Bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe shares her personal recommendations for traveling to Charleston upon the release of her new book, The Summer Wind.
I consider myself lucky. Not only do I write about the lowcountry of South Carolina, but I also get to call this area my home. I live on a small barrier island just outside of Charleston. The natural landscape and its inhabitants are the inspiration for my novels. My new release, The Summer Wind (second installment of the “Lowcountry Summer Trilogy”), is set in the charming seaside town of Sullivan’s Island. Next door is my beloved island, the Isle of Palms. Because of where I live and what I do, I am often asked by fans and friends alike what I recommend in and around Charleston.
So, in celebration of the summer travel season and The Summer Wind, here are my tips for your next trip to my part of the South.
Get on Island Time
Put away your 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.
Where to Eat
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. Both restaurants are on the Isle of Palms. If you’re on 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 about. Home Team BBQ dishes out great barbecue and memorable hushpuppies. Word of advice though if you’re traveling with young children (or don’t like to wait long for a table): Go between 5 and 5:30 p.m. to beat the drinking crowd.
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 Adventure Seekers
Look no further than Barrier Island Eco Tours. Dolphin boat cruises, creek fishing or crabbing and salt marsh tours with trips to the pristine Capers Island Preserve are available. All the captains are naturalists who will both educate and charm you.
Exploring Off the Islands
The South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston is a must-see attraction. Get up close and personal with local marine lifeat this kid-friendly location. Next door to the aquarium, catch a boat to Fort Sumter for a trip to see 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 islands are many. And I assure you no one will ever be bored. One trip here and I’m confident 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 15 novels. Her latest, The Summer Wind, is out now. Learn more at www.maryalicemonroe.com. And find her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.