Charleston: Bowens Island

Road to Bowens Island

Once we arrived in Charleston (and got a blast of the heat and humidity), we dropped our bags at our apartment and immediately headed toward the beach.

Folly Beach is just a quick drive from downtown Charleston, yet it feels like an entirely different world. Colorful beachfront condos jut into the sand, Hawaiian shaved ice stands line the street, and hawkers from generic shrimp shacks try to lure you in to try their fare.

Ryan Smith on Folly Beach

Folly Beach

Fishing on Folly Beach Pier

Laura Ratliff on Folly Beach

The beach was beautiful and the water surprisingly warm, but after a short stroll, we were famished from our flight and ready for a good meal. Thanks to a story that my magazine ran last year, we knew that Bowens Island Restaurant—an oyster shack over the water, quite literally constructed from plywood—was just down the road.

We turned onto the gravel road and drove for about a mile before the trees, draped in ethereal Spanish moss, parted and opened up into a huge marsh, lush with bright green seagrass and illuminated by the ever-lowering sun. Bowens Island, as I said, is nothing special architecturally and you might have to wait on line for a bit before your order is taken, but that’s all part of the experience.

View from Bowens Island

Sit down in a lawn chair, drink your beer from a plastic cup, and wait for your plate of deep-fried seafood goodness (or fresh oysters, steamed under a burlap sack, if you’re here at the right time) to make its way to your table. Watching the glowing sunset as we ate made for the perfect welcome to the Holy City.

– Laura and Ryan

Bowens Island Sunset



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