Isle of Palms, South Carolina

South Carolina Charleston County Isle of Palms The Isle of Palms is located in Charleston County across the Intracoastal Waterway from Mount Pleasant and just above Sullivan's Island. The Sewee Indians were the original inhabitants. In the early years of our country, the island was also used by English settlers, pirates, and warring armies but, because it was accessible only by boat, there were no full-time residents until the late 19th century.

Until the late 1920s, the main way people got to the Isle of Palms was to take a ferry from Charleston to Mount Pleasant, then ride a trolley to Sullivan's Island which, when the tide was right, would cross the Breach Inlet onto the Isle of Palms. Of course, lucky people had their own boats and could go that way too!

The trolley trestle from Sullivan's Island was converted to a real road in 1926, and the Grace Memorial Bridge between Charleston and Mount Pleasant was completed in 1929. Finally, the Ben Sawyer Bridge between Mount Pleasant and Sullivan's Island was opened in 1946. At that point, with access no longer an issue, the stage was set for development.

And development came – it came in the way of a year-round population, houses (simple and grand), hotels, and resorts. But after the devastation of Hurricane Hugo in 1989, residents became fiercely protective of the unique fragility of their home.

The Isle of Palms welcomes its guests and enlists them in efforts to preserve all that makes an island vacation so special. It is a family beach with bicycle paths which wind throughout the island. Volunteer "Turtle Teams" enforce "lights out" when the loggerhead turtles hatch their babies, so the little ones will find their way safely into the ocean. Just relaxing is also encouraged.

Charleston is the largest city near Isle of Palms. Here is a map of the Charleston area.

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