It can be a challenge for the first timer to find parking on Folly Beach because it is such a popular place. Weekdays are usually easier to cruise onto the beach but weekends can be the busiest times, and knowing where your going can help ease the stress. When you visit, it's best to know the parking rules and find a spot where you can easily carry your gear onto the sand and enjoy your beach day. There are destinations with amenities that could fill up easily. Off street parking is available throughout Folly with these rules- all 4 tires must be off the street, it must be facing the direction of the traffic, and do not block driveways. There are paid parking lots near Center Street and at the walkovers on nearly every block, and you can pay using the directions on the 'Pay Here' sign (picture to the right). Free parking is available off the street as described below. You may be looking for a place to park with amenities like showers and bathrooms so find out more about these areas by reading below.
Folly Beach Pier
Paid entry to the Pier where allows you to enjoy showers, bathrooms, covered picnic tables, volleyball courts, a gift shop and a restaurant. You will also be in the middle of all the action on Center Street with shops and restaurants all within a few steps. The Pier is part of Charleston County Parks and allows fishing with fishing pole rentals at the gift shop. Stay straight through the light on Center Street and turn left onto East Arctic. The Pier is the first right past the Hotel.
Folly Beach County Park
On the West end of Folly Beach is the Folly Beach County Park with paid parking on a wide stretch of beach. Parking costs $10 Monday through Friday and $15 on weekends. If you have a Gold County Park Pass then parking is free. This is the largest parking area on Folly and can hold a large number of beachgoers. There are showers, bathrooms, and lifeguards. There is a small snack bar (seasonally), but bring food because there aren't any restaurants nearby. This is a very spacious beach with the largest parking area on Folly, and you can enjoy beautiful views of the Folly River, Bird Key, and Kiawah Island across the Inlet. From Center Street take a right onto West Ashley and follow it to the end.
3rd Street West City Park
One of the smaller lots on the island, this one can fill up quickly. It is still close to Center Street, it is a convenient walk to restaurants and shops just two blocks away. It is a paid parking lot with showers and bathrooms. There are handicapped parking spaces and access ramps to the beach. From Center Street take a right onto Ashley and it will be 2 blocks down on the left.
There is paid parking at the Washout in spaces off the street. This is a popular surf spot and you will be able to watch the locals carve some waves. When the waves are flatter it is easier to find a spot. There are boxes to pay that give you a receipt for a specific time. There are restrooms at the very East end of the Washout and a shower. From Center Street, take a left onto East Ashley and follow about 14 blocks until there are no longer oceanfront homes and you will arrive at the Washout.
Off Street Parking
You can park for free in spaces off the street on nearly every block on Folly. If you take a left on East Arctic you can drive blocks where you will see cars parked on the sides of Arctic and in the first few blocks of the cross streets. This is allowed and free but there are limited amenities and you are pretty much on your own. There are walkovers at every block intersection and one in the middle of every block of Arctic.
It can be important to have close access to the beach and easy walkover transitions. Seek out these areas and plan to come early if it is absolutely necessary to your enjoyment. Locations that have designated are 1660 E Ashley, The Pier, West 3rd Street Park, and Folly Beach County Park. The east end of the washout has designated parking and restrooms but had some damage to the walkover and is currently under construction and the beach ramp is not accessible (5/26/17). Locations with just ramps or no stairs to the beach are West 9th Street, East 2nd Street, and East 5th Street.