20 Best Things to Do in Isle of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC
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The city of Isle of Palms is located on an eponymous small barrier island in South Carolina.

Anyone traveling to South Carolina should include this picturesque tourist destination in their itinerary.

The Isle of Palms offers stunning views and a relaxing atmosphere perfect for picnics and taking a break.

Beach houses and restaurants dot the shoreline, which extends for miles.

Sea turtles also use it as a breeding ground, which is why it's so popular.

You'll have plenty of fun things to do while you're here.

Isle of Palms is a vacationer's paradise with miles of beaches, world-class golf courses, and ocean adventure.

But the little island has much more to offer, including educational sites and adrenaline-pumping activities.

Whether you’re traveling with family or going solo, the city has something for everyone!

Here are the 15 best things you can do in the Isle of Palms:

Swim at Isle of Palms Beach

Sunrise in Isle of Palms Beach
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This gorgeous beach is the Isle of Palms’ primary attraction.

It serves as a popular hangout for both locals and visitors.

On top of the quietness found at Isle of Palms Beach, its powder-soft white beaches make you want to chill here all day.

Whether you want to swim, relax, fish, ride a kayak, bike, or take a stroll, the city’s seven-mile-long white-sand beaches are a fantastic asset.

The waters of Isle of Palms Beach
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The water here is nice, and the beach is pet-friendly.

At the Front Beach commercial district, you may find public toilets, parking spaces, and a lot of wonderful places to eat and shop.

No trip to the Isle of Palms would be complete without spending some time here.

Beach chairs at Isle of Palms Beach
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Rent a Boat at Isle of Palms Marina

The city has been a favorite vacation spot for people who want to take advantage of the gorgeous marina and easy access to boats for a long time.

Isle of Palms Marina offers boats that you may rent to explore the waters of the area.

You’ll be able to pick from a wide range of boats, including everything from deck boats and dual consoles.

Boat rental does not require any prior expertise, and all vessels come with the latest safety equipment.

Take a trip on the water by renting a boat.

Enthusiastically discover all the gorgeous bays that the island has to offer, then return to the beach for a night of nonstop partying.

Picnic at Isle of Palms County Park

This County Park is conveniently located at the heart of the island’s commercial district.

It has easy access to the beach, restrooms, showers, changing rooms, a beach volleyball court, a picnic area with grills, and chair and umbrella rentals.

It has a vast parking space, so this is a great spot to leave your car while enjoying a day at the beach.

The Park is also kept immaculately clean.

Throughout the day, the park maintenance changes the garbage bags and picks up rubbish.

We do advise, though, to come early because the parking area, as well as the rentals, gets occupied in the middle of the day.

Lifeguards are also on duty to keep an eye on the people in the water.

Join a Jet Ski Tour by Tidal Wave Water Sports

The Isle of Palms is surrounded by water, making it a great spot to get a little crazy and try out some of the various water sports available.

You’ll have plenty of options when it comes to water sports businesses since there’s one on nearly every corner.

Tidal Wave Water Sports is a well-known local provider of watercraft rentals.

Its jet skis combine the excitement of motorcycling with waterskiing in a thrilling and “up-close” water experience.

Its agile and fast boats are becoming increasingly popular in the United States.

Each tour comes with a knowledgeable local guide.

The tour lasts one and a half hours, covering 30 miles, and explores the SC Barrier Islands.

You will also get to stop at Capers Island, one of the biggest undeveloped islands on the eastern seacoast.

Anyone interested in taking an ecotour of the region would love this island because of the amazing shelling and fauna.

And if you’re lucky, you might get to see some dolphins while you’re here.

Take note, however, that you must be at least 16 years of age to operate a vehicle.

Play Golf at Wild Dunes Resort

Aerial view of Wild Dunes Resort
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Take advantage of the two golf courses at Wild Dunes Resort to sharpen your skills.

Tom Fazio, a well-known golf course architect, designed 36-hole golf courses, known as Links Course and the Harbor Course, for visitors and locals to enjoy.

The Links is a golf course on the island’s east coast, with a view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Golf course in Wild Dunes Resort
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Although it’s more difficult, the Harbor course has stunning marsh views.

Both courses have a 70-par rating.

Golf Digest rates Wild Dunes Resort as one of South Carolina’s “Best in State” golf resorts.

The resort also has a golf school, with a wide range of clinics and lessons available.

Indulge Seafood Dish Coconut Joe’s Beach Grill

Coconut Joe’s, a beach grill and bar on Oceans Boulevard, is a must-try here in Isle of Palms.

Bring your friends and enjoy a tropical beverage at its rooftop bar.

Listen to live jams, feel the ocean air, and embrace the expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean.

You could even see shrimp boats, dolphins, and the locally famous Larry the Kite man flying kites to delight children and adults.

Customers rave about the bar’s vegan wraps, shrimp grits, and crabs, so you should try them out, too.

