Frequently asked Isle of Palms questions

Welcome to Isle of Palms, where the sun is hot, the sand is soft, and the ocean is calling your name! Before you hit the beach, check out our beachy FAQ to stay safe and have fun in the sun!

Isle of Palms FAQ
  • What are the hours for metered parking?

    The on-street paid stations are operational between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Paid parking is enforced between March 1st and October 31st.

  • Where can I find metered parking?

    Visitors will find metered parking on Ocean Boulevard near Front Beach between 10th and 14th Avenues. Park in any open space and locate the pay station (kiosk) closest to you or text to park. Choose and purchase the appropriate amount of time, and then place the receipt on the dashboard of the vehicle so that it is readable through the windshield. The hourly rate is $2.50.

  • What are the hours for public lots?

    The City lots are operational between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. Paid parking is enforced between March 1st and October 31st.

  • Are there any season-long parking options?

    Yes, the City maintains two parking lots close to Front Beach on Pavilion Drive. One lot offers handicapped parking and season-long parking for those with a decal. Seasonal parking passes are $60 and are available for purchase at the Public Safety Building, located on 30 J C Long Boulevard.

  • What are the rates for the Municipal Parking Lots?

    The daily rate is $10 Monday through Friday and $15 Saturday, Sunday and Holidays. After 4:00 p.m., visitors may pay an hourly rate of $2.00.

  • Can residents park for free in the Municipal Lots?

    Yes, residents with properly credentialed vehicles can park in the Municipal Lots anytime free of charge. A properly credentialed vehicle is one that has a City issued Resident Parking Permit or a Wild Dunes Resident decal.

  • What is the penalty for not displaying a parking ticket?

    The ticket must be prominently displayed on the dash before leaving the parking lot. Failure to do so will result in a $50.00 parking violation. Parking in violation of any regulation related to paid parking spaces, parking pay stations or kiosks along the public streets or in the public parking lots will result in a $50.00 fine.

  • Can I park along Palm Boulevard without a permit?

    Yes. A permit is not required to park along the public rights-of-way of Palm Boulevard between 21st and 40th Avenue. However, on the ocean side of Palm Boulevard, vehicles must parallel park at least four feet (4′) away from the pavement on the ocean side of palm, this also applies to all parking along Palm Boulevard between 41st and 57th Avenue. Also, double parking on the passenger side of any vehicle that is paralleled parked is prohibited.

  • Are there any regulations for parking on the land side of Palm Boulevard between 21st and 40th?

    Yes, drivers are required to park in the same direction as moving traffic when parked on the public right-of-way. On the land side of Palm Boulevard between 21st and 40th vehicles must angle park in marked spaces only. Please park your vehicle as close to the front parking stop as possible to ensure the shoulder remains clear for access in an emergency.

  • Can I park on any public road right-of-way?

    Visitors can park their vehicles on any road right-of-way within the Beach Parking District unless it has been designated with a sign as ‘Residential Parking Only’

Isle of Palms FAQ
Beach Rules
  • Can I bring my furry friend to the beach with me?

    Yes, you can! But your dog must be on a leash, and you must clean up after them. Don’t forget to use the dog bag receptacles provided. Between April 1st and September 14th, dogs can be off-leash between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. From September 15th through March 31st, they can be off-leash between 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 a.m. Woof!

  • Can I have a drink on the beach?

    Sorry, but alcoholic beverages are not allowed on the beach. So, let’s stick to non-alcoholic drinks, like refreshing coconut water or ice-cold lemonade, to quench our thirst.

  • What items are not allowed on the beach?

    We want to keep our beaches clean and healthy for everyone to enjoy. So, please don’t bring any single-use plastic bags, plastic straws, polystyrene (also known as Styrofoam) coolers, cups and food containers, glass bottles, balloons, or any other product containing polystyrene/plastic foam that is not completely encapsulated by a more durable material. Instead, use reusable, recyclable, and compostable products.

  • Can I smoke on the beach?

    Sorry, smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes or other smoking devices used for the purpose of inhaling and exhaling smoke, such as vaping devices, is not allowed on the beach and beach access paths. Let’s keep the air fresh and clean for everyone to breathe.

  • Can I drive my golf cart on the beach?

    Nope, motorized vehicles, including golf carts, are not allowed on the beach. So, let’s take a walk or ride a bike to enjoy the scenic views.

