With summer just weeks away, today I’m sharing one of my favorite places to getaway to, Isle of Palms, SC plus all the things to do there! So if you find yourself googling “Isle of Palms SC Things To Do” you’re in the right place! If you’re not familiar with this beach, it’s just a short drive from the historic downtown area of Charleston, SC. On an average day, it’ll take you approximately 20 minutes to drive to Isle of Palms (or IOP as the locals like to say) from Charleston, but once you’re there it’s easy to forget that the city is so close by!
Isle of Palms feels very secluded, with miles of beautiful beach homes, a few amazing restaurants and a short stretch of boutiques to shop at, you’ll feel kinda like you’re on a secluded getaway — whether you visit just for the day, or spend an entire week there.
Isle of Palms, SC
As far as east coast beaches go, I’ve been to quite literally all of them, from Maine all the way down to Florida, and I can say without a doubt that Isle of Palms, SC is by far one of my favorite beaches. I like to joke that it’s the Hamptons of South Carolina. The homes along the beach are undoubtedly worth millions, and you can spend hours simply walking the beach admiring them!
The sand is surprisingly seaweed free, unlike many of Florida’s beaches, which I personally love because it makes it so easy to walk. Plus, if you surf, this is a prime location to catch some waves, and if you’re lucky and visit during the summer months, you may discover sea turtle nests along the shore.
Another animal you’re likely to spot at Isle of Palms are dolphins, which are often out swimming and playing in schools! All in all, Isle of Palms, SC is an ideal spot to relax in the sand, enjoy drinks with friends at the beach bars, grab a bite to eat after a long day in the sun and of course watch the sunset.
Isle of Palms, SC Things To Do
Like I mentioned earlier, if you’ve been googling: Isle of Palms, SC things to do, I’m gonna try to cover it all in this post, so keep reading! First, though I need to say that Isle of Palms has more of a relaxed beach vibe. It’s not a place where you’ll find hundreds of hotels, beach bars, botiques and restaurants. While it does have all those things, they are somewhat few and far between! It’s perfect for those days you just wanna getaway and lounge oceanside and get some sun.
Here’s a few of the more popular things to do at Isle of Palms:
- Beach activities! Think, swimming, surfing, wake-boarding, jogging, boating, dolphin watching
- Walking the beach at sunset (or sunrise if that’s your thing)
- Grab taco’s at the infamous Papi’s Tacqueira
- Stop for margarita’s at Coconut Joe’s Beach Grill
- Go paddle-boarding or rent a kayak for the day to explore the waterways
- Shop the boutiques on Ocean Boulevard
- Take a barrier island eco tour
- Book a fishing charter
- Stop by the Wind Jammer for live music and beach volleyball
- Grab dinner at Acme Low Country Kitchen
- Play a round of golf at the northern tip of the island’s Wild Dunn’s golf course
Where To Eat Isle of Palms
With so many delicious options to choose from, it can be a bit tricky to decide where to eat in Isle of Palms! If you’re in the mood for something quick and with a kick, I highly suggest stopping at Papi’s Taqueria — which is said to have the best tacos in Charleston (and I agree)! Truth is, the tacos are incredible, but you can’t stop at Papi’s without also ordering the nachos, ’cause they are to die for. I also love that Papi’s has outdoor seating, however it can get tight, so just be aware of that before you go. It’s also on the beach, which is perfect if you’ve been lounging in the sun all morning and want to grab something for lunch that is within walking distance of the ocean.
Isle of Palms Food
If you’re in the mood for something more formal, I recommend heading over to Acme Low Country Kitchen, which has an upscale yet casual vibe and serves some of the tastiest seafood I’ve ever eaten. It’s fresh, local and sustainable and a crowd-pleaser so make sure to plan ahead and make a reservation because it does get crowded often! I’ve personally tried both the roasted scallops over shrimp & ham pirlou and the seafood pasta (which is tossed in a cajun cream sauce) and both were beyond delicious.
Isle of Palms SC Things To Do
OK, so that pretty much summarized all the things to do in Isle of Palms, SC. As you can tell, there’s really something for everyone in Isle of Palms! Of course, if you want to venture outside of Isle of Palms make sure to head over to the waterfront at Shem Creek. It’s got a beautiful boardwalk you can walk along and while you’re there you’ll probably spot a dolphin or two! Shem Creek is also where you’ll find a handful of popular restaurants on the intercostal that are all equally delicious and prepare some of the best local, southern fare you can find in Charleston, SC. One of my personal faves is Saltwater Cowboy’s for again, nachos and locally caught seafood. They have plenty of outdoor seating on the dock and some really gorgeous sunset views, as well as tons of live music and even some outdoor games.
More Travel Guides
Interested in exploring more cities? Make sure to read my other travel guides on my travel blog!