Isle of Palms Nightlife: Your Ultimate Guide to the Best IOP Bars

Isle of Palms is home to a vibrant and fun nightlife. Naturally, the bars are beachy and laid back, perfect for a night out on vacation. From oceanfront rooftop bars to hosting concerts right on the beach, you’re sure to have a good time at any of the IOP bars below.

You’ll find everything there is to know about the Isle of Palms nightlife below, but the Lowcountry also encompasses historic Downtown Charleston, Folly Beach, and Sullivan’s Island. Request access to our complimentary DESTINATION GUIDE to get a full taste of this beautiful region in South Carolina. 

UNLOCK YOUR GUIDE

Everything to Know About IOP Bars

The Windjammer

THE WINDJAMMER is a unique staple on IOP. The large bar directly on the beach often hosts Isle of Palms events like sand volleyball tournaments and live music. It makes for a great place to grab a quick bite, enjoy a beer overlooking the ocean, or catch a concert. The business welcomes dogs so stop by after a walk on the beach with your furry friend. After about 50 years in business, The Windjammer is by far one of the most vibrant Isle of Palms bars and is home to much of the small city’s nightlife.

Coconut Joe’s Beach Grill

COCONUT JOE’S BEACH GRILL is a fun spot with great views, a large rooftop bar, and classic seafood. They often have live music on the weekends and host events throughout the year. This Isle of Palms restaurant is a staple on the barrier island and one of Ocean Boulevard’s most popular spots.

Smugglers Island Eats and Rum Shack

This open-air bar is just what you would expect from IOP’s main beach strip. Smugglers Island Eats and Rum Shack, of course, has a menu full of rum cocktails and often serves local beers, wines, and liquors. They also have a menu full of delicious fares like seafood baskets, sandwiches, and even ice cream during the summer. Ask your server about their daily specials; they often have the best deals on the island!

The Dinghy

Another longtime bar on Isle of Palms that must be mentioned is The Dinghy. The laid-back bar is known for its great craft beer selection on tap and having everything you need. They have a large screened-in porch, lots of TVs, bar games, an awesome happy hour, and live music on the weekends. What else could you want?

Book Your Vacation of Fun Today

Now that you know all the best IOP bars, it’s time to book your stay. Charleston Coast Vacations provides more than 40 Isle of Palms vacation rentals from resort villas to luxury waterfront homes. Our collection of rentals on ISLE OF PALMS, in addition to the nearby islands of FOLLY Beach and SULLIVAN’S ISLAND, provide you with tons of incredible choices for your family beach trip. Our rentals feature new renovations, flawless decorations, ocean views, and special amenities to ensure you have a top-notch comfortable stay. Plus, our concierge team can help you plan your trip every step of the way.  

Start planning your Charleston getaway by browsing our VACATION RENTALS. We look forward to welcoming you to the Lowcountry! 

BOOK NOW

Here’s Why You Need to Attend an Event at Spoleto in Charleston

If you love the performing arts, you will want to be in town for Spoleto in Charleston. For 17 days, our theaters, churches, and outdoor spaces are brought to life with incredible performances. Music, theater, and dance are all represented during this famous event! Book your stay with Charleston Coast Vacations, then get tickets to your choice of events. 

Start planning your vacation during Spoleto in Charleston with our complimentary Destination Guide! Inside, you’ll find a list of our favorite things to do and see in the area. 

GET YOUR DESTINATION GUIDE

Everything You Need to Know About Spoleto in Charleston

About Spoleto Festival USA

Did you know that Spoleto in Charleston is internationally recognized as America’s premier performing arts festival? This festival was originally started in 1977 as the counterpart to the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy. The location is just as important as the performances; Charleston was chosen because of its beautiful and historic performance locations. 

During the festival, thousands of locals and visitors attend the many events. Spoleto spans for 17 days during May and June, so there is more than enough opportunity for you to get tickets during your stay with Charleston Coast Vacations! 

The Events

Spoleto Festival USA celebrates the performing arts through its events. See performances by both renowned and upcoming artists in dance, opera, theater, and music. The music selections include choral, symphonic, chamber, and jazz. Check out the schedule to plan out which performances you’d like to attend the most. About 700 events take place during the festival, so you have quite a few to choose from!

Getting Tickets

It’s easy to get tickets to the Spoleto Festival! Each show and performance is clearly explained and outlined on their website. Once you pick what you would like to attend, there are a few ways you can purchase tickets: 

  • You can purchase the tickets online from their website.
  • Call (843) 579-3100 to purchase tickets over the phone.
  • Beginning May 1, you may go to the Spoleto Festival USA Box Office at the Charleston Gaillard Center and purchase tickets in person.

Some of the popular events are known to sell out, so we recommend purchasing your tickets as soon as possible.  

Stay in Charleston’s Artsiest Town: Folly Beach!

