FYI, that shrimp was delicious, and the cocktail was called ‘And Just Like That’, so clearly I had to have one (it was your basic Cosmopolitan with the addition of POM juice).
As you can probably tell from my photos, we were blessed with absolutely perfect weather the entire time we were in Folly. This was a great way to end our Charleston vacation. Although we stayed right there on the beach, you could also easily plan a day at Folly Beach while staying in Charleston as well.
Before I totally wrap up my Charleston blog posts, I have another paint giveaway for you guys. Obviously, this one is inspired by the colors of Folly Beach; Stormy Seas, Endless Shore and Wharf.
The rules: To be eligible to win, simply leave a comment on this blog post (you could tell me about your favorite beach. Folly Beach was fabulous, but my all-time favorite beach is definitely White Bay on Jost van Dyke.)
Your comment must be left on this blog post, not on Facebook or Instagram. You are not required to follow my blog, although it would be awesome if you did!
I will randomly draw the name of a winner for today’s prize from all of the comments left on this post by Sunday, May 22, 2022 at the stroke of midnight (U.S. Central time).
The fine print: no purchase necessary, you must be 18 years of age or older to win, void where prohibited by law, the number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning, approximate retail value of prize is $95, if the prize is not claimed by Friday, May 27, 2022 another name will be drawn at random to win, blah, blah, blah.
Thank you to Dixie Belle Paint Co for providing the paint I’m giving away today.