This idyllic holiday destination is a must for anyone traveling through South Carolina. The Isle of Palms is like the Hawaii of the East Coast, featuring scenic sights and a tranquil atmosphere, allowing for easy picnics and spots to take a breather. Beyond that, the quaint isle has more to offer, with education-inspiring attractions, and adrenaline-inducing activities. It’s hard to believe that so much can fit onto such a small isle. Whether it’ll be with your family, or on your own, there’s something for everyone!
If you don’t know where to stay, there are Airbnbs and vacation rentals with a pool ready to offer you a comfortable stay. Read on to find out about the best things to do on the Isle of Palms in South Carolina:
1. Isle of Palms Beach
The main attraction on the Isle of Palms is its beautiful beach. The Isle of Palms Beach has been a hotspot for locals and tourists alike for generations. The tranquillity and serenity achieved at the Isle of Palms Beach is match only by the gorgeous daily sunrises and sunsets you can enjoy on the perfect white sands. No holiday to the Isle of Palms is complete without a nice relaxing day by the water’s edge.
Isle of Palms Beach
Address: Ocean Boulevard from 10th Avenue to 14th Avenue.
Website: Isle of Palm Beach
2. Water Activities on the Isle of Palms
Surrounded by water, the Isle of Palms is the ideal place to get adventurous and try your hand at some of the many water sports on offer. You’ll be spoilt for choice for water sports companies as you’ll find one on almost every corner. Laugh with your friends on a banana boat, reach dizzying heights while you paraglide or hit some high speeds on a jet ski - you’ll never run out of things to do while you’re here.
Tidal Wave Water Sports
Address: 1285 Llewellyn Rd, Mt Pleasant
Website: Tidal Wave
3. Hire a boat
Isle of Palms has been a popular holiday destination for many years with most of the vacationers making the most of the beautiful marina and readily accessible boats. The Isle of Palms Marina has a wide selection of boat rentals on offer. From dual consoles to deck boats you will be able to find something to suit your needs. No previous experience is necessary for boat rental and all boats are equipped with up-to-date safety equipment. Rent a boat and head out to sea. Explore the beautiful bays around the island and allows the calmness of the water to wash over you before heading back to the island to party all night.
50 41st Ave, Isle of Palms, SC 29451
Website: Isle of Palms Marina
4. Isle of Palms County Park
Isle of Palms County Park was opened in 1996 after demands for improved beach access. The park is situated near the beach front and offers its visitors beautiful ocean views and a beachfront swimming area. It also includes a dog park, volleyball courts, a playground and picnic and BBQ areas. The County Park is the perfect place to chill out with friends while enjoying the spectacular sunsets.
Isle of Palms County Park
Address: 1 14th AVE Isle of Palms, SC 29451
Website: County Park
5. Fishing Tours
Isle of Palms is a fisherman’s paradise. Surrounded by open water, the fishing industry on the Isle of Palms is thriving. Tourists can choose to attend fishing tours on charter boats in the hopes of catching some big fish. Try your chances at getting the ‘Catch of the Day’ with one of the numerous fishing companies on the island.
Website: Fishing Booker
6. Barrier Island Eco Tours
Find out about the beautifully undisturbed marshlands around the Isle and how to protect and respect the salt marsh eco system on these tours of the area. The Barrier Island Eco Tours provide eco-friendly tours for visitors to the Isle. Explore the Capers Island wildlife, discovery dolphins at sunset, take part in sustainable fishing and crabbing or kick back and relax at the beach side cookout. There are so many things you can do whilst helping to protect the local environment.
Barrier Island Eco Tour
Address: 50 41st Ave, Isle Of Palms, SC 29451
Website: Eco Tours
7. Port City Moped
Sometimes two wheels are better than four and that is certainly the case on the Isle of Palms. Rent a scooter or a scoot coupe and explore the island at your own pace. Whiz around from scenic spot to scenic spot without the hassle of finding a parking space for your car.
Port City Moped
Address: 1202 B Palm Blvd. Isle of Palms, SC 29451
Website: Port City Moped
According to the guys at Coastal Expeditions, the best way to see Charleston is by water. So hop in a canoe or a kayak and join their tour of the South Carolina waterways. They also have the latest craze on offer - paddleboarding! So test your balance and your core strength by paddleboarding against a backdrop of undisturbed salt marshes and swamps.
Address: 69 41st Ave, Isle Of Palms, SC 29451
Website: Coastal Expeditions
Charleston Harbor 2-Hour Speedboat Adventure
Duration: 2 hour
Feel like taking a drive? Shem Creek Park is just a half-hour journey from Isle of Palms. Much of the drive shows very beautiful coastline views. The nice boardwalk at the park starts near the harbor, so keep an eye out for dolphins. At the end of the walkway, there are benches where you may relax and take in the ambiance of the ocean. While there are no concessions, take along a camera if you enjoy photographing boats, as there are plenty of them to see.
If you have an appetite after your walk, you could pop into the Pages Okra Grill for a bite to eat in a friendly atmosphere. People rave about their chicken waffles and pancakes. They have parking available and also sell takeouts.
