Family-Friendly Island Resort near Charleston
A hundred years ago, Isle of Palms, a slender strip of land off the coast of Charleston, was accessible only by ferry. Affluent residents of Charleston would vacation on the secluded barrier island, enjoying 6 square miles of white beaches and waving seagrass. Today, Isle of Palms is connected to the mainland by bridge and has a thriving community, but it retains a peaceful, hidden-away feel. Spread out over 1,600 acres amid the island's laid-back beaches, the AAA Four-Diamond Wild Dunes Resort features several sherbet-colored properties, recreation facilities, and a village plaza.
On the massive property, guests stay within one of two areas: The Boardwalk Inn or The Village at Wild Dunes. A lighthouse-like cupola sits at the top of The Boardwalk Inn, which sits 150 yards from the beach. If you choose to stay at The Village at Wild Dunes, you’ll be in the heart of the resort, with easy access to the markets and restaurants filling the plaza.
Travel+Leisure ranked Wild Dunes Resort as No. 3 in its roundup of top family hotels in the United States in 2012, and it’s not hard to see why. The resort caters to each member of the family. Kids can splash at the swim center, collect shells on the beach, and take part in supervised arts and crafts. Adults can take to the tennis courts (there are 17 to choose from) or one of two 18-hole signature golf courses, designed by Tom Fazio.
Isle of Palms, South Carolina: Secluded Beaches in Upscale Enclave near Charleston
Since the early 1900s, the affluent Isle of Palms has remained a popular vacation spot thanks to its pristine white beaches, perpetual warmth and sunshine, and relative seclusion. It's a quiet place where you can enjoy breakfast or lunch at one of the pastel-colored cafés right along the water or climb aboard a tour boat to explore untouched barrier islands. You may even catch sight of native pelicans or bottlenose dolphins.
Many resort guests make day trips to Charleston, which is only a 30-minute drive away. The city is steeped in old-fashioned Southern glamour. Some antebellum mansions have been converted to fine-dining restaurants where you can enjoy elegant dinners amid vintage decor. Throughout the area's restaurant scene, kitchens dish up creative twists on Southern cuisine using local, sustainable ingredients.
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