Most blogs you’ll read on food in the Charleston area will point out all of the noteworthy restaurants in the area. As they should! So many people want their vacation off – free from cooking. And the Charleston food scene has so much to offer.
We did eat at a couple great restaurants during our stay but we really prefer being travelers rather than tourists. We like to experience what it’s like to be a local in every way – in our minds we lived on Isle of Palms this week!
One of our favorite things to do on our travels is to visit all of the local markets and groceries. We are a foodie family and enjoy buying what is fresh and local and finding things we can’t find back home.
We always make sure our house or condo has a kitchen and survey the area for the best food sources around us.
Meet the world’s best 10-year-old menu planner!
She thoughtfully planned out what we would have for dinner each night of our trip and dad executed. I love their shared love and knowledge of food!
We had rock fish, clams, east coast shrimp, she-crab ravioli, duck l’orange, dry-aged bone in sirloin, and crab with drawn butter.
We stayed on Isle of Palms but ventured the short drive to Mount Pleasant for much of our shopping. We loved having access to Harris Teeter. We went to three or four different Harris Teeters while we were in the area. There was one on Isle of Palms just five minutes from our resort and while it was more upscale and the nicest one we’ve ever been to, the Harris Teeters in Mount Pleasant were bigger and had a larger selection.
Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and a classy butcher shop all within a 15-20 minute drive from where we were staying (all in Mount Pleasant). Foodies who are still with me and reading, the New York Butcher shop had the delicious duck (our six year old is now a duck fan!) as well as the dry-aged bone-in sirloin and the she crab ravioli. The clams and rock fish were from Whole Foods. We ate so well! And we will all miss Harris Teeter! 😭
Almost everyone I talked to who had been to the Charleston area or lived near Charleston said it was not to be missed. We trusted them but were doubtful it could be more beautiful than our Isle of Palms where we were staying.
It was SO beautiful. We fell in love with Folly Beach! In fact, we loved it so much, we made the return trip to visit it twice during our stay.
Why do we love Folly? Here are our top five reasons:
It’s beautiful. The lighting, the rougher waves…they all make for a more picturesque scene.
2. The pier at Folly Beach! You can talk a walk on or under the pier. Be careful walking under with little ones at high tide. The water was surprisingly deep in parts. We loved taking pictures with the pier as our background.
3. The tide pools. These not only proved to make beautiful pictures, reflecting the clouds and the water, but Madeline loved playing in them! It’s where she spent most of her time!
4. Rock sculptures. At the time of our visit this was the popular thing to do! We saw them all along the tide pools and the tide pools is where to look to find the rocks! Madeline got really good at it!
5. The soft sand. This beach was much easier on the feet. Our area of the beach on Isle of Palms had many more shells and pieces of shells requiring you to walk gingerly. Folly had many stretches where you could run and feel the soft sand under your feet.
Our first full day on Isle of Palms! We took advice of our friend who lives in Charleston and stayed in the Wild Dunes resort on the Isle of Palms. We stayed in Seagrove and loved it here. We visited for fall break and temps in the 70s were perfect for us. It wasn’t crowded at all – in fact there were days we had the building and the beach to ourselves.
Anna Claire cartwheeled all over , and we took advantage of our access to all the Wild Dunes pools. This one is heated. 🙌🏻
One of our favorite things to do at the beach is catching the sunrise.
I know that may seem contrary to what many people think when they go to the beach. Many want to sleep in, go to the beach later in the day and catch the sunset.
I have to tell you that if you are among these, you are missing out! Especially if you visit a beach on the east coast. So many post and share about sunsets on the beach, but the beach is often crowded at this time and not nearly as bold and brilliant since the sun rises in the east.
Be sure you venture out a half hour before the scheduled sunrise. We visit in the fall and sunrise is around 7:30. Your weather app or a simple Google search will let you know the predicted time of the sunrise, but be aware that there is a beautiful color show 30-45 minutes prior!
Our best experiences finding seashells have been in the early morning. It’s so fun to be the among the first down to seek out what was washed onto the shore during the night.
We found a sand dollar this morning! And a runner gave us beautiful whelks.
This does mean getting up early, but early bird gets the sunrise!
When you travel, are there certain creature comforts or extra items you bring along that you wouldn’t find on the typical packing list? I know our family tends to be a little extra!
But one thing I know for sure, the better we prepare, the better trip we have and the happier we are!
As I pondered our extra items, I couldn’t help but think, “Wow, we are pretty smart packers! We’ve thought of everything!”
Here are our extras! (Keep in mind we cook on our vacays so many of these are to stock our kitchen – we save money buying items at our local Walmart instead of paying marked up prices near our condo. 🤓)
Sound machine (can’t sleep without it)
Empty Walmart bags
Kosher salt – most condos stock iodized 😣
Foaming hand soap (we use a natural kind)
Diffuser and essential oils
Bug spray (diy – natural)
Steak seasoning (my husband makes his own)
Kids snacks and drink pouches
For the kids:
DVDs – new ones they haven’t seen before
Games (checkers, uno, etc)
Books to read to our 6-year-old at bedtime
Kneeling pad for bathing kiddos
Pitcher for bathing kiddos to keep water out of their eyes
Please share in the comments if any of these are your extras too or if any of these helped you!