What Are All the Best Things to Do on Isle of Palms?

If you’re looking for things to do on Isle of Palms, you’ve come to the right place! We love the barrier island, and we know you will too. The small beach city boasts miles of public beach, tons of recreation, and many tasty restaurants. We’ve listed everything you need to know to make the most of your getaway to the Lowcountry! 

You’ll find everything there is to do on Isle of Palms 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. 

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Your Ultimate Guide to Things to Do on Isle of Palms 

Hit the Isle of Palms Beach

With just over six miles of sandy beaches, Isle of Palms is one of South Carolina’s favorite shorelines! The small city provides the public with more than 50 beach access points, so you’ll never have to walk far wherever you are in the city. Don’t worry about lugging around your beach gear because the Isle of Palms County Park offers beach chair and umbrella rentals. The price of parking at the park depends on the season. It’s typically $5 in the slow season and $15 in the peak of summer. You can also find some free and metered Isle of Palms Beach parking scattered around the barrier island. Before visiting, remember to check out the Isle of Palms Beach rules, so you don’t accidentally bring something that’s not allowed. 

Know the Beach Dog Rules

If your pup loves the saltwater, make sure to bring them along! IOP is one of the most dog-friendly beaches in South Carolina because the city allows dogs on the beach all day and year-round. You do need to follow the Isle of Palms Beach dog rules though. In the park, dogs must be kept on a leash at all times. However, if you’re outside the park, you can walk your dog off-leash September 15 through March 31 from 4 p.m. until 10 a.m. and April 1 through September 14 from 5 a.m. until 9 a.m.

Go Kayaking

There are countless things to do on Isle of Palms on or near the water. Because it’s a barrier island, IOP offers up some great kayaking. If you’re visiting for vacation or just the day, you probably won’t have a kayak and paddle laying around. In that case, we recommend a sunrise or sunset tour with Coastal Expeditions. They provide everything from the gear to the guide, so all you need to worry about is taking in as much of the Lowcountry as you can! 

Enjoy Some Water Sports Or a Boat Tour

There are many other Isle of Palms activities that, of course, involve the ocean! Tidal Wave Water Sports offers just about everything fun you can do in the water. Rent a jet ski, charter a boat, go parasailing, try wakeboarding, let the kids enjoying some tubing, or take one of their many tours. We’re serious; they offer so many Isle of Palms attractions! If you’re looking for something with less adrenaline and more relaxation, check out Barrier Island Eco Tours. They offer both public and private tours around the Lowcountry with a focus on its natural beauty and wildlife. They also provide several different fishing charters.  

Play a Round of Golf

Work on your game with Wild Dunes Resort’s two golf courses. The Links Course and the Harbor Course were both designed by world-renown golf architect Tom Fazio. The Links sits on the east side of the island overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The Harbor brings a bit more of a challenge and offers gorgeous views of the marsh. Both courses are par 70 courses. 

Where to Eat 

Vacation is a time to try new foods and splurge on a meal or two, and eating out is one of our favorite things to do on Isle of Palms. From Southern cuisine to Tex Mex to seafood, Isle of Palms restaurants serves up a lot for a small beach city! However, that’s no surprise because the Lowcountry features some of the best food in the country. Long Island Café offers a changing daily menu with fresh seafood and incredible pasta. If you’re looking for a simple comfort food, Papi’s Taqueria serves up all kinds of tasty tacos. Coda del Pesce is your classic, quality Italian seafood restaurant but with a Lowcountry twist. For a killer Isle of Palms breakfast spot, Sea Biscuit Café doesn’t disappoint with favorites like pancakes, omelets, and of course, biscuits and gravy.

If you’re looking for Isle of Palm restaurants on the water, Coconut Joe’s Beach Grill is a fun spot with great views, a large rooftop bar, and classic seafood. We also recommend visiting Shem Creek for dinner if you have the time. The area sits about 20 minutes from IOP in Mount Pleasant and features several dining options right on the picturesque waterway. It’s the perfect spot for a sunset dinner! 

For dessert, you absolutely need to stop by Ben & Jerry’s and stroll down Ocean Boulevard. Anyone will tell you it’s an IOP tradition you can’t skip! The best beach shops and places to get a souvenir line the street so stop in if something catches your eye.  

Check Out 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.

Visit Downtown Charleston 

If you’re making the trip to Isle of Palms for vacation, you must visit Downtown Charleston. As you walk the streets, you’ll feel the city’s more than 300 years of history. Take a stroll down King Street for rows of fantastic shops or visit at night for a lively nightlife. We also recommend walking along the water at The Battery located at the end of the peninsula. Although there are countless other things to do in the Holy City, our favorite thing to do is eat! From fine dining to local fare, CHARLESTON RESTAURANTS rarely produce a dissatisfied customer. There’s just as much to drink as there is to eat. Over the last decade, the BREWERY scene in the Lowcountry has boomed leaving locals and tourists with many places to enjoy a beer with a view.

Stay With Charleston Coast Vacations 

Pavilion Paradise things to do on isle of palms


Now that you know the best things to do on Isle of Palms, it’s time to book your stay. Charleston Coast Vacations provides more than 30 Isle of Palms vacation rentals from resort villas to luxury waterfront homes. Plus, they all feature amazing amenities and world-class customer service!  

Browse our VACATION RENTALS now and start planning your Isle of Palms getaway today! 

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