Shem Creek Park
Address: Coleman Boulevard, Mount Pleasant, SC
Website: Shem Creek Parke
Shem Creek Walking Bar Tour
Duration: 2 hours
Of course no coastal town is complete without its very own maritime museum. Patriots Point on the Isle of Palms is the final resting place for WWII warship the USS Yorktown. It’s also home to the Patriots Point Museum and a fleet of National Historic Landmark ships, the Cold War Memorial and the only Vietnam Experience Exhibit in the U.S., the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, and the agency’s official Medal of Honor Museum. Visit to find out why it has become one of the state’s most popular tourist attractions.
Patriots Point and Maritime Museum
Address: 40 Patriots Point Rd, Mount Pleasant 29464
Website: Patriots Point
Charleston: City Tour and Museum Combo
Duration: 2 hour
11. Coconut Joe's Beach Grill with rooftop bar
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
Another must-try in the Isle of Palms, South Carolina is a beach grill with a rooftop bar called Coconut Joe’s. Take your friends with you, chill on the rooftop bar with a tropical cocktail, listen to live music, enjoy the ocean breeze, and take in the panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean from where you are. If you’re lucky, you might even see the passing shrimp boats, Larry the kite guy, and even dolphins! You should try their food too - the vegan wraps, coconut shrimp, shrimp grits, deep-fried cod, and the crabs have garnered great reviews from customers.
Coconut Joe's Beach Grill
Address: 1120 Ocean Blvd, Isle of Palms, SC 29451, United States
Website: Coconut Joe’s Beach Grill
Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 10pm; Fri: 11am - 11pm; Sat: 10am - 11pm; Sun: 10am - 10pm
12. Isle of Palms Recreation Department
If you are visiting Isle of Palms with your family, the perfect place to stop by is the recreation center, which offers a wide array of activities and facilities. Let your children enjoy outdoor activities in the fields and the park’s playground. Play a laidback game of frisbee golf, tennis, and softball. You can also sweat it up in the gym or enjoy a fun basketball match on the outdoor court. If you have pets, they can roam Bark Park, a large fenced area where your dogs can interact with other dogs. After an exhausting day, enjoy snacks and refreshments in the park’s picnic shelter.
Isle of Palms Recreation Department
Address: 24 28th Ave, Isle of Palms, SC 29451, United States
13. Fort Moultrie
On the road between Isle of Palms and Mount Pleasant, is Sullivan’s Island. There, you will find Fort Moultrie. It’s open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. This is the National Park Service’s historic properties headquarters. The fort was used during the colonial days right through WWII. The museum there is interesting and informative and has many armaments, a video to watch, and an excellent display booths.
If you enjoy walking and history, the self-guided tour will keep you entertained. The place has a nice gift shop where you can take away a memento of your visit.
Address: 1214 Middle St, Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482-9748
Website: Fort Moultrie
Get a view of the historic lighthouse anchoring Sullivan Island to South Carolina, the 57-year-old lighthouse. This historic landmark currently does not accept any tours or visitors indoors but it’s definitely an Instagram post waiting to happen when in South Carolina.
The lighthouse is known to be some sort of an oddity for its unique architectural look with a triangular shape similar to the likes of a tapered cone, which ultimately is what makes it basically immune to gales and hurricanes in terms of its aerodynamics. It’s 140 ft (42.67 m) tall along with its focal plane at 163 ft (49.68 m) in surrounding terrain. Indeed, the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse is one to check out when in this part of the Carolinas.
Sullivan's Island Lighthouse
Address: 1815 Ion Ave, Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482, United States
Charleston Harbor Sunset Cruise
Duration: 2 hours
Paradise on the east coast
The Isle of Palms has been the top holiday destination for generations of South Carolinians and it should certainly be on every travellers list of places to relax. The isle is a dream location for those wanting a break from city life and for those who want to enjoy a typical American-style vacation. If you’re planning a visit and don’t know where to stay, book one of the many pet-friendly vacation rentals in the area and explore the many activities this place has to offer.
Frequently asked questions about best things to do in Isle of Palms, SC
1. What are the top attractions to visit in Isle of Palms?
Isle of Palms is known for its beautiful beaches that’s why one of the top must-visit attractions here is the Isle of Palm Beach. A lot of people visit this beach for peace and to watch the daily sunset and sunrise. Also, you shouldn’t miss seeing the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse and the Patriots Point and Maritime Museum.
2. What are the best outdoor activities in Isle of Palms?
There are plenty of outdoor activities to do here in Isle of Palms, including trying the many water activities the Isle of Palm Beach has to offer, bar-hopping at Shem Creek Park, and joining a coastal expedition.
3. What are the most popular things to do in Isle of Palms with family?
One of the most popular family activities here is visiting the Isle of Palms County Park, where the family can bond, play, and have a picnic. Also, if you’re children are a little older, you can go to the marina and rent a boat. And the most laidback thing to do here with family is just swimming and making sandcastles at the Isle of Palms Beach.
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