A Visit to Charleston’s Isle of Palms Wild Dunes Resort

A lot has been written about the port city of Charleston, South Carolina, with its southern charm, cobblestone streets and colorful pre-war architecture.

However, little might be known of the region’s coastal offerings. Just a half hour’s drive northeast of the city sits the Isle of Palms, Charleston’s resort island and home to the Wild Dunes Resort, encompassing 1,600 acres of Lowcountry charm and vacation leisure.

This beachside vacation getaway includes hotels, condos and waterfront homes offering short stays or longer-term seasonal rentals.

With so many options, it is the perfect choice for weddings, corporate events and family getaways. Recreational opportunities include a 36-hole golf course, designed by Tom Fazio, tennis, pickelball, bicycling and seven miles of beaches on which to play or chill. Walking and jogging paths wind throughout the island and you might even run into a family of deer on your jaunt.

Within Wild Dunes, located beachside on the north end of the Isle of Palms, two adjacent hotels include the Boardwalk Inn and the, newly-constructed, Sweetgrass Inn. Just one year old, the Sweetgrass is a Destination by Hyatt hotel offering 153 guest rooms and suites, restaurants, spa and rooftop bar.

Charleston, South Carolina
Sweetgrass Inn Pool View (Photo via Susan Young)

The Nest, with its colorful Andy Davis mural, offers breathtaking views of the Atlantic and surrounding property, while sipping signature cocktails. The Shoppes of Sweetgrass are located on an adjacent walkway, comprised of restaurants, market, shops, and even an art gallery. The Gallery at Sweetgrass features regional, as well as nationally recognized artists, some in residence.

Restaurants include the full-service Coastal Provisions, located at the Boardwalk Inn, as well as the more casual pool-side Laughing Gull at Sweetgrass. Both restaurants feature their signature 7 Mile Burger and Lager, named after the Isle of Palms 7-mile stretch of beach. The Oystercatcher, in the Sweetgrass lobby, offers smaller plates and shareable dishes along with signature cocktails.

For even more casual fare, Hudson’s Café and Market provides food and drink to enjoy in your room, taking advantage of the views from your balcony. Next to Hudson’s you’ll find Coastal Crust for pizza and other Italian cuisine. Additional eateries are dotted throughout the resort, so no chance you’ll be hungry on this trip.

Nothing beats a relaxing massage while on vacation and The Spa at Sweetgrass is the perfect choice to complement the laid-back vibe of this resort. With two plunge pools, beach yoga and even an optional meditation and sound bath experience on the sand, you can indulge and immerse yourself in a calm, yet energized, state of mind. Private spa cabanas are also available for a retreat with family and friends, and the gift shop provides beautiful examples of the region as a reminder of your stay.

Boneyard Beach, South Carolina, Charleston
Boneyard Beach (Photo via Susan Young)

The opportunities for exploration are abundant. Barrier Island Eco Tours offers your choice of boat junket to Capers Island Preserve, home of bone-yard beach. The natural erosion of the shoreline has created an eerie spectacle of trees with roots exposed in bizarre shapes. You’ll glide through salt marshes with views of dolphins playing in the surf and stop to check the occasional blue crab trap, while Captain Shane describes the wondrous ecosystem.

And don’t forget downtown Charleston, where you can stroll historic King Street with its boutiques and restaurants, loaded with Southern charm and housed in architecturally diverse buildings.

A local dining favorite, Hall’s Chophouse, offers USDA Prime steaks from Allen Brothers of Chicago, as well as fresh seafood and signature cocktails. Family-owned, this gathering spot serves everything from wet-aged filet mignon to a 34-ounce Tomahawk ribeye. Of course, shrimp and grits are on the menu along with other options from the sea. A must-try is their signature Pepper Jack Creamed Corn Skillet, not to mention Whiskey Bread Pudding for dessert. Hall’s is the place to see and be seen so get your reservation early.

Shopping options are diverse, and horse-drawn carriage tours and nighttime graveyard walks are a must. The iconic Pineapple Fountain on the waterfront park is Charleston’s symbol of hospitality and an Instagram-worthy sight. Photo ops abound at every turn but don’t forget to take in the ambiance and gentile essence of the city.

Low country boil
Low country boil (Photo via Susan Young)

It’s all about the Lowcountry culture in Charleston, Southern charm mixed with shrimp and grits and Virgil Kaine whiskey. The Gullah sweetgrass basket weavers throughout the city, the colorful houses on Rainbow Row and a hearty Lowcountry boil, all round out the vibe one gets when visiting this part of the south. The Wild Dunes Resort conveniently includes all of this laid-back charm in one sprawling location.

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