Isle of Palms, one of Charleston’s barrier islands, is located just 30 minutes from the historic city of Charleston, South Carolina. The island offers sweeping views of marsh, the intracoastal waterway and six miles of white, sandy beaches.
Premier Accommodations at Isle of Palms
Located at the northern end of the Isle of Palms is Wild Dunes Resort (a Destination Hotel) with its AAA Four-Diamond rated Boardwalk Inn and the Village at Wild Dunes. Having recently stayed at Wild Dunes Resort, I can highly recommend it for a relaxing and fun family vacation.
The resort features 1,600 acres of oceanfront paradise with a wide beach; two family-friendly pools and one adult-only pool; 36 holes of one of Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses;” 17 Har-Tru tennis courts; a spa and workout facility; great dining options and a variety of nature and cultural activities.
Coastal Dining Options
Staying at the Boardwalk Inn at Wild Dunes Resort puts you in the middle of everything with beach and pool access as well as the on-site Coastal Provisions Restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Be sure to plan on having dinner there one night to enjoy a selection of local fish, NY Strip, short ribs or their local farm raised chicken pot pie. They also offer an extensive wine selection as well as an array of craft beers and cocktails.
Save room for their amazing desserts. Personally, I recommend the S’Mores with graham cracker, dark chocolate ganache, torched marshmallow fluff, cocoa and butterscotch.
For a more laid back, kid-friendly dinner, visit the Salty Goat Bar offering sandwiches, burgers and pizza. You may also run into some locals there who will fill you in on the restaurant’s namesake. Goat Island, a small scrap of land a few hundred yards off the coast was home to the legendary mysterious Goat Man, his wife and a herd of wild goats who lived there for over 30 years.
Wild Dunes Resort Activities
There’s a plethora of family activities available at Wild Dunes Resort. After 12 p.m. during the summer and 3 p.m. during the spring and fall, one junior (age 16 & under) can play golf for free for every paying adult. “All in the family” golf lessons are also available and their Harbor Course offers Junior Fabio Tees designed for wee ones, tweens and teens.
If tennis is your game, instruction is available for Tiny Tots (ages 4-6), Junior Masters (ages 7-11) and Future Stars (ages 12-16). Lessons are available for adults of all levels as well.
Wild Dune’s Resort offers three on-site fun workshops including basket weaving, dyeing, and ironworking. Sweetgrass Basket Weaving is where families can learn about the southern art form of sweet grass weaving and create a basket to take home. The Indigo Dyeing workshop helps participants create a set of napkins or scarf. And lastly, the Fire Ironworking workshop highlights the celebrated Low-country art form which is part of Charleston’s architecture.
A Fun Eco-Tourism Option
There are lots of activities that involve the water including kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing and eco-tours. I took the Sunset Dolphin Cruise offered by Barrier Island Eco Tours right from the Isle of Palms Marina. On our way to Caper’s Island, a pristine island only reachable by boat, we sited several dolphins as well as hundreds of pelicans.
But the highlight of the tour was a stop on the island to explore the fascinating “Boneyard Beach,” which is filled with old tree skeletons left as a result of erosion and bleached out by the sun. Other tour options include a Family Fun Day Tour, Blue Crabbing Tour with a Crab Boil, Back Creek Fishing & Crabbing and more.
Off Property Dining
After returning from our eco tour, we sited an interesting three-story restaurant at the marina and went to check it out. Morgan Creek Grill & Bar features dining on the upper deck (where we ordered some great appetizers and watched our favorite football team play while viewing an amazing sunset.
In season, Morgan Creek has weekly Saturday Oyster Roasts on their sandy creek side beach with live music and corn hole. A definite fun place to hang out.
Charleston’s Barrier Islands For the Win
Isle of Palms is only one of several barrier islands near Charleston that’s fun to explore. You may also want to visit Sullivan’s Island with its lighthouse, Ft. Moultrie and Poe’s Tavern. John’s Island is home to the famous Angel Oak and the Tattooed Moose (featured on Diner’s, Drive-in’s & Dives). Madmalaw Island is home to the Charleston Tea Plantation, the only place tea is commercially grown in America.
Article Written by Sandra Chambers of Southern-Traveller.
Thanks to Wild Dunes Resort for hosting Sandra on this trip. Reviews and opinions are her own.
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