Find the Perfect Place to Live or Learn About Things To Do in Your Neighborhood in Charleston
From downtown Charleston’s antebellum homes to suburban neighborhoods lined with palmetto trees to neighborhoods with custom homes on multi-acre lots with deepwater docks, neighborhoods in Charleston are as unique as the city itself. Whether you are thinking about moving to Charleston or are looking for ideas for things to do in your neighborhood, keep reading to learn more.
Getting to Know Some of West Ashley’s Most Popular (and Up-and-Coming) Neighborhoods
West Ashley is quietly becoming one of the more popular places to live in Charleston. While it may not have the reputation of Mount Pleasant and might not be quite as close to the beach as James Island or Johns […]
Where To Go for Tacos in Charleston
I love tacos. I could eat Mexican food any day of the week, and tacos are my go-to choice most of the time. Luckily, there are lots of very good places to go for tacos in Charleston. Another great thing […]
10 Free (and Low-Cost) Things to Do on James Island This Weekend
If you live on James Island and are looking for things to do this weekend, you have plenty of options in your own backyard. While you can head to Folly Beach or go to the peninsula, you can also find […]
25 Neighborhoods with Waterfront Homes in Charleston
Charleston has dozens of neighborhoods with waterfront homes. While this includes the oceanfront homes on Folly Island, Sullivan’s Island, and Isle of Palms, it also includes homes with private docks (and access to community docks) throughout the Charleston area. This […]
Comparing Charleston’s Neighborhoods: Which One is Right for You?
Charleston is growing. While some areas are growing faster than others, all of Charleston’s neighborhoods have experienced growth over the past five years. By all indications, this isn’t going to change anytime soon. Families, professionals, and retirees are moving to […]
10 Free (and Low-Cost) Things To Do in West Ashley This Weekend
Looking for something to do in West Ashley this weekend? If so, there is no shortage of options available. While Middleton Place and Magnolia Gardens are perhaps the area’s most well-known attractions, visiting these historic sites can be on the […]
Where Do You Live (or Want to Live) in Charleston?
So, where do you live (or where do you want to live) in Charleston? Here is an introduction to several of the most popular neighborhoods in Charleston. Click the links below for additional information about real estate and things to do in each area:
Many people who are looking for neighborhoods in Charleston start their search on Daniel Island. Somehow, Daniel Island feels uniquely disconnected while still being within close proximity to everything that Charleston has to offer. Many of the premier neighborhoods in Charleston are on Daniel Island, with custom-built homes surrounded by palmettos, live oaks, and poplars that back to the Cooper River or Wando River.
Daniel Island is home to Credit One Stadium, a world-class tennis and concert venue. It is also home to waterfront restaurants, the Daniel Island Club’s world-class golf course, and several public parks and trails. With I-526 connecting Daniel Island to North Charleston and Mt. Pleasant, residents have easy access to the Charleston area’s many other activities and attractions as well.
Real estate in downtown Charleston ranges from relatively modest homes in the neighborhoods around Hampton Park to multi-million dollar homes on Murray Boulevard in the area known as South of Broad. There are modern apartment buildings as well as individual long-term (and short-term) rentals as well. Many of the older homes on the peninsula, including antebellum mansions and “Charleston singles,” have been renovated with modern appliances and HVAC systems, and many downtown homes have private courtyards with pools, manicured gardens, and guest houses.
As far as things to do, in downtown Charleston there is no shortage of options. Shopping on King Street is a popular option; and, the second Sunday of every month, King Street closes to vehicle traffic from 1:00pm to 5:00pm so that pedestrians can stroll casually and local businesses can expand outside of their doors. For visitors, taking a horse-drawn carriage ride is a popular option, and visiting local attractions like the Charleston Aquarium and Sottile Theatre is popular among visitors and residents alike. Tours to Fort Sumter and other destinations depart from docks and marinas downtown, and water taxis connect downtown to Patriots Point across the Charleston Harbor.
Edisto Beach is perhaps the least well-known of the Charleston area’s beaches, and it is the farthest away from the peninsula. But, since Edisto Beach sees far less traffic, getting there often doesn’t take much longer than getting to Folly Beach or Kiawah Island. Edisto has a close-knit community of full-time residents; and, while there is a hotel on Edisto, most visitors rent a vacation home on Palmetto Boulevard, Jungle Road, or one of the island’s side streets. Visitors can also camp at Edisto Beach State Park.
