Why You Need to Go to the James Island County Park Festival of Lights

christmas lights at the James Island County Park Festival of Lights

There are certain traditions that we all look forward to during the holiday season, and attending the James Island County Park Festival of Lights is one of them. Even though our winter weather is usually mild in the Lowcountry, you’ll feel the holiday spirit in the air when you attend an event like this. Millions of twinkling lights create displays for you to walk and drive through– it’s the perfect way to celebrate the season. 

What Is the James Island County Park Festival of Lights?

Christmas lights have always been a tradition around the holiday season, but you probably haven’t seen them like this before. Every winter, the James Island County Park transforms into a winter wonderland. Start with the three-mile ride through the light displays, then head to the walking portion for even more lights and festivities. In all, you’ll see more than two million twinkling lights on these displays, and they captivate visitors of all ages! 

It’s More Than Lights

After you’ve enjoyed the driving portion of the festival, it’s time to park and walk around. Warm up in front of one of the fire pits, and make sure you purchase a stick with marshmallows so you can roast them! Then, get a cup of hot chocolate to keep you warm as you explore the rest of the festival. You can shop at Santa’s Attic, see local art, ride the festival train, and even tell Santa your wish list. Check out all the things you can do at Santa’s Village and Winter Wonderland!

When Is the James Island County Park Festival of Lights?

The festival starts on November 15th and ends on December 31st from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The lights are on rain or shine, but we recommend checking the weather so you can enjoy the walking portion, too!

Admission

Admission to the festival is charged per car. The pricing is as follows:

  • 1-15 guests: $20 per vehicle or $15 per vehicle Monday through Thursday with the donation of a canned food item
  • 16-30 guests: $40 Monday-Thursday, $50 Friday-Sunday
  • 31+ guests: $100 Monday-Thursday, $150 Friday-Sunday.

Local tip: All attendees must have an actual seat in the vehicle. You can not have anyone ride in the trunk or double up on seats. 

Book Your Holiday Getaway Today

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There’s no place like home for the holidays, and Charleston Coast Vacations will be your home away from home. Events like the James Island County Park Festival of Lights create traditions that you’ll want to come back to year after year. Plus, when you stay in a vacation rental, you can bring all of your traditions with you. Cook your typical holiday dinners in your rental’s fully equipped kitchen, open presents in the living room, and make your rental your home during this special time of year. Browse our vacation rentals to start planning your stay!

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You Need to Ruffle Your Feathers at the Charleston Turkey Trot This Year

racers at the Charleston Turkey Trot

We all look forward to the holidays, and like everywhere else, the Charleston area has traditions rooted in the season. When Thanksgiving comes along, we all look forward to the Charleston Turkey Trot, also known as the Turkey Day Run & Gobble Wobble 5K. Make this your own tradition when you stay with Charleston Coast Vacations! 

Everything You Need to Know About the Charleston Turkey Trot 

The Charleston Turkey Trot has been a Lowcountry tradition for more than 100 years! Although it has changed a lot over the last century, the concept stays the same– a race on Thanksgiving day. Thousands of people have made this their own holiday tradition, and you can too! Plus, it’s a great way to burn off that turkey dinner. 

History of the Event

This holiday event was started all the way back in 1914, but it has changed and evolved over the years. What started as a footrace has evolved into a 3.1-mile run and walk– the Gobble Wobble. In 1978, the Charleston Turkey Trot was reinvented to the event we know and love today. Now, it’s one of the largest 5Ks in the nation!

The Course

The original Turkey Day Run & Gobble Wobble started in Charleston and ended in Summerville, but now, you’ll go in a loop downtown. The racecourse conveniently starts at Marion Square before heading south on Meeting Street past some of our favorite Charleston landmarks. Then, you’ll get to turn left onto South Battery to run past gorgeous historic homes. After, you’ll loop back onto our beloved King Street. 

