Isle of Palms County Park
From I-26: from the southern terminus of I-26 in Charleston take US 17 north, towards Mount Pleasant. Take the first exit after crossing the high bridge, SC 703, West Coleman Boulevard. At 2.5 miles from US 17 bear right (south) on Ben Sawyer Boulevard to continue on SC 703. Ben Sawyer Boulevard crosses a broad salt marsh and enters Sullivan's Island. At about 6 miles from US 17 turn left (east) onto Jasper Boulevard (still SC 703). In 1.6 miles you will cross over Breach Inlet onto the Isle of Palms. Here SC 703 is Palm Boulevard. Go for about another 1.4 miles, to the intersection where you turn to get on SC 517, the Isle of Palms Connector, to go to the mainland. Instead of turning left to go to the mainland turn right, onto 14th Avenue and go a block to the park entrance on your left.
From I-526: Go to the northeastern terminus of I-526 in Mount Pleasant. Exit and go north (towards Georgetown, on US 17 for about 2 miles), until you reach SC 517, the Isle of Palms Connector. From this point follow the directions for US 17 southbound (below).
From US 17 southbound: Take SC 517, the Isle of Palms Connector, south, over a broad salt marsh, to the Isle of Palms. At about 4 miles from US 17 turn right (east) you will reach SC 703, Palm Boulevard. Do not turn on Palm Boulevard, but rather keep straight ahead on 14th Avenue to the park entrance on your left.
Birds to look for
Lesser Scaup (w), Surf Scoter (w), White-winged Scoter (w), Black Scoter (w), Bufflehead (w), Red-breasted Merganser (w), Red-throated Loon (w), Common Loon (w), Horned Grebe (w), Northern Gannet (w), Brown Pelican, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, White Ibis, Osprey, Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Willet, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot, Sanderling, Semipalmated Sandpiper (spring, fall), Western Sandpiper, Dunlin, Short-billed Dowitcher, Laughing Gull, Bonaparte's Gull (w), Ring-billed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull (w), Great Black-backed Gull (w), Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern (s), Least Tern (s), Eurasian Collared-Dove, Yellow-rumped Warbler (w), Palm Warbler (w), Painted Bunting (s)
Isle of Palms County Park is mostly a beach park. There is a very small bit of scrub, just enough for a few Yellow-rumped Warblers in winter and perhaps a pair of Painted Buntings in summer. The best feature of the park is the elevated deck of the restroom building, a good spot from which to conduct a sea watch.
Isle of Palms County Park is easily accessible, a fact that makes it the closest park on the Atlantic for birders coming from inland along I-26. It is a good place to begin a birding trip to the east side of Charleston Harbor.
Cape Romain Bird Observatory (bird finding info)