Wanderlusting: Sunrise on Folly Island

“Sunrise offered a very beautiful spectacle; the water was quite unruffled, but the motion communicated by the tides was so great that, although there was not a breath of air stirring, the sea heaved slowly with a grand and majestic motion.”~ George Grey

Early Mornings

It wouldn’t be a true trip if I didn’t get up early and see the sunrise, at least once. There is a sense of accomplishment and peace being up and at it before almost everyone else. Since I had done it the day before, it seemed I was going to continue to live on little to no sleep. Because it was such a whirl wind weekend with so much to see, do and experience, it was quite alright with me! Just feed me all the coffee!


I woke up at 4:30 to get ready and then my partner in sunrise crime and I made the twenty minute drive to Folly Island. As a fan of women’s fiction, it is a place I had read about hundreds of times in books. I was finally, FINALLY seeing it come to life, and boy was everything I read spot on about this magical mermaid oasis.


Folly Island 

Known as the “edge of America” Folly Island is a barrier island located just eleven miles from Charleston. It is a small coastal town that is home to the well known Folly Beach. Stretching the whole of the island, despite its’ calm waters, is a famed surfing locale on the East Coast and the perfect place to cool off during those hot Southern months.


Most of the restaurants and shops are found on Center Street, just blocks away from the pier. Because of the smallness of the island it is the ideal place to walk or bike as everything is centrally located…pun intended.


Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve

As a lover of any and all lighthouses, at the top of my list was Morris Light, even if I could only view it from afar. If you are looking for the perfect marriage, sunrises and lighthouses are the epitome of matrimony bliss.


Seeing a lighthouse in dawn’s early light, not only makes for fantastic pictures, but there is also a tranquility and strength witnessed for anyone who is crazy enough to get up that early.


It was a cold morning, and while I have gotten wise in my old age, I decided to throw wisdom to the elements and channel my inner fashionista, because hello photo-ops.


The Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve is located at the Northeastern terminus of Folly Island and offers views of Morris Island Light. There is a small parking lot, which at that time of the morning was difficult to see. It is about a half mile walk on a paved road to the beach.


Pre-dawn was just beginning, and it truly was an adventure as we walked along the darkened road with the wind whipping as we went. Despite reading reviews, I was unsure what to expect, but what I found was stunning.


Morris Island Light

The pavement gave way to a sandy boardwalk and as we walked over a small hill we saw the first glimpses of Morris Island Light.


A colonial era lighthouse, Morris Light is located just off the South Carolina coast on Morris Island. The island use to be much bigger, housing not just the lighthouse, but also Fort Wagner, which played a pivotal role in the Civil War. But due to changing currents, and hurricanes erosion has taken place, and the sea has claimed all the buildings but the lighthouse.


In 2010 Save The Light worked to stabilize the lighthouse, hoping to continue to preserve it by placing a concrete barrier around it to ward off erosion.


The rich history and the fact that it has held up against the wrath of Mother Nature makes it one of my favorite lighthouses.




While the beach runs the whole of Folly Island, surrounded by driftwood, sand dunes, and a jetty, the inlet had a private almost sacred feel to it. We were the only ones to brave the cold that early, and as we waited to greet the sun, their was a calm solitude that took over in such a historical spot.


It was the perfect way to start our first full day in Charleston. It was also not just a top five sunrise, but also one of my favorite beaches I have been too.


The Lost Dog

Famished from our picture taking and sunrise appreciating, we drove the short distance to the Lost Dog for some sustenance. I had written about their delicious foamy cappuccinos, but their food was equally scrumptious. I ordered the Rancheros which is one of my favorite breakfast dishes. To top it off, they didn’t just have hot sauce, but sriracha also. They spoke my language and I was fat and happy afterwards!


Folly Beach Pier 

After breakfast we went back to Folly Beach, this time going to the pier which stands as a sort of gateway to the beach.


It is a destination in of itself, being the second largest along the East Coast with seating, bathrooms, and even a gift shop.


Not only is it a well known place to fish, but they even hold fishing competitions, and have been known to catch a shark every now and then.


Another cool aspect to the pier, is that it is two stories.


If you didn’t care for the views of the first story, you can climb the stairs for another more dizzying, but equally, if not more so, stunning ocean scenery. It was so cool to be so high up gazing out at the ocean.


After we took in the views and snapped some pictures.


We made our way down to the beach itself, exploring underneath the pier.


We snapped even more pictures, because really there was so many to take and see! We also walked along the beach doing some beach combing. While we didn’t find any sea glass, both Rhiannon and I found sharks teeth. Which come to find out, wash up often on the beach. It was a perfect morning. All to soon we bid adieu and made our way back to Charleston for our next adventure.


Have you ever been to Folly Beach? Do you like sunrises?