Your Guide To Isle Of Palms, SC

Sunset on Isle of Palms, SC

Sandy Beaches, World-Class Golf and true island life await

Isle of Palms, SC is a barrier island on the coast of South Carolina, just 20 minutes from Charleston. It’s a relaxing place with a mix of residential and rental properties. There are a few restaurants on the island and it’s a quick drive to Mount Pleasant, SC.

About Isle Of Palms

What It’s Like

Laidback · Beachy

Known For

Beaches · Restaurants · Wild Dunes


Off Mount Pleasant, SC // North of Sullivan’s

What You’ll Find In This Guide

About Isle Of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms, SC is a barrier island on the coast of South Carolina. While it’s only a 20 minute drive to downtown Charleston, the idyllic island feels like a world away.

Things are relaxed on Isle of Palms. There are a few eateries but for the most part it’s just sandy beaches, big houses, lots of vacationers and some laidback locals.

Because the island is so small (7 miles!), it doesn’t take much to get the lay-of-the-land. See below for details on a few key areas if you are new to the area or planning a trip.

Wild Dunes Resort on IOP

Pool at Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms, SC

Wild Dunes is a beachfront resort on Isle of Palms. It has both private residences and rental properties.

Wild Dunes is a haven for active relaxation and luxury living. Golf enthusiasts flock to its two Tom Fazio 18-hole courses that challenge and inspire, while tennis aces find their match on 17 Har-Tru courts.

There’s more to Wild Dunes than swings and serves, though. The four-star Boardwalk Inn and Grand Pavilion boasts three sparkling pools and a pavilion overlooking the endless Atlantic.

There are several restaurants on Wild Dunes, from breakfast on the go at Woody’s Eatery to a gourmet seafood dinner at Coastal Provisions.

21st-41st Avenues

Just south of Wild Dunes is a large stretch of homes that are a mix of residential and rentals. Some are oceanfront and others are across Palm Blvd. Though it’s a short walk, Palm Blvd can be quite busy. You’ll find beach access areas every few blocks.

The Isle of Palms Recreation Department is located here and it has tennis and pickleball courts, a baseball field, a playground and a gymnasium.

Downtown Isle Of Palms

Most of the island’s restaurants are located just across the IOP Connector. This is where you’ll find the only grocery store (Harris Teeter), local restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, the Windjammer and the boardwalk. It’s a go-to place for visitors only here for the day because it’s a hub for parking and eateries. There are also public bathrooms here.

The Southern End Of IOP

Sunset on Isle of Palms, SC

The last area of IOP we’ll mention is south of downtown, from 9th Avenue to where the island ends. There’s a bridge at the south end to Sullivan’s Island.

This is another popular area to visit for the day because there is a small parking lot across from the Boathouse and lots of space at the end of the island.

One thing to note, though, is that the waters are a bit rougher at the end of the island, especially at the end where it curves back around. If you plan on swimming or if you have young kids in tow, you’ll want to go to access point 3 or higher.

There are several beach access points south of downtown, though parking is limited (and they ticket!!)

Getting To Isle Of Palms, SC

Isle of Palms is east of Charleston and just off Mount Pleasant, SC. There are two ways to get there if coming from the Charleston area– see below for details.

Cooper River Bridge in Charleston, SC

Our favorite way to arrive on Isle of Palms is by taking the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge from Charleston to Mount Pleasant. This offers a spectacular view of the harbor, where you are sure to see cargo ships or cruise ships, as well as the USS Yorktown. You’ll also pass by Shem Creek.

Another way to get to IOP is from North Charleston by taking 526 to Mount Pleasant. If traffic isn’t an issue, either way will get you on the island in about the same amount of time from 26.

Once you arrive on Mount Pleasant you’ll need to take another bridge to Isle of Palms. There are two ways to do this: the IOP Connector and via Sullivan’s Island.

Mount Pleasant to IOP

The IOP connector from Mount Pleasant takes you to the center of the island. This is where the only grocery store is located, as well as restaurants, shops and the boardwalk. Just across the bridge in Mount Pleasant are additional grocery stores, shopping and even a Target.

Mount Pleasant to Sullivan’s Island

Another way to access IOP is via Sullivan’s Island. You’ll take the Ben Sawyer bridge from Mount Pleasant to Sullivan’s and a second bridge to IOP. This is where Sullivan’s Jasper Blvd becomes IOP’s Palm Blvd.

The closest airport to Isle of Palms is Charleston International Airport (CHS.) It’s around 20 miles from the island.

IOP is a beach destination, so at the very top of our things to do in Isle of Palms list is to spend the day at the beach. But that’s not the only thing happening in this small beach town!

You can also catch a show at a beach club, play a round of golf with a view of the Atlantic, test our your paddleboarding skills, or enjoy a happy hour with a sunset view of the Intracoastal Waterway. Ok, maybe all of these do involve the beach! It is Isle of Palms, after all!

IOP Restaurants

Though it’s a small island, there are several restaurants worth trying. Most are located in the downtown area– a few are just by Harris Teeter and others are across Palm Blvd. There are also restaurants on Wild Dunes.

We especially love Acme Lowcountry Kitchen for brunch on Isle of Palms. It’s the perfect beachy place with excellent food. Try any of their shrimp and grits!

If you are looking for a coffee shop on Isle of Palms, try The Refuge. They have a sit-down breakfast menu in the restaurant, as well as a separate entrance to a dedicated coffee bar.

There are a few waterfront restaurants on Isle of Palms— the Boathouse is on the south end by the bridge to Sullivan’s. It’s only open for happy hour and dinner. It’s a bit more upscale than Coconut Joe’s. Coconut Joe’s is located by the boardwalk and offers excellent views of the ocean. Nearby is Coda del Pesce, which is a fine dining seafood restaurant on Isle of Palms with ocean views.

Leave a Comment