In contrast to Sullivan’s Island and Charleston that were founded in 1670, the Isle of Palms was virtually unknown until the early 1900’s when the island became one of the best vacation destinations on the East Coast. Home only to Catabwa Indian hunting and fishing parties, the Isle of Palms was known as Hunting Island and later Long Island. In 1776, Gen. Sir Henry Clinton landed 2,500 British Troops at what is today the Wild Dunes Links Golf Course in hopes of crossing at Breach Inlet and attacking Colonel Moultrie’s force on Sullivan’s Island from the rear as they protected Charles Towne. A combination of Colonel Moultrie’s troops and the severe tidal currents at Breach Inlet defeated the seasoned British troops. It was an important victory in the American Revolution at a time when the British appeared unstoppable. The first home on the Isle of Palms was built on the Island in 1897 and is still standing at 807 Ocean Boulevard.
At the turn of the century, "modern transportation” was a development making access to the Island much easier. Dr. Joesph Lawrence saw a great opportunity. Changing the island’s name from Long Island to the Isle of Palms, Dr. Lawrence wanted to attract tourist as he developed a resort community. Every since then, the Isle of Palms has been a source of amazing family memories. The Isle of Palms quickly became known in the early 1900’s as the Coney Island of the South. Accommodation options included the luxurious 50 room Hotel Seashore. The Pavilion was built along the shore with a 400-foot dance hall, amusement rides (including a mechanically operated "steeple Chase” race) and the ferris wheel from the 1892 Chicago World’s Fair was a popular attraction. Unfortunately, these prosperous days came to the end and after World War I, the Isle of Palms fell into financial difficulties for two decades.
With the end of World War II, a prominent Charleston attorney, J.C. Long purchased 1,200 acres of the island with a plan to develop the Isle of Palms to provide housing for returning war veterans. With extensive improvements by Mr. Long to the island infrastructure, the Isle of Palms once again flourished. In 1946, the Surf Deck was added to the front beach area and soon the greats of "Beach Music” were performing on the island including The Tamms, The Drifters and James Brown. The surf deck offered dancing, bath houses, beer and refreshments, sunbathing atop the building and night bathing in the ocean thanks to a series of flood lights on the beach. The Isle of Palms continued to grow with an airstrip being added in 1951 and the famous fishing pier in 1953. In 1972, the Isle of Palms Beach and Racquet Club as developed on the northern end of the island, which is now known as Wild Dunes.
As it did in the early 1900’s, the Isle of Palms is the perfect destination for your family’s next vacation to Charleston. Beautiful Beaches (the Isle of Palms won the Blue Wave Award for beach cleanliness), excellent dining, golf, tennis, and shopping are found on the island. Best of all, the Isle of Palms is only 10 miles from downtown Charleston. The Isle of Palms City Marina is another wonderful attraction on the Island. Charter fishing trips, nature tours, kayak rentals, waverunner rentals, and excellent dining are offered at the City Marina. Some of the best dining options on the Island include Long Island Café, Morgan’s Creek, the Boat House, Acme Lowcountry Kitchen, and the locals favorite for breakfast, The Sea Biscuit. Tennis, basketball, a workout room, and awesome playground can be found at the Isle of Palms recreation center located on 28th Ave. If you are in need of beach supplies or an ice cream cone, the Front Beach Isle of Palms has many excellent options for shopping or a refreshing snack.
For your next family vacation, family reunion, or friends gathering, please consider one of the feature Isle of Palms homes with Beachside Vacations.