After the Event

For some, the afterparty is the best part of the Charleston Turkey Trot. Congratulate yourself and mingle with friends, family, and other racers as you sip on free beer and visit the vendors. 

Time to Register! 

Registration is easy! If you’re a planner, you can register in advance online. Otherwise, you’re welcome to register in person at the registration tent on the day prior to the race or on the morning of the race. The tent is located on Marion Square– you can’t miss it! 

Book Your Thanksgiving Getaway Today

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There’s nothing like being home for the holidays, and you’ll feel right at home during your stay with Charleston Coast Vacations. Each of our vacation rentals has everything you need for the getaway of a lifetime, and what’s better than a walk on the beach after your Thanksgiving meal? Participate in our Lowcountry traditions like the Charleston Turkey Trot, cook your dinner in your vacation rental, and make memories that will last a lifetime. Browse our properties to start planning your stay today!

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Everything You Need to Know About Folly Beach County Park

Folly beach county park

Not only is the beauty of the Charleston coast unparalleled, there are also countless things to do here. Take in the beauty of our oceanfront towns when you spend the day at Folly Beach County Park. Located on the west end of the island, you’ll want to come back to this beautiful beach day after day.

About Folly Beach County Park

Directions to Folly Beach County Park 

Folly Beach County Park has everything you need for a day of fun in the sun! The park spans for more than 4,000 feet along the ocean and 2,000 feet along the Folly River. Set up along the shore to spend the day at the beach or opt to discover a sandbar by the river. With amenities like picnic tables, showers, restrooms, and more, you’ll love coming to this beach during your vacation. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there lifeguards at Folly Beach? 

Yes! Lifeguards are stationed seasonally at the designated swimming area on Folly Beach County Park. Lifeguards are posted on the weekends during May and September and daily throughout the rest of the summer. 

How much does it cost to park on Folly Beach?

Parking on Folly Beach varies depending on the season. Here are the current rates:

  • November – February: $5 
  • March: $5 Monday-Friday and $10 Saturday-Sunday
  • April: $10
  • May-Labor Day: $10 Monday-Friday and $15 Saturday-Sunday
  • September: $10
  • October: $5 Monday-Friday and $10 Saturday-Sunday

Local tip: If you’re planning on visiting a lot of parks during your stay with Charleston Coast Vacations or coming back multiple times in one year, consider a Gold Pass. The pass costs $85 and gets you into all of our county parks for the year! 

Are dogs allowed on Folly Beach?

Pets are permitted at Folly Beach County Park during designated times. Dogs are not allowed on the beach from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from May 1st to September 30th. If you bring your dog during an appropriate time, just make sure your four-legged friend is on a leash! 

Are there beach chair rentals?

Many of our properties actually come with a credit for beach gear when you make your reservation. You can use it for beach chair rentals and other gear you might need. There are also beach chair and umbrella rentals available at Folly Beach County Park during the summer. 

Start Planning Your Vacation Today

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Are you ready to experience the beauty of Folly Beach County Park? Calming waves, soft sands, and gorgeous marshes come together to create this slice of Lowcountry paradise. We have vacation rentals available all over the Charleston coast, including Folly Beach! Wake up each morning just moments away from the shore. Browse our Folly Beach properties to start planning your getaway today. 

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Your Insider Guide to the Best Charleston, SC, Restaurants

Beef steak at charleston, sc, restaurants

Over the years, Charleston has become more and more of a foodie city. Some of the best chefs in the country have made the Lowcountry their home, and every Charleston, SC, restaurant, competes to be better than the next. Eat your way around Chucktown during your stay with Charleston Coast Vacations!

7 of the Best Charleston, SC, Restaurants

1. FIG | $$$

Directions to FIG

When we think of some of the top Charleston, SC, restaurants, FIG always comes to mind. This is one of the city’s original farm-to-table restaurants, and it has stood the test of time. The dishes here vary depending on the season, and you can look forward to an elevated take on southern favorites. Local tip: Make sure you make a reservation well in advance for this restaurant! 

