When the founding fathers of Folly Beach changed the name of Coffin Island to Folly Island, they no doubt made life much easier for today’s real estate agents. Two accounts exist over how old Coffin Island gained its morbid moniker: the first is that a 1700 shipwreck near Folly’s coast caused bodies to wash ashore, the second, that shipping vessels headed into Charleston Harbor would first abandon their dead and dying crew on the island to avoid being quarantined. Whatever the reason for its old name, Folly prospered mightily once it was given its happier new title, quickly cultivating a reputation as one of Coastal Carolina’s best vacation spots.
The small island played a vital role in the War Between the States. In happier days, Folly served as an amusement area for Charlestonians and vacationers from out of town; such big names as Glen Miller and Tommy Dorsey used to draw crowds to dances on the old Folly Beach Pier. Composer George Gershwin even stayed at Folly to soak up local color when composing the score to Porgy and Bess in the 1930s.
The ocean’s balmy temperature allows swimming nearly the year-round, and with the new, post-Hugo Folly Beach Pier stretching deep into the Atlantic, Folly also boasts an active, passionate fishing community. Local surfers generally consider Folly’s Washout area the best surfing in the Charleston area. Though the island is home to just over 2,000 people, Folly serves as a playland for all of Charleston.
Just fifteen minutes from downtown Charleston, Folly Beach is ideally situated for those desiring a sunny, seaside retirement, yet concerned about straying too far from civilization. Admission to this easygoing community runs anywhere from $250,000 and up for a three-bedroom, three bathroom home.