Folly Beach is the No. 1 place for surfing in South Carolina. It is among one of the top surfing destinations along the entire East Coast, in fact.
Why is Folly Beach an epic place for surfing on the East Coast? First, Folly has nice long stretches of beach. But it also has an inherent surfer vibe and culture, as well as enough other island attractions to entertain the surfer dude and dude-ette crowd.
Along Center Street are some neat grunge bars (one even called the Surf Bar) that play folksy alternative rock, provide an ultra-friendly environment (it's the South y'all), and offer good food to fill the tank after a rad day on the waves. There are more dudes sporting dreadlocks this side of California!
Depending on the weather, waves can range from small and gentle (good for beginners) to 10-foot swells if a storm is brewing.
Where to Surf: The best places to catch some nice swells are the Washout and near the Folly Fishing Pier.
Surfing Hazards: Minor potential hazards include sharks and jellyfish (especially in August), but the more likely hazards are simply ensuring you know about rip currents, not surfing too close to the pier, and changes in the weather. Know your capabilities when you're cramping, injured, or tired. And it is best to surf with a friend.
When To Surf: Many don wet suits and surf all year. Spring water temperatures range from around 60-70, so a wet suit or jacket is often needed. In the summer the water is quite warm - like bathwater. In the fall, temperatures can be quite comfortable in September and October, but it starts getting a little chilly come late fall.
Surf Shops: Two surf shops offer board rentals, demos and repair, and can provide pointers such as surf reports and local recommendations. Both McKelvin's Surf Shop and Ocean Surf Shop are located on Center Street in the heart of Folly Beach.
Surf Lessons: If you're a beginner, you can take advantage of several surfing schools that provide boards and lessons. Even if you're not a beginner and want to pick up some new tips and improve some skills, these outfits are a good option: Isla Surf School, Folly Eva Surf School, Folly Beach Surf Lessons.
Surf Boards: For most people, a long board that is at least 8' 6" is recommended for typical waves on Folly Beach. But if you're more of an expert and you're coming to hit the bigger waves, you'll want to bring a short board.
Surf Cam & Surf Report: You can watch live cams as well as get water temperature, wave height and wind speed, air temperature, and the short and long-term weather forecast by clicking on the links here: The Washout | Folly Beach Pier