2. The Darling Oyster Bar | $$

Directions to The Darling Oyster Bar

Oysters are the perfect appetizer to indulge in on vacation, but that’s not all The Darling Oyster Bar serves. Enjoy a menu full of fresh seafood in a casual yet elegant setting. Indulge in Southern favorites like shrimp and grits or opt for a fried fish basket. If seafood isn’t your thing, that’s okay! There are other items, too. 

3. Leon’s | $$

Directions to Leon’s

The South is known for its fried chicken, and Leon’s is the place to get it! This popular eatery has three specialties: oysters, Southern-style seafood, and fried chicken. There’s truly something for everyone! This award-winning restaurant feels upscale, but the menu keeps them down to earth. 

4. The Rarebit | $$

Directions to The Rarebit

If you’re looking for a cost-effective yet elegant place to dine, head to The Rarebit. Here, you’ll find everything from chicken and waffles to pork chops with mac and cheese. Plus, they’re known for their Moscow mules they have on draft! Local tip: This is also a great spot for late-night eats!

5. Hall’s Chophouse | $$$$

Directions to Hall’s Chophouse 

Hall’s Chophouse is great for date nights and celebrations. They are known for their array of beef offerings including everything from dry aged to wagyu. Pair your dinner with a selection from their vast wine menu or opt for a martini at the bar. 

6. Butcher & Bee | $$

Directions to Butcher & Bee

Butcher & Bee prides itself on offering fresh, local ingredients in its dishes. You’ll find an array of tapas on the menu, and we recommend starting with at least a few! Then, indulge in incredible dishes that have been expertly prepared. The chefs get their influences from all over the world, and you can be sure that anything you choose will be delicious. Local tip: Butcher & Bee has a great brunch, too! 

7. Little Jack’s Tavern | $$

Directions to Little Jack’s Tavern

This upscale tavern offers a variety of steaks, salads, and sandwiches, but their award-winning burger keeps people coming back for more. The burgers at Little Jack’s Tavern are so famous and delicious that they even are even included on their dessert menu! 

Book Your Getaway Today!

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Are you ready to try all of these Charleston, SC, restaurants? Whether you’re planning to stay on Isle of Palms or Folly Beach, you’re within an easy drive from our beautiful downtown. Browse our properties at Charleston Coast Vacations to start planning your stay! 

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Don’t Miss These 5 Best Sullivan’s Island Restaurants

sliders at sullivans island restaurants

Thank goodness calories don’t count on vacation, right? On the Charleston Coast, there are countless spots to sip and savor. One of our favorite places to dine is Sullivan’s Island. These Sullivan’s Island restaurants are right down the street from our Isle of Palms rentals and only about a 45-minute drive from Folly Beach!

Why Sullivan’s Island?

Sullivan’s Island is a quaint, beachy town right on the coast. You can hit Sullivan’s Island Beach before grabbing a bite or stick your toes in the sand to take a walk after dinner! The restaurants here are located on the main drag, so you can easily hop from place to place. Plus, there is a wide variety of cuisine that will keep everyone happy! 

5 of the Best Sullivan’s Island Restaurants

1. The Obstinate Daughter

For an elegant night out, head to The Obstinate Daughter. This restaurant boasts beautiful, nautical decor that will remind you how close you are to the beach, and the food is incredible. The cuisine is eclectic; dine on everything from Moroccan seafood stew to handmade pasta. Don’t forget to save room for dessert– they have a delicious affogato! 

2. Mex 1 Coastal Cantina 

Mex 1 Coastal Cantina is known for its delicious Baja Mexican cuisine. As soon as you walk in, you’re surrounded by vibrant decor complete with a beautiful tequila collection on display at the bar. Start munching on the complimentary chips and salsa, then order a few tacos. We can’t get enough of their bangin’ shrimp! Plus, you can order one of their award-winning margaritas to wash it all down. 

