While most folks may think of Isle of Palms and the Wild Dunes Resort as a summer vacation destination, it turns out there's actually lots of fun stuff to do here in the off season. The obvious pluses of staying this time of year through early spring: save some cash and avoid the crowds.
The holidays in Isle of Palms offer great weather, tons of festivities and great shopping, enough to make just about anyone wish for a white sand Christmas.
Get out on the golf course
The beauty visiting of the beach towns in South Carolina is you can play outside just about every day. So if you stay at 48 Ocean Point during December you can still get in a game of golf or two, or as many as you want. The resort offers a number of golf packages during the winter months.
Don't forget the house has four bedrooms, a private room for each member of your golfing foursome. And with sleeping arrangements for up to eight adults, you can bring along four more of your friends.
If you get tired of playing the Fazio-designed Links and Harbor courses at the resort, ask about their partnerships with other great, local golf resorts – including the Kiawah Island Resort where the 94th Annual PGA Championship was held last summer.
Explore the City Market at Charleston
Located about a 30-minute drive from 48 Ocean Point and open 365 days a year is the historic City Market at Charleston. For more than 200 years the Market has been a focal point of community life in Charleston and it continues to place where locals, tourists and artisans from all over the Low Country and beyond converge.
The Market extends from the Cooper River waterfront to Market Hall on Meeting Street, completed in 1841. The buildings house all kinds of local handcrafts and artwork, sculptures and photographs, clothing, jewelry, collectibles and souvenirs.
Speaking of souvenirs, don't leave without picking up one of Charleston's famous sweetgrass baskets!
Tour the Festival of Lights at Charleston
Since you're already spending a day in the Holy City, why not stay a little while longer to check out the 23rd Annual Holiday Festival of Lights. Pile the family into the rental car and cruise a 3-mile stretch that showcases over 700 shining displays.
The festival is more than just a driving tour, though. Check out all the fun family activities happening at the this year (according to the event website):
- Marshmallow Roasts
- Festival Train Rides
- Lakeside Lights Interactive Activity
- Enchanted Forest Walking Trail
- Gingerbread Houses
- 50-Ton Sand Sculpture
- Giant Greeting Cards
- Carousel Rides
- Gift Shops
- Portable Climbing Wall
- Photos with Santa
- Santa’s Sweet Shoppe
The event, sponsored by the Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission, runs from now through the end of the year. On weeknights, the cost is $12 per vehicle. The cost increases to $15 per vehicle for Friday and Saturday nights.
Take in the Charleston Boat Parade
Here's something else to get you in the holiday mood this season: a parade of boats with their decks decked out in holiday lights from stem to stern. The Charleston Boat Parade begins in the neighboring community of Mt. Pleasant at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 1.
Thousands of spectators come every year to catch a glimpse of the boats as they drift down the Charleston side of the Cooper River toward the Ashley River. The parade lasts roughly two hours and will be followed by the city's tree lighting ceremony in Marion Square.
Visit Middleton Place for the holidays
A little less than an hour from 48 Ocean Point is the magnificent Middleton Place, a National Landmark and home to the country's oldest landscaped gardens where something is blooming year-round.
The land was first settled and cultivated by the Middleton family in the early 17th century and has remained in the family's stewardship for the past 320 years. A one-time slave plantation, most of the original buildings were burned to the ground by Union troops just before the close of the Civil War.
Beginning at the end of November, Middleton Place is your place for the holidays. The fun kicks off with the Holiday Market on November 23 & 24. The Garden Market and Nursery will be bustling with vendors while local candle and jewelry makers will discuss their wares. Hot cider, cookies and holiday-themed products will be for sale.
Events continue through December with caroling, storytelling, wreath and ornament making during the Family Yuletide in the Stableyards on Saturday, December 8 ($15 per person), the Grand Illumination of the gardens by torchlight on December 13 & 14 ($45 for adults, $20 for kids 12 and under) and a Gingerbread House Workshop at the Inn on December 16 ($18 for adults, $12 for kids).