Are you thinking of attending Spoleto in Charleston? You’ll need somewhere to stay, and there’s no better choice than Folly Beach! The funky and fun beach town is known for its artistic flair, making it the perfect home base while you attend the festival. We have more than 100 Folly Beach vacation rentals for you to choose from, so we’re to have a property that meets all your needs and wants. Wake up to gorgeous beach views every morning before sipping your coffee on your private porch or balcony! Our vacation rentals stand out against the usual hotel options, and you are sure to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Browse our properties to start planning your getaway today!

BOOK NOW

Pros and Cons: Which of the 3 Charleston, SC Beaches Is the Best?

From a vast history to stunning shorelines to Southern hospitality, South Carolina’s Lowcountry is known for so much! However, there’s no doubt that many people visit year after year for the sandy Charleston, SC beaches. Below, we’ve laid out the pros and cons of the city’s nearest beaches, so you can decide which best fits your vacation needs.

We’ve once decided on a location for your beach getaway, you’ll have to plan the rest of your trip. Our complimentary Charleston, SC Destination Guide is the perfect resource! It’s full of the best attractions, places to eat, shopping, and more in the area.

UNLOCK YOUR GUIDE

Everything You Need to Know About Charleston, SC Beaches

Folly Beach

Pros

Folly Beach definitely has the most character than any of the other Charleston, SC beaches on this list. Center Street is at the heart of the lively downtown, lined with laid-back restaurants and surf shops. The town and it’s people are known for their funky and colorful vibes making it a fun place for kids and adults. When it comes to things to do in Folly Beach, you’ll never run out of activities and things to see. Your kids will love the six miles of shoreline, while the adults will enjoy all the great places to grab a drink with a view. Folly Beach is also known to have the best surfing in the state. “The Washout” or “Hollywood” is a section of the beach with no homes because they were destroyed by Hurricane Hugo. With no houses to block to wind, the area is said to get the best waves in South Carolina.

Cons

During the summer, Folly Beach is a hot spot and for good reason, but that means the traffic to get on and off the barrier island can get thick on the weekends. An easy way to avoid that crowd is to just stay directly on Folly Beach! We have more than 100 vacation rentals available on the island, so we’re sure to have the perfect home base for your getaway.

Isle of Palms

Pros

Because of Wild Dunes, we vote Isle of Palms as the most family-friendly beach near Charleston. The resort houses countless state-of-the-art amenities including two golf courses, community pools, private beach access, and more! If you’re not staying in the resort, the ISLE OF PALMS COUNTY PARK offers rentals, bathrooms, changing rooms, lifeguards, and paid parking. The town has more of your classic laid-back beach vibe. Beach shops and OCEANFRONT RESTAURANTS sit along Ocean Boulevard perfect for an evening stroll with an ice cream cone from the local Ben and Jerry’s. Isle of Palms is also extremely pet-friendly because the city allows dogs on the beach all day and year-round. Many of our IOP vacation rentals allow dogs, so your furry family doesn’t have to miss out on the fun!

Cons

Isle of Palms may be the most popular of the three beaches on this list. Like we said, it’s a classic beach town with lots of amenities, so naturally, it attracts a lot of people from all over. The beach is wide and long, so it rarely seems crowded, but it’s also no longer one of our best kept secrets!

Sullivan’s Island

Pros

Sullivan’s Island is much less crowded and is a popular spot for locals to go for a sunset walk. Bonus- you can see the Downtown Charleston from the far westside of the island. The small town is mostly made up of restaurants, and that’s what it’s known for. Some of the Lowcountry’s most beloved eateries call Sullivan’s Island home. Some of our favorites include THE OBSTINATE DAUGHTERPOE’S TAVERN, and HOME TEAM BBQ. The small beach town is much slower than the rest of Charleston and provides the perfect place to relax.

Cons

Sullivan’s Island has only a small number of short term rentals but mostly allows long-term stays with a minimum stay of 28 days. This can be a bummer for families wanting to stay on the island for a week-long vacation. We currently have one property on our program that rents short term, but most require a longer commitment. Luckily, Isle of Palms is right next door. The two barrier islands are connected by a short bridge making it an easy beach to enjoy if you are staying on IOP. The long-term stay requirement is popular among retired couples and has become a great option for remote workers.

Choose Your Ideal Beach House

Now that you know all the pros and cons of the three Charleston, SC beaches, it’s time to book a getaway to your favorite!

Our collection of rentals in SULLIVAN’S ISLANDISLE OF PALMS, and FOLLY BEACH provide you with tons of incredible choices for your family beach trip. Our rentals feature new renovations, flawless decorations, ocean views, and special amenities to ensure you have a top-notch comfortable stay. Plus, our concierge team can help you plan your trip every step of the way. 

Start planning your Charleston getaway by browsing our VACATION RENTALS. We look forward to welcoming you to the Lowcountry! 

BOOK NOW