The surrounding barrier islands and beaches of Charleston have their own Southern charm, and give adventuresome travelers a chance to escape the city.
Free-spirited Folly Beach, with its mix of beachcombers and bohemians, is the most laidback of the local island scene. Spend the day watching surfers line up in the Washout, an area on the east side of Folly considered one of the best spots on the East Coast, then take a surfing lesson at Shaka Surf School. Hour-long semi-private and private lessons are available. Or try the weekend “Wemoon” camps for women. Weeklong vacationers and their kids also sign up for Shaka’s surf camps each morning from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Folly is also ideal for dolphin watching by boat or kayak with Flipper Finders tours. Head into the river to watch families of dolphins strand feed (a phenomenon where the mammals herd schools of fish onto shore), then launch onto the sand to dine before sliding back into the waves. There are also sunset tours of Folly River to see stingrays and bonnethead sharks, and moonlight tours of the creeks.