Among South Carolina’s barrier islands lies the Isle of Palms, a gorgeous beach town that boasts luxurious vacation rentals, resorts, a phenomenal golf course, and tourist attractions throughout its sandy width. This slice of paradise is a great location for vacationers who are looking to escape crowds and engage in beach activities. Don’t worry about finding a spot to lay down your towel here; the beach extends the entire breadth of the island’s western edge and is all prime for relaxation.
As a barrier island, the Isle of Palms is only accessible by two bridges—from Mt. Pleasant to the northwest and Sullivan’s Island from the southwest—or you can arrive by boat. The island itself is a long and narrow strip of land that increases in width from the south end to the north. Salt marshes litter the unincorporated north end of the island, creating a beautiful, unscathed landscape brimming with wildlife. Eco tours are a popular activity to engage in here and you can also kayak the waterways that wind through the marshland.
Isle of Palms Attractions & Activities
Exploring the Isle of Palms and surrounding areas is a whole lot of fun since this tourist spot knows how to entertain. The attractions on the Isle of Palms itself are enough to keep most people satisfied, but if you’re the type who likes to see and do more every day even while on vacation, then you’re in luck, Charleston is only a few miles away and the historical city is full of cultural attractions that are sure to fulfill your desire to explore!
On the Isle
On the island, the beach is the main attraction. Its vastness gives you the opportunity to find some peace and quiet along the sandy shore. Dogs are permitted on the beach here and only require a leash during peak tourist seasons. Fishing is always a popular activity, and when it comes to visiting the coast, there are plenty of fishing charters and boat rentals that you can take advantage of; just stop by the Isle of Palms Marina. Beach volleyball is a popular beach activity, and the Isle of Palms County Park is the islands primary beachside park with restrooms, showers, dressing rooms, volleyball courts, and beach gear rentals among other features. South Carolina beaches are nesting grounds for the loggerhead sea turtle, and if your vacation is timed right, you could observe sea turtle nesting activity.
The Wild Dunes Resort is another huge stop, with two famous golf courses designed by Tom Fazio, and a renowned tennis complex featuring 17 clay courts. These golf courses are amazing and a must-play for any golfer who is fortunate enough to find themselves here. The Isle of Palms is all about relaxation, and as such, local spas have become a popular attraction. The Windjammer brings locals and tourists out for a night of entertainment. This club and music venue is the most popular nightlife spot in the area and live concert events are always lined up. The marshlands to the northwest attract visitors looking for a peaceful nature experience while on the isle. Kayak and eco tours are available to traverse these wetlands, although if you would prefer a more intimate adventure, kayak and paddleboard rentals are also available, allowing you to take a self-guided tour through Morgan Creek and its connecting estuaries.
Eating while on the Isle of Palms is no debacle; nearly every restaurant on this island has stood the test of time. For the best seafood, Morgan Creek Grill at the Isle of Palms Marina offers fresh seafood and a waterfront dining experience if you choose to sit out on the deck overlooking the intercostal waterway; this food joint is a local favorite. Check out Acme Lowcountry Kitchen for a true taste of southern cuisine. Breakfast is their specialty, but you will enjoy a full menu of options here at any time of day. Enjoy unbeatable island views from the rooftop bar or the deck of Coconut Joe’s Beach Grill, serving all your American favorites. It’s hard to find something on the menu that you won’t like here.
Being a part of the Charleston metropolitan area, the Isle of Palms is surrounded by a seemingly endless amount of attractions for all types of vacationers. Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the American Civil War were fired, is located at the mouth of Charleston Harbor. Visiting this famous fort, along with Fort Moultrie, Patriots Point Military Museum, and USS Yorktown CV-10 will give you a good overview of South Carolina’s military history, although Charleston’s deep military roots can be witnessed at several locations all throughout the metropolitan area—good news for the history buff! South Carolina’s history can be further explored at three of the well-preserved plantations, Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens in the adjacent town of Mount Pleasant, Drayton Hall, or Middleton Place in Charleston.
Over the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, you can explore historic Charleston by taking a walk through White Point Garden and looking out over the Charleston Harbor, visiting the Charleston City Market (a 200-year-old market place spanning four blocks), the historic Dock Street Theatre, and a plethora of historic churches and homes. The history of Charleston dates back thousands of years, yet the past 400 have been handsomely preserved on the streets of Charleston’s Historic District. Once you’re in the area, find local tour guides that will give you the historical experience you crave; these streets are full of stories that are best outlined by the experts.
If history is not your forte, visit the South Carolina Aquarium just south of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge to get a glimpse at the regions sea creatures. The enormous exhibits of this three-story aquarium display a diverse set of sea animals along with interactive activities for all ages. For a more sedentary sightseeing approach, boat tours can take you around Charleston Harbor or ferry rides can transport you to neighboring barrier islands. Dewees Island to the north is scarcely inhabited, and as such, is a secluded beach escape. People ferry to Dewees Island to get away from everyone and enjoy the sand and sea.
Vacationing in the Isle of Palms is an unforgettable experience that will have you coming back in no time. Prepare to be mesmerized by the South Carolina coast as you unwind on the beach. You won’t be able to visit the crowded vacation spots you previously frequented; the Isle of Palms is a truly relaxing experience. Vacation rentals are the best way to stay on the Isle of Palms and Harris Properties offers the finest accommodations and amenities that you could ask for. However you choose to spend the days on vacation, your nights will always be spent in comfort with a luxurious Isle of Palms vacation rental.