It’s no wonder I had never heard of Isle of Palms before our girlfriends getaway. A tiny barrier island of only about 6 square miles, it is tucked neatly against the South Carolina coast, separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway. Technically considered part of the Charleston metropolitan area and only a short 30 minute drive away, this lovely little gem hosts about 4,000 inhabitants, shops, restaurants, and an array of gorgeous homes for both full-time residents and vacationers who have kept this beautiful place a secret for years. But the true jewel in the crown of this fabulous location is the expansive and wonderful Wild Dunes Resort, the perfect place for a getaway.
Long considered Charleston’s Island Resort, much as Tybee Island is consider Savannah’s beach, Wild Dunes Resort is a great place to stay if you want to visit Charleston but also have access to a beautiful beach area – the best of both worlds! I love a resort which offers an assortment of accommodations as there are so many different types of travelers and getaways and this resort offers rooms and suites, condos and beach house rentals. You can stay pool-side, beach-side, court-side, or course-side; just take your pick.
The Village at Wild Dunes and the Boardwalk Inn both provide a luxury hotel experience with plenty of restaurants, shops, the spa, pools, and the beach just a short stroll away. Condos and beach houses offer stays in all sizes, from one bedroom to seven bedrooms. With full kitchens and plenty of amenities, these are a great choice for a girlfriends getaway when you would rather shop than spend money eating out every meal.
The Village at Wild Dunes, at the center of most of the resort activity, is where we found condos and beach houses, the fitness center, restaurants, shops, a small market, the fitness center, and the spa. Hudson’s Market is a small grocery store where you can buy snacks, sandwiches, drinks, baked good and fresh fruits and veggies, along with handy items like laundry detergent. The Sand and Sea Salon is where I had a great, relaxing massage. The spa also has a nice little gift shop off the lobby where I bought a beautiful and very inexpensive necklace. They had all kinds of interesting jewelry and clothes, all very reasonably priced. The fitness center offers a variety of classes including yoga, fitness training, sports training and golf and tennis instruction. Another way to stay active is to rent bikes at the tennis center for an hour, a day or even a week. The resort is perfect for bike riding with plenty of shaded lanes and the beach is flat enough for bike riding as well.
The Boardwalk Inn is another area of the resort that is just lovely. Just a few yards from the beach, the Inn has 93 rooms and suites and the nice, private feel of a quaint boutique hotel but all the amenities of a resort. We especially loved the way the Inn and the Village were both painted in beautiful, bright colors reminiscent of Charleston and the Low Country. We had breakfast and dinner at The Sea Island Grill and Lounge in the Inn and both meals were wonderful. It’s a casual yet upscale restaurant and we enjoyed dressing up a bit for dinner.
Although we are not golfers, golf is very popular at the resort. With 36 holes of golf courses designed by Tom Fazio, the courses appeal to golfers of all skill levels. We may not be golfers, but we are extremely expert at eating out and loved our breakfast one morning at The Sand Bar restaurant, located in the Links Clubhouse. We had some fabulous waffles but they also offer lunch with traditional southern favorites like shrimp and grits and pimento grilled cheese sandwiches.
We stayed in a fabulous two bedroom condo that was over 1200 square feet with two full bathrooms, a large, fully-equipped kitchen, and a nice deck with a table and chairs. All units also include a washer and dryer and housekeeping service which was pretty sweet! Nice to be able to wash out your beach towels and very nice to have someone else make your bed and clean the condo! It was a short walk to the beach and a short drive to pretty much everything else but one of the things we enjoyed the most was that there were two comfortable, overstuffed couches in the living room – perfect for each of us to relax with a good book! We were in Seagrove 6B but all the condos online look like they are very similar and furnished very nicely. Some are right on the beach which is the only suggestion I would make for our next visit – why be at the beach and not enjoy the view?
We spent a lot of time strolling along the miles of pristine beach, relaxing by the various pools, enjoying the wonderful meals at the different restaurants, and relaxing with a great massage at the spa. The beach at the Wild Dunes Resort is absolutely gorgeous – smooth and flat for bike riding but with plenty of tide pools at low tide for kids and space for adults to lounge in beach chairs. Our favorite place to lounge – aside from our two couches, of course – was by one of the many pools at the resort. Our favorite was the pool located by the Grand Pavilion which had a great view of the ocean. The Grand Pavilion is a large, covered gazebo which looks out over the ocean and is used for meetings and conferences. They were setting up for a wedding one afternoon and it looked really beautiful with all the tables covered with white tablecloths looking out over the beach. When there are no events, there is a restaurant called the Grand Pavilion Café and Bar where you can get a quick sandwich or snack to eat by the pool. It’s very easy to get to the beach and take a stroll as there is a wooden boardwalk out to the sand.
A beautiful beach, great accommodations, wonderful food, relaxing spa experiences, and proximity to Charleston for some historic tours or shopping adventures – the Wild Dunes Resort is the perfect girlfriends getaway!
Jan Ross is a freelance travel writer who has been traveling the world since way back before she can even remember. Her dad was in the Marine Corps so she is used to packing up at a moment’s notice! She loves writing hotel and restaurant reviews since it means she gets to stay in fabulous places and eat wonderful food. She especially loves writing spa reviews because that means she gets phenomenally pampered and, seriously, who does not like that? She has visited lots of places but still gets a thrill of excitement when she boards a plane, steps into a new hotel room, or sees a new location for the first time. And she hopes that thrill never, ever goes away.
For more information on Jan, visit her website at WanderlustWonder.com.