3. Poe’s Tavern

When you ask people what their favorite restaurant is on Sullivan’s Island, many of them will say Poe’s Tavern. This restaurant is themed after the famous author Edgar Allan Poe and is known for its burgers. The walls are covered in Poe-themed art, and it’s perfect for literary lovers. 

4. Home Team BBQ

Game Changer or frozen Irish coffee? You’ll need to answer that question before you get to Home Team BBQ! This joint serves up some of the best BBQ in town, and we love it because they offer a wide variety. You’ll find more than just plates of ribs here– you can get delicious creations like their BBQ burrito or a salad topped with slow-cooked meats! Plus, they have a little market right next door where you can buy their famous BBQ rub and sauce and sandwiches to bring to the beach. 

5. The CO-OP

If you’re looking for a place to stop for a quick bite, The CO-OP is the best! You can get a variety of delicious sandwiches that you can either eat in-house or bring with you to the beach. They also sell a variety of craft beer and wine, but the star of the show is their frosé (frozen rosé). Get a cup to go with your sandwich or head there to pick up an entire bottle for dinner! 

Book Your Getaway Today

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Have the vacation of your dreams when you book your stay with Charleston Coast Vacations! Our exclusive rentals are located all over the Lowcountry. Experience Southern living to the fullest when you head to our favorite Sullivan’s Island restaurants, then sit back and relax in your beautiful vacation home. Browse our properties to start planning your getaway today! 

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6 of the Best Things to Do in Charleston, SC, for Free

waterfront park is one of the best things to do in charleston SC for free

A vacation doesn’t have to break the bank! Just because you’re looking for entertainment doesn’t mean you have to pay. There are tons of things to do in Charleston, SC, for free. Spend the day exploring the city without taking out your wallet.

6 of the Best Things to Do in Charleston, SC, for Free

1. See the Famous Pineapple Fountain in Waterfront Park

If you’ve seen photos of Charleston, you have probably seen the famous Pineapple Fountain. Waterfront Park is an eight-acre park along the Cooper River, so it’s a great place to take a stroll. After you’ve tired yourself out exploring, take a seat on one of the benches by the fountain and enjoy the view. 

2. Explore Rainbow Row

Rainbow Row is one of the most quintessential spots in downtown Charleston. This series of brightly-colored homes is one of the most photographed places in the city, and when you visit, you’ll see why. Each of the 13 homes is a beautiful, pastel shade, and each has a story to tell. 

3. Walk the Ravenel 

When the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge was erected in 2005, a bicycle and pedestrian path was included on the side. The bridge itself connects Charleston and Mount Pleasant– park on the Mount Pleasant side to walk all the way downtown or park on the Charleston side to walk to Mount Pleasant. You’ll be treated to gorgeous views of the harbor below; we recommend walking at sunrise or sunset for even better scenery. 

4. Go on an Artwalk

On the first Friday of every month from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., the art galleries of Charleston open their doors for the monthly Artwalk. Spend the night browsing gorgeous paintings, sculptures, and ceramics created by the local artists of the city. 

5. Visit a Farmers Market

The Charleston area has multiple farmers markets throughout the week from late spring to early fall. The Charleston Farmers Market is one of the biggest and is conveniently in the heart of downtown. Walk around and browse all of the vendors, and don’t forget to try some free samples along the way!

6. Hit the Beach 

While there is no beach in downtown Charleston, there are multiple beaches you can choose from in the Charleston area. Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms, and Folly Beach all offer free parking as long as you know where to park. Stay within the parking signs on the side of the road and make sure your car is at least four feet off the pavement. 

Book Your Getaway Today

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Now that you know some things to do in Charleston, SC, for free, it’s time to book your stay! Charleston Coast Vacations offers gorgeous properties that will be your home base for your getaway. Browse our vacation rentals based on size and location, then book your stay! Booking directly through us always ensures you’ll get the best rate. We can’t wait to host you!

