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Wild Dunes Resort

Low Country Haven

Located on the tip of the Isle of Palms, off South Carolina’s barrier coastline and 20 minutes from Charleston, Wild Dunes is a 1600-acre private oceanfront resort surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Intercoastal Highway.

So named because of its two miles of pristine beaches and its wildlife, the island is home to a variety of animals including raccoons, squirrels, deer, birds and alligators. Between May and August Loggerhead Sea Turtles weighing 300 pounds crawl out of the water to lay their eggs on the beach. Dolphins and sand dollars can be seen from the shore. Sea oats strengthen and stabilize the dunes by protecting small plant life. Boardwalks also help preserve the fragile environment.

Wild Dunes boasts two world-class 18-hole golf courses, both offering PROLINK, a personal electronic service in each golf cart. PROLINK displays the distance to and the layout of each hole, provides tips from professionals on how to play each hole and pin location for accurate shot placement. Individual as well as group instruction is available during three seasons. Instructors use video analysis and the latest technology in their personalized teaching.

The tennis center features a stadium court with 350 seats to host major tournaments and 17 Har-Tru courts. "Tennis Magazine" included Wild Dunes in its list of the 50 greatest U.S. tennis resorts.

Wild Dunes Yacht Harbor is a full service marina from which guests can launch a sailboat, take a fishing excursion or go on a sunset cocktail cruise. The recreation program includes other water sports—parasailing, jet skiing and banana boat rides.

The Wild Dunes Resort, Charleston, South Carolina

The resort offers several types of accommodations. Boardwalk Inn with 93 rooms and suites is housed in the Grand Pavilion complex, the focal point of Wild Dunes. About 250 one-to-four bedroom villas and three-to-six bedroom houses with views of the ocean, fairways and the lagoon are scattered throughout the property. Some villas and homes have interesting architectural details such as cathedral ceilings, skylights and arched windows. All are bright and attractively decorated.

While Charleston’s many fine restaurants are close-by, if you do not wish to travel to the city after a long day of golf, tennis or just relaxing on the beach, you can select from several dining options located within the resort.

Guests have a choice of three restaurants. The most formal one, The Grill, in the Boardwalk Inn serves seafood and steaks, which are prepared using regionally inspired recipes. The more casual Edgar’s specializes in Low Country cuisine and the Dunes Deli and Pizzeria is the spot for on-the-run dining.

Coastal Expeditions takes guests through the marsh eco-systems on half- and full-day kayaking trips. Kayakers discover a wide range of local fauna and flora and learn how local history and inhabitation have affected the area.

"CEO Traveler" covered Charleston in its summer 1998 issue. Historic buildings and even entire districts are well preserved and remain much as they were at the time of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars in which the city played a key role.

Since the last time we visited, a new attraction has been added, the South Carolina Aquarium, home to a great variety of sea and fresh water creatures. Exhibits are organized by region and habitat and are designed to showcase the state’s diverse plants and animals. The Mountain Forest exhibit includes salamanders, toads and bog turtles, while the Coastal Plain features swamp snakes and alligators.

With its focus on recreation and the charm of Charleston close at hand, Wild Dunes makes for a splendid getaway.

Wild Dunes Resort, 5757 Palm Blvd., Isle of Palms, SC 29415. Tel. 888-845-8926, 843-886-6000. Rates begin at $109. www.wilddunes.com

Bruce Fancher

Winter 2000-01