Close proximity to Charleston and resort-level amenities make this laid-back beach town one of our favorite getaways.


Looking for a coastal getaway fit for the whole family? Or maybe you're scouting a location for a more permanent beach house? Make sure Isle of Palms, South Carolina, is on your list. With the laid-back vibe of an isolated beach town paired with the perks and beauty of a resort destination and close proximity to Charleston, Isle of Palms offers something for everyone.

Adjacent to Mount Pleasant and Sullivan's Island, Isle of Palms is a skinny, 7-mile long barrier island with white sandy beaches along the Atlantic on one side, and the marshy creeks of the Intracoastal Waterway on the other. There are six miles of continuous beach open to the public, dotted with several oceanfront bars, restaurants, and beach volleyball courts (a favorite activity on the island).

Stop by The Windjammer to mingle with locals and visitors alike at the famed venue and beachfront bar. Other favorite dining options include the more casual and family-friendly Coconut Joe's on the beach, as well as Coastal Provisions, serving more upscale local fare.

Isle of Palms has fewer than 5,000 year-round residents, but the population can swell to 20,000 in the summer, with many repeat visitors and plenty of first-timers staying at Wild Dunes Resort, which occupies 1,600 acres at the north end of the island and offers accommodations ranging from standard hotel rooms to cottage rentals. There are a couple other hotels on the island, along with plenty of house rentals available via Airbnb and VRBO.

Fancy a bit more activity than just lounging in the sun? Wild Dunes boasts two renowned golf courses, a slew of tennis courts, and pools. There are also ample bike trails throughout the island worth exploring. If you want to get out on the water, you have options of all kinds, from paddleboard and kayak rentals to sunset cruises and boat charters for fishing or dolphin watching.

The island is an easy 30-minute drive from downtown Charleston, so indulging in some of the South's best restaurants, bars, and shopping is conveniently accessible, but the island has its own grocery store, beach rental shops, and even several churches, so you certainly don't have to leave. We know you won't want to.