Coconut Joe’s also sells merch, such as shirts and tank tops, that you can bring home after visiting Isle of Palms!

Tour the City With Port City Moped

Explore the magnificence of Isle of Palms on wheels with Port City Moped’s rentals.

The rising transportation costs, the scarcity of parking spaces, and the inability to travel easily prompted the owner to set up a moped rental in the city.

Port City Moped provides individuals a reliable mode of transportation, with a safe, fuel-efficient moped.

Many scooters are available for hire in the area, including Honda Ruckus, Wolf Brand Scooters, Lansha, and Sym Mio.

In addition, they include helmets with each moped.

When you hire a moped, make sure to have a permit or a valid driver’s license on hand.

Before you ride, you will get free training from a qualified instructor.

Catch Fish With Charleston Fishing Adventures

Charleston Fishing Adventures, a locally owned and run business, offers an exciting and rewarding day of fishing in South Carolina’s distinctive coastal inlets and sounds.

Charleston Fishing Adventures provides light tackle and fly-fishing charters for inshore waters.

Everything from stalking the school of Redfish in just a few inches of water to fishing the local reefs and jetties for Amberjack and Bull Redfish has been an adventure so far.

Experienced and certified captains go above and beyond to make sure their customers are happy.

Whether you are a seasoned pro or a first-time angler, they will help you learn new fishing techniques and make lasting experiences.

When it comes to fishing charters, Charleston Fishing Adventures only uses the best boats and gear!

Try Different Family Activities at Isle of Palms Recreation Department

Exterior of the Isle of Palms Recreation Department
Lee Keadle, CC BY 1.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit the leisure center if you’re in the city with your family; it has a wide range of amenities and activities for you!

Allow your children to engage in outdoor activities on the playground and the fields nearby.

Try your hand at a casual game of softball, tennis, or frisbee golf.

You may also work up a sweat playing a basketball game on the outside court.

There is also a vast fenced-in area where your dogs can socialize with their furry friends.

After a long day of exploring, relax under the picnic shelter with some food and drinks.

Unwind at Beach House Spa

The Beach House Spa housed in a modest building off the main strip in Isle of Palms is a haven of peace and tranquility by the sea.

A favorite among both locals and visitors, it has been providing spa services in a seaside environment for nine years and counting.

The Beach House Spa offers everything from skin-brightening facials to retinol peels to deep tissue massages, body wraps, and waxing.

Take a walk around Beach House Spa, and you’ll feel relaxed right away.

The treatment rooms have marine accents, such as seashells and driftwood, which give a calm, homey vibe.

Most significantly, the owner and staff are welcoming and pleasant, encouraging regular visits from residents and early bookings from summer tourists.

Visit the Nature With Barrier Islands Eco Tours

Barrier Islands Eco Tours’ naturalist-led tours bring you to Capers Island Heritage Preserve.

Trips leave from the Isle of Palms Marina and carry you the island via salt marsh tidal streams and the intracoastal waterway.

You’ll learn a lot about the environment and the creatures that live there along the way.

You will also spot bottlenose dolphins, rare bird species, and sea turtles.

The guides also allow safe interactions with marine creatures in the touch tank segment of the tour, where they will pull crab traps and cast nets.

Most of its regular trips run in a covered pontoon boat, with a bathroom and a beaching ramp.

It also offers six and 16-passenger boats for fishing and private ecotours.

Have a Hearty Breakfast at Sea Biscuit Cafe

Get your most important meal of the day at Sea Biscuit Cafe on JC Long Boulevard.

This cozy breakfast spot is one of the best restaurants in the Isle of Palms offering classic dishes to local specialties.

Start the beach day with delicious biscuit varieties like Country Ham, Sausage Gravy, or Bacon, Sausage, or Ham flavor.

Try the Treehugger with homemade granola, vanilla yogurt, and fresh fruit, or their Fruit Plate, Homemade Banana Bread, and Bagel served with fruit and cream cheese.

Their assorted omelets are always a hit, served with home fries or grits and toast or biscuit options; they have cheese, veggie, shrimp, crab omelets, and others.

You’ll also love fluffy buttermilk pancakes and yummy French toast served with fresh fruit.

Sea Biscuit Cafe also has an array of benedicts, breakfast sides, salads and soups, sandwiches, lunch sides, desserts, and drinks.

Get Exclusive Items at Island Surf Co.

Go for a cool island-style fashion from Island Surf Co. right along Ocean Boulevard.

Aside from specializing in surfboard rentals, this retail store carries branded apparel like Billabong, Oneill, Reef, Roxie, and Dakine.

They have men’s, women’s and children’s wear so there's something for everyone.

Choose from their extensive lines of flip-flops or check out some fashionable custom-made jewelry by Charleston Gate Theme.

Browse through nautical-themed products like caps, stickers, and frames.

Drop by Island Surf Co. for your trendy beach wears.

Check-in at Palms Oceanfront Hotel

For excellent accommodation with a scenic beachfront view, book your stay at Palms Oceanfront Hotel.

