A visit to the Isle of Palms Wild Dunes Resort from Charleston

Much has been written about the port city of Charleston, South Carolina, with its southern charm, cobblestone streets, and colorful antebellum architecture.

However, little is known about the region’s coastal offerings. Just a half-hour drive northeast of town is the Isle of Palms, Charleston’s resort island and home to the Wild Dunes Resort, encompassing 1,600 acres of Lowcountry charm and recreation.

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

With so many options, it’s the perfect choice for weddings, corporate events, and family getaways. Recreational opportunities include a 36-hole golf course, designed by Tom Fazio, tennis, pickelball, biking, and seven miles of beaches to play or relax on. Walking and jogging trails criss-cross the island, and you might even encounter a family of deer on your getaway.

Within Wild Dunes, located on the beachfront at the northern end of the Isle of Palms, two adjacent hotels include the Boardwalk Inn and the newly built Sweetgrass Inn. Opened just over a year ago, the Sweetgrass is a Destination by Hyatt hotel offering 153 rooms and suites, restaurants, a spa and a rooftop bar.

Sweetgrass Inn pool view (Photo via Susan Young)

The Nest, with its colorful Andy Davis mural, offers sweeping views of the Atlantic and the surrounding property, while sipping signature cocktails. The Shoppes of Sweetgrass is located on an adjacent alley, made up of restaurants, a market, shops and even an art gallery. The Sweetgrass gallery presents recognized regional and national artists, some in residence.

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

For even more casual fare, Hudson’s Café and Market offers food and drinks to enjoy in your room, enjoying the view from your balcony. Next to Hudson’s is Coastal Crust for pizza and other Italian dishes. Additional restaurants are dotted throughout the resort, so there’s no chance you’ll go hungry on this trip.

Nothing beats a relaxing massage while on vacation, and the spa at Sweetgrass is the perfect pick to complement the laid-back vibe of this resort. With two plunge pools, yoga on the beach, 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 cabins are also available for a retreat with family and friends, and the gift shop provides fine examples of the area as a memento of your stay.

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

Exploration opportunities abound. Barrier Island Eco Tours offers your choice of boat junket to Capers Island Preserve, home to the Court of Bones Beach. Natural shoreline erosion has created an eerie sight of trees with exposed roots in bizarre shapes. You’ll glide through salt marshes with views of dolphins playing in the waves and stop to check out the occasional blue crab trap as Captain Shane describes the wonderful ecosystem.

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

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

Shopping options are varied, and horse-drawn carriage tours and evening walks through cemeteries are a must. The iconic Pineapple Fountain on the waterfront park is the symbol of Charleston hospitality and an Instagram-worthy sight. Photo ops abound at every turn, but don’t forget to soak up the vibe and kind essence of the city.

Boil the low country
Low Country Boil (Photo via Susan Young)

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

Travel advisors benefit from a generous partnership through the Hyatt Prive program with commission on all bookings and exclusive offers for guests.

About Brad S. Fulton

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