Lowcountry Author Shares Charleston Beach Vacation Tips

Mary Alice Monroe

Mary Alice Monroe

Guest blog by Mary Alice Monroe

I not only write about the Lowcountry, I’m a long-time resident. So when you vacation here, you’re enjoying the same picturesque views, breathing the same intoxicating air, and living in the same natural landscape with creatures that inspire my novels.

Most important tip
Get on island time the moment you arrive. Put away the to-do list. Make decisions based on weather and your inclination. Even a rainy day can be wonderful! On slow days, enjoy the beach. Look for shells. Build sandcastles. Tell the kids that sea turtles come to this beach and then show them how to prep your plot of sand for the turtles before you leave – pick up your trash and fill in holes you dug. These simple acts will teach your kids about the environment and support our local wildlife.

Sea Biscuit Café bakes up the best tomato pie you’ll ever have. For a drink or salad, head over to Coconut Joe’s. Its beachfront location offers a nice view. And keep a lookout for the “kite man”. He’s often nearby, gracefully maneuvering his long row of colorful, long-tailed kites that dip, flip and twist in hypnotic fashion.

Sullivan's Island

Sullivan’s Island

For an adult evening, The Boathouse at Breach Inlet is unmatched. Absolutely the best place to catch a Lowcountry sunset. This is where the dolphins cavort, and you’ll likely see them if you go.

For a meal with the kids, Sullivan’s Island Middle Street hosts a fabulous selection of restaurants. Poe’s has the best burgers. Taco Mamacita serves up corn on the cob that I dream of! Home Team BBQ dishes out great barbecue and memorable hushpuppies. Word of advice though—go between 5 and 5:30 p.m. to beat the drinking crowd.

Make sure to visit Sandpiper Gallery while on Sullivan’s too. It’s a menagerie of local fine art. From jewelry to paintings, glass to pottery, I’m sure you’ll find the perfect something to buy as a memento of your island vacation.

Seeking adventure
Look no further than the Barrier Island Eco Tours. Dolphin boat cruises, creek fishing or crabbing, and salt marsh tours with trips to the pristine Capers Island Preserve. All the captains are naturalists who will both educate and charm you. It’s fun for all! (See Traveler’s list of tours.)

Off the island

Photo/South Carolina Aquarium

Photo/South Carolina Aquarium

The South Carolina Aquarium is a must-see attraction. Get up close and personal with local marine life.  A very kid-friendly location! Next door to the aquarium, catch a boat to Fort Sumter for a trip to where the Civil War began. It’s fun to get into the Charleston Harbor and see the city from a different perspective.

The options for fun both off and on the island are many. I assure you no one will ever be bored. One trip to my islands and you’ll be planning your next return even before you head home.

Mary Alice Monroe is an Isle of Palms resident and New York Times bestselling author of 14 novels.  Her latest, “The Summer Girls,” is out now. Learn more at www.maryalicemonroe.com