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6 Apr 2021
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Island Insider Tips

The Isle of Palms is a barrier island with a gorgeous beach running down its entire seven-mile length.

A total of 57 different public access paths lead out to the beach. If you’re staying in one of Exclusive Properties’ luxury oceanfront homes, you may also have your own private beach access.

The IOP beach is a treasure. It’s home to abundant marine and bird life, including some endangered species like the beloved loggerhead sea turtle and the Wilson’s plover, an adorable small shorebird.

In an effort to keep the beach in the best shape possible, the City of Isle of Palms developed a list of beach rules.

The list has evolved over the years. A few years ago, the Isle of Palms became the very first municipality in the state of South Carolina to ban single-use plastic bags and other plastic items like straws, which are notoriously detrimental to sea life. More recently they’ve added rules to help insure the health and safety of beachgoers in light of the pandemic.

No Butts About It…

The IOP also recently banned smoking on the beach and access paths. Not only is this a benefit by helping to keep the air fresh and clean, it also cuts down tremendously on beach litter.

The IOP Cleanup Crew meets regularly to pick up trash on the beach and catalog their findings. A couple summers ago - prior to the smoking ban - the IOP Cleanup Crew logged more than 23,000 individual pieces of trash during a period of 11 weeks. In one stretch of six blocks around Front Beach, they counted 8,000 cigarette butts. That’s a whopping one-third of all trash recorded and tracked. Hopefully, now with the smoking ban, cigarette butts on the beach are a thing of the past.

Official IOP Beach Rules

Here’s the City of Isle of Palms’ list of do’s and don’ts for when you’re at the beach:

• Please practice smart social distancing. Citizens are required to social distance while exercising on the beach. Social distancing, also known as "physical distancing," means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home group. Try to stay at least 6 feet (or about 2 arms' length) from other people.
• Do not litter. Please take any trash to the yellow garbage and blue recycling containers, which are found at each beach access path. Please help us keep the beach clean so that you and others may enjoy it for many years to come.
• The use of single-use plastic bags, plastic straws, polystyrene (also known as Styrofoam) coolers, cups and food containers, as well as balloons is prohibited by law on the Isle of Palms’ beach. Residents and visitors are encouraged to use reusable, recyclable and compostable products when possible.
• Smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes or other smoking devices used for the purpose of inhaling and exhaling smoke, such as vaping devices, is prohibited on the Isle of Palms beach and beach access paths.
• Motorized vehicles, including golf carts, are not allowed on beach.
• Overnight storage of beach equipment, such as tents, chairs, coolers, toys, etc., is prohibited. Personal property left unattended on the beach after sunset may be removed and disposed of.
• Sea turtles are an endangered species. Do not interfere with them in any way, including shining lights in their direction.
• Please fill holes dug in sand before you leave the beach. These can be very dangerous and injure people or sea life that move along the beach after dark.
• Sand dunes are protected and fragile. Beach sea oats and grass help protect the dunes. Please use the designated beach access paths and help us to protect our dunes.
• Jet Skis and motorboats may not be operated in designated swimming areas.
• Glass bottles and alcoholic beverages are prohibited on the beach.
• Fireworks and open fires are strictly prohibited, as is commercial business on the beach.
• No overnight sleeping is allowed on the beach.
• Dogs must be on a leash except during specific hours, and owners must always clean up after their pets. There are dog poop bag receptacles at most of the public beach access paths. Dogs are only allowed to be off-leash from April 1st through September 14th between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., and from September 15th through March 31st between the hours of 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. During off-leash times, owners must have dogs under close voice control and have a leash in hand. All dogs should have proof of rabies vaccination.
• For more information, just call the helpful folks at the Isle of Palms’ non-emergency number, (843) 886-6522.

So keep these rules in mind when you come to visit. They’re designed to help keep the IOP beach a place for all of us creatures (two-legged or four-) to enjoy, for a long time to come.
All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger