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Your guide to beach parking in Charleston

Beach parking can be a pain — let us help you find a spot at Folly, IOP, or Sullivan’s.

This photo shows Folly Beach.

A packed day on Folly Beach could mean a packed parking lot.

Photo by @lukescraftpizza

The weather’s heating up, but before you grab your Stanley, pack your snacks, and throw everything in the beach bag, let’s review where you can throw it in park. Keep reading for the lowdown on parking at our three Charleston-area beaches.

City Editor Callie here. Although all of our beach cities do a great job of providing visitor parking, when you consider the popularity of our shores and the number of visitors — there’s no question as to why spaces fill up fast. Pro tip: Arrive early to avoid wasting precious time circling the block when you could be having fun in the sun.

Folly Beach

The City of Folly Beach touts being one of the most publicly accessible beaches in SC.

Let’s crunch some numbers — the city reports 49 public beach access points and several paid parking lots near those entries. Folly has 2,900 free parking spaces and 327 city-owned paid parking spaces.

You can snag a spot on the side streets but do not block driveways.

  • All tires must be off the road.
  • Vehicles must be parked in the direction of traffic.

Isle of Palms

The City of Isle of Palms Police Department no longer manages the city’s parking plan; it passed responsibilities to PCI Municipal Services.

The city offers more than 50 beach access paths with paid and free options for parking. Paid parking is enforced between March 1 and October 31, and the city lots are operational between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

City parking lots

  • Seasonal parking passes are available for $60.
  • The daily rate is $10 Monday through Friday and $15 on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.
  • After 4 p.m., the price drops to an hourly rate of $2.

Visitors can park their vehicles on any road right-of-way within the Beach Parking District unless marked with a “no parking” sign.

  • All tires must be off the road.
  • Vehicles must be parked in the direction of traffic.
  • Vehicles parked on (ocean side) Palm Boulevard between 21st and 40th Avenues must be at least four feet off the road + (landside) must park at an angle in the marked spaces.
  • Do not block driveways or mailboxes.

If you want to skip the beach parking hassle altogether, check out The Beach Reach shuttle. Here’s how to catch the free ride from Mount Pleasant to Isle of Palms. The shuttle only operates on weekends along with Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day.

Sullivan’s Island

Sullivan’s Island beach parking is free in the marked areas and there is also parking available behind Town Hall (when it’s closed). The city says beach access points are available on just about every block. There is no paid parking available on the Island.

Sullivan’s Island Police Department enforces parking rules.

  • All tires must be off the road.
  • Never park in front of beach access paths.