Category: The Best of the Lowcountry
Charleston, South Carolina, may not boost the largest population or tallest skyscrapers, but it’s a city with real character, charm and history. If you’re wondering where to live in Charleston, SC, we’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide to all of the neighborhoods in historic downtown Charleston and some of the surrounding areas. Whether you’re looking for the perfect beach house for your family or a charming downtown apartment for one, you’ll find some of the most unique properties right here in the Holy City.
Neighborhoods in Historic Downtown Charleston
Unlike larger, more spread-out cities, Charleston’s downtown area is the heart of the action. Everything from eating and partying to business gatherings and art events takes place right in the downtown area, which is why so many people flock the city center when they relocate. Historic downtown Charleston has dozens of beautiful areas to live in, but, of course, the desirability of these areas drives up the price, so be sure to consider both the vibe of the neighborhood and the average price tag on homes in the area.
South of Broad
Speaking of budgets, the South of Broad neighborhood is the most expensive area on the peninsula because of its proximity to the water and the massive mansions that decorate the streets here. If you’re working with a tight budget in mind, you should flip right past these extravagant homes. If extravagance is what you’re searching for, then there is no better area in Charleston than South of Broad. Perhaps the most desirable homes here are located on Murray Blvd., an area locals refer to as “the Battery.” This row of beautiful homes faces out to the harbor with gorgeous views of the water and the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in the distance. This entire neighborhood makes up the tip of the peninsula from the water to Broad St. and is mainly residential. The nearest shops, restaurants and bars can be found along Broad St.
One of the most popular neighborhoods in downtown Charleston, Harleston Village is adjacent to South of Broad. The neighborhood boundaries extend from Broad St. to Calhoun St. and from Lockwood Blvd. to St. Philip St., nestling this neighborhood within the College of Charleston campus. This area is home to a mix of college students and families as well as some staple Charleston establishments, including the Wentworth Mansion with the exquisite Circa 1886 restaurant inside and more casual stops like Caviar and Bananas or Circe’s Grotto.
A more tourist-heavy section of the downtown area, Ansonborough covers the Market area in addition to other visitor hotspots like Waterfront Park, the rooftop bars at both Market Pavilion and The Vendue and the many other restaurants and bars along East Bay St. Although this may sound like a bustling area on top, the Ansonborough neighborhood itself actually remains extremely quiet because it’s tucked away down narrow, cobblestone streets that lead towards Gadsdenboro Park. Take a walk through this area to enjoy the charm of an old Charleston neighborhood and take a moment to step away from the busy streets of Meeting and East Bay.
As you move up the peninsula, you’ll begin to run into a few different “boroughs,” including Radcliffeborough, which runs from Calhoun St. to Morris St. between King St. and Rutledge Ave. This is what most locals know as party central for the college kids. Students at the College of Charleston tend to move into off-campus apartments after one to two years of dorm life—and Radcliffeborough is where they choose to go. If you’re wondering where to live in Charleston and you’re not interested in the nightlife, this may not be the neighborhood for you. Many parents, however, decide to make an investment purchase and buy a house their child can live in while attending the college. If this is the kind of real estate decision you’re looking to make, Radcliffeborough is the area for college students. It’s a short, easy walk (or ride) to the campus while also remaining close to all the best parts of downtown Charleston.
This small sliver of Charleston, which exists from Calhoun St. to Mary St. between King and East Bay, is a unique spot that has also been referred to as the Garden District. In this area covering just a few blocks, you’ll find an intriguing mix of old historic homes and, as its nickname suggests, beautiful outdoor gardens. The Mazyck-Wraggborough neighborhood encompasses Marion Square, one of the most popular spots in the city to host events–from Fashion Week to the annual Charleston Wine + Food Festival. During the spring, summer and fall, you can also enjoy a weekly Farmers Market in Marion Square with local artisans, farmers and producers bringing their best products to the park each Saturday.
King Street Historic District
Just a narrow sliver down the center of the peninsula, the King Street Historic District doubles as the shopping district, too. This neighborhood runs down King Street and extends on either side to Meeting and St. Philip streets. Here, you’ll find dozens of big name stores and local boutiques as well as some of the best bars and restaurants in the city. This is really where all of the action happens in Charleston, so if you’re able to find a property here, expect to be in the middle of it all.
A very desirable area of town, Cannonborough/Elliotborough is made up of a mixture of college students, young professionals and families. This is considered one of the more affordable spots in historic downtown Charleston and has much to offer in terms of gorgeous traditional architecture and great local eateries and bars. You won’t be too far from King Street when you move to this neighborhood, and you’ll be near coffee shops like 132 Spring, as well as trendy restaurants like the Pink Cactus and Xiao Bao Biscuit.
Considered an up-and-coming area of Charleston, the East Side is located along the eastern side of the peninsula naturally. Many of the homes in this neighborhood possess a long, intriguing history with dozens of examples of traditional Charleston single homes—a particular design unique to the city. When you live on the East Side, you’ll be within walking distance to the Old Cigar Factory, which has been converted into a multi-use building that is now home to a coffee shop known as Mercantile, the next-door whiskey bar called Bar Mash and Rappahannock, a seafood restaurant known for its oysters. From the East Side, you’ll also have easy access to walk the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge and you’re just around the corner from a brand-new olympic swimming pool facility that was just installed in 2020.
On the other side of the peninsula sits the West Side neighborhood, which is conveniently close to the crosstown, making it easy and fast to get off the peninsula in either direction. If you’re looking for somewhere to move in historic downtown Charleston while also being able to hop on the highway at a moment’s notice, the West Side may be the ideal location. This side of town is also home to Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park, the stadium home to the city’s minor league baseball team—the Riverdogs. When you move to the West Side, you’ll also be sharing the neighborhood with a number of top spots in Charleston, including the Recovery Room (the bar known as the number one seller of PBR in the world) and Leon’s Oyster Shop. Make sure you find time to explore them all. Oh, and definitely invest in a tide chart because the streets on this side of town can shockingly flood during storms and high tide.
Hampton Park Terrace
Moving further from the tip of the peninsula, we begin to make our way into the Hampton Park/Wagener Terrace area of the city. Both of these neighborhoods are much more residential than other areas of the city closer to the tip of the peninsula. You’re a short drive or bike ride from the center of Charleston’s nightlife, but not close enough to be reminded of it while you’re having a relaxing night in. Hampton Park itself is right in the middle of this neighborhood, providing you the perfect space to relax, take a walk, host a romantic picnic or exercise outdoors.
If you decide to move to Hampton Park Terrace, you’ll notice these houses have a different style than the traditional Charleston singles seen in other neighborhoods. Hampton Park Terrace and Wagener Terrace are both home to more cottage-style homes, giving the neighborhood its own unique look. Here, you’ll be close to local restaurants like Park Cafe, Herd Provisions and the corner store Torres Superettes—a place where many locals claim you can get some of the most authentic tacos in town.