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Yum! 6 of the Best Folly Beach Restaurants to Dine At

fish tacos at folly beach restaurants

When you’re on vacation, food isn’t just a necessity. It’s an experience! Dining at some local hot spots while you’re on vacation is one of the best ways to truly get to know an area, especially on the Charleston Coast. Here are some of our favorite Folly Beach restaurants to try during your getaway!

6 of Our Favorite Restaurants on Folly Beach

1. Jack of Cups Saloon

There’s no place like Jack of Cups. This small eatery is easy to miss, but once you know it’s there, you’ll want to come back for more. The menu offers an eclectic mix of Asian, Indian, and other global flavors. You can come back over and over again and get something different every time– it changes often based on the ingredients that are in season. You’ll always find some type of macaroni and cheese on the menu, but it always has a twist– the green curry mac is one of our favorites! 

2. Lost Dog Cafe

Lost Dog Cafe is a staple on Folly Beach. This cozy spot serves breakfast all day along with sandwiches and wraps. We’re partial to their huevos rancheros, but we’ve never had anything from their menu that we didn’t like! You’ll love grabbing lunch here after spending the morning at the beach. 

3. Taco Boy

What’s better than sipping a frozen margarita after a day in the sun? Taco Boy is known for delicious Mexican and drinks. We recommend splitting some chips, salsa, guacamole, and queso with the table before ordering a few tacos. If tacos aren’t your style, you can get platters, salads, and quesadillas, too! 

4. BLU

If you’re looking for Folly Beach restaurants on the water, head to BLU. The oceanfront dining experience here is casual yet elevated, and the views of the water are beautiful. The menu consists of mostly surf and turf. Indulge in grilled shrimp, scallop risotto, filet mignon, and more. 

5. The Crab Shack

Seafood lovers rejoice! The Crab Shack will serve you seafood by the bucket– literally. Get a bucket of steamed oysters for the table before indulging in the wide array of seafood dishes. If there’s a picky eater in your group that doesn’t like seafood, there are a few BBQ options! 

6. Chico Feo 

Chico Feo’s funky island vibes and delicious, cost-effective food will keep you coming back for more. The dishes here have many different influences, but mostly it’s the Caribbean. The owner spent 12 years in the Caribbean and wanted to bring those flavors to the Charleston Coast. He succeeded, and now we have Chico Feo

Book Your Getaway Today

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Are you ready to try out all these Folly Beach restaurants? Book your stay with Charleston Coast Vacations! We have vacation rentals all over the Lowcountry. Choose to stay on Folly Beach for easy access to these incredible eateries or opt for Isle of Palms, another island just an hour away from Folly. We can’t wait to host you!

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This Is Why You Need to Go to the Historic Charleston City Market

City Market Charleston Top 5 things to do Vacation

One of our favorite things about the Charleston Coast is the incredible history this area holds. Strolling through the cobblestone streets downtown makes you wonder who has walked there centuries before. For a fun, historical activity to enjoy on your vacation, make sure you visit the Historic Charleston City Market. See a slice of the past while shopping our local goods!

About the Historic Charleston City Market

Not only is the Charleston City Market one of the country’s oldest public markets, it is also the city’s most visited attraction. This market has been one of the crown jewels of the Lowcountry since its founding in 1804. Stroll through the open-air stands as you browse the goods vendors bring, head inside to the enclosed Great Hall to browse some more, then make your way to the shops that line the street the market is on!

Most of the market is located beneath the open-air “sheds,” and this area is very special to our history. These structures have housed vendors for more than 200 years and have miraculously survived fires, earthquakes, and civil war cannonballs. 

The Vendors

There are a variety of vendors at the market, and the offerings in the open-air section change daily. These goods make the perfect souvenir to remember your trip by or a great gift for a loved one back home! We always love stopping by the spice vendors– there’s no better way to reminisce about your trip than by cooking a Southern-inspired meal back home. Plus, this is an excellent place to find our famous sweetgrass baskets. These woven baskets are a tradition that has been passed down from generations for more than 300 years. 

