Explore Isle of Palms: Tips For Every Family Budget


If your family loves the beach, you may have traveled to the Isle of Palms, South Carolina. Isle of Palms is seven miles long, two miles wide, and has a nickname of “long Island.” Isle of Palms has a population of 4,609 full-time residents, but on Saturdays and Sundays the island population can swell up to 15,000 people.

As a current resident of Isle of Palms for the past four years, I am still discovering the many wonders of this island.  Here are a few suggestions if you and your family plan to visit the island.

Basic Explorer:

  • Parking: The City maintains two parking lots close to Front Beach on Pavilion Drive. One lot offers handicapped parking and season-long parking for those with a decal. Seasonal parking passes are $60 and are available for purchase at the Public Safety Building, located on 30 J C Long Boulevard. Visitors will find metered parking on Ocean Boulevard near Front Beach between 10th and 14th Avenues. Park in any open space, and locate the pay station (kiosk) closest to you
  • Tour the Marina: Located on 41st street, you can spend hours looking at the boats and water. The Marina also has bathrooms and snacks inside for purchase.
  • Isle of Palms Recreation Center: This is our main family go-to besides the beach. Located on 29th Avenue, this is an amazing outside park with a basketball court inside, bathrooms, and outdoor showers available.

Intermediate Explorer:

  • Beach Access: With this, you get the use of Isle of Palms County Park, the entry fee is $10.00. You also get the use of the county park, which includes beach access, parking, restrooms, and outdoor showers. This is the best family value if you want to use the beach all day. Bring a cooler, but no alcohol or plastic bags are allowed on the beach.
  • Park and Rent a boat at the Isle of Palms Marina: Renting a boat from the Marina prices range from $65.00-$125.00 an hour.
  • Park and Rent Kayaks or Stand Up Paddleboards: Coastal Expeditions offers a variety of exploration opportunities.

Expert Explorer:

Reaching an expert explorer will require a longer stay.

  • Begin by staying at Wild Dunes Resort at The Boardwalk Inn, or The Village At Wild Dunes. Renting vacation homes is also an option through Beachside Vacations.
  • Private Beach Access: Available through Wild Dunes access.
  • Extreme Water Sports: Tidal Wave Water Sports, located on the edge of the Isle of Palms Marina. This is a separate business that focuses on family fun. Services available include, wave runners, parasailing, wakeboarding, banana boat, boat charters, and renting a variety of boats. Open year-round, Tidal Wave is the ultimate water adventure.

No matter what Isle of Palms explorer your family is, there is always a family-fun atmosphere here on the local island. I am still working on that expert status, and I live here! Please come visit and see what all the fun is about!

What’s your favorite thing about Isle of Palms? Let us know in the comments!