Top Beaches: Wild Dunes, Isle of Palms, SC

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At Wild Dunes Resort on South Carolina’s Isle of Palms, your beach vacation comes with a southern Lowcountry landscape of live oaks draped with Spanish moss plus good food, resort activities, and eco-adventures. Situated on 1,600 acres, Wild Dunes is large enough to support a variety of lodging but not too big that you lose the barrier island’s sand-in-your-shoes feel. For those who need an urban infusion, Charleston is 15 miles (a 30-minute drive) away.

Top Reasons to Visit Wild Dunes Resort

Beach and Pools
The dune-bordered beach is scenic and unmarred by souvenir and pizza shops. The sand slopes gently into the ocean, creating a wide shallow area that’s great for little ones to play in, except, of course, at high tide. The gazebo-like Grand Pavilion, the beach’s main point of entry, sits back from the sand and features an eatery and two pools, neither of which is large. Despite crowds, kids enjoy splashing there. Serious swimmers can do laps at the Swim Center’s 25-meter pool. For more secluded sands, stroll the beach, which extends around the island’s northern tip, fronting some of the resort’s rental condominiums and townhomes.

Bird Island© Candyce H. Stapen Photography

Shem Creek Bird Island

Through Wild Dunes’ concierge, you can sign up for a range of eco-adventures. On a kayak trip along Shem Creek, en route to Bird Island, see shrimp trawlers in the harbor and paddle past manatees and dolphins. You can also kayak along Morgan Creek during the full moon; fish for blue crab followed by a beachside Lowcountry boil; go on a dolphin discovery cruise or learn how to fish.

Along with on-property restaurants, Isle of Palms and nearby Sullivan’s Island offer a variety of restaurants. Two favorites of ours: The Boathouse, in Breach Inlet, serves very good seafood as does Coda del Pesce.

Golf and Tennis
Golfers can swing through two 18-hole courses, the Links and the Harbor course. Improve your strokes at the golf clinic, which also offers two-hour sessions for ages 6 to 16. The resort also features an extensive tennis program of drills, clinics, and private lessons.

In Charleston, just a 30-minute drive away, stroll the waterfront, browse the boutiques and art galleries and tour Fort Sumter. Nearby Magnolia Plantation blooms with lovely gardens.

Sandcastles on the beach© Candyce H. Stapen Photography

Sandcastles on the beach

Pick your pleasure. The Boardwalk Inn, an AAA Four Diamond hotel, offers good service and a small pool. The conveniently located Village at Wild Dunes, in the heart of the village, is within an easy walk to restaurants, shops, and the beach. Most units come with kitchenettes and washer/dryers. You can also rent condominiums, townhomes, and private homes, some of which are beachfront.

Wild Dunes Resort offers a variety of packages.