For more than 20 years, Daniel Island residents have enjoyed the scenic beauty and modern amenities of its master-planned community. From its gorgeous parks and playgrounds to its tree-lined streets and Southern-style homes, the 4,000-acre island offers a tranquil setting for families, retirees and anyone looking to experience Lowcountry living at its finest.
It’s all thanks to the community’s master plan which has earned the island numerous awards and accolades for its smart design and strategic growth. Affectionately known as “Charleston’s island town,” Daniel Island has done an exceptional job over the years incorporating the island’s natural, scenic beauty into its traditional neighborhoods, retail businesses, churches and schools.
It’s not surprising that so many people consider living on Daniel Island to be a dream come true. Located just 15 miles from Historic Charleston, this special island town provides small-town vibes with easy access to upscale dining and shopping opportunities.
So, is Daniel Island the right choice for you and your family? Let’s explore the ins and outs of this special island town:
The History of Daniel Island, S.C.
Although the development of Daniel Island, S.C. has been ongoing since the 1990s, the island’s history dates back much further. From its first Native American inhabitants to its modern development, Daniel Island has a unique and storied history.
Etiwan Indians and the Arrival of English Settlers
When English settlers sailed from Barbados and arrived on Daniel Island in 1673, it had long been occupied by Etiwan Indians. According to fossils and arrowheads found in the area, the Etiwan tribe had been living on Daniel Island for thousands of years.
One of the men arriving on these early ships was Robert Daniell, whom the present-day island is named after. A descendant of King Edward III, Robert Daniell acquired land on Daniel Island in the late 17th century and began building a house along the Wando River. He later became deputy proprietor of the Carolina colony, as well as the deputy governor of North Carolina and South Carolina.
Robert Daniell and some Etiwan Indians fought together when Spanish ships invaded the Port Royal River. Years later, the Etiwan moved to the Goose Creek area after accepting an agreement with the English.
The Guggenheims’ Vision for Daniel Island
Fast forward a few hundred years to 1947, and the Guggenheim family of New York saw something special in Daniel Island. The Guggenheims purchased Daniel Island and used it mainly to raise cattle and as the occasional hunting retreat. In 1971, the island was officially passed to the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation with the intention of transforming it into an island community.
The Guggenheim Foundation selected The Daniel Island Company to participate with development advisors to create a master-plan for the development of the island. The team worked together to create a development plan that would produce an extension of Charleston without disturbing too much of the island’s natural beauty.
Present-Day Daniel Island
In 1997, The Daniel Island Company purchased the island and continued developing the area. Rural farmland and cattle ranches began transforming into a recognizable suburb.
Soon enough, a welcoming community and vibrant downtown emerged, slowly fulfilling the Guggenheim’s vision. Today, Daniel Island is a walkable town complete with scenic parks, traditional neighborhoods, top-rated schools, golf courses, marsh views and much more.
Its impressive master plan has been recognized with numerous awards and accolades, including being named America’s Best Master-Planned Communities by Where to Retire Magazine and receiving the Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence. And while it may not have the Old-World architecture seen in Historic downtown Charleston, it nonetheless has a peaceful beauty that has made it an enviable place to live, work and play.
Living on Daniel Island
Now, for the important question—why are families and empty-nesters flocking to Daniel Island? Its family-oriented atmosphere and small-town vibes are only a smart part of the equation. For many families, there is simply no better place to raise their kids than Daniel Island.
In addition to providing a safe and secure place to let their kids play, families also have everything they could possibly need without ever leaving the island. Modern amenities, great schools, hundreds of parks and a chic commercial district make Daniel Island a highly-sought after place to live.
Residents of Daniel Island come from all walks of life and are a tightknit, yet welcoming bunch. If you have kids, you’ll easily make friends with neighborhood parents and will soon be roped into carpooling for soccer practice.
Even if you don’t have kids, Daniel Island residents are generally quick to welcome anyone who wishes to contribute to their peaceful island community. There are also plenty of events and neighborhood gatherings that will allow you to integrate yourself into the Daniel Island community. You can find the latest Daniel Island news and events by checking out their webpage regularly.
Daniel Island has a wide variety of established neighborhoods, each with its own unique and charming appeal. Most of the neighborhoods feature gorgeous, tree-lined streets and detached garages to deemphasize cars, further enhancing the area’s visual appeal.
- Daniel Island Park—Centered around the Daniel Island Club, the Daniel Island Park neighborhood is one of the most desirable in the Lowcountry. Residents typically live in luxury homes with easy access to the Club’s private golf courses, fitness amenities and facilities.
- Smyth Park—Surrounding the scenic Smyth Lake, this neighborhood is a popular gathering place for locals and is within walking distance of the Daniel Island School. Enjoy miles of beautiful trails, ample opportunities for a scenic picnic and a fun pirate park for the kids.
- Edgefield Park—One of the newest neighborhoods in Daniel Island, Edgefield Park is located on the southeastern tip of the island and features stunning views of the marsh. Full of lush, natural scenery, the neighborhood is conveniently located near the newest Olympic-sized swimming pool.
- Downtown –If an urban setting is what you seek, there are plenty of townhomes and condominiums in Daniel Island’s downtown area. Although you will pay more for your close proximity to shops, restaurants and recreational activities, the energy and convenience simply can’t be beaten.
- Codner’s Ferry Park—One of Daniel Island’s first neighborhoods, Codner’s Ferry Park is a charming neighborhood with large trees and traditional, Lowcountry-style homes. The neighborhood is located near a nature preserve, Scott Park and the community pool.
- Barfield Park—Full of single-family homes and townhomes, Barfield Park is surrounded by a natural park full of mature trees and beautiful marshes. Residents enjoy being close to the pool at Pierce Park, along with many meandering trails.
- Center Park—Aptly named, Center Park lies at the center of Daniel Island. This diverse neighborhood is known for its elegant homes and townhomes in traditional Lowcountry style. Center Park is a two-acre park that boasts a spacious kids’ play area and tree-shaded areas, making it a popular place to relax while the kids play with interactive structures.
- Cochran Park—If quiet and scenic is what you seek, check out Cochran Park. Home to beautiful marsh views and peaceful streets, this coveted neighborhood features homes with traditional southern architecture and streets that often end in cul-de-sacs.
- Etiwan Park—Etiwan Park, named after the Indian tribe that first inhabited the island, is a seven-acre park that is a common gathering place for community events. On any given day, you’ll find a lively game of volleyball, basketball or soccer taking place on the green space while Snowy Egrets hunt for food just off the path.
- Pierce Park—Centrally located to all the island schools and library, Pierce Park features many townhomes and single-family homes that offer a lovely view of the Wando River. Residents of Pierce Park enjoy easy access to recreational activities and the nearby clubhouse and swimming pool.
One of the perks of living in Daniel Island is that the entire island has over 25 miles of walkable trails and bike paths with stunning views of the marsh and tidal creeks. All the trails have easy-to-follow markers and an iOS mobile app (known as DITRAILS) that you can download for fun, hassle-free exploration.
You don’t need to be in tip-top shape to traverse them, either; with relatively flat trails, you can bike or walk at a leisurely pace while taking in the beautiful Lowcountry views. The trails are also convenient for biking or walking to the grocery store or café.
Daniel Island has been carefully developed so that you can easily access modern amenities, with or without a car. This convenience, along with its beautiful layout, is something that many Daniel Island residents deeply appreciate.
Daniel Island boasts three excellent schools with great reputations. The Daniel Island School is the town’s highly-rated public school and was a South Carolina Palmetto Gold Award winner during the 2009-2010 school year.
If you’d rather send your kids to a private school, you’ll be delighted with Daniel Island Academy. The private school is accredited by the National Academy for the Education of Young Children, has a LEED-certified building and has an excellent teacher-to-student ratio.
For high school students, Bishop England High School is a fantastic private school that is highly praised for its rigorous curriculum and SAT and ACT scores which are well above the national and state averages.
Proximity to Charleston
Daniel Island is centrally located, offering relatively easy access to Historic downtown Charleston, Mount Pleasant and North Charleston. Residents of Daniel Island can fully enjoy Charleston’s award-winning dining, shopping and nightlife while still being able to retreat to their quiet island after a fun night out with friends and colleagues.
The island is also a short drive to the airport, which is a significant benefit to those who take frequent business trips. Even if you aren’t a frequent traveler, it’s always helpful for when you need to pick up the in-laws from the airport or jet off on a family vacation.
A Diverse Mix of Home Styles
If you’re thinking about buying a home in Daniel Island, you’ll be pleased to find a variety of townhomes, condominiums, luxury homes and single-family homes at varying price points. Whether you’re raising a family and need a big single-family home or empty-nesters looking for your luxury dream home, there is an island living situation to perfectly suit your needs.
Things to Do
With its luxurious homes and high-class amenities, Daniel Island has all the makings of a stuffy, prestigious island. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Daniel Island residents enjoy having a good time, whether it’s in the form of a laid-back outing on the Wando River or watching a riveting tennis match during the annual Family Circle Cup.
Shopping and Dining
As a master-planned community, Daniel Island’s walkable downtown area has all the modern conveniences a resident could want. The island has essential banks, medical offices, churches, a public library, a supermarket and seasonal farmers’ market, along with the modern amenities including charming boutiques and relaxing spas.
When it comes to dining opportunities, you won’t be disappointed with Daniel Island’s offerings. Stop by Bin 526 for Italian wines, flavorful cocktails and delicious charcuterie. For an elegant, Lowcountry vibe, check out Laura Alberts and savor their amazing house-made pimento cheese dishes.
Sports and Events
If you love sports, Daniel Island is sure to delight. Home to two impressive sports facilities, the island’s traffic gets out of control during the week of the Volvo Car Open (previously known as the Family Circle Cup).
When the Volvo Car Stadium isn’t being used to host WTA tournaments, it’s often a venue for special events and concerts. Check out their events page to catch the latest happenings.
The professional tennis tournament isn’t the only sports attraction on the island. You can also take in a soccer match at the MUSC Health Stadium, home of the Charleston Battery.
Surrounded by creeks, rivers and waterways, Daniel Island boasts an impressive offering of recreational activities. Whether you’re into golf, fishing, boating, paddle boarding, soccer or tennis, there are plenty of opportunities to get out and sustain a healthy lifestyle.
Tee off at the Daniel Island Club, the island’s in-town country club, or mingle with others in the prestigious clubhouse and nosh on exceptional dining. If all that sounds too stuffy for you, consider taking a swim or using the club’s tennis courts instead.
Daniel Island also has hundreds of acres of parks for you and your family to enjoy, with more than 25 miles of extensive trails. You can take a picnic with family and friends, watch the little ones explore playgrounds, take a run along the water’s edge or paddle out onto the beautiful Lowcountry waters.
Make Daniel Island Your Forever Home
Daniel Island truly offers the best of both worlds. Despite its close proximity to Charleston, this one-of-a-kind island has its own distinct vibes and lifestyle.
Is Daniel Island the place to call your forever home? Check out the many Daniel Island homes for sale and feel free to get in touch with one of our Daniel Island experts. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about this master-planned island.