Below is a quick guide to Charleston Area Communities to learn about the components that make up each community. First, all the communities are listed with a brief description. Below this list, each community has more detailed info including a brief community biography, comprehensive list of restaurants, neighborhoods and schools. It is the unique communities within the Lowcountry that make the Charleston area real estate market so strong.
Historic Charleston- Also known as "Downtown Charleston" or, the "Peninsula." Downtown Charleston, SC is a photographer's dream come true. The architecture is similar to no other in the country. The more than 300 year old streets lined with vibrantly colored homes, businesses and churches give Charleston an indescribable aesthetic that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
James Island- Located just across the Charleston Harbor and Ashley River, James Island is one of the fastest appreciating communities in Charleston County. James Island is minutes to downtown and Folly Beach which has fueled the recent development and restoration.
West Ashley- Named for its geographic location to Charleston,West of the Ashley, this area is best described as diverse. Driving through W. Ashley down 17 South or, Savannah Highway, you will find high-end interior decorating boutiques beside a bar filled with college students, construction workers and bankers. The real estate market in this area is thriving thanks to new construction and the community's proximity to shopping malls, Charleston Airport, Downtown Charleston, North Charleston, Summerville and James Island.
Mt Pleasant- There is no mountain in Mt. Pleasant. The town earned it's name because early Charleston settlers crossed the Cooper River by boat and had to climb up a towering river bank about 12 ft high. "Mt. P" seamlessly combines new and old communities providing options for everyone. The new Cooper River Bridge allows residents easy access to Downtown Charleston and I26. Minutes from Sullivan's Island, Daniel Island and Downtown Charleston makes Mt Pleasant convenient to just about everything the Lowcountry has to offer.
Folly Beach- Locally known as the "Edge of America," Folly Beach is an eclectic community. The Folly Beach lifestyle is laidback. Fisherman, vacationers, surfers, executives and traditional American families proudly call Folly Beach their home. It only takes about 15 minutes to drive to Folly Beach from Downtown Charleston through James Island. West Ashley and Johns Island residents are a short 20 minutes from the Edge of America.
Johns Island- The real estate market in Johns Island is HOT! Lots of new development surrounded by marsh and farms. In 2005, Charleston County approved city water lines to Johns Island and in July of 2006, final plans were approved for extending I526 to connect to the once rural area. A beautiful 15 minute drive via Maybank Highway will put you in the heart of Downtown Charleston.
Daniel Island- A master-planned island town community at it's best. Daniel Island boasts 2 first class private golf courses designed by Tom Fazio and Reese Jones, a tennis stadium that annually hosts the Family Circle Cup and, world-class soccer facilities. Daniel Island has quickly become one of the most desirable communities to live in the greater charleston area.
Summerville- Charlestonians in 1700's fled the Charleston Peninsula during summer months to avoid malaria carrying mosquitos. What is a better name for a town established to live in during the Summer? Today, Summerville's population, housing and job market is exploding. It's about a 25 minute drive on I26 from Downtown Charleston. The Summerville real estate market offers some of the best values in the area.
Kiawah & Seabrook Islands- Villas, private homes, cottages, golf, tennis and resort community facilities are woven into the natural landscape. About a 30 minute drive through Johns Island from Downtown Charleston takes you to one of the most sought after barrier island resorts on the Eastern seaboard. Kiawah Island real estate and Seabrook Island real estate is a mixture of residential and vacation homes. Surprisingly, both Kiawah and Seabrook real estate offer better values than other local barrier island real estate markets.
Sullivan's Island & Isle of Palms- These 2 barrier islands can only be accessed from Mt Pleasant by taking either the Isle of Palms connector from Highway 17 North to IOP or, the Ben Sawyer bridge off Coleman Blvd. Both Islands were severely damaged by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 but have since cleaned up, rebuilt and perfected barrier island community living. Real estate buyers can expect to pay above average prices for homes for sale on Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms real estate because the communities are spectacular.
