Isle of Palms, SC
Located a just a few minutes from Mount Pleasant, the Isle of Palms has plenty of amenities and is a great family-friendly beach option. This stretch of public beach has a selection of shops, restaurants, and amenities plus public restrooms. The area of Ocean Boulevard from 10th Avenue to 14th Avenue is set aside for beachgoers and is known as “Front Beach.” If you’re not staying on Isle of Palms, plan to arrive early. The Isle of Palms Connector backs up quickly with beach traffic.
Where to park: Parking is regulated along the public rights-of-way from May 15 through Sept. 15 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. In the on-street Beach Parking Zones, parking is free of charge. Adjacent residential areas would become “resident parking only.” Paid parking is available in the Municipal Parking Lots on Pavilion Drive, at Isle of Palms County Park and on Ocean Boulevard between 10th and 14th avenues.
For access to picnic tables, showers, restrooms, seasonal lifeguards and a playground, you might want to park at the Isle of Palms County Park. Parking fees vary by season. The most you’ll pay is $10 per vehicle Monday to Friday and $15 on Saturday and Sunday.
Lunch break: Coconut Joe’s, 1120 Ocean Blvd., is a festive, laid-back spot great for families or groups of friends. Order up tacos, sandwiches or a fried platter of coconut shrimp and a cold glass of iced tea to top off a morning on the beach. If you don’t want to leave your spot on the beach, pick up hot dogs or burgers at the neighboring Island Joe’s (also a great spot for afternoon ice cream cones) and picnic on the sand.
Souvenir shopping: Stroll Ocean Boulevard for a selection of gift shops where you can buy an IOP T-shirt or buckets and shovels for building an epic sand castle.
Beach beers: Cold brews, ocean views and live music from a variety of bands make The Windjammer, IOP’s best party spot.
Dinner by the ocean: Seafood sourced from the East Coast is tough to beat at Acme Lowcountry Kitchen, which combines upscale, yet casual elements of traditional coastal cuisine with classic fare. Located at 31 J.C. Long Blvd.
Best selfie spot: Head to the top deck of The Windjammer to snap a photo with the vast ocean behind you.
Rules to know: Alcohol is not allowed on the beach. Dogs are allowed off leash on the beach from 5-9 a.m. April 1 to Sept. 14 and from 4 p.m. to 10 a.m. Sept. 15 to March 31. At all other times, dogs must be on a leash – even in the water. More info and complete beach rules: iop.net
IOP fun fact: Loggerhead sea turtles often lay their eggs at the Isle of Palms from May to mid-August. From July until October, the loggerhead hatchlings emerge from their nest at night and make their way to the ocean. Do not disturb any nests or any hatchlings and be sure to fill any holes you dig on the beach. If you’re staying on the beach, be sure to turn off your porch/outside lights at night.