  • Can I sleep on the beach overnight?

    Sorry, overnight sleeping on the beach is not allowed. Let’s find a cozy beach house or a comfy hotel to rest after a long day of fun in the sun.

  • Why are the sand dunes protected?

    The sand dunes are fragile and serve as a natural barrier against erosion, high winds, and storm surges. So, let’s use the designated beach access paths and avoid stepping on the dunes. Beach Sea Oats and grass help protect the dunes, so please don’t pick them. Let’s do our part to protect our beaches and keep them healthy for generations to come.

  • Can I have a bonfire or fireworks on the beach?

    Sorry, fireworks and open fires are strictly prohibited on the beach. But let’s enjoy the beautiful sunset and the stars without any distractions.

Isle of Palms FAQ
Beach Safety
  • What is the biggest safety hazard at Isle of Palms beaches?

    Rip currents! They’re strong, channelized currents of water that flow back into the ocean from the shoreline. They can form at breaks in the sandbars and near structures like jetties and piers.

  • How can you tell if you're caught in a rip current?

    It’s not always obvious, but one sign is that you’re not making any progress swimming towards shore and are getting tired. With stronger rips, you may feel like you’re being pulled away from the beach.

  • What should you do if you're caught in a rip current?

    Try to remain calm and conserve your energy. Don’t fight the current – think of it like a treadmill you can’t turn off. Instead, swim across the current in a direction parallel to/following the shoreline. Once out of the current, swim back towards shore. Rip currents typically weaken beyond where the waves are breaking – when the current weakens, swim down the beach some before heading back to shore. If you can’t escape the current, try to float or calmly tread water. If you feel like you won’t be able to reach shore, draw attention to yourself by facing the shore, waving your arms, and yelling for help.

  • Are there lifeguards on duty at Isle of Palms beaches?

    Yes, there are lifeguards on duty at the County Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily from May 27 to mid-August, and on weekends only in May and September (including Labor Day, September 4, 2023). Outside of the county park, there are no lifeguards on duty.

  • Why is it dangerous to swim during a thunderstorm?

    Lightning strikes water regularly, and since water conducts electricity, a nearby lightning strike could kill or injure you. So any time you hear thunder or see lightning, you should get out of the water and into a safe place.

Isle of Palms FAQ
Beach Accessibility
  • Is the beach wheelchair accessible?

    Absolutely! The City of Isle of Palms offers daily use of beach wheelchairs at no charge. These wheelchairs are located at the Public Safety Building and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Just make sure to return the wheelchair by 8 p.m. the day of the rental. And don’t forget to submit a Beach Wheelchair Rental Form in person on the second floor at the Public Safety Building to get started.

  • Is there handicapped parking available?

    Yes! Handicapped parking is available at the County Park (no fee charged), the small Municipal Parking Lot on Pavilion Drive, 9th Avenue, Front Beach Restrooms, 21st Avenue, 34ath and 42nd Avenue. And if you have the appropriate license plate or placard, you can park for free in the small Municipal Parking Lot behind the Public Safety Building.

  • Can I swim during a thunderstorm?

    Absolutely not! Swimming during a thunderstorm is one of the most dangerous things you can do. Lightning regularly strikes water, and since water conducts electricity, a nearby lightning strike could kill or injure you. So when you hear thunder or see lightning, get out of the water and into a safe place.

Isle of Palms FAQ
Beach Amenities
  • Are there bathrooms and showers available at the beach?

    Yes! Isle of Palms County Park offers restrooms, dressing areas, and outdoor showers (no soap or shampoo allowed) for your convenience. And if you’re in the Front Beach commercial district, you can find public restrooms and indoor/outdoor showers too.

  • What else is available at Isle of Palms County Park?

    Lots of fun stuff! There are lifeguards on duty seasonally, boardwalks and accessible ramps, beach chair and umbrella rentals, a sand volleyball court, a playground, picnic areas with grills (first-come, first-served), and even ice cream, drinks, and snacks.

  • Is there a way to recycle beach toys?

    Yes, we have a “No Toys Left Behind Bin” located at Front Beach! This is a spot where anyone who finds forgotten toys on the beach can add them to the bin for others to enjoy. Just make sure to take your toys home with you when you leave the beach.