Charleston is America's most beautifully preserved architectural and historic treasure, with a rich, 300 year heritage. Since its founding in 1670, Charleston has played an important and often pivotal role in the course of American history. The city's past is a testament to the spirit and tenacity of its citizens. Through occupation, economic hardship, fires, earthquakes and hurricanes, Charleston has exhibited a remarkable resilience. Throughout this turmoil Charleston has been the scene of numerous and varied historic firsts. The first decisive American victory during the Revolution occurred at the Battle of Fort Sullivan. The first regularly scheduled passenger train service in America was established here in 1830. The initial shots of the Civil War were fired on Union troops stationed at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. And the first golf course (Harleston Green) and golf club (The South Carolina Golf Club) in America were established in 1786. History is literally found around every corner, providing a focal point for a visit to this intriguing city.Charleston is equally acclaimed for its contributions to the arts and humanities, and is often viewed as a living museum. Its singular appeal has been recognized by readers of CondÈ Nast Traveler, who have named the city a Top Ten domestic destination for nine consecutive years, and by Marjabelle Young Stewart, who named Charleston the most mannerly city in America.
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James Island is a large triangular sea island that is framed by Wappoo Creek and Charleston Harbor on the north, Morris Island and Folly Beach on the east, and the Stono River and Johns Island on the west. Affectionately nicknamed "Jim Isle," it is laced with creeks and sounds ... and well known for its farming, fishing and shrimping, ancient live oaks, and more recently, its Holiday Festival of Lights.
The Civil War began on James Island on the morning of April 12, 1861, when Confederate forces at Fort Johnson fired on Union-occupied Fort Sumter. Both forts were located on the island's northern shore.
All but a handful of dwellings were destroyed during the war. With the stately plantations gone, the island reverted to a sparsely populated rural farming area, much like its neighbor, John’s Island. Laced with creeks, and affording spectacular views of the city, James Island became a little piece of paradise enjoyed by few.
The island began experiencing renewed growth during the 20th century, but the opening of the James Island Expressway in 1993 suddenly made James Island and the other islands west of Charleston prime locations for new development. Today many business and residential areas cover James Island, making it a popular place for a family-oriented lifestyle in close proximity to the city. The island’s wide variety of housing options draws people from all walks of life.
All the conveniences and most of the pleasures of a larger city can be found on James Island. Restaurants abound, offering everything from a quick deli sandwich to an elegant evening dining experience.
Families can choose from a number of recreational opportunities, including those available at the popular James Island County Park. This incredible 643-acre park offers biking, nature trails, a climbing wall, an elaborate playground, pedal boats, kayaking, 16 acres of lagoons, fishing and crabbing dock, and picnic areas. There are 10 vacation cottages and a campground, with 125 sites. Splash Zone, located inside the park, is a well-rounded water playground offering two 200-foot tube slides, a 500-foot lazy river with an adventure channel featuring sprays and a waterfall, a leisure pool, and a Caribbean play structure with interactive elements.
The city limits of Charleston extend across the Ashley River to an area known to locals as West Ashley. In fact, it is the place where the English colonists established the first permanent settlement in the Carolinas in 1670 along the banks of the Ashley River. Today the place where the settlers first stepped ashore, Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, is among South Carolina’s most outstanding natural and historic parks, with 663-acres that feature a reproduction 17th century sailing vessel, natural habitat zoo and beautiful Lowcountry vistas. It is also a favorite play and picnic spot for families from across the Charleston area
Also among West Ashley’s historic treasures are three of the area’s most visited plantations, Drayton Hall, Middleton Place, and Magnolia Plantation and Its Gardens. But amidst this historic fabric, West Ashley is a thriving urban community with a population that has more than doubled since 1960 – a testament to the area’s livability.
Many of the neighborhoods closest to downtown Charleston feature charming brick cottages, many of which have been renovated in recent years. Other established neighborhood wind through hundred year old live oak trees, with some home sites that feature sweeping views of the marsh or access to the Ashley River.
West Ashley has also kept up with the times. Modern neighborhoods with the latest amenities continue to spring up, offering an ample range of home options, from marsh- or river-front condominiums to estate-sized mansions.
The area west of the Ashley River has successfully intermingled businesses with family-style living. Shopping at one of the largest malls in the Charleston area, or at a number of strip centers that line the major thoroughfares offers close-at-hand conveniences to residents of many West Ashley neighborhoods. The area is also blessed with its share of eating establishments, from pizza or burgers, to fine dining in style, anything the taste buds desire is nearby.
And of course, West Ashley has convenient access to all the rich historic, arts and cultural opportunities just across a short bridge in the city center. It is an easy commute to downtown Charleston for work, a dinner meeting, or an evening stroll.
