Here on Isle of Palms, we're just a short drive from Downtown Charleston where you can immerse yourself in a winter wonderland and enjoy all that the city has to offer. From the islands to Downtown, and everywhere in between- there are plenty of things to do to put yourself in the holiday spirit. We've put together the essentials, the must-sees, and what we think you'll love the most.
P.S. Beach houses for the holidays are booking faster than ever – now is your last chance to book your stay for this winter!
The annual Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park is a Charleston favorite! Offering concessions, gift shops, visits with Santa, and thousands of spectacular light displays that you may drive through as many times as you would like, there is sure to be something for everyone in your group.
The special holiday edition of the Sound of Charleston offers guests the aural experience of the different sounds that define the Charleston area, like gospel, Gullah, Gershwin, music from the Civil War, and jazz. While these concerts occur year-round, the church will be decorated for the Christmas season, and performances are done by candlelight. There are also hot cider and light refreshments offered following each performance!
One of the features of Charleston that makes the city so unique is its coastal environment. Activities on the water and boating play a large role in the culture here, so the Holiday Parade of Boats is very fitting for a city like ours! Participants deck out their boats in colorful lights, inflatables, and other decorations to kick off the winter season. On Saturday, December 12th, you can spot the parade all along Charleston Harbor. Our favorite place to watch the parade is at the Mt. Pleasant pier!
It wouldn't be the holidays on the Island without the Isle of Palms Holiday Festival! This event features live music, food, and craft vendors, as well as officially lighting the 24' tree on Front Beach. If you're staying at one of our condos on Front Beach, you'll have easy access to all of the fun!
A new event this year, this immersive holiday light spectacular brings forth the joy and magic of the season with tens of thousands of lights displayed throughout the South Carolina Aquarium. Enjoy food, beverages, and live entertainment. Toddlers (0-2) are free and member pricing applies.
Charleston is a very historical city, and one way to step back in time is to tour one of the several house museums (specifically Aiken Rhett House, Joseph Manigault House, and the Charleston Strolls Holiday Walking Tour). Around the month of December, these homes are festively decorated and are truly a sight to see. If you're more inclined to take a walking tour around Downtown, Bulldog Tours offers a Charleston Strolls Holiday Walking Tour, where you'll see private neighborhoods as well as the Edmonston-Alston House, which is actually the only Charleston house museum with a stunning view of the harbor!
After long days of touring the city, seeing the lights, and getting all of your last-minute Christmas shopping done, you'll want some time to sit back and relax. Luckily, all of our rentals have televisions to pass the time! Many of our homes and condos have either DVD players or streaming capabilities, so the whole family can watch their favorite seasonal movies together.
While the Lowcountry doesn't quite experience winter on the same level as some other places in the world, it can definitely get chilly here! On those days, it's great to take a minute and recharge with a hot beverage. Whether your favorite is hot chocolate, coffee, or tea, there are plenty of local spots that we love.
Just because you're away from home, doesn't mean you have to let go of your favorite traditions. Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island are heavily residential areas, which means that homes all around us are going to be decorated with festive lights and decorations. Driving around these areas and appreciating the local decorations is a great free way to stay in the holiday spirit, and get the kids out of the house for a little while!
Celebrate the season with ice skating, cozy fire pits, a pop-up café, and other special holiday events. Skate The Stadium is a custom-built rink for ice skating at Credit One Stadium in partnership with the Daniel Island Community Fund. Tickets are $10 per person, which includes skate rental and a 1-hour skating session, non-skaters can enter for free.