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Are you looking for a quick beach getaway from Charleston?

Folly Beach is the perfect laid-back beach spot you'll love to relax at.

Located just 12 miles away, this beautiful coastal town offers everything you need for an enjoyable and relaxing vacation or day trip.

Whether you’re looking to relax on the sand or explore all that this charming beach town has to offer, it’s easy to see why so many people flock here each year.

In this post, we will share how far is Folly Beach from Charleston and discuss the logistics of getting to there and parking options.

Folly Beach SC Pier over ocean at sunset

How Far is Folly Beach from Charleston?

Folly Beach is located just 12 miles away from downtown Charleston, South Carolina.

The drive takes around 20 minutes, with no traffic.

Unfortunately, there is only one road in and out of Folly Beach so that means traffic will happen – very similar to going to Rodanthe, NC in the Outer Banks.

During high travel times, you can expect your drive to be 30 minutes or more.

When is the best time of day to travel to Folly Beach from Charleston?

If you can, try to avoid rush hour traffic when traveling from Charleston to Folly Beach.

Rush hour in Charleston is usually between 7-9 am and 4-6 pm so plan accordingly if you can.

The best time of day to travel is during the middle part of the morning (10-12 pm) or afternoon (2-4 pm).

These times usually have lighter traffic and will help you get to your destination faster.

Additionally, weekends can be busier so if you’re planning a day trip, know that Saturday and Sunday the roads may be more congested.

Sign that says "Welcome Folly Beach" on the side of the road

How to Get to Folly Beach From Charleston


Driving is typically the most convenient way to get to Folly Beach.

If you're traveling from downtown Charleston, take Highway 17 South to Folly Road (Highway 171) and follow the signs to Folly Beach.

The journey takes around 20-25 minutes, depending on traffic.

Uber or Lyft

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are available in Charleston and can be a convenient way to get to Folly Beach if you don't have access to a car or prefer not to drive.

The cost of the ride will depend on your starting location and the time of day.


Biking to Folly Beach can be a fun and environmentally-friendly way to get there.

There are several bike rental shops in downtown Charleston where you can rent a bike for the day.

From downtown Charleston, you can take the West Ashley Greenway and the Ashley River Bridge before reaching Folly Beach.

The journey takes around 1 hour, depending on your starting location and biking speed.

Public Transit

CARTA, Charleston's public transit system, provides bus service around Charleston.

The #31 Folly Road bus route runs daily from downtown Charleston.

This route will not get you directly into Folly Beach but it is an inexpensive way to get closer if you are staying on the opposite side of Charleston.

The cost of the bus ride is $3.50 per route, with children under 6 free.

Folly Beach South Carolina Shoreline with ocean on one side and large homes and buildings opposite the sand

Parking at Folly Beach, South Carolina

There are several parking options available at Folly Beach, but parking can be limited during peak season and weekends.

Here's what you need to know about parking at Folly Beach.

Free Parking

There is free parking on Center Street so if you arrive to Folly Beach early enough – or are feeling lucky – grab one of these spots!

Side street parking is also free, but be sure to make sure you are not at or blocking a private residence.

Paystation Parking

There are several public parking lots available at Folly Beach including at many of the beach access points.

Additionally, you will find metered on-street parking available in many areas.

Most parking spots you find will cost $2/hour or $10 for the day.

Payment can be made using credit or debit card at the paystation or with the Passport Parking App.

Paid parking is enforced from 8am to 8pm.

Passport Parking App

The Passport Parking App can help you manage your payments so you don't need to find the payment kiosk.

Pay quickly, get alerts when your parking time is ending and add time to your parking spot all from your phone.

Get the app and set it up before visiting Folly Beach to save time.

Parking can be limited at Folly Beach, particularly during peak season and weekends.

Be sure to plan ahead and arrive early to secure a spot.

Additionally, be aware of parking regulations and restrictions to avoid any fines or towing.

Final Thoughts

So how far is Folly Beach from Charleston?

Just 12 miles away and about 20 minutes by car with no traffic.

However, you are bound to hit some traffic if traveling during peak season or certain times of the day.

Overall, Folly Beach is a great destination for a weekend getaway or day trip from Charleston.

Whether you’re looking to relax on the sand or explore this charming beach town, we think Folly Beach, SC is worth the drive!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Charleston have a beach?

While the city of Charleston is a harbor town, there are several beaches near Charleston. The closest beach to Charleston is Folly Beach.

Where is Folly Beach?

Folly Beach is a barrier island located just 12 miles away from downtown Charleston, South Carolina.

How long does it take to get to Folly Beach from Charleston?

The drive usually takes around 20 minutes with no traffic. During peak season or rush hour times, the drive can take up to 30 minutes or more.

How far is Folly Beach from Charleston International Airport?

Folly Beach is located about 20 miles from the Charleston International Airport, so a taxi or Uber will be your best bet for getting to the beach.

Can I take public transportation to Folly Beach?

The CARTA’s #31 Folly Road route gets you closer to Folly Beach, but you will need to catch a ride share or bike the rest of the way to the beach.

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