Although I love the beaches near home, I do miss a beach where you can actually swim. There are beaches both north and south of Charleston. We started our search south of the city at Folly Beach. The long expanse of sandy beach is beautiful and very inviting. BUT! There is absolutely no sense of community. It was a terrific sunny Saturday and the whole place felt abandoned. Over 95 % of the houses are vacation rentals and they all have cheap real estate signs in the front yard.
Next we headed north and discovered Sullivan’s Island, the Isle of Palms and Pawleys Island. Pawleys Island was our favorite. Although it’s as densely built up as Folly Beach it has a lot more history. Plantation owners began building summer cabins here in the early 19th century to take advantage of the ocean breezes and to avoid the malaria and small pox so prevalent on the Low Country Plantations and in Charleston during the summer months. Like in Seaview, Wa., the family homes and history give it a much greater sense of place.