Adjacent to Hampton Park Terrace, Wagener Terrace is another charming area with similar cottage-style homes and many residential families. For young professionals looking to settle down or newlyweds ready to start a family, this is probably the most desirable neighborhood in the entire city. If you can snag a property here, you’ll love the entire vibe of the neighborhood and the proximity to many of the same perks as Hampton Park Terrace, including the park itself, Park Cafe and Daps breakfast cafe.
The final neighborhood on the peninsula before you begin entering the city of North Charleston, North Central is a very up-and-coming area with new apartment buildings seeming to pop up every day. Residential living here is slim because of the influx of apartment buildings, but if you like living the condo life, you can rent here for a bit while seeking out the right permanent home for you. Sometimes called the neck of the peninsula, the North Central neighborhood is home to breweries like Revelry Brewing and Fatty’s Beer Works, as well as the cafeteria-style food court with rotating offerings of the newest and trendiest culinary pop-ups, starter restaurants or food trucks transitioning into the brick-and-mortar space.
Other Neighborhoods in Charleston
- The Old Village, Mount Pleasant: A neighborhood with property on the pricier side, the Old Village in Mount Pleasant is relatively close to the bridge, making it easy and quick to get downtown. This charming area is where you’ll find gorgeous homes and adorable boutique shops and cafes.
Avondale, West Ashley: Also a short drive to downtown, Avondale is a neighborhood of West Ashley, filled with fun and action. Here, you’ll find yoga studios, shops, restaurants and bars, including the eclectic Voodoo Tiki Bar & Lounge and the oldest running bar in Charleston, Gene’s Haufbrau.
Park Circle, North Charleston: Perhaps the trendiest new neighborhood in Charleston right now, Park Circle is the first neighborhood between downtown Charleston and North Charleston. With an increasing number of developments over the last five years, the neighborhood centers around E. Montague Street, which is lined with shops, restaurants, bars and even a brewery.
- James Island: If you’re a beach bum who wants to stay as close to the beach as possible, James Island is for you. Although the options for fine dining are more limited than downtown, James Island is a short drive into the city and equally as close to Folly Beach.
Find Your New Dream Home
Whether you’re looking for a home in the heart of the action in Charleston or you’d prefer a more quaint, laidback lifestyle in the outskirts of the city, Dunes Properties will help you find the home of your dreams. Moving to historic downtown Charleston is a big decision—but one you won’t regret. The city is filled with culture, history and fantastic weather all year long. So, what are you waiting for? Browse our available properties and imagine yourself in your new, beautiful home.
When traveling to historic Charleston, SC, you’ll be delighted at the many things to do and places to explore–from sites rich with history like Fort Sumter, to outdoor activities like boating, golfing and lounging on the beach. Located along the coast of South Carolina just two hours south of Myrtle Beach and an hour north of Savannah, GA, the city of Charleston has become a hotspot for travelers.
For years, the city has been named a top destination by reputable outlets like Conde Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure, leading more people to come experience the rich culture of the Holy City. Although there are dozens of things to do while you’re in town, eating should be at the top of your list as Charleston is a huge culinary destination. If you’re wondering where to eat in Charleston, this list doesn’t even begin to cover all the amazing restaurants and bars in the area, but we did our best to give you the lowdown on some of the best spots in town.
Charleston as a Culinary Destination
Over the last two decades, the culinary world in Charleston has been reshaped and redefined by many great chefs looking to push the boundaries of Southern cuisine. Although you’ll definitely discover some of the best BBQ restaurants in the South here, the food world has really expanded to include a whole range of intriguing cultural cuisines–from Vietnamese and Sichuan to classic French and Indian. It’s the perfect realm for the adventurous eater who wants to try something new—and feel a little pampered.
Best Charleston Restaurants
Not going to brunch on a Sunday afternoon in Charleston is practically sacrilegious. With such beautiful weather year-round, Charlestonians love to find any excuse to spend more time outside—and more excuses to throw back a few brunch cocktails. If you’re heading to brunch during your stay in historic Charleston, SC, check out one of these top spots, but be sure to get there early to beat the long wait times.
Inspired by the covert speakeasy operations that once lined Broad Street in Charleston, the Blind Tiger is a testament to the city’s history. Although the specific building may not have been an actual “blind tiger,” or illegal speakeasy, back in the day, it takes much of its decor from that era. The beautiful brick interior leads through the restaurant and out to a back patio with plenty of room for diners and those just stopping by for a drink. If you’re headed here for brunch, order a pitcher of mimosas for the table and pair it with the avocado toast topped with house pickled shrimp and local tomatoes.
Also located on Broad Street, One Broad is a newbie on the Charleston cuisine scene, but they know how to serve up a brunch like no other. Whether you’re the kind of person who craves sweets in the morning or someone who has a more savory palate, One Broad definitely has something for you. For the sweet tooth of the group, try the (gigantic) frosted cinnamon bun. If you prefer savory, try the shakshuka, the trout schmear bialy or pastrami lox bagel. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
The Park Cafe
A charming little cafe on Rutledge Avenue, Park Cafe has both indoor and outdoor seating with decor inspired by the nearby Hampton Park, giving it a fresh, outdoorsy vibe. Although the restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, this is one of our favorite places for brunch because of the selection of coffee drinks and morning cocktails, as well as their veggie-forward menu. Order the avocado toast or heirloom tomato toast to share and then dig into the farro plate, classic breakfast dish or, for the meat lovers of the group, the Park Cafe burger.
Depending on where you’re booking your house for rent in Charleston, SC, this destination may be a bit more of a drive, but it’s worth it. The Fat Hen is on Johns Island, about a 25-minute drive from downtown. With indoor/outdoor seating and an outdoor bar, the ambiance here can’t be beat—and the food is out of this world. The French-inspired menu features a killer French onion soup (of course) as well as steak tartare, corned beef, duck and apple sausage gratin, creme brulee French toast and a quiche of the day amongst more Southern dishes like shrimp and grits and a classic fried chicken sandwich.
Big Gun Burger Shop
A top-notch burger joint by day and a funky little dive bar by night, Big Gun Burger Shop is located in the heart of downtown Charleston on Calhoun Street between King and Meeting streets, directly across from Marion Square. Owner Austin Kirkland has been dishing out unique burger creations for nearly 10 years with some of his menu’s stars including the Thin White Duke patty (a burger with mushrooms, bacon, caramelized onions, Swiss cheese and horseradish mayo) and the Jive Turkey (a turkey burger stacked with turkey bacon, avocado, sprouts, gouda cheese and a peach jalapeno mustard). If you’re not feeling the meat today, Big Gun has got you covered with the latest addition to their menu, the vegan beatnik burrito stuffed (and we mean STUFFED) with cauliflower, vegan chili, onion, avocado, rice, pinto beans, cilantro and cashew chipotle sauce.
Queen Street Grocery
Queen Street Grocery doubles as a local lunch spot and a quaint market stocked with local beers, kombucha, snacks and a handful of essential grocery items. Stop by to order one of their sweet or savory breakfast crepes or pick from their list of sandwiches including the Happy Houdini which is stacked with thinly sliced ham, red onion, avocado and a generous helping of goat cheese on ciabatta bread. Enjoy a locally brewed beer with your lunch or keep it healthy with one of their tasty smoothies.
A unique dining hall concept establishment, Workshop features a rotating list of restaurants from classic Mexican cuisine to the latest addition, a Pakistani food stand. Be sure to check the current list of restaurants before you go as they do change regularly. This is the perfect place for a group who can’t agree on the same type of food. Plus, you can sit outside and sip on wine or cocktails in the courtyard, or head over to Edmund’s Oast Brewery next door for a few cold ones. Workshop regularly hosts events like the Night Bazaar as well, making it a great nighttime spot, too.
Mercantile and Mash
This open space coffee shop is located inside one of the coolest buildings in downtown Charleston—the Old Cigar Factory. Pop in for breakfast (served all day) or lunch with sandwiches, salads and other good eats galore. If you’re visiting Charleston for work, Mercantile and Mash is also one of the best coffee shops with Wi-Fi, so you can chill, do some work and eat delicious food. In the evening, head next door to Bar Mash for top shelf whiskey and handcrafted cocktails.
Bon Banh Mi
Everyone loves a good banh mi, and Bon Banh Mi has absolutely perfected the art of crafting one of these Vietnamese sandwiches. Here, the menu is simple: sandwich, salad or tacos. Then, pick your protein, which includes red curry beef, ginger lemongrass chicken, five-spice ground pork, five-spice tofu, country paté and Vietnamese ham or tamarind shrimp. They do serve off-menu specials every day of the week, so be sure to check their menu and see what they’re dishing out that day.
The Obstinate Daughter
Truly a staple in the world of Charleston food and bev, the Obstinate Daughter is located on Sullivan’s Island near the beach. The airy, nautical decor gives off a beachside feel while also remaining elegant. You can pretty much order anything on the menu here, and we promise you’ll be impressed. The homemade pastas and pizza are stars on the menu, but fish specials, oyster trays and much more are sure to satisfy your palate. The Old Danger pizza, which features a fried egg and pancetta, is one of the most popular items on the menu, along with the farro piccolo. Although the perfect place for a romantic dinner, the Obstinate Daughter is also known for their brunch menu.
A funky cocktail bar with a French-inspired menu, Felix is one of the hottest new restaurants in town. Their drink menu is filled with unique creations, like a negroni with strawberry campari, and their dinner menu has everything from lobster deviled eggs and crab croquettes to a tarte flambee and nightly fish special.
If you’re wondering where to eat in Charleston for some of the best seafood in town, The Darling is the place to go. Their raw bar features a range of oysters from up and down the East Coast, king crab legs, ceviche and shrimp, while their full menu boasts a variety of seafood-forward dishes. Though the menu changes regularly, the clam chowder poured over fries (their own take on a poutine) is a mainstay everyone should try. You’ll also find options like blue crab tagliatelle, seared diver scallops, squid ink pasta and a lobster and king crab roll.
When that steak craving hits, Oak Steakhouse is an excellent option for an upscale meal with some of the finest cuts of beef you can find. The interior’s exposed brick gives the restaurant a cozy, romantic feel, which is why so many people head here for date night. The menu features family style meals, incredible sides like lobster mac and cheese and duck fried rice, as well as classic appetizers like burrata to complement your steak.
This Sichuan restaurant on James Island is located right next to the Pourhouse, a local music venue with a funky back porch. At Kwei Fei you can indulge in some truly unique cuisine and then head over to listen to some live music. Many of the items on the menu are spicy, so be warned before you make the trek to this delicious restaurant with options like hot and sour noodles and the chairmen’s ribs. But, there are plenty of other non-spicy options for diners as well including cashew chicken and Mongolian beef.
Bowen’s Island Restaurant
While we’ve tried to highlight a variety of different cuisines in Charleston, Bowen’s Island Restaurant is the ultimate Southern food experience. This unassuming little fish shack is located on, you guessed it, Bowen’s Island, which is just off Folly Road on James Island. This small, sleepy little island is home to just a few large houses, a kayaking company and the restaurant which has stood there, in some form or another, since 1946. The restaurant has been passed down through the family and sticks to their original no-frills roots. The entire menu is pretty simple, offering classic South Carolina dishes like Frogmore Stew (don’t worry, frogs have nothing to do with it), shrimp and grits, fried fish, fried shrimp, fried oyster and steamed oysters. Not only is the food on point, but the marsh view from the back deck is one of the best places in the entire area to catch the sunset.
Rodney Scott’s BBQ
Most people come to the South looking to try the barbecue. And while different states are very adamant about their style of barbecue, we can promise you South Carolina-style is the best. (We’re not biased or anything.) Throughout the city, you’ll find plenty of options for great ’cue, but none quite as good as Rodney Scott’s which opened in 2017 after Rodney Scott himself spent 25 years learning to smoke whole hog barbecue from his family in Hemingway, SC. Now, he’s slinging the best brisket in town and the restaurant has even expanded to Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA.
Get a Taste of Charleston
As one of the hottest culinary destinations in the country, Charleston does not disappoint when it comes to dining out options. Whether you’re looking for houses for rent in Charleston, SC, or by one of the beaches like Isle of Palms, you’ll find yourself surrounded by delicious options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When staying in a vacation rental, most travelers like to get their chef on for at least a few nights, but don’t pass up the opportunity to try some of the city’s best restaurants and indulge in traditional South Carolina fare.
In part one of four, I made it clear these locations are not “secrets,” but rather places that even some long-time Charleston residents have yet to find and explore. Here are two more delightful neighborhoods and another great activity hidden in plain sight.
Kiawah River Estates
Do you love the Kiawah Island (KI) lifestyle but find it a bit too exclusive? Kiawah River Estates (KRE) is a great alternative with many of the same great features KI offers at a premium. This gated community is less than 5 miles from the front gate at KI and prices are significantly lower for its executive homes. KRE has tennis, a community pool, tennis courts, pickle ball tournaments, and party house where I’m told they hold one of the area’s top notch Kentucky Derby Parties! The newly redesigned golf course at KRE is managed by the Kiawah Island Club. There is also a picnic area near the community dock and you’ll see more golf carts than cars on the quiet streets. Perhaps the best feature is that Beachwalker County Park is less than 5 miles away and is open to the public. The county park is connected to the beach behind the gate and features the same white sand, dunes and dolphins! At KRE you can enjoy one of the finest beaches in the country and live where the homeowner’s costs are thousands less per year.
Looking for a bargain near historic downtown Charleston? The Bourdeleaux condominiums are located in Wagener Terrace on the banks of the Ashley River. This delightful neighborhood on the north end of the peninsula is walking distance to Hampton Park, the Citadel and some of the best new restaurants in town! The condos share a pool and fabulous views of the river. Walk the dog, or bike through the lightly traveled streets. The tidy homes in this older Charleston neighborhood are hot properties, so if you haven’t been to Wagener Terrace lately, you are in for a treat. If you are looking for a real sense of neighborhood, a downtown bargain, and the convenience of a condo, Bordeleaux might be right for you.
For years I watched people fishing and shrimping off the edge of the Ashley River under the bridge that links West Ashley to North Charleston via Cosgrove Avenue. Folks would park precariously along the edge of the road to throw in a line or net while cars whizzed past them in four lanes of traffic over the bridge. A couple of years ago, the City of Charleston developed this de facto fishing pier into a charming municipal park with a proper dock, plenty of parking, and a safe ingress and egress for walkers, bikers, and cars. Other amenities include security cameras, lighting, and restrooms. Put in a kayak, take your fishing pole, pack a picnic, or just sit on a bench and watch the boats and dolphins navigate the waterway at the Northbridge Park. The sunsets are truly spectacular!
I won’t call these locations “secrets,” because they simply are not; they are however, places that many people have not yet discovered and each is special in its own way. Here are two delightful neighborhoods, and an array of lowcountry activities hidden in plain sight.
Tucked away behind the all too obvious Archdale neighborhood with its large, vibrant sign right on Dorchester Road, are Baker’s Landing I & II. It’s hard to imagine a busier thoroughfare in the Lowcountry than Dorchester Road, but these two communities are tucked away on quiet streets. Each houses a small enclave of executive homes situated on the Ashley River, with community docks and breathtaking sunset views across the river. Within walking distance to Bosch and just a short drive from Boeing, both might be your ideal North Charleston commutes.
Across the highway from the highly visible Carolina Bay in West Ashley is a gently “patina-ed” sign for Croghan’s Landing. The sign is a little faded, and hard to see as you travel the Savannah Highway, but it is worth the slight detour to check out this neighborhood. As you turn into the neighborhood from the highway, you will suddenly find yourself in a quiet and highly walkable area with huge trees and slow moving streets. The dog walkers and golf cart drivers are treated to marsh views along the Intracostal Waterway portion of the Stono River. You might also enjoy the West Ashley Greenway – a former railroad route that runs from James Island to Johns Island – perfect for biking, running, or a leisurely stroll.
This might be my favorite free thing to do in Charleston. Start at the garden and cemetery at the Unitarian Church on Archdale Street downtown. It is a treasure trove of plants and critters year round. I’d bet even your grandmother would be hard pressed to name every variety of plant found there. The paths twist around and end at King Street. Cross the street ever-so-slightly diagonally to the right, and enter the grounds at the Gibbes Museum just behind the Charleston Library Society. A more formally designed venue than the former garden, it has its own verdant charms that foster certain serenity in the heart of downtown Charleston. When you exit this shady green, you will find yourself on Meeting Street. Cross to the cemetery at the Circular Church and follow the Zen-like paths through the beautiful and ancient headstones.
“According to one gravestone historian, there are more of these unusual 18th century slate stones in this graveyard than anywhere else in the country.”  Enjoy this unique way to experience Charleston’s history and beauty.
 Circular Church website
Charleston, S.C. is one of the hottest travel destinations in the entire country right now, and after people visit once, they want to stay forever. If you’re looking for a truly unique place to go to college, Charleston is the city for you. With three beaches within a few miles of the campus and a bustling downtown scene with more bars and restaurants than you can count, you’ll love the atmosphere almost as much as the campus itself.
You’ll find gorgeous Spanish moss draped from ancient live oak trees almost anywhere you go on the College of Charleston campus along with historic buildings used as offices and classrooms. If you’ve never visited Charleston, find out all the reasons you should add this to your list of places to apply for school.
Reasons Charleston, S.C. Is a Great College Town
Southern Hospitality Is Real
For those who didn’t grow up in Charleston, S.C., it may come as a surprise that Southern hospitality is more than just a stereotype. As you walk around the downtown area, you’ll find yourself smiling and greeting strangers who are genuinely interested in how your day is going. For many northerners, this is an unfamiliar custom, but it makes it really easy to get comfortable in a new place when everyone you encounter is smiling and friendly.
Voted Most Beautiful Campus in the U.S.
We’re not the only ones who think that the College of Charleston has a stunning campus. Travel + Leisure voted this campus as the most beautiful in the entire country in 2017. The unique Roman architecture gives the impression that you’re stepping back in time as you walk through the sprawling campus. The cistern is the most photographed area of the college, which is where graduation is held each year. A large outdoor area, the cistern is filled with huge live oaks that are covered in enchanting Spanish moss. Perhaps the most unique aspect of the campus is the history and mystery that surrounds it. Professors’ offices can be found at the top of spiraling staircases connected to traditional Charleston single-style homes or even tucked away inside the arches that lead to the cistern.
Experience an All-American City
While many large universities have many forms of entertainment offered by the college itself, the College of Charleston is located right in the middle of the bustling city, providing students with access to the best activities in the area. From campus, students can walk through the streets admiring the brightly painted, Antebellum-style houses on their way to the tip of the peninsula known as the battery. Here, you can watch boats sail through the ocean or have a picnic at the White Point Gardens. You’ll find plenty of beautiful outdoor places to sit and enjoy the weather—from Marion Square, where the weekly farmers market is held, to Hampton Park.
For college students, there’s also no shortage of great bars and restaurants to check out. King Street is the hub for great dining, and you’ll find every type of food you could want—Italian, Vietnamese, classic Southern and so much more. On the weekends, King Street is flooded with young people bar hopping, exploring the best rooftop bars, hanging out in some of our favorite dive joints and listening to live music. It’s nearly impossible to be bored when you’re living right in the heart of historic Charleston, S.C.
Students living in Charleston are amongst the luckiest college kids in the country because not only do you have access to the city, but you can easily head to the beach on any day of the week. And, because of the area’s pleasant year-round weather, you can explore all of the Charleston beaches during any season. It’s not uncommon to see people heading to the beach in the middle of winter for a walk along the shore. Our climate may be mild, but you will still need to bring a jacket along for the stroll.
From downtown Charleston, S.C., students have three options when it comes to going to the beach—Folly Beach, Sullivan’s Island or Isle of Palms. The Isle of Palms is the furthest from the campus but has one of the most popular beach bars in the area, The Windjammer, which hosts live music and beach volleyball competitions each summer. Sullivan’s Island is much closer to downtown but also located in Mount Pleasant. This charming little beach area is the Charleston beach with the best selection for food. Order mimosas and oysters for a fancy brunch at Obstinate Daughter, or head to HomeTeam for some Southern-style barbecue and their famously potent alcoholic drink, the Game Changer. The last of the three Charleston beaches, Folly Beach is located on James Island and gives off more of a bohemian beach vibe. Many students opt to go here because of the laid-back atmosphere and bars along Center Street.
