Winter has settled in nicely here in the Lowcountry. The flocks of seasonal tourists have departed from downtown, and they've left the beach in the dust (or sand, rather). No traffic on the way out to Folly, no overcrowded beaches, and fewer people in the surf lineup are just a few positive aspects to take from the the frigid (relatively speaking) days ahead. In other words, don't let the temperature turn you away from a radical day at the beach. You may not be building sand castles, but taking in the breeze and catching some winter rays are about as good as it gets in the dead of the season.
One of RootsRated's favorite spots, no matter what time of year, is The Washout, a notorious section of Folly Beach both for surfing and paddling. For as much as Hurricane Hugo destroyed when he crashed into Folly all those years ago, he also left us with a strip of beautiful coastline that would never be developed again. The Washout attracts surfers from all across the Lowcountry, and it only gets better in the winter. Here's how to enjoy it.
Get There Early and Pack A Lunch
It doesn't matter if you're planning on surfing or simply hanging out all day under the surf shack watching the waves, get there early. Don't get us wrong, we are very grateful for our strip of beach, but the fact remains, it's only about 500 yards long. The earlier you get there, the more prime real estate is available to park your beach chairs and set up shop. And don't forget to pack a lunch: as more people show up, the less likely you are to get back your spot at the shack (same goes for parking) if you leave. Stop by Rita's on your way for some food to throw in your cooler, or pack a homemade meal. Either way, you'll be glad when lunch rolls around and you don't have to move.
Bring the Right Gear
Packing for the beach in the winter is a little different than the summer, especially if you're going to stay out all day. Still, bring along basics like the bocce ball set and beach chairs, but you'll also be more comfortable with some other odds and ends. Think of it like a tailgate, only on the beach. A pop-up tent and table facilitate eating on the beach and hanging wet suits and towels out to dry, while simultaneously establishing more of a home base. Don't forget your layers, too, especially if you plan on surfing. After you get out of the water, it's going to take a little while to get the feeling back in your hands; layers make the process a little less painful.
Bring the Party
Last but not least, bring your buddies, some tunes, even the dog. What good is kicking it on the beach without your crew with you? The best part about winter time at The Washout is seeing more of the people you know on a less crowded beach. After all, an all day surf/beach session with your best buds on Charleston's most beloved surf spot is tough to beat.