From restaurants like Lost Dog inspired by pups to store owners who are happy to entertain canine “customers,” Folly Beach is a bona-fide (or should we say bone-a-fide?) dog-friendly beach. Visitors and locals alike take pride in the way the community welcomes man’s best friend.
If you’ve been to the beach lately, you’ve probably seen pups frolicking in the surf and running through the sand with as much wild abandon as their leashes will allow. But before you load up your dog and head here for a leisurely stroll, take note that the rules and regulations regarding pets at Folly are about to change.
In fact, they change every year at this time.
From May 1 to September 30 — during what is considered Folly’s peak season — no pets are allowed on the beach between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Furthermore, pets are not permitted to go leash-free at any time on the beach or public streets.
Wait, you may be thinking, I’ve definitely seen dogs off leash at Folly before! Well, there are a few possible explanations for this. The first is that those dogs (and their owners, naturally) could be members of the Folly Island Dog Owners Club, or FIDO.
Organized in 2011 to promote responsible dog ownership on Folly Beach, FIDO is authorized by the city to grant members permission to let their dogs off-leash from sunrise to sunset October 1 through April 30 and May 1 through September 30 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
FIDO dogs adhere to certain guidelines to enjoy these perks, though — they must be under reliable voice command when off leash, and they must wear special collars and tags identifying them as members of the FIDO Club.
The other explanation for a dog sans leash on the beach is that someone is bending the rules. While this may seem pretty commonplace, it comes with heavy price tag if the Department of Public Safety catches you in the act. Citations will be issues, and the fine is a whoppin’ $300.
So mark your calendar now! Starting Monday, May 1, you need to plan accordingly when you bring your pet to the beach. Early morning strolls prior to 10 a.m.? Come on down! Early evening strolls after 6 p.m.? You got it.
Just think of it this way: your pup is really getting the best part of the day since, in addition to not being stiflingly hot, Folly sunrises and sunsets are — dare we go there? — pawsome.