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8 Jul 2024
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Island Insider Tips

If you’re here staying in one of our Isle of Palms beach houses, you’re not limited to just getting around by car.   

When on vacation, it’s fun to do as the locals doAnd in case you haven’t noticed already, the Isle of Palms has rapidly become the “Isle of Golf Carts.” 

The number of golf carts on the island grows with each passing yearI think just about everyone who moves here, makes buying a golf cart one of their first official acts after becoming an IOP resident.   

Tooling around in a golf cart truly is a much beachier way to get around the island.  You get the ocean breeze in your hair, everybody can pile on even if they’re wet and sandy, they’re fairly quiet, fun to drive, and generally better for the environment. 

And here on the IOP, they’ve become the centerpiece of two popular holiday events – the Golf Cart Parade on the Fourth of July, and the Golf Cart Parade/Drive-Thru Haunted House on Halloween. 

Plenty of Golf Cart Rentals 

There are several companies that rent golf carts (and a whole lot more) on the island, as we cover on our websiteJust go at the tab called Guest Services, and select Rentals and Services.   

Here’s the page focusing specifically on golf cart rentals.  The four main companies serving the IOP are Lightning Bugz, Island Rides, Just Beachy Carts and Isle of Palms Golf Cart rentals.   They can provide delivery to and pickup right from your Isle of Palms luxury beach home. 

Golf Carts vs. LSVs 

When renting, you’ll have a choice between a traditional electric golf cart and an LSV, or Low Speed Vehicle, in models that hold either four or six adult passengers. 

Here’s a breakdown of the main differences. 

Golf Carts –   

  • Are almost always electric;  

  • Are not required to have safety features like seat belts or lights since they’re not considered to be street legal 

  • Travel between 12 and 15 mph;  

  • Are a little more relaxing and old school; 

  • Are for travel primarily on secondary streets; 

  • Cannot be driven at night;  

  • Generally are more economical to rent.  

LSVs –  

  • Can be electric or gas powered;  

  • Travel between 22 and 25 MPH;  

  • Are required to have the following safety equipment: seat belts, lights (both headlights and taillights), turn signals, and side view mirrors;  

  • You are renting a street legal vehicle with a tag, and can travel on any street with a speed limit of 35 mph or less; you are required to follow the normal laws of the road; 

  • Can be driven after dark;  

  • Tend to be more expensive to rent. 

As far as where you can drive them, here’s the scoop.  You should stay on roads and avoid sidewalks, bike paths, golf course paths, beach access paths and the beachGolf carts are not allowed to drive on Palm Boulevard between Sullivan’s Island and 41st Avenue (they can cross Palm or go a short block if they’re not holding up traffic)They’re also not allowed to cross Breach Inlet over to Sullivan’s Island. 

LSV’s are allowed to drive on Palm Boulevard and to cross the Breach Inlet Bridge.  However, neither golf carts nor LSVs are allowed to cross either the IOP Connector or the Ben Sawyer Bridge. 

There are parking areas designated specifically for golf carts at 9th Avenue on Ocean Boulevard, and at 28th and 31st Avenues on Palm Boulevard  You can also park anywhere cars can along Palm Boulevard.     

The IOP’s Golf Cart Guidelines  

The City of IOP has several tips and rules to follow to ensure folks have a safe experienceSome are written for residents who own a golf cart, but most apply to renters as well… 

Golf cart owners must have a valid driver's license, a permit from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles and proof of insurance to operate the golf cart on a secondary highway or street within four miles of his or her residence or place of business during daylight hours only. A golf cart cannot be legally operated on the Isle of Palms after dark. 

Golf carts may cross a primary highway or street, such as Palm Boulevard, but cannot travel along the primary highway or street. 

Here are a few key points to keep in mind when operating a golf cart: 

1. Observe Traffic Rules: Just like driving a car, it is essential to follow all traffic rules when operating a golf cart. This includes obeying speed limits, stopping at stop signs and yielding to pedestrians and other vehicles. 

2. Don’t Drink and Drive: Drinking and driving a golf cart is illegal and can result in a DUI charge. While golf carts are not considered motor vehicles, they are subject to the same laws as cars and trucks when it comes to operating under the influence of alcohol. 

3. Buckle Up: Ensure that all passengers in the golf cart are wearing seat belts or using appropriate restraints. 

4. Avoid Overcrowding: Golf carts have a limited seating capacity for a reason. It is crucial to avoid overcrowding the vehicle, as this can lead to instability and an increased risk of accidents. 

5. Stay Alert: Always remain alert and aware of your surroundings when operating a golf cart. Be mindful of pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vehicles on the road. Avoid distractions such as texting or talking on the phone while driving.  

6. Maintain Your Golf Cart: Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure the safe operation of your golf cart. Check the brakes, tires, lights and signals regularly. 

7. Park Responsibly: When parking your golf cart, make sure to do so in designated areas. Golf carts with a valid resident decal may park within the Residential Parking Districts between 9am and 6pm. Do not block beach access paths, driveways or other vehicles.

You can also read more on the City’s website. 

One quick note about eBikes 

EBikes are another fun thing to rent or use while on the IsleBut due to a few incidents of people riding recklessly near beachgoers, the City had to restrict their use on the beach itself during peak season. 

Therefore, the use of electric bicycles on the beach is strictly prohibited between Memorial Day and Labor Day  This regulation is enforced by the Isle of Palms Police Department.  But you are welcome to ride eBikes elsewhere on the island.   

So be safe and enjoy the Isle, however you choose to explore it. 


All best, 
Lowcountry Lisa  

your Isle of Palms vacation blogger