5 Feb 2023
If you’re planning an Isle of Palms vacation with little ones, you’re in luck. There’s a plethora of great activities for kids, either right here on the island or nearby.
The Beach Reigns Supreme
The beach is like a kid magnet. As soon as you crest the top of the IOP Connector and spy the ocean, the younger set is more than ready to hit the surf. So get to it!
The entire length of the island - all seven miles of it - is lined with a beautiful beach that face the Atlantic. It’s all public, so you have free access to the whole thing. There’s plenty to explore.
Probably the best time to do so is at low tide, when you have stretches of open sand and elbow room. Download the free app Tides Near Me and look for the “Isle of Palms Pier” to find out when low tide will be. That’s the best time to find souvenir shells and sand dollars, along with tide pools… those adorable microcosms of sea life, teeming with small fish, crabs and other critters swimming around. Tide pools are especially good for small children as they can explore but be safe at the same time.
Fun Extras to Try
If you’re playing at the beach, you’ve gotta have some toys and games… but who wants to lug them from home, or purchase them for just a short visit? Just rent them instead. Beach and Games To Go is a great option. They’ll hook you up with beach and sand toys, puddle jumpers, boogie boards, kids’ bocce, cornhole, a big bag of sports balls, Giant Jenga, Ladder Golf, KanJam Disc Game, Paddle Ball sets, Spikeball, BucketBall, and even a beach cargo wagon in which to tote it all around.
The IOP draws a lot of surfers… and why should they have all the fun? While here at the IOP, your kids can take surf lessons with a professional and be hanging ten by the end of the first session. Contact local pro Kyle Busey at Carolina Salt Surf Lessons. He guarantees satisfaction, or it’s free. Kyle teaches both private and group lessons, for all ages, and he even brings the surfboards.
The IOP is also perfect for riding bikes - either on the quiet side streets or on the hard-packed sand of the beach at low tide. Word to the wise: if you’re riding on the beach, ride with the wind at your back (whichever direction that happens to be at the time), then cut inland to ride back. Again, it’s a pain to lug your own equipment to the beach - so why not rent instead? There are several companies that rent bikes on the IOP, including Carolina Bike and Beach. They offer all kinds of bikes, including ones for kids of different ages, those with training wheels, baby seats and tag alongs.
For a guaranteed good time for the entire family, head to the IOP Marina, hop on a pontoon boat and take an EcoTour. These are tons of fun and educational, too. Trained naturalists take you out on the water near different barrier islands like Capers, uninhabited by man but filled with wildlife. You’ll likely pass dolphins and other critters on the way. Tour guides narrate as you go, passing around real specimens onboard to see up close and touch with your own hands. They’ll even do custom events like beach cookouts, crabbing expeditions, or day camps for budding young marine biologists.
Kickin’ it at the Rec
The Isle of Palms Rec Center on 28th Avenue is open to residents and visitors alike, and it’s a real gem. There are plenty of fields and courts for soccer, baseball or softball, basketball, tennis, and even Frisbee golf. Inside, there’s a large gymnasium with another basketball court, fitness center, showers and changing rooms.
There’s a huge outdoor playground for kids with plenty to climb on and explore, and plenty of other kids to do it with. There’s also a covered pavilion with picnic tables.
Off to the right and behind the Rec Center, there’s a large off-leash dog park, with separate fenced-in areas for both small and large dogs. So if you have a four-legged member of the family, he/she can get in on the fun, too.
Here on the IOP, we love to have street parties, festivals, golf cart parades, you name it - basically any excuse to gather together and have fun. These events take place on the Isle of Palms all throughout the year and are very family friendly.
Following are just some of the many family-friendly events that happen throughout the year right on the Isle of Palms: there’s Front Beach Fest, the IOP Beach Run, the annual Easter Egg Hunt, IOP Community Yard Sale, Doggie Day at the Rec, Community Wellness Fair, Music in the Park, Sand Sculpting Contestat Front Beach during Piccolo Spoleto, the July 4th Golf Cart Parade, IOP Connector Run, Ghostly Tide Tales, Halloween Carnival, Golf Cart Drive-Thru Haunted House, and the popular Holiday Street Festival with Santa himself. Also, on the 3rd Thursday of each month from June through October is the IOP Farmers’ Market.
Check out Exclusive Properties’ extensive Events Section which shows what’s coming up, whether it’s a couple days away or some time during the coming year. There are over 130 events listed, both here on the IOP and all over the Lowcountry.
A Rainy Day Plan
In case the skies open up while here, you can always take the kids to a movie. You don’t have far to go. Just over the IOP Connector in Mount Pleasant is Towne Centre’s 16-screen mega theater, the Regal Palmetto Grand. They always have family-friendly options.
An even better option is to encourage some (indoor) beach reading. You probably know about Little Free Libraries… those adorable little huts filled with books that have appeared all over the place. Their official tagline is: “Take a book… share a book,” and their sweet motto is: “Building Community, Sparking Creativity, Inspiring Readers.”
The Isle of Palms is blessed to have several Little Free Libraries scattered around the island, and many of them are well stocked with children’s books. The last time I checked, you could find one at the following addresses on the IOP: 2201 Palm Boulevard, 3703 Palm Boulevard, 508 Carolina Boulevard, 11 Ocean Park Court, 7 Lauden Street, 3103 Hartnett Boulevard, 3704 Hartnett Boulevard, and 1 49th Avenue
So bring the kids… there’s plenty of fun to be had on and around the Isle of Palms!
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger