One of Charleston’s Up-and-Coming Neighborhoods
Situated west of downtown Charleston across the Ashley River, West Ashley (formally, West of the Ashley) gets its name from its location. But, while West Ashley may be named after its geographic proximity to the Charleston Peninsula, this neighborhood is fast becoming a destination of its own.
Although West Ashley does not have the downtown feel of the Peninsula, most of this fast-growing area is located within the city limits of Charleston. The remainder of West Ashley is located in Charleston County. As a result, residents enjoy the benefits of the county’s infrastructure, and those who enjoy spending time in the outdoors can get the county resident discount on the Charleston County Parks’ Gold Pass.
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Living in West Ashley
Whether you are a lifelong Charleston County resident or you are moving to the area and considering buying a house or renting in West Ashley, one of the great things about living here is that it is easy to feel right at home. West Ashley is easy to navigate—with Savannah Highway, Ashley River Road, Sam Rittenberg Boulevard, and Bees Ferry Road taking you most places you need to go—and you can find everything you need locally. From local restaurants and all types of small businesses to big-box stores and other well-known chains, most residents can take care of their shopping and errands with no more than a 10 to 15-minute drive.
But, if you want to explore the Charleston area beyond West Ashley, this is easy too. The Ashley River Bridge takes you straight to the heart of downtown, and Folly Beach, Kiawah Beach, and Edisto Beach are all between 20 and 45 minutes away. I-526 runs through the middle of West Ashley as well, and without traffic, Charleston International Airport (CHS), the Tanger Outlets, and many other local attractions are about a 10-minute drive on the highway.
Eating Out in West Ashley
West Ashley offers a variety of options for eating out. While most local residents will head downtown for a special night out, there are plenty of restaurants in West Ashley for those interested in all types of cuisine. Indian, Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican and Asian cuisine are all on offer, and West Ashley is home to several well-known barbecue and burger restaurants as well.
For fine dining in West Ashley, Angel Oak Restaurant is most residents’ go-to choice. This small restaurant on Savannah Highway near Bees Ferry road is one of the few upscale options in the area. Neighboring Johns Island has a few popular options as well, and of course the world-renowned restaurants on the Charleston Peninsula are just a short drive away across the Ashley River.
There are plenty of options for lighter fare as well. From popular breakfast restaurants to smoothie restaurants and coffee shops, local residents can get a quick bite at spots throughout West Ashley. If you are craving your favorite fast food chain, most of the well-known chains have a restaurant in the area.
Things to Do in West Ashley
What about things to do in West Ashley besides getting a bite to eat? Here, too, residents have no shortage of options.
Perhaps the most well-known of West Ashley’s attractions are Magnolia Gardens and Middleton Place. These former plantations are now home to manicured gardens and walking trails. Magnolia Gardens also has a petting zoo and Audubon swamp boardwalk that is well worth the extra stop on the way out (this area of the gardens has a small separate parking lot), and it hosts a Chocolate Walk each Valentine’s Day that is equally suited to couples and families.
Other options for things to do in West Ashley include walking or biking on the West Ashley Greenway, visiting Stono River County Park, going bowling, visiting the local trampoline park, and visiting the various other parks and playgrounds in the area. Residents can also make use of several public boat landings and kayak put-ins; and, while the Citadel Mall is no longer a shopping destination, the Citadel Mall Stadium 16 remains a popular choice for a fun night out.
For many residents, one of the biggest benefits of living in West Ashley is its proximity to the rest of the Charleston area’s attractions. Residents can have a beach day any day of the week, walk or run across the Ravenel Bridge, or spend Second Sundays on King Street downtown. And, they can do all of this without paying the higher home and rent prices you will find across the river or on the Charleston area’s barrier islands.
Real Estate in West Ashley
Buying a home in West Ashley is feasible for many first-time homeowners, but those with seven-figure housing budgets can find luxury homes in the area as well. Some of the most-popular West Ashley neighborhoods include:
- Ashland Plantation
- Ashley Harbor
- Boltons Landing
- Carolina Bay
- Church Creek Landing
- Croghan Landing
- Edgewater Park
- Grand Oaks Plantation
- Hunt Club
- Northbridge Terrace
- South Windermere
- The Crescent
- Village Green
Several of these are large neighborhoods that have smaller neighborhoods, or “villages,” within them. For example, Carolina Bay is one of West Ashley’s largest neighborhoods, with thousands of homes and several miles of sidewalk-lined roads. Within Carolina Bay, the Essex village is filled exclusively with raised “Charleston single” style homes, while the area around the neighborhood’s central park (which hosts Food Truck Friday much of the year) are ground-level and single-story homes with detached garages.
Technically just outside of West Ashley, Poplar Grove is one of Charleston’s hidden gems. Poplar Grove currently consists of two main sections, The Preserve and The Landing, though it also has other sections with larger lots on which many homeowners have their own horse barns. The neighborhood’s amenities include a Boat House with a large community dock and kayak outposts, as well as a pool, fitness center, and observation deck overlooking Bulow Landing and Rantowles Creek.
Apartments in West Ashley
West Ashley is also home to several affordable and luxury apartment homes—including several new multi-building facilities built in just the past few years. Many apartments in West Ashley come with access to clubhouses, pools, and other luxury amenities. Several properties cater to young professionals who work in downtown Charleston (though West Ashley is far from a bedroom community), as even the morning commute is still an easy drive on most days.
FAQs: What’s It Like to Live in West Ashley?
Is West Ashley a Nice Area?
West Ashley is a nice area that is quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best places to live in Charleston. West Ashley is home to both new and well-established neighborhoods, many of which have been designed and managed to preserve as much of the local flora and wetlands as possible.
West Ashley’s close proximity to downtown Charleston, several beaches, and the historic Plantation District add to the area’s appeal for residents of all ages, and there are plenty of safe shopping and dining areas with plenty of parking (which cannot be said about other areas around Charleston). If you are thinking about moving to the Charleston area, you should definitely take a drive through West Ashley.
Is West Ashley Expensive?
West Ashley is not expensive compared to other areas in and around Charleston, though property values have certainly increased in recent years. As more people move to the area, both new and existing homes are becoming more desirable, and this is driving prices upward. But, modest homes are still available for reasonable prices in and around neighborhoods such as Avondale, Carolina Bay and Shadowmoss. If you are looking to purchase a luxury home in the vicinity of downtown Charleston, West Ashley has multiple neighborhoods with houses priced above one million dollars as well.
What Is Considered West Ashley?
West Ashley is considered to be the area bordered by the Ashley River to the east and north, Bees Ferry Road to the west, and the Stono River to the south. It sits just across the Ashley River from the Charleston Peninsula, and just across the Stono River from James Island and Johns Island. Much of West Ashley is within Charleston City’s limits, with the western portions of the area located in Charleston County.
Is West Ashley Considered Charleston?
Yes, West Ashley is most definitely considered Charleston. The City of Charleston extends as far west as Bees Ferry Road, which is generally considered the western border of West Ashley. The relatively small portion of West Ashley that is not in the Holy City situated in Charleston County (as is the city itself). West Ashley is one of Charleston’s up-and-coming areas and has seen a significant amount of development and investment (from the city, county and outside investors) in recent years.
What School District is West Ashley?
West Ashley is in Charleston District 01. The main public high school in the area is West Ashley High School. There are several middle and elementary schools in West Ashley, including both public and private options. Families seeking to place their children in West Ashley’s public elementary and middle schools must participate in Charleston District 01’s lottery system.