The Football Team Is “Undefeated”
A running joke amongst current CofC students and alumni, the College of Charleston football team is notoriously undefeated—because they do not exist. For some, the lack of a football team might be problematic, but Charleston is just two hours from Columbia, S.C., home of the Gamecocks, meaning you can easily drive up for the weekend to catch a game. Although Charleston does not have a football team, there are frequent basketball games at the TD Arena with BYOB tailgates beforehand, baseball games at Patriot’s Point and our olympic-level sailing team. In fact, sports are a major part of the College of Charleston community. Students can even opt to take sailing or yoga as a class during the year.
Achieve a Liberal Arts Education
In today’s world, your major doesn’t necessarily make or break your future career path, and getting a liberal arts education can provide you with a well-rounded knowledge of many subjects so you can use your skills in multiple fields. Liberal arts schools try to cover humanities and social and natural sciences, as well as mathematics to give students some insight into many different areas before they select a major. People with degrees from a liberal arts school are attractive to employers after graduation because they have been taught how to implement their skills across multiple areas of study, making these employees self-sufficient and adaptable.
Colleges in Charleston, S.C.
The College of Charleston
The most popular school in Charleston, S.C., the College of Charleston is a liberal arts school located in the heart of historic downtown with a variety of excellent programs and a knowledgeable staff of professors. For those who aren’t quite sure what career they would like to break into after graduation, the College of Charleston is a great choice because the liberal arts program will set you up to explore a variety of classes and industries. Most students at CofC live in one of the many dorms during their freshman year before moving off campus into a downtown apartment. Because the downtown area only covers a few miles, it’s easy to find an apartment near the campus. For those looking to get a top-notch education and stay close to the beaches and city, College of Charleston is an excellent choice.
Trident Technical College
Trident has both a downtown and North Charleston campus. The main location in North Charleston is much larger and offers a greater variety of classes, but some students elect to take as many classes as they can at the downtown location to stay close to all that the city has to offer. Trident is a two-year school, which makes it an excellent choice for anyone trying to save money on out-of-state tuition. Many students come to Charleston, S.C., attend Trident for two years and then transfer to the College of Charleston. This is such a common process that the two schools have a seamless system for transferring students over.
Charleston Southern University
This small Baptist college is located in North Charleston, not far from the downtown area. Overall, the college welcomes about 3,600 students each year. For those who thrive in an environment with more direct instruction and smaller classes, Charleston Southern is a great option. This school also implements a liberal arts program, but because it is a private university connected with the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the curriculum tries to tie in religion and spirituality.
Medical University of South Carolina
One of the top medical schools in the South, the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is also located right in downtown Charleston and is known for its outstanding programs. Many people seeking a career in the medical field will choose to attend the College of Charleston for a bachelor’s degree and then stay in Charleston and continue their education at MUSC. This school is located on the west side of the peninsula in a quieter, more residential area then the College of Charleston.
Charleston’s military college was established in 1842 as part of a state-organized military to educate young people and train them for service simultaneously. Over the last century, the college continues to incorporate its military origins with many of the students intending to serve in some branch of the military after graduation, though some students simply attend the college for a more rigid type of higher education.
American College of the Building Arts
Located in downtown Charleston, the American College of the Building Arts is a unique college in the city that focuses on more hands-on artistic avenues of education, such as different types of architecture, masonry and plasterwork. This is a great option for students who have an interest in this specific career path and are ready to jump into a curriculum designed to train them to move directly into their line of work after graduation.
Downtown Charleston is broken into 11 different neighborhoods that stretch across the peninsula from the affluent South of Broad, which houses many of the mansions located on The Battery, to Wagener Terrace and Hampton Terrace on the northern end of the city, featuring more family residential areas. For students attending a school downtown, staying near the campus is important because you’ll have quick and easy access to classes and all that Charleston’s nightlife has to offer. Here are some of our top neighborhoods for students and young working professionals.
Much of the College of Charleston campus is located within Harleston Village, making this the most desired area of town for younger residents. You’ll be able to walk to almost every building on campus within 10 minutes, and you’ll find tons of great restaurants nearby. This area of town is also just a few blocks from King Street, where nearly all of the most popular establishments are in the city. From coffee shops to dive bars, college students will find everything they need in Harleston Village.
This area is probably the second most desired neighborhood in downtown Charleston for those attending school. Cannonborough/Elliotborough is a few blocks further from campus than Harleston Village, which means many students living in this area will ride bikes or skateboards to get to class more quickly, though it’s still within 25 minutes to walk to the college. Here, you’ll find easier access to those same upper King Street bars and restaurants, but you’ll also discover a wave of new and eclectic spots that have been popping up in the neighborhood. In the evenings, you can grab tacos from the well-loved Charleston restaurant Fuel or check out the intriguing menu of Asian Fusion options at Xiao Bao Biscuit.
Though both Wagener Terrace and Hampton Terrace are not highly populated by college students, this neighborhood is great for young professionals looking to settle down after graduation without having to leave the peninsula. Further north than many of the other neighborhoods, both areas are more laid-back with many families choosing to settle in this part of town. Here, you’ll find far fewer traditional Charleston single homes that have been split into apartments and more quaint, cottage-style houses. The best part of this neighborhood? The beautiful nearby Hampton Park, where events like outdoor yoga are frequently held. You’ll also be closer to places like Moe’s Crosstown Tavern, a dive bar with killer burgers, and The Park Cafe, a charming little place for brunch or lunch.
So many people are attracted to Charleston, S.C., because of the city’s many options for college students, but once young people have experienced the beauty and excitement of our unique city, they never want to leave. Whether you’re interested in getting a liberal arts education from the College of Charleston, a more religiously oriented study program at Charleston Southern or a hands-on experience at the American College of the Building Arts, Charleston has many diverse options for every type of student. Pick the college that speaks to you most and come experience all that Charleston, S.C. has to offer.
Tax Credits for Historic Properties
People from all over the world love Charleston and its wonderful architecture. Our leaders years ago, knew that preserving that charm would be important to its future. What might seem to some like draconian rules that must be followed have become the unswerving guiding principles to preserving these beloved historic structures. Consequently, incentives have been put in place to encourage owners to “do it the right way” and truly restore and not just remodel historic buildings.
How does it work?
Taxpayers who rehabilitate their owner-occupied residence may be eligible to subtract 25% of the costs of many expensive repairs and renovations from their state income taxes.
How do I qualify?
Your building must meet both of these criteria:
1. You must own and live in the building or a portion of the building that will be rehabilitated. It can be a house or another type of historic building, such as a school or store, that you are rehabilitating to live in. An historic outbuilding associated with your residence, such as a barn or a garage, can also be eligible for the credit. The credit does not apply to buildings or portions of buildings that are used in a trade or business or produce income.
2. Your building must be one of the following:
• listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places
• contributing to a listed National Register historic district
• determined by the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to be eligible for individual listing in the National Register
• an outbuilding that contributes to the significance of a property listed in the National Register
One might be surprised to learn that tax credits are available all around the Lowcountry and not just downtown Charleston that qualify. Here are a few: Historic District (HD) in Summerville, Hampton Park Terrace, a carriage house downtown, a Freedman’s cottage in North Central, Mt. Pleasant HD, Ashley River HD Atlanticville HD Charleston Navy Yard Officer’s quarters HD, French Quarter HD, Moultrieville HD, Pinopolis HD, Pineville HD, Sullivan’s Island HD, Successionville HD to name a few.
