Although today the Isle of Palms is a premier vacation destination, it was virtually unknown until the early 1900s. Prior to the 1900s, Isle of Palms was mainly used as a hunting and fishing grounds by Catawba Indians and was therefore known as Hunting Island. But by the 1900s, the "modern transportation" of the time made access to the Island much easier. Capitalizing on this, Dr. Joseph Lawrence saw a great opportunity to attract tourists to the island. He changed the name of the island to Isle of Palms as he worked to develop a resort community. Accommodations were built, including the luxurious 50 room Hotel Seashore, and a seaside Pavilion with a dance hall and amusement park rides was constructed as well. These improvements helped Isle of Palms become known as the "Coney Island of the South." Sadly, these prosperous days came to a close and by the end of World War I, Isle of Palms had fallen into financial ruin.
Two decades later, a prominent Charleston attorney, J.C. Long, purchased 1200 acres of the island with a plan to develop the Isle of Palms to provide housing for returning World War II veterans. Mr. Long made extensive improvements to the island infrastructure and Isle of Palms once again flourished. In 1946, the Surf Deck was built on front beach and soon the great artists of "beach music," such as The Tamms, the Drifters and James Brown were performing on the Island. Isle of Palms continued to grow with the addition of an airstrip in 1951 and the construction of the fishing pier in 1953. In 1972, the Isle of Palms Beach and Racquet Club was built on the northern end of the Island and today is known as Wild Dunes Resort.
As it was in the early 1900s, Isle of Palms is the perfect destination for your family's next vacation. Beautiful beaches, excellent dining, world class golf courses, tennis and shopping are all on the Island. And best of all, Isle of Palms is located right outside lovely and historic downtown Charleston. The Isle of Palms City Marina offers charter fishing trips, nature tours, kayak and wave runner rentals and waterfront dining at Morgan Creek Grille. Other dining options on the island include Long Island Café, The Boat House, Acme Lowcountry Kitchen, The Refuge, and the locals' favorite breakfast spot, The Seabiscuit Café. Tennis and basketball courts, a workout room, and a brand new playground are located at the Isle of Palms recreation center on 28th Avenue. For your next vacation, please consider one of our vacation homes on the Isle of Palms and see for yourself the beauty of the island.