When you’ve lived on the coast all your life, it’s sometimes easy to forget that many of the people who travel to our beloved beach town to visit live somewhere that is landlocked. Seeing the ocean for the first time, sinking their toes into the sand, frolicking in the surf — it’s all a new experience.
As such, not everyone is familiar with the unofficial etiquette of Folly and, really, beaches everywhere. You won’t find ’em in a rule book anywhere and you may not get busted by the Department of Public Safety if you ignore ’em, but anyone who wants to be an exemplary beach-goer should at least try to implement the following beach-friendly suggestions.
Respect the local flora and fauna
If you see a starfish or a sea urchin chilling in a tide pool, admire them from a respectful distance. Marine biodiversity can be extremely fragile, and you wouldn’t want to risk injuring anything. Never get in the way of or mess with sea turtles either. If you happen to see one come ashore, it is likely looking for a spot to lay its eggs (or returning to the sea after laying eggs in a nest). It’s crucial you simply let these majestic sea creatures be. Also, under no circumstance should you ever walk on the dunes. Sea oats are important defenses against coastal erosion and could easily be crushed underfoot.
No ifs, ands, or butts about it
There are many reasons not to smoke at the beach but, if you do choose to, it’s imperative you make sure your cigarette butts are disposed of properly. They don’t biodegrade in sand, which means they’ll sit on the beach, leaching toxic chemicals into the sand and water. They also pose a threat to pets if ingested. Fortunately, there are plenty of cigarette butt containers located at various walkovers along the beach.
Don’t leave big divots in the sand
Whether you were building the world’s best sandcastle or simply trying to make enough space in the sand to prop up your drink, it’s never a bad idea to flatten or fill in the sand around you before you leave. First and foremost, sea turtles nest ashore during May through October. If there are large holes and divots in the sand when the hatchlings emerge, they could fall into said holes and never make it to sea. Besides, how would you feel if you walking along and rolled your ankle in a hole someone dug?
Take your trash with you when you go
Folly Beach is making big strides in the fight against pollution, given they passed an ordinance into law last year that prohibits the use of plastic bags and Styrofoam coolers. That in and of itself is huge, but you are also an integral part in the fight against pollution. Be especially aware of everything you bring with you for a day at the beach, and then make sure it all goes with your when you leave.