Located just across the Cooper River from Charleston lies the lovely and historic town of Mount Pleasant, founded in 1680. During the past several years, Mount Pleasant has experienced rapid, but carefully planned development. While gaining the positive attributes of a city, Mount Pleasant has carefully preserved its rich heritage and small town appeal. The Mount Pleasant/Isle of Palms Visitor Center, located at the corner of US Highway 17 and Magrath Darby Boulevard, is the perfect place to begin a visit. The Visitor Center is within the hotel and motel district of the town.
Patriots Point, Mount Pleasant's biggest attraction, is one of the world's largest naval and maritime museums. Here visitors may board the aircraft carrier Yorktown, World War II's famous Fighting Lady and other permanently moored ships, including the WWII destroyer Laffey, submarine Clamagore and cutter Ingham.
Nearby is the original heart of the town, the Old Village. This National Register district provides visitors with an up close look at beautiful homes from both the colonial and antebellum periods. The Old Village offers a panoramic view of the harbor, as well as a beautiful public park.
As one of the most photographed spots in the Charleston area, picturesque Shem Creek has long delighted visitors and, adjacent to the Old Village, it serves as port for the area's shrimping fleet. Seafood restaurants line both sides of the creek, serving some of the tastiest seafood in the Southeast. Visiting fishermen will want to test their luck aboard one of the offshore fishing party boats that are moored along Shem Creek. The newest addition to this popular area is the Shem Creek Maritime Center and Museum.
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The moon is shining over the ocean, the palm trees are lightly blowing in the breeze, there are no malls, or big commercial ventures, only a tropical paradise. Where are you? You are not in Hawaii, Bermuda or the tropics, you are on a beautiful barrier island only 15 minutes from downtown historic Charleston, South Carolina. You are in Folly Beach, South Carolina, where you can have the best of both worlds.
This island abounds with natural beauty, rare birds, history, fishing, surfing and unparalleled climate. If you are a bird watcher, you are more than likely to see painted bunting, Indigo bunting, Prothonotary warblers, Woodstock, Bald Eagles, Ospreys, the Brown Pelican and many, many more. If you are a history buff, you may want to wander to the east end of the island and view Morris Island, where the lighthouse still stands and the spirit of the Civil War can still be felt. If you love fishing, you will find some of the best in-shore and off-shore fishing on the East Coast. Folly Beach also boasts one of the longest piers on the East Coast where you can fish or dance to a band in the moonlight. And, if you are a surfer, nowhere will you find better surfing on the East Coast than at the Wash Out on Folly, where many surfing associations hold their tournaments. Last, but certainly not least, if you are looking for climate that is pleasant year- round, then you will certainly want to visit Folly.
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Johns Island, SC real estate is found on the east coast's second largest sea-island, and is just a short drive from downtown Charleston - ideal for relaxed living. The maritime forest vegetation and beautiful live oaks give the island a true lowcountry feel. New real estate developments are springing up all along Maybank Highway as affordable alternatives to areas like Mt. Pleasant and West Ashley. There are 2 public golf courses & 2 private/resort golf courses located on Johns Island. The beaches of Kiawah and Seabrook Islands are nearby. While these are private resort islands, people can still access the Kiawah Island beach through Beachwater Park, a county park. Johns Island, west of the James Island, is bordered by the Stono River, part of the Intracoastal Waterway. SC Rt. 700 (Maybank Hwy) is the primary road to Johns Island from Charleston. Johns Island is separated from Wadmalaw Island by Bohicket Creek.
The Angel Oak is a live oak tree with a height of 65 ft. and estimated to be more than 1,400 years old. Its largest limb has a circumference of 11.25 ft., and a length of 89 ft. It is the oldest living tree east of the Mississippi River. With a circumference of 25.5' and a shade area of 17,000 sq. ft., Angel oak is maintained by the City of Charleston and is off Bohicket Road.
Johns Island Soccer Club is a non-profit soccer organization developed to promote the sport of soccer on Johns Island. The soccer club is open to children primarily from Johns Island and surrounding areas. The Johns Island Soccer Club is a member of the Trident Area Youth Soccer Association (TAYSA) and plays games with other clubs that are TAYSA members. Mullet Hall Equestrian Center offers 20 miles of riding trails throughout a beautiful 738-acre future park site. This location has been the host site for many shows and competitions. The Mullet Hall Equestrian Center is located at 2662 Mullet Hall Road.
