Charleston, South Carolina, is a beach-lover’s dream. The region includes Charleston proper, Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island, North Charleston, Daniel Island, and Mount Pleasant. And in the beach communities of Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Daniel Island, and Folly Beach, golf cart lovers are able to play with their favorite toys: their golf carts.
The most golf-cart-friendly roads are available in the beach areas and lower Peninsula neighborhoods, and in recent years, golf cart enthusiasts have created a golf cart lifestyle in the Charleston area. College students in downtown Charleston have even jumped on the golf cart bandwagon, using carts to travel to and from class. Traveling via golf cart is a slower, more green mode of transportation, and slower traffic as well as new infrastructure that diverts automobile traffic to roads with faster speed limits support traveling on a golf cart.
Matthew Conway, owner of Coastal Cruising Carts, LLC, saw golf carts in Charleston “evolve from a recreation into a true mode of transportation” during his time growing up on Sullivan’s Island, living in downtown Charleston for college, and currently residing in Mount Pleasant. He is a proud member of the golf cart community, driving his children to daycare in one of his LSVs pretty much every day, and using an LSV to make any trips that are within a five-mile radius to his home: to the grocery store, a friend’s house, one of the many delicious restaurants in Mount Pleasant, or a local playground.
Conway reports that Coastal Cruising Carts sells and rents both golf carts and LSVs, focusing on electric models and aiming to reduce their trailer delivery carbon footprint via carbon offset programs.
Matt Allen, owner of IOP Cart Rentals and Repairs on Isle of Palms, is another golf cart lover in the area. He has lived on Isle of Palms for almost 23 years, and most of the work he does with his cart rental and repair business is done on IOP as well as Sullivan’s Island. He reports, “There are enough golf carts out here to keep me working on just these two barrier islands.” However, he does get repair calls for Daniel Island, Mount Pleasant, and the West Ashely area of Charleston.
Allen loves traveling via golf cart, saying it’s a “more enjoyable way to travel.” He and his family use their Club Car Precedent to go just about everywhere: the grocery store, to check the surf, to cruise around the golf course, or to bring their kids to the marina to get some candy. They bring their cart out for evening cruises at least five times per week, just to get out of the house in the cool evening hours in the summertime.
Anne Lee Taylor is a golf cart enthusiast residing in the Charleston city limits, and while just about everyone calls her by her first name, there are some in the community who refer to her as the “golf cart lady.” Taylor and her family moved to the Charleston area in 2009 and purchased a golf cart about eight years ago. Their love for golf carts has exponentially grown ever since. In October of 2016, she and her husband joked about starting a golf cart club, and Taylor created a Facebook page to see how many members she could gather. This was how Cainhoy Golf Cart Club was created, which now manages parades and other golf cart events.
Taylor and her husband use their golf cart to get some time away from their teenagers and spend some quality time together. They enjoy visiting their neighbors and cruising around the neighborhood, listening to music.
Golf cart parades are plentiful in the area’s neighborhoods. During his years growing up on Sullivan’s Island, Conway and his family often dressed up and decorated golf carts for the Fourth of July Parade. More recently, he has participated in the Mount Pleasant Christmas parade, although he feels that the smaller neighborhood parades “spark the most creativity and fun with adults, children, and pets enjoying the outdoor casual, slower pace a golf cart lifestyle offers.”
On the Isle of Palms, a Memorial Day “riding lawn mower and golf cart race” on 21st Avenue used to take place, but liability became an issue, so it is unfortunately no longer in existence. Allen states that the Fourth of July parade on IOP is by far the largest; he couldn’t provide a good estimate of how many carts are typically involved—there are that many! But he did state that the line starts around 2nd Avenue/Charleston Blvd. and stretches all the way to Carolina and 7th Avenue. During the parade, golf cart drivers and riders throw candy to the kids attending, and the kids chuck water balloons at the golf carts, creating a hilarious spectacle.
As was mentioned earlier, Taylor manages several golf cart parades. She befriended a local police officer, Deputy Cephus Rogers Jr., and he agreed to lead the first parade that Taylor organized. She and her community just had their 5th Annual Cainhoy Golf Cart Club Christmas Parade, and their 5th Annual Fourth of July Parade will take place in just a few months, followed by the 5th Annual Halloween Parade in October. Taylor says her favorite parade is the Fourth of July Parade, which is a “wet” parade; spectators bring water guns, hoses, and sprinklers to douse Deputy Rogers as well as the parade participants. So if you plan on participating, be sure to wear a swimsuit!
As you can see, Charleston is a golf cart community that’s alive and well—and the three residents we talked to can attest to that! If you’re looking for a vacation to the beach and want to enjoy all that a golf cart enthusiast’s community can offer, the Charleston area has all that and more. So get out your calendar and plan some time to bring the family to South Carolina. You’re sure to meet other golf cart lovers who are just as enamored with their carts as you are!