Folly Beach or Isle of Palms: Which Beach Is Best for You?

If you’re trying to choose between Folly Beach or Isle of Palms, you’ve come to the right place. Although both towns offer incredible beaches and close proximity to historic Charleston, they can provide two very different beach vacations. That’s why we’ve narrowed it down, so you can decide which beach best fits what you’re looking for.

When you visit the Lowcountry, there is so much to do outside of the beach!
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Should You Visit Folly Beach or Isle of Palms?


Folly Beach and Isle of Palms are both on the South Carolina coast near downtown Charleston. IOP is east of the peninsula, while Folly is west. Folly is about 11 miles away from the Holy City making it slightly closer than Isle of Palms, which is about 14 miles from the city. Both towns provide tons of beach access, so no matter where you decide to stay, you’ll be within walking distance to world-class shorelines.

Beach Towns

The overall atmosphere of these two beach towns can be very different at times. Folly Beach is known as a funky, laid-back town with vibrant people. Lively restaurants and bars line Center Street as the main strip guides you to the beach. Isle of Palms is just as laid-back but with more of a classic beachy vibe. Beach shops and oceanfront restaurants sit along Ocean Boulevard perfect for an evening stroll with an ice cream cone from the local Ben and Jerry’s.

Both beaches are family-friendly and great for kids! If this is your main deciding factor between Folly Beach or Isle of Palms, we recommend Folly for families with older kids and teenagers and IOP for toddlers and younger children. Teenagers will love learning how to surf at Folly Beach, known to have the best waves off the coast of South Carolina. Wild Dunes Resort in Isle of Palms is perfect for families with young kids looking for tons of hassle-free amenities.



Unlike Folly Beach, Isle of Palms is home to a large beach resort. Wild Dunes features both convenient condos and large beach homes all within the resort. You’ll have access to on-site amenities like two golf courses, community pools, beach rentals, and more!

Beach Activities

It’s no secret that both Isle of Palms and Folly Beach offer amazing public beaches with tons of things to do! Whichever you choose to visit, we highly recommend kayaking around the barrier islands.

If you’re looking to throw in a line on your vacation, Folly Beach offers amazing fishing. A favorite spot for both locals and tourists to catch fish at different depths is the Folly Beach Fishing Pier.

Because there are so many beautiful nearby beaches in the Lowcountry, why not take a day trip to discover another shoreline? Isle of Palms neighbors the quiet beach town of Sullivan’s Island. It’s a great place for a sunset walk on the beach or a unique dining experience.

If you’re visiting the Charleston area just for the day, county parks sit on both beaches and provide amenities like beach rentals, dressing rooms, and lifeguards on duty. You’ll spot the Isle of Palms County Park shortly after you drive onto the barrier island on 14th Avenue. Folly Beach County Park sits on the west end of the island making it a bit more secluded.

Where to Stay

Humphreys Hideaway oceanfront view

Charleston Coast Vacations offers more than 100 vacations within both beach towns. You can easily choose between rentals in Folly Beach or Isle Palms by location, size, and amenities. That way you can find the property that meets your group’s every want and need. We have everything from spacious condos within Wild Dunes to one-of-kind homes you can only find in a town as unique as Folly Beach.

Browse our VACATION RENTALSnow and start planning your getaway to the Lowcountry today!


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