|Folly Island near Morris Island Lighthouse|
The barrier islands of Charleston each have a distinct history and character of their own, each offering something different for residents and visitors. Some are accessible by bridges and some only by a ferry or a private boat. I frequently visit Isle of Palms, Sullivan's Island, Folly Island and on occasion Kiawah Island. I have yet to visit Capers Island, which is only accessible by boat, and unless I buy a boat or get invited onto someone else's boat heading that direction, will remain for me uncharted. Bulls Island can be accessed only by ferry and I have plans in the near future to be on board.
|Fishing on pier at Isle of Palms|
|Kitesurfer in the "Bath"|
As you look across Breach Inlet from the Isle of Palms to Sullivan's Island, on a breezy day you will likely observe a flock of colorful kites moving back and forth across the skyline. Those would be the sails of the kitesurfers who come to this area of Sullivan's Island referred to as the "Bath" - an almost landlocked body of water surrounded by sand. Aside from the kitesurfers, SUPers come here for the calmer waters. Sullivan's Island is home to historic Fort Moultrie and the Charleston Light - the light sentinel that guides seafaring vessels into the Charleston Harbor. One of its more famous residents was Edgar Allan Poe. The island was the inspiration behind his short story "The Goldbug" and Poe's Tavern is a popular eatery you will find packed out on any given day.
Folly Beach is fondly called by its longtime residents the "Edge of America". A prominent landmark of this eclectic beach community is the Edwin S. Taylor Fishing Pier. The 24 feet wide and more than 1,045 feet long pier is the second longest on the East Coast. From the end of the pier, you can get a good look at the beach in either direction and for a small fee experience some of the best saltwater fishing in the area. On scheduled nights, there is shag dancing with the Moonlight Mixers. Folly Beach is also one of the top surfing beaches on the East Coast. You will find the top surfers of the area hanging out at a small strip of the beach called the "Washout" - best waves in Charleston waters. On the north end of Folly, you can take pictures of the Morris Island Lighthouse and on the other end you can walk around the tip to Folly River where the tidal rapids move in and out like the Niagara River of Niagara Falls. You can rent kayaks, SUP boards, boats, and vacation homes.
Capers Island is totally uninhabited, except for the abundant wildlife that makes this island its home. The only access is by some kind of floating devise; preferably a boat. The adventurous person, after acquiring a free permit from the South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department, could rent a kayak at the Isle of Palms Marina and paddle out to the island where he or she could camp overnight. The somewhat less adventurous could hire Barrier Island Eco Tours to shuttle their group of 7 or more to and from Capers Island. No facilities of any type are on the island, so campers should come prepared with their own water, food, equipment, first aid kit, and whatever else. On the weekends and holidays, the island is a favorite place for boaters to put ashore. The island is an excellent place for surf fishing.
Bulls Island is one of only two Class 1 Wilderness Areas on the East Coast. No bridges connect this island to the mainland. A ferry run by Coastal Expeditions is the only way on. After leaving the Awendaw docks and weaving in and out of the backwater creeks, you are turned loose to wander the 16 miles of hiking trails and over seven miles of undeveloped beaches upon arrival. The wildlife is incredible. Over 270 species of migratory birds including bald eagles, snowy egrets and great blue heron call it home. Loggerhead sea turtles nest on the island along with a huge population of alligators. Well, you get the picture, and plenty of them. Bikes are allowed and cash encourage, tickets are $30 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. Go to Coastal Expeditions for the complete details.