What elements qualify?
Money spent in the following categories may be counted as “Rehabilitation Expenses” when calculating the amount of credit:
• restoration of historic plaster
• energy efficiency measures except insulation in frame walls
• repairs or installation of heating, air conditioning, or ventilating systems
• repairs or installation of electrical or plumbing systems exclusive of new electrical appliances and electrical or plumbing fixtures
• architectural and engineering fees.
Allowable expenses do not include the cost of new construction beyond the footprint or volume of the existing building, the cost of acquiring or marketing the property, the value of an owner’s personal labor, or the cost of personal property.
Are there other requirements?
You must spend more than $15,000 within 36 months on Rehabilitation Expenses that qualify. Remember, this is a government program. There will be forms to complete, timelines, reviews, and copious documentation is required.
What is the most important take away?
Do not start any work until the first form is approved by the state of SC. You must have documentation of every element you intend to claim with before and after photos. You must tract specific expenses scrupulously throughout the process and you must quantify all work. This is not easy and contractors don’t like doing it so you will likely be the project manager for the tax credit work. But remember, it pays well come April 15th.
Thinking about launching your career in Charleston, SC? You’ve chosen the right city. With its diversified economy, low unemployment rate and robust job growth, the Charleston-metro region offers plentiful job opportunities for those seeking employment.
On top of it all, Charleston is simply an incredible place to live. In addition to bountiful job opportunities, the Holy City’s coastal location also provides gorgeous beaches, scenic views and an endless array of recreational activities. Not to mention the city’s globally renowned food scene and rich history, which further contributes to the economy with its vibrant tourism.
If you’re ready to enter the job market, where you live can make all the difference to your success. Let’s take a deeper look into what makes Charleston one of the best cities for job hunters.
Charleston Labor Statistics at a Glance
Finding a job and settling down in Charleston, SC could be easier than you think. According to the SC Department of Employment & Workforce’s latest Charleston Community Profile, the Holy City’s low unemployment rate is outperforming both the state and the nation.
South Carolina’s monthly unemployment rate was at 3.3 percent for March 2019, while Charleston’s was at 2.8 for the same month. With the nation’s monthly unemployment rate at 3.9 percent, Charleston beats it by more than a whole percentage point.
Here are a few additional facts and figures from the report:
- Monthly Unemployment Rate (unadjusted): 8 percent
- Unemployed: 5,830
- Employed: 204,462
- Population in 2010: 348,370
- Projected Population for 2020: 366,380
- Notable Employers: The Boeing Company, Medical University of SC, The Citadel, Comcast
Why Job Seekers Are Flocking to Charleston, SC
There is no doubt about it: the Charleston job market is hot. A growing number of job seekers are turning to the Holy City for steady employment due to the region’s thriving economy, ideal port location and ongoing support from the local community.
As you could probably guess based on the labor market statistics above, Charleston’s economy is fueling job creation and contributing to the city’s prosperity. According to the Milken Institute’s Best Performing Cities index, Charleston’s economy ranked 16th-best in the nation, jumping six places up from last year.
What’s behind the city’s economic growth? The following economic trends are playing a significant role in Charleston’s economic expansion:
- Job Growth: Charleston’s job outlook is promising. According to a Talent Demand Study by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, the city will add nearly 35,000 jobs by 2022. The report stated that 80 percent of this job growth will be in 10 specific occupations.
- Fast-Growing City: Job seekers—especially millennials—are flocking to Charleston. Attracted by the area’s lifestyle and promising job growth, young professionals are now scooping up homes in Charleston and contributing to the overall health of the economy.
- Promising Outlook: A healthy and diverse economy is essential to any metro region’s future success. Fortunately, Charleston boasts a diverse and flexible economy that is fueled by tourism, its vibrant shipping industry, retailers, airlines and more. This diversity is critical to reducing the potential negative impact of future recessions.
- Capital Investment: Thanks to its business-friendly atmosphere and innovative workforce, companies are continuing to invest heavily in Charleston. From the new Mercedes-Benz plant in North Charleston to Boeing, capital is an essential component for cities to grow—and Charleston has it in spades.
Prosperous Port City
Charleston’s coastal location plays an enormous role in its economic boom and prosperity. The region has benefited from the wealthy seaport dating back to the 1800s when Charleston first rose to prominence as a hub for Atlantic trade.
Today, the Port of Charleston is a key player in the city’s economy and providing hundreds of thousands of jobs statewide. According to an Economic Impact Study by the South Carolina Ports Authority (SPCA), the Port of Charleston provides an estimated $53 billion in annual economic activity, 187,600 jobs and $10.2 billion in labor income.
The Port of Charleston—which is owned and operated by the SPCA—is continuing to pave the way towards a brighter future for Charleston. Not only did the SPCA report a record-breaking year for container shipments in 2018, but the Port of Charleston is also unveiling new infrastructure to accommodate “super ships.” With this major milestone, the Holy City is continuing to grow its presence in global trade and laying the groundwork for a booming manufacturing economy.
Job Seeker Resources and Assistance
Charleston residents and lawmakers have strived to create government agencies and organizations that can help job seekers and business owners achieve their life goals. If you’re currently searching for employment in the Holy City, be sure to make use of the resources available to you:
- Charleston Job Network: Job opportunities, resume and cover letter writing help, career events, webinars, etc.
- Charleston County Public Library: Job opportunities, technology learning services, business resources (printing, copying, scanning), one-on-one business counseling, etc.
- Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce: Networking events, expert panels, professional career development, etc.
- SC Works: Job opportunities, employer/employee resources, career coaches, veteran assistance, etc.
- Charleston Regional Development Alliance: Resources for entrepreneurs and established companies, connecting them to organizations such as Charleston Digital Corridor and Holy City Collective.
- Charleston, SC SCORE: Business-to-business mentoring, online workshops, local guidance and other assistance for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Strong and Supportive Community
There is little doubt that Charleston’s economic success is bolstered by its tight-knit community. Whether you’re a transplant or you were born and raised in the Lowcountry, the locals embody true Southern hospitality and are willing to go the extra mile to help their neighbors out.
This is especially true for those who wish to launch a business in the Holy City. The community is incredibly supportive of startups, entrepreneurs and small business owners, with residents making a conscious effort to shop local. From supporting Small Business Saturday to participating in the Charleston Art Walk, locals regularly support businesses large and small.
Top Industries in Charleston
As a coastal city with a deep port and a busy, international airport, it probably comes as no surprise that Charleston is teeming with business activity. While not every profession within an industry will have the same job outlook, you can maximize your chances of employment by launching your career in one of the city’s top-performing industries.
Charleston’s tourism industry is a huge driver of the economy and job opportunities in the region. According to CHS Today, tourism accounted for 20.1 percent of sales in 2017 in the Greater Charleston Metro and resulted in an economic impact of $7.4 billion for the same year.
It’s no big surprise, given the city’s vast amenities and offerings. Charleston has been voted the best U.S. city by Travel + Leisure Magazine for six years running and consistently ranked in the magazine’s ‘best cities in the world’ category as well.
What’s not to love? With the city’s historic houses, vibrant culture and award-winning food, Charleston has remained a hot travel destination for all types of adventure-seekers, from retirees and families to single ladies throwing bachelorette parties.
The hospitality and tourism industries often go hand-in-hand. After all, the millions of people who visit Charleston each year need somewhere to stay and eat as they explore everything the city has to offer.
The hospitality industry (which includes things such as restaurants, lodging, parks, transportation and travel) has plenty of open positions for job seekers. In fact, Charleston’s growing tourism industry has led to a staffing shortage as business owners struggle to fill positions in their restaurants and hotels.
Whether you’re a chef hoping to start a restaurant in Charleston or you want to work as a concierge at one of the city’s many hotels, the industry is ripe with opportunities.
Almost a decade ago, Boeing chose North Charleston as its new production facility, driving up the city’s aerospace sector along with it. Since then, other manufacturing companies have followed suit, including auto manufacturers Volvo and Mercedes-Benz.
The manufacturing industry has long been contributing to Charleston’s economic growth. In addition to tax-friendly policies and pro-business climate, the region has supported the advanced manufacturing sector through its workforce strategy. From rethinking school curriculum to apprenticeships and internships, the city has made a conscious effort to reduce the skills gap and produce a qualified workforce.
If you’re a nurse or physician, finding a job in Charleston is almost guaranteed in the current economic climate. Home to top-notch facilities such as the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Roper St. Francis, the Holy City boasts a diverse concentration of healthcare talent that is growing all the time.
As the need for healthcare services grows, Charleston is once again finding itself in a staffing shortage crisis for certain positions. If you’re a qualified nurse or physician, chances are good that you’ll easily land a job in the city.
Forget Silicon Valley—Charleston’s new nickname, ‘Silicon Harbor’ reflects its thriving tech scene that has been steadily growing in the past decade. Fueled by the increasing number of millennials moving to the region, Charleston’s tech scene is now home to more than 500+ tech companies and offers a vast array of job opportunities and resources for tech workers.
If you’re searching for a job in the tech sector, be sure to check out the Charleston Digital Corridor. Launched more than a decade ago, the community-backed initiative aims to attract and nurture tech workers in the Greater Charleston Metro area and grow the city’s sizeable talent pool.
Finding a Home in Charleston, SC
After securing employment in a new city, the next logical step is to relocate. If you’ve landed your dream job and are now ready to start searching for a home in Charleston, SC, you’ll no doubt want to explore all the options available to you.
Explore Charleston’s Diverse Neighborhoods
From its vibrant and historic downtown area to the small-town appeal of Mount Pleasant, each area around the Charleston coast has something unique to offer residents. Depending on where you’re at in life, some areas may appeal to you more than others.
Are you a retiree looking for privacy and relaxation? If so, life on Kiawah Island or Sullivan’s Island could be right up your alley. Searching for the best place to raise a family? Check out the award-winning schools on Mount Pleasant and see if it’s a good fit for you and your little ones.
Remember that buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make. To ensure that you make the right choice, be sure to talk with Charleston real estate experts who can give you the inside scoop on what it’s like to live, work and play in the Lowcountry.
Spend a Few Weekends at the Beach
If you love white sands and the sound of crashing waves, consider relaxing on Charleston’s pristine beaches for a weekend. Spending time at one of the city’s gorgeous beaches is an excellent way to find your ideal beach—and choose a home in close proximity to it.
From the family-friendly shores of Isle of Palms to the unspoiled beaches at Seabrook Island, Charleston’s varied beaches are as beautiful as they are unique. Book a vacation rental and spend quality time with the family as you discover your ideal beach.
Historic Home or Modern?
One of Charleston’s key attractions for tourists and homeowners alike are its historic homes. Full of charm and beauty, historic homes can be a dream come true for some homeowners—and a total nightmare for others.
If you’re considering the possibility of buying a historic home, make sure that you consider the rules and regulations that the city has put in place. Renovations can be a tricky process that may not be worth the charming qualities and features.
To sum it all up, Charleston’s thriving economy and vast array of amenities has transformed the city into a haven for job seekers and entrepreneurs. Whether you want to try your hand at a career in the restaurant industry or take advantage of the growing opportunities in the technology sector, moving to Charleston could be the key to launching your career.
Charleston’s lively downtown area is far from its only attraction. Beyond its cobblestone streets and picturesque cityscape, the Lowcountry’s outdoor recreation and wildlife opportunities are begging to be explored. Whether you’re fishing for Red Drum in Charleston’s inshore waters or cruising the coastline and taking an island-hopping adventure, the Lowcountry offers an incredible outdoor experience for all.
The surrounding Lowcountry is a one-of-a-kind mix of history and natural splendor, beckoning families to discover her fascinating and majestic natural landscape. From visiting historic Charleston plantations to delving into the city’s rich equine history, one thing is certain: you’ll never lack for things to do!
Even those who have lived in Charleston their entire lives are still becoming acquainted with the area’s natural beauty and wonder. If you’re eager to learn more about the vast array of outdoor opportunities in Charleston, S.C., you’ve come to the right place.
Why Explore the Charleston Outdoors?
You don’t need to be an accomplished outdoor enthusiast to enjoy Charleston’s rolling rivers, tranquil marshes and miles of white-sand beaches. History lovers, adrenaline junkies, bird watchers and Lowcountry families alike can and do take advantage of the endless number of ways to experience the region’s natural landscape.
Those who live in Historic Downtown Charleston are accustomed to the urban hustle and bustle. But there is something to be said about stepping beyond the city limits to explore its natural wonders. What do you have to gain by going on an outdoor adventure in Charleston? Let’s take a look.
A Unique Blend of History and Nature
While most visitors flock to the Holy City for her impressive architecture and vast array of historic attractions, many history enthusiasts overlook the rich stories that nature has to tell. Hidden within the city’s marshland and live oaks are a millennium of history just waiting to be discovered.
Whether you’re sailing a few hundred feet off the coast to see the Morris Island Lighthouse, taking a guided bike ride around Charleston or going on an exciting eco tour, both visitors and residents alike can appreciate the Lowcountry’s natural and cultural history.
Healthy Outdoor Recreation for the Entire Family
If there is one reason why you and the entire family should spend more time outdoors, it’s for your health. Research shows that spending time in nature can improve both mental and physical well-being. According to a 2018 study from the University of East Anglia, living in close proximity to nature and spending time outdoors can reduce the risk of numerous diseases and lower stress.
Charleston’s great outdoors has everything you need to live a healthy and active lifestyle. If you don’t want to go too far to get your sweat on, stop by one of the city’s many county parks, playgrounds and green spaces. Whether you want to run across Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge or take a relaxing stroll through the city’s gorgeous public gardens, you’ll find plenty of ways to stay active in the Holy City.
