Splendidly isolated from the South Carolina mainland, life on this barrier island offers the perfect mix of proximity to Charleston and a carefree lifestyle.
Photo: Chris Rogers
Though Isle of Palms is known for its soft beaches and beautiful Lowcountry-style houses, fewer than 5,000 residents live here year-round. (That number grows to 20,000 in the summer months.) "You can go to four-star hotels, restaurants, and the symphony in Charleston, and within minutes you're back on the beach," says resident Sandy Ferencz.
The town was established after WWII as an affordable place for service families to live and build housing. And while some of the original homes still exist—at prices starting around $350,000—today, houses with a water view start at $1.7 million.
Most of the isle's pastel and pale-colored houses are new—damage from Hurricane Hugo required a majority of the island to rebuild. But residents say it takes more than a storm to shake their island lifestyle.
"Our doors are open—music is playing, surfboards are out. It's a dream," says resident Cortney Bishop.