Parking on Edisto is plentiful, and there are restaurants that serve breakfast, seafood, burgers, and other traditional fare. Ella and Ollie’s is the main fine dining option in Edisto Beach, serving gourmet pizzas and a variety of other upscale options in what is still a comfortable and laid-back atmosphere. Along with beach days, options for entertainment on Edisto Island include hiking the trails in Edisto Beach State Park, renting kayaks, and taking chartered boat tours in the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto (ACE) Basin.
Folly Beach is known for its laid-back atmosphere, and many local residents spend their mornings surfing before getting ready for work. Full-time residents live among the island’s short-term rental properties, which span from Folly Beach County Park to the south all the way to the Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve (with views of the Morris Island Lighthouse) to the north. While Folly Beach still has some affordable smaller homes, beachfront and beach view home prices have risen in recent years, and many older homes are being renovated and resold—resulting in overall price inflation on the island.
The restaurants on Folly Beach are all concentrated around the main thoroughfare onto the island—Folly Beach Road. Folly Beach’s downtown area spans a few blocks in either direction. The Folly Beach Pier has recently undergone renovations, and the pier’s restaurant offers one of the few oceanfront dining options in Charleston. From surfing camps and lessons to kayak rentals and tours, residents and visitors of all of Charleston’s neighborhoods come to Folly Beach regularly.
Hollywood & Ravenel
Located just beyond West Ashley, Hollywood and Ravenel are quickly gaining popularity among Charleston-area residents who want to enjoy Charleston’s natural beauty while still having easy access to beaches and downtown. The Preserve is one of the Charleston area’s premier neighborhoods, with million-dollar homes with classic Lowcountry views of marshes and the Rantowles Creek. Several new neighborhoods have been built (or are being built) in Hollywood as well, and nearby Meggett and Yonges Island offer waterfront living combined with enough acreage for horse barns and pastures.
Residents of Hollywood and Ravenel typically make the five to ten-minute drive to West Ashley to do their shopping, and Folly Beach, Kiawah Beach, and Edisto Beach are all in close proximity. Hollywood and Ravenel have a few restaurants that are popular with locals—like Hollywood Pizza and Pan e Vino—but residents frequently go to Johns Island or the peninsula for an evening out. Caw Caw Interpretive Center and Meggett County Park are both good options for getting outdoors.
James Island is separated from West Ashley by Wappoo Creek and from Johns Island by the Stono River. Some James Island residents have views of downtown Charleston and Charleston Harbor from their homes (as well as Sullivan’s Island across the harbor), while others have no more than a five-minute drive to Folly Beach. James Island is home to neighborhoods with family homes, million-dollar homes with water access and views, and a growing number of apartment developments with luxury amenities. From restaurants and grocery stores to shopping and outdoor activities, residents can find just about everything they need without leaving the island.
But, many James Island residents do leave the island to go to the beach, go shopping in downtown Charleston, and to take their children to school and activities in West Ashley. James Island County Park is one of the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission’s (CCPRC) flagship facilities, with multiple playgrounds, a waterpark, an outdoor climbing wall and ropes course, pedalboat rentals, a public dock, and miles of trails.
Many people who are looking for neighborhoods in Charleston but are not interested in city living find that Johns Island offers the perfect blend. Like many other areas of Charleston, Johns Island has waterfront homes (on the Stono River) as well as planned neighborhoods and apartment complexes with community pools, playgrounds, and other amenities. Main Road, River Road, and Maybank Highway provide access to most of Johns Island, and most of the island’s restaurants and coffee shops are along these three roads as well.
Maybank Highway connects Johns Island to James Island, while Main Road (which turns into Bohicket Road) connects Johns Island to West Ashley, Kiawah, and Seabrook Island. There are several newer communities down toward Kiawah, and residents who live in these neighborhoods near Charleston do most of their shopping and dining at Freshfields Village. Johns Island is home to Mullet Hall (Johns Island County Park), Legare Farms, and multiple stands, farmer’s markets, and local vendors and restaurants.
