Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Charlestonians are faced with a monumental question in the summer: Which beach do you go to? The answer says a lot about the kind of person you are. My longtime favorite, Sullivan's Island, is low-key and family-friendly with tree-lined paths to the beach, cute older cottages, and a sprinkling of sandy bars. Isle of Palms is full of newer, bigger homes, tourists, and rowdy rock shows and bikini bashes. If you go to Capers or Dewees islands, you either have a boat or know someone who has one. If you go to Kiawah or Seabrook, you're probably loaded.
And then there's Folly Beach, the old-fashioned "edge of America" populated by hippies, surfers, and other laid-back beach bums. There you can have drinks on the sand, catch some of the area's biggest (though still small) waves, grab brunch on a rooftop deck, and still find a halfway affordable rental property. Yet somehow, I've never been a fan of Folly.
But I'm starting to warm up to it. I've had to drive out there a few times to research island restaurants for work, and I felt a distinct shift somewhere between munching on tuna nachos with watermelon salsa and watching the sun set from the pier. The traffic might be bad and the parking worse, but Folly Beach really is a special place, when you slow down to enjoy it. It's all about lingering over margaritas on a breezy patio, walking down the street with an ice cream cone, and watching the sun set.