Lowcountry beachgoers can use new, free app to navigate traffic, beach rules

Lowcountry beachgoers can use new, free app to navigate traffic, beach rules
Bumper-to-bumper traffic heading to Folly Beach on July 3. (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - If you plan to head to the beach for the holiday weekend or anytime this summer, a new phone app could help you before and during your trip.

The Berkeley Charleston Dorchester Council of Governments created the app, called Beach Reach, while working with officials from the Isle of Palms, Town of Sullivan’s Island, Folly Beach and Mount Pleasant.

“Beach Reach provides residents and visitors with a simple and convenient way to see traffic going to and from our three largest beach municipalities at the push of a button,” BCDCOG Executive Director Ron Mitchum said. “It’s always better to know before you go.”

The free app allows you to pick which beach you’d like to go to and see traffic cameras on the way so you can monitor the backups. The app also includes cameras on the beach so you can see weather conditions.

In addition to the cameras, each beach has its own section with beach policies so you don’t have to guess about parking or pet policies.

“We want to use technology such as the Beach Reach app to help eliminate some of the hassle when it comes to traffic congestion,” Mitchum said.

Isle of Palms Mayor Jimmy Carroll said the app has been many years in the making and he’s glad to see it up and running before the holiday weekend.

“All three public beaches are being swamped by people coming to the beach and our police forces just can’t handle it,” Carroll said. “Our beaches are being filled by 10:00 or 11:00 in the morning and this app I think is going to help us.”

Carroll did say he’d like to see a feature added which will tell visitors if parking lots are full.

“If we can just put a gauge on there to say [they’re] half full, three quarters full or 100 percent full, that would save people driving from Hanahan or Summerville, sitting in the car and seeing there’s no place to park at the beach.”

More features are on the way, including adding COVID-19-related policies at each beach. For example, Folly Beach requires face masks for people in public areas where distancing is not possible.

Beach Reach was developed in conjunction with local tech firm netGALAXYStudios and is available for free in your phone’s app store.

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