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The Official Web Site of the State of South Carolina

Beach Rules & Regulations


We welcome visitors to enjoy our beaches year-around. To protect residents, visitors and the beaches we have imposed the following rules and regulations. Failure to comply could result in receiving a citation or a fine.

  • All residents and visitors enter the ocean at their own risk. No lifeguards are on duty at any time. 
  • Properly anchored tents and umbrellas are permitted. Tents must be 10 feet by 10 feet or smaller. 
  • All beach activity is prohibited after 11 PM.
  • All dogs must have a license from Town Hall (including residents, visitors and day-trippers) and comply with the Animal and Fowl Ordinance.
  • All trash and dog droppings must be taken with you when you leave the beach. Dog poo bags, recycle bins and trash cans are at the end of each beach path.
  • No plastic, polystyrene or glass containers area allowed on the beach at any time.
  • All alcoholic beverages are prohibited on all streets, boardwalks and beaches.
  • No motorized vehicles are allowed on beach paths or beaches. This includes golf carts and low speed vehicles.
  • Attendees must park in designated right of way areas, have all tires off of the pavement and may not block the street or beach paths.
  • Sailboarders, kite surfers, jet skis and motorboats may not operate outside of designated areas. View the Watercraft Ordinance (PDF).
  • All commercial activity is prohibited on the beach (including vendors, photography and filming).
  • No activity, inclusive of loose dogs, is allowed in the dunes or near  turtle nesting areas.  
  • No fireworks are allowed at any time.

Coast is Clean

Coast is Clean is a recent initiative launched by Sullivan's Island, Isle of Palms and Folly Beach in partnership with Explore Charleston.  It reminds all who visit our beaches about important regulations intended to protect the regions precious assets and promote a healthy environment for all of the Island communities. Below are frequently asked questions about the plastics ban and the smoking ban. For additional information on the Coast is Clean initiative, visit

Plastics Ban

What plastic items am I NOT allowed to bring and use on the Sullivan’s Island Beach? To maintain a pristine environment and protect wildlife that live along or in the ocean, the following items are prohibited on Sullivan’s Island beach:

  • Single-use plastic bags
  • Plastic straws
  • Any polystyrene/plastic foam products (also called Styrofoam) such as coolers, ice chests, cups, bowls, plates and clamshells

What are the penalties for not complying with the plastics ban ordinance? Verbal warning may be issued, however, citizens that don’t comply may be issued a fine up to $500 per offence.

Who enforces the plastics ban ordinance? The Sullivan’s Island Police Department is responsible for enforcing these regulations.

Smoking Ban

Where is smoking prohibited? To reduce the overwhelming amount of pollution caused by smoking on our beach, smoking is prohibited on the beach, beach access paths, and any public spaces on Sullivan’s Island.

Where is smoking allowed? Smoking is permitted in private residences and private property such as a vehicle.

Are vaping (smokeless Tobacco) and natural cigars also prohibited on the beach and beach access paths?  Yes. The ordinance describes smoking as “the inhaling, exhaling, burning, lighting, or carrying a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, or similar device” and includes a definition of smoking materials as “cigars, cigarettes, and all other manner of smoking devices intended to be used for the purpose of inhaling or exhaling smoke”.

What are the penalties associated with each ordinance? For smoking in an area where smoking is prohibited, citizens may be issued a fine between $10 and $25.

Who enforces the smoking ban ordinance? The Sullivan’s Island Police Department is responsible for enforcing these regulations.

Will smoking materials be sold on Sullivan’s Island? Yes. The ban covers smoking in workplaces, on the beach, on beach access paths, and in beach parking areas. It does not ban the sale of smoking materials within town limits.

Is there a difference between the smoking ban on Sullivan’s Island and the ban on the Isle of Palms and Folly Beach? Yes. The Sullivan’s Island smoking ordinance bans smoking on the beach, beach access and all public spaces. The Isle of Palms bans smoking in workplaces, on the beach, and beach access paths. Folly Beach smoking ordinance prohibits smoking on the beach, beach access paths, and beach parking lots only.

Where can I get more information about these regulations and who can I contact if I have additional questions? Interested parties may also call Sullivan’s Island Town Hall or Sullivan’s Island Police Department at 843-883-3198 and follow the directory prompts.