Crossing over from Mt. Pleasant on the Isle of Palms Connector, you can see the majestic sweep of the Atlantic and stately ships on the horizon. To your left is the resort of Wild Dunes, to your right is the small marina at Breach Inlet and the popular Boathouse restaurant. With waterfront dining, tables at The Boathouse are taken up quickly so call us to make reservations for you.
Go through the only stop light on the Island, and you’ll pass by the County Park before turning onto the “front beach” area where you will find many small cafes, bistros, restaurants and shops.
Isle of Palms is a compact island. Bike rentals are readily available so take a ride along the beach or along the streets and see a diversity in architecture and home styles, from villas and homes to shops, restaurants and more.
The island was first named Hunting Island, then Long Island, and in 1899 J.S. Lawrence purchased the island and renamed it Isle of Palms. Lawrence built bridges from the mainland, and trolley cars made regular crossings from Charleston. In 1906, a resort hotel with 50 rooms was built, making the island one of the most elegant vacation spots for the summer season. In 1912, James Sottile built a spacious pavilion and even brought in a huge Ferris wheel.
Today, live oak trees dripping with Spanish Moss are just coming alive again after Hurricane Hugo. Many varieties of palms sway in the gentle ocean breezes. Crepe Myrtles, oleanders, and azaleas add vivid contrasting colors to the many wildflowers growing in and along the dunes.
Isle of Palms is an island town, not a private gated sub-division. Only 20 minutes from downtown Charleston, the island is home to commuters, retirees and second homes. It is quiet in the Winter and very busy in the Summer. Today our beach is lined by magnificent beach homes, most of them built since Hugo and there are no high rises to steal the view.
The island lifestyle is comfortable and familiar. Weekend mornings often begin with breakfast at one of our local cafes, a stroll or a bike ride on the beach, followed by a few hours in the surf, then maybe some beach music or reggae at one of the bistros along Front Beach. You don’t have to leave the island at night to find great entertainment, with many spots offering live music.
The Charleston County Park is a nine-acre park that offers the only stretch of beach on the island patrolled by lifeguards. Other amenities include a sand volleyball court, children’s playground, 20 outdoor showers, four changing booths, a large dune walkover, vending machines and restrooms.
- Miles of white sand beach
- The Isle of Palms Recreation Center features indoor/outdoor basketball courts, soccer fields, baseball/softball fields, children’s playground, and supervised activities for children.
- From kayaks and canoes, sailboats and fishing boats to luxury harbor cruises, charters and boat rentals are readily available.
- Good surfing near the pier; bring your own board or check out the surf shops on Front Beach
- The Yacht Harbor offers a selection of rental jet skis
- Fishing, crabbing and shrimping
- Biking and rollerblading are allowed on marked paths on both sides of the island and biking along the beach. Rentals available.
- A variety of cafes, bistros, and casual dining on the beach along Ocean Blvd.
- Golf Courses
- Two 18-hole championship courses, the Links Course and The Harbor Course, both located at the east end of the island in Wild Dunes. There are three additional courses in nearby Mt. Pleasant, just over the Connector to the mainland.
- Two hard courts at the Recreation Center on 29th Avenue.