The Isle of Palms beach in South Carolina is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. With seven miles of wide, pristine beaches, it’s no wonder that this beach is so popular. But with popularity comes crowds – so just how crowded is the Isle of Palms beach? Generally, the IOP Beach can become crowded during the summer months from noon to 4pm, but we have a great guide on beating the crowds in the Lowcountry!
When you’re ready to start planning your trip, request our free Isle of Palms Vacation Guide. This planning tool is filled with local insight into the best places to visit, dine, stay, and more during your trip!
How to Beat the IOP Crowds Every Year
Peak Times for IOP
When it comes to peak times, the Isle of Palms beach can definitely get crowded. The summer months are especially busy as people flock to the area for vacation. Weekends tend to be even more crowded as people from all over come to enjoy the sun and sand. During these peak times, it can be difficult to find a spot on the beach or even a parking spot nearby.
The best way to beat the crowds is staying on the beach so you aren’t fighting traffic on I-526, getting up early or going to the beach later in the evening, and to travel during off peak times particularly in the fall when kids are in school.
Alternative Beaches in the Area
Sullivan’s Island is a two and a half-mile long barrier island near the entrance of the Charleston Harbor. It is home to a little over 2,000 residents in addition to its many visitors. Sullivan’s Island is known for its natural beach, wooded beach paths, great restaurants, lively main street, and rich history. Attached to Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s is usually more laid back and its beach has numerous public access points with free off-street parking available. We recommend getting out on the beach around 10-11am if you want to beat the traffic. It’s an ideal spot for a romantic retreat or family-friendly escape. Visitors can enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, and kayaking in the waters surrounding Sullivan’s Island.
Kiawah Island Beach is located about 45 minutes from downtown Charleston (or an hour and a half from Isle of Palms) and is one of the least developed beaches in the area featuring preserved maritime forests and beautiful sand dunes. Kiawah Island Beach offers visitors plenty of activities like swimming, surfing, fishing, kayaking, biking trails and more! The waters around Kiawah are teeming with marine life making it perfect for snorkeling or scuba diving adventures. Kiawah Island Beach also features several golf courses that offer stunning views of the ocean while you play your round of golf! Kiawah keeps its beaches free from crowds because of the limited parking at the only public beach, Kiawah Beachwalker Park. If you would prefer to not wait in a 2-hour parking queue, we suggest getting to the beach in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Boneyard Beach in South Carolina is an incredible hidden gem. Located on the northern end of Bull Island, it’s a beach unlike any other. The shoreline is covered with oak and cypress trees that have been bleached by the sun, held down by sand and wind, and formed by the forces of mother nature. Eco tours are available to explore this unique landscape, where you can see wildlife like dolphins, sea turtles, alligators, and birds. Despite its remote location, Boneyard Beach is surprisingly accessible – you can get there by ferry from nearby Mount Pleasant or Awendaw. It’s usually not too busy either, so you can enjoy some peace and quiet while exploring this beautiful beach.
Rent Your Own Beach on Isle of Palms
Instead of fighting for parking, getting up at the crack of dawn, and driving down the highway, wake up in your own oceanfront rental with East Island Rentals! Our homes offer all the amenities of home with all the fun of being on vacation.
Don’t forget to check out our things to do page for a quick peek at some of the highlights in and around our area!
Browse our vacation rentals and start planning your trip today! We look forward to welcoming you to the East Islands Rentals family!