Kiawah & Seabrook Island
Located on either side of Freshfields Village, Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island are private island communities with gated access. Seabrook Island Road leads past Bohicket Marina into the Seabrook Island neighborhood, while Kiawah Island Parkway winds its way through marsh views to the private neighborhood’s main gate. Homes in both areas range from townhouses and raised duplexes to multi-million-dollar custom-built residences with sprawling floorplans and ocean views.
There are several restaurants behind Kiawah Island’s gates, as well as the world-renowned Kiawah Island Golf Resort. The resort’s Ocean Course hosted the PGA Championship in 2021. Freshfields Village and Bohicket Marina both offer several unique dining options as well, and Kiawah Beachwalker Park is a public park with a large parking lot (which still fills up quickly on summer weekends), boardwalk, small store, showers, and other amenities.
Mt. Pleasant is located across the Ravenel Bridge from downtown Charleston. It is home to many of the most desirable neighborhoods in Charleston, though this has also led to a less-desirable increase in traffic in recent years. Yet, many people still love calling Mt. Pleasant home, in large part because they can visit two different beaches—Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms—with just a short drive over the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW).
Things to do in Mt. Pleasant include shopping and dining, walking the Pitt Street Bridge, visiting the Mt. Pleasant Pier, visiting Patriots Point, and taking in a Charleston Battery game. Shem Creek in Mt. Pleasant home to many of the Charleston area’s most popular waterfront restaurants, and residents and visitors can launch (or rent) kayaks and boats here as well.
Sullivan’s Island & Isle of Palms
Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms are barrier islands located across the ICW from Mt. Pleasant. Each is accessible via a bridge from the mainland, and a short bridge connects Sullivan’s Island to Isle of Palms as well. While Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms have many full-time residents, they are popular vacation destinations as well—particularly Isle of Palms, which has hotels and a small downtown area as well as rental homes.
Sullivan’s Island has several restaurants that are popular with residents who live in neighborhoods throughout the Charleston area. Sullivan’s Island’s beaches have a more natural, less refined feel—while Isle of Palms is the closest thing Charleston has to a typical beach town. The Isle of Palms Marina has kayak and jet ski rentals, and guided fishing charters leave from here as well.
An overview of the neighborhoods in Charleston wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Summerville. While Summerville is located further inland than any of the other neighborhoods on this list, it is popular among local residents because of its active downtown area and its relatively affordable housing compared to many of the areas closer to South Carolina’s coast.
Summerville offers many amenities and events for local residents as well. These include several parks—including the newest addition, Ashley River Park—an annual Fourth of July fireworks celebration and Christmas Parade, and an outdoor ice skating rink during the winter months.
Wadmalaw Island can be described as one of the Charleston area’s hidden gems, although it has become more well-known in recent years. Located on the banks of the Stono River, Wadmalaw Island offers extensive natural beauty within a reasonable drive of downtown Charleston.
While options for living planned neighborhoods on Wadmalaw Island are limited, most people who live here choose to do so because of the peace and quiet the island offers. Sitting on the dock watching the sunset is a common pastime activity, although Wadmalaw Island residents have fairly easy access to Johns Island, James Island, and Freshfields Village as well.
Located west of the Ashley River from downtown Charleston (hence its name), West Ashley has grown significantly in recent years and is currently the focus of several revitalization initiatives. All of West Ashley’s neighborhoods are family friendly, and homes range from fixer-uppers perfect for first-time homebuyers to luxury custom waterfront homes off of Wappoo Road, in Croghan Landing, and in The Settlement at Ashley Hall. Some of West Ashley’s largest neighborhoods include Carolina Bay and Shadowmoss, each of which have several smaller “villages” within them.
While West Ashley is home to big-box stores and popular chain restaurants, there are many local restaurants and small businesses in the area as well. Avondale is commonly referred to as West Ashley’s “downtown” area, and it has several food options and some local shops. The West Ashley Greenway, Stono River County Park, and West Ashley Park offer options for getting outdoors, as do the many public playgrounds throughout the area. Options for inside entertainment in West Ashley include a trampoline park, small climbing wall in Half Moon Outfitters, bowling alley, and 16-screen movie theater.
Map of Neighborhoods in Charleston, SC
Here is our map of some of the most popular neighborhoods in Charleston, SC: