The myriad of tidal creeks, running behind Folly Island, are a fine place to explore by kayak, and it’s only a quick 15-minute ride from downtown Charleston. From the Folly landing head left to the mouth of the Stono River (about 2 miles). The island blocking the inlet’s mouth between Folly and Kiawah is Bird Key, one of the largest rookeries in the state. You’re only allowed to walk to the high tide line, but that’s close enough to get a peek at the oystercatchers, piping plovers, and terns that nest there. On your return, meander up the creeks on your left. If you follow the big creek just before Mariner’s Cay Marina on your left, it’ll wind to the right after a mile and take you to Bowen’s Island Restaurant, a great place to tie up and grab a plate of fried seafood or a cold brew.
Directions from Charleston: Take the James Island Expressway from downtown until it dead-ends into Folly Road. Take a left and continue straight on Folly Road. The landing will be on your right when you drive onto Folly Island.