Ready for some fun in the sun? Try Wild Dunes Resort, located on beautiful Isle of Palms, a unique barrier island just a short drive from historic Charleston.
This resort, located along seven miles of beach on the north end of the Isle of Palms, feels different from others I’ve visited. Palm trees line the drive along Palm Blvd leading into the resort, winding through a residential community with beautiful beachfront homes. Don’t be surprised if you see deer, who seem rather domesticated and unafraid of visitors.
After entering through the security gate, you step into a contemporary yet quaint Lowcountry environment. My husband and I stayed at the brand-new Sweetgrass Inn, named after the plentiful sweetgrass found in the Lowcountry and used by the Gullah-Geechee artisans in basket weaving. The 153 room Sweetgrass Inn houses the Oystercatcher Bar and is steps away from expanded pools with Jacuzzis, a kids’ splash pad, and the Laughing Gull poolside restaurant and bar.
After checking into our beautiful hotel room, we decided to join friends for cocktails on the new Nest Rooftop Bar. The terrace of The Nest is beautifully decorated and offers stunning views of the ocean while enjoying a refreshing cocktail and gentle ocean breezes.
With some time to spare before dinner, we decided to explore our surroundings and discovered a walkable plaza area with shops, eateries, and The Gallery at Sweetgrass featuring 22 regionally and nationally recognized artists capturing the natural beauty of the Lowcountry.
At the end of the Plaza, we discovered Boardwalk Inn, an AAA four-diamond rated hotel with 93 luxurious rooms. The Boardwalk Inn includes an adult-only pool with poolside cabanas and leads to the Grand Pavilion area where you’ll find Beachside Burgers & Bar and yet another pool overlooking the ocean. In addition to Sweetgrass and Boardwalk Inns, the resort offers over 200 vacation rental homes, villas, and cottages located along the oceanfront and tucked into quaint island communities.
The beach is never far from either hotel and once we reached it, I didn’t want to leave. The wide pristine beach stretches for seven miles with sweetgrass growing on the dunes----both idyllic and enchanting. Private easy access coupled with unspoiled natural dunes make this beach one of the best on the East Coast.
Another major attraction at Wild Dunes Resort is the wonderful array of chef-crafted food options---- from island-inspired cuisine at poolside bars, to upscale cuisine led by executive chef Robert Frederick at Coastal Provisions, a full-service restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating.
While visiting Wild Dunes, be sure to explore Capers Island. To explore this remote barrier island, we joined Island Eco Tours, led by owner Shane Ziegler. While traveling by boat, Shane pulled crab traps, pointed out dolphins, and different bird species all while giving an overview of the surrounding ecosystem. Once we reached Capers Island, we explored Boneyard Beach with its towering petrified oak and pine trees left by beach erosion.
Wild Dunes Resort truly has something for everyone. Interested in golf? They have two 18 hole Tom Fazio-designed championship golf courses. Interested in tennis or pickleball? There are 12 Har-Tru courts and four pickleball courts including a lighted stadium court. Or maybe you’d just like to bike around the island and rent a tandem bike at the resort Bike Shop.
Near the end of our stay, I decided to try the resort’s wellness program which included meditation and a sound bath on the beach sponsored by Still Soul Studio. To experience ultimate relaxation and rejuvenation, I tried The Spa at Sweetgrass, a 10,000 square-foot world class destination spa with 14 treatment rooms, an outdoor spa garden, and my favorite----hot and cool outdoor Jacuzzis.
A visit to Wild Dunes Resort at Isle of Palms wouldn’t be complete without a junket into beautiful Charleston, just a short drive away. With its cobblestone streets, the city market, Pineapple Express landmark, historic churches, art galleries, and architectural wonders----Charleston is truly an experience you don’t want to miss. If you do manage to pull yourself away from Wild Dunes to visit Charleston, have dinner at the iconic Hall’s Chophouse, but be forewarned, you’ll need to make reservations three months in advance. Hall’s is the ultimate dining experience with award winning steaks, seafood, and side dishes, expert wait staff and friendly service.
For a unique getaway experience within a short distance from Charlotte, try Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms with its seven miles of pristine beaches, contemporary Lowcountry inspired accommodations, beautiful oceanfront rentals and fresh seafood galore. I’m certainly glad we did.