Isle of Palms, South Carolina is surrounded by miles of sandy beaches and a thriving community located about a dozen miles from downtown Charleston. This coastal destination offers visitors a chance to rest, relax, and partake in outdoor recreation without having to travel far from their Isle of Palms vacation rentals. Stay in a beachfront home or luxurious condo while vacationing in Isle of Palms, an area that is home to attractions such as championship golf courses, endless beaches, marinas, and local restaurants serving up fresh seafood. Start off your trip right by adding these top 15 things to do to your vacation itinerary.
1. Tour the South Carolina Aquarium
Experience the wonders of the sea up close and personal at the South Carolina Aquarium, located minutes away from your Isle of Palms vacation rental. This aquarium, which boasts more than 5,000 animals, overlooks the Charleston Harbor to offer both indoor and outdoor views. The touch tanks foster interaction with crabs, sea stars, and stingrays for a hands-on experience kids will love.
2. Explore the Caw Caw Interpretive Center
If you want to experience the natural history of South Carolina, a tour of the Caw Caw Interpretive Center puts you in the heart of the area’s culture. Sign up for an educational tour of the facility to see the cypress swamps and rice plantations. The elevated boardwalks allow the guides to take you through the wetlands adjacent to the six-mile trails on site.
3. Take a Water Tour
Have some fun in the sun and head out for a safari tour with Tidalwave Watersports. Get soaked on a jet ski and follow the guides as they navigate you through the salt water and sea creatures. Explore the ocean further with parasailing adventures or private boat excursions located near your Isle of Palms vacation rental.
4. Play a Round of Golf
After a hearty breakfast at your vacation rental, head out for an early morning tee time at the Wild Dunes Resort, a beachfront resort equipped with a Tom Fazio golf course. Take a few practice swings at the driving range or challenge your family to a competitive game of 9 or 18 holes on this luxurious course.
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5. Paddle on the Atlantic
Test your skill and balance on a paddleboard in the Atlantic by renting your gear from Ocean Fitness. Take a personalized lesson from one of the expert guides or wade through the water on your own to gain momentum and, hopefully, get up on your feet while navigating the waves.
6. Spend the Day Fishing
Cast your reel and learn more about the tricks of the trade with a guided fishing excursion led by Charleston Fishfinder Charters. Ideal for families, this fishing charter company supplies you with fishing rods and baits while also helping you clean and prepare your catch of the day so you can take it back to your vacation rental for dinner.
7. Explore Nature on an Eco Tour
Explore Capers Island and see pelicans and dolphins up close while venturing with Barrier Island Eco Tours. Let the captain guide you through the waters while offering tidbits about the wildlife and history of the Isle of Palms area.
8. Cruise Around on a Moped
Feel the need for speed while exploring the Isle of Palms mainland when renting mopeds from Port City Moped. The owners provide a detailed map of the city’s attractions so you can explore at your own pace while on two wheels. Stop for a sweet treat or ride alongside the beach for a few hours.
9. Cruise in Style
Cater to your elegant taste while dining and cruising onboard a boat from Osprey Boat Charters. With water tours and cruises for up to 20 people, Osprey Boat Charters also offers onboard dining and activities that range from swimming and surfing to skeet shooting.
10. Sink Your Teeth Into Seafood
Fresh seafood is a staple in Isle of Palms, which is why lunch at the Long Island Cafe is a must-have. This quaint cafe features a fresh catch of the day as well as a variety of American cuisine. If lunch alone doesn’t satisfy your craving for seafood, opt for dinner at Coconut Joe’s Beach Grill or the Boathouse.
11. Jam to the Blues
Sing along to the Blues when vacationing in Isle of Palms in February. Home to the Lowcountry Blues Bash, this annual festival showcases local and national performers: lining the streets and offer toe-tapping music for your family to enjoy. Grab a bite to eat from one of the street vendors or stop in at the Morgan Creek Grill, a popular waterfront eatery.
12. Sculpt Some Sand
You don’t even have to leave the beach to engage in a friendly competition. Isle of Palms is host to the Piccolo Spoleto Sand Sculpting Contest each June. Learn how to perfect your sculpting skills on the beachfront before enjoying some southern fare at Acme Lowcountry Kitchen.
13. See the Dolphins
Spot some dolphins while on board a watercraft rental from Low Country Water Adventures. Opt for a guided sunset tour with an expert captain or launch your own dolphin tour with a pontoon boat rental from this Isle of Palms outfitter.
14. Cycle by the Beach
Renting equipment from the Isle of Palms Beach Chair Company allows you to make the most of your beach time. Rent a few reclining chairs with cup holders for your favorite beverage or shade your eyes from the South Carolina sun with an umbrella rental. They also have a wide variety of bicycles and accessories to enjoy some vacation cardio.
15. Kayak in the Ocean
Throw on your swimsuit and life jacket for an adventurous kayak ride in the ocean. Adventure Outdoors is a locally-owned outfitter that supplies locals and vacationers with paddles, kayaks, and water equipment for your adventure. Sign up for a kayaking lesson or showcase the skills you have while paddling from shore.
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