This hotel is located at Ocean Boulevard and offers relaxing and comfortable guest rooms with modern furnishings, whitewashed finishings, and granite bathrooms.

You can choose the balcony rooms to give you an overlooking view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Get a complimentary continental breakfast and WiFi access in your hotel room.

You can also enjoy a nice swim at the pool or go sunbathing on the sun deck.

Have a wonderful stay at Palms Oceanfront Hotel.

Go for Kayak Tours with Coastal Expeditions

Ready for more water activities? Then go for exciting kayak tours by Coastal Expeditions.

They’re located on 41st Avenue and also have two other locations in Mt. Pleasant and Charleston.

Serving guests since 1992, the company also offers kayak and paddleboard rentals, water activity lessons, and boat charters.

Kayak and SUP tours are available all year round while rentals are available from March to mid-September.

Choose from package tours like the Full-moon Kayak Tour, Kayak Expedition, Safari Kayak Tour, or Paddleboard Ecotour.

Other Coastal Expeditions tours include the Sunrise Kayak Tour and Sunset Kayak Tour.

Shop for Local Products at Isle of Palms Farmers Market

Pick your choice of local goods at the Isle of Palms Farmers Market.

This market runs from June through October from the afternoon until the evening.

You’ll find assorted fresh produce, lines of food vendors offering an array of delicacies, entertaining live music, and more.

There are plenty of activities your family will enjoy at the market like free outdoor movie nights and free face painting for kids.

Isle of Palms Farmers Market has lots of products to choose from like craft items, artworks, dog treats, plants, farm produce, baked goods, and organic products.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit Fort Moultrie

Entrance to Fort Moultrie
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Fort Moultrie lies at Sullivan’s Island, a small barrier island off the coast of South Carolina.

The property houses the Historic Properties Division of the National Park Service.

The fort remained in continuous service from colonial times until the end of World War II.

The museum contains numerous fascinating and educational exhibits, such as a film and a lot of weaponry.

Daytime view of Fort Moultrie
Barbara Barbour / Shutterstock.com

You may take self-guided excursions if you like strolling and learning about history at the same time.

There is a beautiful gift shop on site where you may purchase a souvenir to remember your time here.

A 22-minute ride from Isle of Palms, Fort Moultrie is open from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Aerial view of Fort Moultrie
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Take Instagram-Worthy Photos at Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse

Exterior of Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse
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A brief walk from Fort Moultrie, Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse is renowned for its one-of-a-kind triangular structure.

Completed in 1962, the lighthouse is relatively newer, and some advantages come with it.

Unlike other old lighthouses still in use, the Lighthouse has an elevator and air conditioning.

This makes it easier for Coast Guard employees to operate and maintain the lighting fixture.

Daytime view of Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse
Kenneth Keifer / Shutterstock.com

In addition, the triangular shape of the building makes it more resistant to hurricane-force winds of up to 125 mph.

This is important in a coastal region that experiences powerful storms regularly.

The lighthouse itself is not open to visitors, but you are free to tour the grounds around it, take pictures, and gaze up at the majestic building.

Far view of Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse
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Explore Patriots Point and Maritime Museum

Aerial view of Patriots Point
Kevin Ruck / Shutterstock.com

Roughly 30 minutes away from Isle of Palms, this marine museum also features a pier.

Here, you will also find a WWII battleship buried near Patriots Point and a fleet of National Historic Landmark Ships.

The grounds of Patriots Point and Maritime Museum
Nataliya Hora / Shutterstock.com

It also houses the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and the Medal of Honor Museum.

Visit the museum to see why it’s become such a famous tourist destination in the area.

USS yorktown at Patriots Point and Maritime Museum
Michael.Forman, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Reconnect With Nature at Dewees Island

Tree at Dewees Island
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Dewees Island is just a short boat trip away from the Isle of Palms.

Dewees provides a chance to reconnect with nature while yet having all the conveniences of home.

Take advantage of fishing and kayaking, as well as the area’s unspoiled beaches and majestic woodlands.

A few miles north of Charleston, South Carolina’s historic district, is Dewees Island, a private 1200+ acre island on the Atlantic Ocean.

If you happen to know someone from Dewees Island or have intentions to buy property there, you may take a ferry from the Isle of Palms at 43 41st Street.

The trip will take you about 20 minutes.

Dewees is a unique barrier island in comparison to the others.

It is first and mainly a wildlife reserve without cars and paved roads, so you would expect a more serene experience staying here.

It’s a beautiful location to sit and think, write, or read.

Shorebirds, turtles, white-tail deer, and raccoons are among the area’s many native wildlife species.

We strongly recommend you bring your camera if you want to capture the splendid landscape and animals you may encounter in the area.

Final Thoughts

If you’re visiting the Isle of Palms, make sure to take advantage of the various water adventures available and the natural beauty that surrounds this island.

So pack your bags and book a trip to experience the paradise of South Carolina!

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