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 Island, West Ashley’s neighborhoods have a lot to offer.
If you’re thinking about moving to a West Ashley neighborhood, you are not alone. This once relatively quiet side of Charleston has seen a lot of growth over the past five years. Along with newer neighborhoods like Carolina Bay, older neighborhoods like Ashland Plantation and Avondale are extremely popular among families, and neighborhoods like Edgewater Park and The Settlement at Ashley Hall offer waterfront living just across the bridge from downtown Charleston.
Along with its casual living, West Ashley also offers lots to do. West Ashley residents also have easy access to Folly Beach and Kiawah Beachwalker Park, and many residents enjoy kayaking and boating on the Ashley River, Stono River, and the lowcountry’s marshland waterways. If you’re a foodie (or an aspiring foodie), downtown Charleston’s restaurants are no more than a 20-minute drive away for most West Ashley residents—and a much shorter drive for many—and you can easily get to Mount Pleasant and Sullivan’s Island across the Ravenel Bridge.
7 Neighborhoods to Know in West Ashley
West Ashley has lots of neighborhoods. If you are considering moving to one of West Ashley’s neighborhoods, we encourage you to spend some time driving around. It won’t take long, and exploring the entire area will give you a good feel for what it’s like in different areas. While some parts of West Ashley can get a bit congested on the weekends and during rush hour, it’s not difficult to find a neighborhood where you will quickly feel far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
While you’re exploring, here are seven neighborhoods you can check out that will take you to all corners of West Ashley and provide a good sampling of the different types of options that are available:
1. Ashland Plantation
Ashland Plantation is located in the northeast corner of West Ashley on the east side of Sam Rittenberg Boulevard. It borders the Ashley River, and the neighborhood has a community dock as well as several waterfront homes. While these homes are getting on the expensive side, there are more affordable options in the neighborhood, and many of Ashland Plantation’s homes have been recently restored with modern HVAC systems and appliances and with contemporary Charleston style.
For parents who are looking for a family-friendly West Ashley neighborhood that is close to the action, Ashland Plantation is a great choice. Residents are just minutes away from the center of West Ashley, where there are plenty of stores and restaurants. Orange Grove Elementary School is just minutes away as well—as are multiple marinas and boat landings, downtown Charleston, and Charleston International Airport (CHS).
Avondale is located between Savannah Highway and St. Andrews Boulevard, just minutes from the bridge over the Ashley River to downtown Charleston. Avondale is unique among West Ashley’s neighborhoods in that it is one of the few places in the area where residents can walk to bars and restaurants. It is popular with families and professionals who commute across the bridge; and, similar to Ashland Plantation, while many of Avondale’s homes are getting older, many have also recently undergone extensive renovations.
Avondale is also close to Ackerman Park, which hosts the West Ashley Farmers Market Wednesday afternoons from April through November. There is a small skatepark and a dog park here as well. Next to Windermere and South Windermere (which we cover below), Avondale is also about as close as you can get to the beach while still living in West Ashley.
Home prices in Avondale vary. If you can get a fixer-upper before investors do, you can potentially buy into the neighborhood in the $300,000 range. Larger remodeled homes can cost twice as much, if not more.
3. Carolina Bay
Carolina Bay is one of the newest and largest neighborhoods in West Ashley. It has several sections (called “villages”) that offer different home styles and different price points. One of the nicest sections of Carolina Bay is the Essex village on the neighborhood’s eastern side, which has raised Charleston single-style homes with up to three stories (on top of a full-footprint garage) that back to the woods.
At the center of the neighborhood is Carolina Bay Park. This park has a large green space with benches and a nice playground. The park hosts Food Truck Fridays throughout much of the year, and the neighborhood has various holiday festivals at the park throughout the year as well. Carolina Bay is extremely family-friendly; and, with miles of trails and well-lit sidewalks that wind past numerous lakes and ponds, it is a great place to walk and run. Carolina Bay also has three large pools, including one saltwater pool, each with its own covered seating area and playground.
Carolina Bay is located between Savannah Highway and Glenn McConnell Parkway, and can be accessed from either of these main roads. Residents who live on the west side of Carolina Bay can also get in and out via Sanders Road, which connects to Bees Ferry. The entrance to Carolina Bay on Savannah Highway is directly across from Croghan Landing Drive, which is an access point for the West Ashley Greenway.
4. Edgewater Park
Edgewater Park is located at the end of Wappoo Road, which runs through the center of West Ashley. It is one of West Ashley’s most-unique and most-desirable neighborhoods, as it exists on its own inland island and is accessible only via a short causeway that provides a sweeping view of the Stono River.
Due to Edgewater Park’s unique geography, there are waterfront homes on all sides of this West Ashley neighborhood. Several of these homes have deepwater docks on the Stono, and a handful are located along the Wappoo Cut. Well-known among local boaters, the Wappoo Cut is a short stretch of water that connects the Stono River to the Wappoo Creek—and eventually the Ashley River which leads to the Charleston harbor).
