Charleston, South Carolina, is on the Atlantic approximately 2,500 miles east of San Diego. My favorite haunts there are Folly Beach, a six-mile long barrier island, and neighboring uninhabited Morris Island. Folly has a Holiday Inn, numerous condos and both high-end and tumbledown beach houses for rent. Nothing quite matches falling asleep and waking up to the sound of waves breaking on the shore.
Folly also boasts a 1,000-foot fishing pier, a surfer’s washout, two lighthouses, dolphins, turtle dunes and gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.
At the island’s north end, there’s a mile-long path that leads past the graffitied ruins of an old Coast Guard station to a secluded beach with a spectacular view of the Morris Island Lighthouse. Were it not for the swift, dangerous currents that separate the beach from Morris Island, one might swim the several hundred yards to the lighthouse during low tide.
Boat tours are available to Morris Island during low tide and are often combined with dolphin and oyster bed tours through the intercoastal marshland. Sand dollars and starfish abound around the lighthouse, and there are great finds for shell collectors.
And as an added bonus, downtown Charleston is only 15 minutes away.