One of the most iconic images of Folly Beach is the Morris Island Lighthouse. From the very far end of the East side of Folly Beach, where the road comes to an end, you can park and walk to get the absolute best views of the lighthouse, where it will be so close you feel like you can reach out and grab it. There is plenty of parking around the end of East Ashley Avenue, and down Sumter Street, then about a quarter mile walk, through the old coast guard station to the beach that is the closest possible spot to the lighthouse. when you get down there, you will see a sandy beach, the lighthouse inlet, the Cooper River Bridge, people fishing and crabbing, old foundations from structures, weather worn driftwood, and plenty of sea life including dolphins, fish, crabs, and shell hunting.
There is no swimming allowed as there are dangerously strong currents. Since it is a wildlife sanctuary and a resting place for migrating birds, there are no dogs allowed. Once you get to the end of your walk, I would estimate you are about 250 yards from the lighthouse. Morris Island is also accessible by boat.
The current Morris Island lighthouse is the third structure to stand in that spot and was constructed in 1876. The first was replaced by a taller tower, and the second was destroyed during the civil war. Records go back as far as 1673 showing a navigation aid set afire at night on Morris Island to guide ships into Charleston. The current owners are Save The Light, Inc., who raise funds for the stabilization and ongoing renovations needed at the lighthouse. Visit Save The Light.org to learn more and contribute to their efforts.