South Carolina boasts one of the most beautiful and undiscovered barrier islands in not only the USA, but the world.
Just a short, thirteen-mile drive from Charleston, lies the Isle of Palm- accessed by the spectacular Connector Bridge. And just like that, you find yourself in paradise on the Atlantic Ocean, almost due west of Bermuda. Welcome to seven miles of clean, golden sands with surfing, golf courses and sea turtles!
With average daytime temperatures from 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter to the mid eighties in July and August, the Isle of Palms boasts an ideal holiday climate all year round. June and July are the wettest months, but rainfall is comparatively low, with around 20 centimeters each of those months.
Throughout the seasons, people come to the Isle of Palms for the beach life. The beaches are very clean- in fact, award-winning. Fewer than 5,000 people live on the Isle of Palms. Don’t share these secrets with too many people!
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Things to do
Where better to head first than Front Beach? Located on Ocean Boulevard, between 10th and 14th Avenue, lies this peaceful and heavenly beach. Front Beach has rules that ensures it stays that way, and it is suitable for all ages. There are designated swimming areas that prohibit the use of motorized vehicles on the sand and water, so don’t be afraid to take your little ones!
There are plenty of shopping opportunities, mainly centered along Ocean Blvd and Palm Blvd.
Drinking and dining on the Isle of Palms presents a whole host of options. One of the oldest and most popular is something of a Charleston institution- The Windjammer. Right on Front Beach, it has live music, bikini contests and an affordable menu of simple southern cuisine. There are also reasonably priced, casual pizzerias as well as fine-dining options.
The Isle of Palms County Park lies between 1st and 14th Avenue and is a great place for families with over 600 feet of oceanfront beach.
Though it can get crowded during peak season and parking can be difficult (there is a parking fee) it is accessible and has facilities including showers, a fishing pier, toilets, changing rooms, playgrounds and lifeguards. There are restaurants and snack bars immediately adjacent.
The IOP Marina lying to the north of the resort is home to some wonderful yachts for those who own them or simply like to browse and dream. It has superb facilities including wireless Internet, cable TV and more. Fishing trips, sport fishing and charters are available from the marina with a captain of over ten years of experience. Here, you can catch trout, redfish and even shark for tea! Tours range from two to six hours.
You could also take a trip from the marina with Barrier Islands Eco Tours to discover the plentiful marine wildlife and the birds in the area.
One of the most popular is a 3-4 hour trip out to the uninhabited Caper’s Island. You might be lucky enough to see schools of dolphins and will certainly get up close and personal with crabs, oysters and more as you explore the salty marsh ecosystem. This trip is suitable for everyone in the family – highly recommended for those with children – and the ride is smooth. All guides are experienced and keen to share their knowledge of this unique marine environment!
The more adventurous travelers could try banana boat rides, parasailing, jet skiing, waterskiing and more. I highly recommend Tidalwave Watersports.
Turtle conservation as well as preserving the dune environment is a major initiative down in the Isle of Palms.
A Turtle Team works with locals and tourists and there is a healthy population of loggerhead, green and Kemps Riley turtles who nest and hatch here. If you’re lucky, you might be able to witness a hatching and the long voyage the babies make to the ocean. But be aware, these are protected species and the Turtle Team carefully controls access.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post, and are intrigued to explore the hidden gem- the Isle Of Palms!
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