Daniel Island is a 4,000-acre island town located across the Cooper River from Charleston and North Charleston. Not long ago, Daniel Island was one of the largest undeveloped urban tracts in the United States. Daniel Island is located in the middle of Charleston Harbor and, until recent years, it was only accessible by water. Now- with the Mark Clark Expressway (I-526) - residents can reach the airport in less than 10 minutes, the beaches in 10 minutes, and historic Charleston in less than 20 minutes. Daniel Island is a new development with a beautiful natural setting. It is being developed as a pedestrian Island town full of amenities with something for everyone.
In the Daniel Island neighborhoods, residents will enjoy green spaces, marshes, creeks or river access from at least one access point. There are sidewalks and tree-lined streets. Tennis enthusiasts will appreciate the USTA tennis center and golfers will enjoy the newly completed Tom Fazio course. Surrounded by deepwater rivers and riddled with tidal creeks and marsh, boating enthusiasts will appreciate Daniel Island as well. Island residents have access to their own bank, church, schools, medical facilities, and all the other elements of a self contained island town. The master plan calls for a town center, office space, and retail space. Bishop England- Charleston's Catholic High School- just relocated to Daniel Island. HealthSource, a health maintenance organization, has made Daniel Island the home of its 52,000 square foot headquarters.
This historic town (minutes past Middleton Place, or two miles off I-26) has the rare combination of sophisticated shopping, a wide variety of independent restaurants and the kind of hometown hospitality you thought had disappeared forever.
Dining choices include a 50-year-old southern specialties eatery, an old-fashioned soda fountain and a five-diamond rated restaurant in a spectacular inn known on both sides of the Atlantic. Serious shoppers will be ecstatic about a toy store that makes adults blink in wonder, a quilt shop named one of the ten best in America and fabulous clothing finds, including catalog overruns, Tencil and handkerchief linen, designer clothing and hand made children's clothes.
Non-shoppers can always while away their time at one of the several area golf courses, in a bored husband' rocking chair or spending the day curled up on a sofa in the local bookstore/cafe with a book and cappuccino (ask about Richard Gere's visit!)
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Kiawah & Seabrook Islands
Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island make up the West Islands. Kiawah Island is a 10,000 acre private residential resort community, south of Johns Island. Seabrook Island is also a private resort development located next to Kiawah.
Kiawah Island is located 21 miles south of historic Charleston. The island offers 10 miles of beautiful beach and 30 miles of paved biking trails. The vegetation is maritime forest dominated by oaks, palmetto, and pines. Beachwalker Park, on Kiawah Island, affords visitors access to a wide sandy beach with a 300' swimming area, staffed with lifeguards on duty seasonally. The park amenities include dressing areas, outdoor showers, rest rooms, a picnic area, and a snack bar. Beach chair, raft, and umbrella rentals are available along the beachfront. Golfers can enjoy five championship golf courses including the world-famous Ocean Course.
A favorite activity in the West Islands is horse-back riding. There are several stables in the area that offer everything from pony rides for children to incredible beach rides for the advanced rider. The Seabrook Equestrian Center is located near the entrance to Seabrook Island and offers lessons and trail rides to both residents of the private community and to the public. The Equestrian Center offers lessons in show barn, trail and beach rides, and hosts several shows per year. It is a full-facility barn and is located on 22 acres. For those who would prefer to watch the action rather than participate, you can see some of the nation's top riders compete in the Charleston Cup. The Plantation at Stono Ferry has hosted the event and it will be the 18th running this year. It will be held on the second Sunday, this November. Sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association and started by the South Carolina Jockey Club, the Cup has become one of the premier sporting events in the Lowcountry, and offers spectators the chance to enjoy horse racing at its finest. 843-768-7541. Seabrook Island is unique in that it is totally private and completely owned by its residents. Access to the island is controlled by a security gate to provide for residents and guests.
Sullivan's Island & Isle of Palms
Sullivan's Island and Isle of Palms in Charleston SC offer luxurious beach homes and condominiums for sale, home prices and lot prices.
Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island are barrier islands. They are bounded on the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean with beautiful broad beaches and on the northwest by tidal marshes and the Intracoastal Waterway with deep water for boating. The Isle of Palms Connector (SC 517) connects the Isle of Palms to US Route 17 in Mt. Pleasant.
This is a beautiful drive through undeveloped land over tidal creeks and marshes--perfect for spotting egrets, herons, ibises, and osprey.
Isle of Palms is an island with newer homes, including the luxury resort Wild Dunes. Golf courses, beautiful beaches and convenience to the city of Charleston make this community popular and pricey.
Sullivan's Island is an older, established residential and vacation community. Fort Moultrie National Historic Site is located on the west end of Sullivan's Island.