 Local tip: The vendors at the market get their booths on a first-come, first-served basis, so you never know which vendors you’ll see! This means you can go back over and over again.

When Is the Historic Charleston City Market Open?

The Charleston City Market opens daily at 9:30 a.m. and closes at 5:00 p.m. From April to December, the market reopens on Friday and Saturday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. 

Book Your Getaway Today

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Experience the Historic Charleston City Market and so much more when you book your getaway with Charleston Coast Vacations. We offer gorgeous vacation rentals on Isle of Palms and Folly Beach– each close enough to downtown Charleston to explore. We have a variety of properties so you can search based on size and location, or you can opt for a home right on the water. Browse our Isle of Palms rentals or our Folly Beach rentals to start planning today!

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Celebrate Folly Gras, 2019!

Every year, Folly Beach comes alive with the spirit of Mardi Gras! Join us on the beach for the annual Folly Gras parade and festival with arts, crafts and fashion vendors, live music, free activities for kids, and a delicious variety of food and beverages, sure to make you say “Laissez le bon temps rouler!”

Folly Gras 2019
Photo: VisitFolly.com

Saturday, February 23, 2019 – Parade begins at 11:00 am

The best way to enjoy Folly Gras is by staying on the island. Whether you are a local in need of a staycation, or visiting us from out of town, we have the perfect vacation homes and villas for a fun Folly Gras weekend. Check out our Folly Vacation Rentals to be in the middle of the action or far enough away to peacefully unplug when you’re ready for some relaxation. We’ve got vacation rentals spanning all of Folly Beach to offer a variety of experiences, and we’ve got a front row seat for the Folly Gras festivities from the dunes properties Folly Beach office, which is located at 31 Center Street.

For tickets and more info about the vendors, music, and more, check out VisitFolly.com and Let the Good Times Roll, Lowcountry Style!

Feature Friday: 36 Twin Oaks

We love a good before & after and 36 Twin Oaks in Wild Dunes is no exception! This quaint resort cottage underwent a furniture and decor update that captures the upscale, beach vibe of the resort.

36 Twin Oaks Feature Friday Charleston Coast Vacations

Dining Area

The original dining table was small and didn’t offer much space for families during a big beach breakfast or dinner. The new dining table, chairs, and bench are a welcoming site when walking through the front door. This table provides plenty of seating for the number of people the house sleeps (6) plus all the dishes that will be on the table! The new light fixture adds a modern vibe to the beach cottage.

36 Twin Oaks, Feature Friday, Charleston Coast Vacations

36 Twin Oaks, Feature Friday, Charleston Coast Vacations

Living Room

The original living room set up was comfortable and well appointed. But, lowering the built-ins makes the space feel larger and more open. The cozy couch and accent ottomans add character to the space. Plus, turning one built-in into a desk provides an area for those on a working vacation or a great space for kids to write, read, and do homework.

36 Twin Oaks, Charleston Coast Vacations, Feature Friday

Sunroom

The sunroom transformed from a comfortable sitting room with extra dining space to a chic, cozy room with space for the entire family. The large, deep sectional is perfect to lounge on during rainy days or a family movie night. While the card table provides space for puzzles, canasta, or board games. The sunroom is now a room the entire family can enjoy at the same time!

Sunroom, 36 Twin Oaks, Feature Friday, Charleston Coast Vacations

36 Twin Oaks boasts three bedrooms and two renovated bathrooms. Each bedroom has a flat screen tv with cable. 36 Twin Oaks offers a backyard porch with a bar height table and chairs with a grill for outdoor dining.

36 Twin Oaks Charleston Coast Vacations Feature Friday

The home is located within walking distance to everything the resort has to offer. The beach is a short 15-minute walk while the Village at Wild Dunes, home to restaurants and shops, is only a 10-minute walk from the front door. While vacationing within the resort, enjoy the miles of biking and walking trails, the playground, and golf. Book your stay at 36 Twin Oaks today!