Edgewater Park has a wide range of home options, from stately waterfront homes to relatively modest ranch-style homes right across the street. The homes here are well-maintained, and many of Edgewater Park’s homes have also undergone extensive renovations. Prices range from the $500,000 to $600,000 range up to a few million dollars.
5. Poplar Grove
Technically located just outside of West Ashley, Poplar Grove is somewhat of a hidden gym. This is especially true of The Preserve, which has large custom homes with acre-plus lots—many of which have marsh or water views. Several of the neighborhood’s homes have deepwater docks as well, and the neighborhood’s Boathouse and community dock provide kayak storage right on the water for neighborhood residents.
Next to The Preserve is The Landing, which is sort of like a much scaled-down version of Carolina Bay. Poplar Grove also has a large community pool and a well-equipped fitness center, and the neighborhood’s community facilities host food trucks and neighborhood events throughout the year. Neighborhood residents also have easy access to the boat ramp at Bulow Landing—which is adjacent to the fitness center—as well as access to miles of trails for running, walking, and cycling.
6. The Settlement at Ashley Hall
The Settlement at Ashley Hall is one of West Ashley’s newer neighborhoods. This West Ashley neighborhood has a handful of riverfront lots with deepwater access, a community center and neighborhood pier and floating dock on the Ashley River, and a pond in the center. The Settlement at Ashley Hall is still very much in development, with lots ranging from an eighth to more than three-quarters of an acre.
The Settlement at Ashley Hall is a luxury neighborhood, and homes are priced accordingly. Home prices start around $800,000, and riverfront lots are currently priced at $1 million-plus.
7. Windermere and South Windermere
Similar to Ashland Plantation and Avondale, Windermere and South Windermere are older neighborhoods that have experienced (and are continuing to experience) significant revitalization. These West Ashley neighborhoods are located on the south side of Savannah Highway near its intersection with Folly Road. While some of Windermere and South Windermere’s unrenovated homes remain affordably priced (though often hard to get before investors come in with cash offers), prices in this neighborhood have largely risen with the tide.
Windermere and South Windermere residents have easy access to the West Ashley Greenway, and residents can use the Greenway to access Windermere Plaza. This small shopping area has a bakery and coffee shop, a few restaurants, and an Earth Fare grocery store. Windermere and South Windermere are both close to downtown Charleston; and, with easy access to Folly Road, residents have a good opportunity to beat the traffic to Folly Beach on busy summer weekends.
FAQs: Choosing Between (and Living in) West Ashley’s Neighborhoods
Is West Ashley Expensive?
While home prices in West Ashley have increased just like everywhere else, West Ashley remains one of the more affordable places to live in Charleston. Several neighborhoods have homes starting in the range of a quarter million dollars, and many of the homes in these neighborhoods are being renovated by homeowners and investors. However, there are several neighborhoods in West Ashley with multi-million-dollar waterfront homes as well; so, if you are looking for luxury waterfront living with easy access to downtown Charleston and the beach, West Ashley is definitely worth considering for you as well.
What is the Most Affordable Neighborhood in West Ashley?
West Ashley has several affordable neighborhoods. For first-time homebuyers, one good option to consider is the Ponderosa neighborhood off of Savannah Highway. Ponderosa neighbors Carolina Bay (which also has some homes in more-affordable price ranges); and, while many residents and investors are renovating here, Ponderosa hasn’t yet seen the price increases we’ve seen in other neighborhoods like Avondale and Windermere.
What is the Nicest Neighborhood in West Ashley?
It’s hard to say which West Ashley neighborhood is the nicest, because this is really a subjective question that depends on what you want out of your home and neighborhood. With that said, Croghan’s Landing, Edgewater Park, and Poplar Grove are certainly among the more picturesque neighborhoods in West Ashley. The Crescent is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in West Ashley, with a current average home sale price just under $4 million.
Is West Ashley Walkable?
Due to its size, it is difficult to describe all of West Ashley as walkable. However, most of West Ashley’s neighborhoods are very walkable; and, in neighborhoods like Avondale and Windermere, residents can walk to coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and shopping. Neighborhoods like Carolina Bay have miles of sidewalks and trails, and neighborhoods along Savannah Highway in West Ashley provide easy access to the West Ashley Greenway.
How Far is West Ashley from Historic Downtown Charleston?
West Ashley is just across the Ashley River from downtown Charleston (this is what gives West Ashley its name—as it is located west of the Ashley River). Residents of West Ashley neighborhoods like Avondale, The Crescent, and Windermere can be downtown in just a few minutes. For West Ashley residents who live in neighborhoods further west, getting downtown typically takes anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes most times of day.
How Far is West Ashley from the Beach?
At its closest point, West Ashley is about eight and a half miles from Folly Beach. Most neighborhoods in West Ashley are 10 to 12 miles away. As long as you don’t try to head to the beach during the busiest times on the busiest days (i.e., late mornings on summer weekends), you can generally expect to be there in about 25 to 30 minutes at most. Kiawah Beachwalker Park is a good beach option for West Ashley residents as well. The drive is just slightly longer (about 35 to 40 minutes for most West Ashley residents), but many locals prefer Kiawah because it doesn’t get the same amount of vacation traffic as Folly Beach.
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