Educational wildlife opportunities abound in the Lowcountry. With its wide variety of diverse ecosystems, South Carolina has no shortage of educational programs for both youngsters and adults to learn more about the region’s natural habitats.
When you live in a region as beautiful as the Lowcountry, it just makes sense to teach the next generation to love and respect the land. Additionally, Charleston and the surrounding Lowcountry are one of the fastest growing places along the East Coast. As the region continues its fast-paced growth, the importance of land preservation and conservation can’t be ignored.
Outdoor Activities in Charleston, S.C.
Charleston has a bounty of outdoor opportunities that are ripe for exploring. Whether you prefer an adrenaline-packed kayaking adventure along the city’s gorgeous waterways or enjoy taking the entire family on pleasant nature walks, there is an outdoor Lowcountry experience for everyone to enjoy.
It’s not just the sheer volume of outdoor activities that makes the Lowcountry appealing to so many. With average temperatures hovering around the 60s during the fall and winter, you won’t be stuck indoors during the cooler months. Thanks to the city’s subtropical climate, Charleston has become one of the most popular and affordable snowbird destinations, with many temporary residents choosing to stay in Charleston vacation rentals or their second homes to escape the frigid cold up North.
Learn and Appreciate Lowcountry Wildlife
Ready to gain a newfound appreciation for the thriving wildlife in the Lowcountry? Along with Charleston’s many natural history museums and beloved South Carolina Aquarium, the city also offers a vast number of hands-on learning experiences and wildlife groups for you to explore.
- Visit the Caw Caw Interpretive Center—Be sure to check out the Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel, S.C. for a fascinating lesson in Lowcountry nature, culture and history. Experience the many different types of natural habitats, from dry upland forest to cypress swamps, all while learning about the landscape’s rich history.
- Take a Guided Eco Tour—If you’ve always wanted to see dolphins and manatees up close, try taking a guided, multi-day kayak tour from Coastal Expeditions. Located in Mount Pleasant on Shem Creek, the Lowcountry outfitter takes people of all ages and skill levels on guided kayak and canoe tours to explore estuaries, blackwater and barrier islands.
- Join a Conservation Group—Want to appreciate the outdoors with like-minded individuals? Discover an enormous list of conservation groups in South Carolina, and you’re sure to find an organization that’s right up your alley.
- Go Bird Watching—Charleston has a large and active bird watching community. This is hardly surprising, given the roughly 300 species of birds in Charleston County alone. You don’t need to look far for bird watching opportunities. From Folly Beach County Park to the Caw Caw Interpretive Center, bird lovers will have no trouble finding a place to cozy up with their binoculars. Don’t forget to check out the Center For Birds of Prey for fascinating flight demonstrations and educational programs!
Get Active with Outdoor Sports
Looking for a way to work off Charleston’s savory, Lowcountry cuisine? With its many unspoiled waterways, nature trails, parks and playgrounds, Charleston offers plenty of ways to get your heart rate up all year long. Here are a few of the most popular outdoor activities in the Lowcountry:
- Surfing—Charleston boasts a huge surfing community and hosts several big surfing events each year which include both shortboard and longboard. Along with friendly surf competitions, many surfing groups and organizations seek to raise money through their competitions to benefit water-related non-profit organizations to keep oceans healthy and safe for all.
- Kiteboarding—On any given day, you’re likely to spot more than a few kiteboarders zipping through the water and doing flips in the air. If you’re a newcomer to the sport, take a few tips from Holy City Kiteboarding and get in the water for a thrilling afternoon.
- Paddling—The Holy City is truly a paddler’s paradise. With so many diverse waterways to paddle upon, it’s no wonder that Charleston is home to the East Coast Paddlesports Symposium—one of the biggest and best paddlesport festivals in the region.
- Golfing—Golf enthusiasts will have no problem finding a place to tee off in Charleston. Daniel Island is home to two PGA golf courses, while Mount Pleasant boasts an Arnold Palmer signature golf course, the only one in all of Charleston.
- Trail Walking, Running and Hiking—It takes no special skill to get out and walk a trail, and fortunately, Charleston has plenty of nature trails to traverse. From hiking Awendaw Passage to strolling along the West Ashley Greenway, there are plenty of trails to get your daily dose of nature. Want to combine nature and history? Take a stroll through one of Charleston’s gorgeous plantations and learn more about botany, husbandry, as well as the plantation’s historical and cultural significance.
- Biking—With a mild climate year-round, Charleston is a great place for a pleasant bike ride around the city. The city is also home to a strong cycling community and numerous recreational bike clubs.
This is just a small taste of the outdoor recreation opportunities in Charleston that sports-minded individuals can enjoy. Spend some time with the locals, and you’ll soon be exposed to a variety of interesting outdoor hobbies and recreational pursuits that may tickle your fancy.
Take a Stroll Along Charleston’s Beautiful Beaches
When it comes to exploring the Lowcountry’s great outdoors, you definitely don’t want to miss out on Charleston’s breathtaking beaches. From taking romantic strolls on Sullivan’s Island to catching waves and relaxing on Folly Beach, Charleston’s beaches are just waiting to be explored.
- Folly Beach—One of the most popular beaches in Charleston, Folly Beach has helped many families make lasting memories with its abundance of outdoor recreational activities. Laid-back and slower-paced, surfers can catch a wave in its dolphin-filled waters before grabbing a hearty breakfast at Lost Dog Café. Once summer rolls around, families enjoy booking a Folly Beach vacation rental to spend quality time on “Charleston’s Beach Town.”
- Isle of Palms—An idyllic coastal town, Isle of Palms offers a relaxing, yet fun atmosphere for everyone to enjoy. In addition to its beautiful, white-sand beaches and typical beach activities (surfing, shell-hunting, etc.), IOP is home to a large turtle population. It also offers numerous eco tours that allow guests to view dolphins at sunset or venture to Capers Island, an undeveloped barrier island just north of Charleston.
- Sullivan’s Island—Don’t appreciate the crowds at Folly or IOP? Check out the quiet shores of Sullivan Island instead. The quiet and quaint atmosphere on Sullivan’s Island makes it perfect for romantic walks along the beach, while its strong winds and occasional swell make it ideal for kiteboarders and surfers.
- Kiawah Island—If the sound of award-winning recreational activities and top-notch golf courses sound appealing to you, be sure to check out Kiawah Island. Golf enthusiasts flock to this unique barrier island for its PGA Championship Gold and world-class amenities. To top things off, Kiawah Island is well known for its sustainability and commitment to the environment. Along with many outdoor recreational opportunities, the island boasts numerous nature programs and conservancy efforts to preserve Kiawah’s natural beauty.
Make a Splash with Water-Related Activities
If you don’t get out on the water, you’re missing half the experience of Charleston’s great outdoors. In addition to the water activities we’ve already mentioned, here are other ways to explore the Lowcountry’s plentiful waterways:
- Paddleboard—Kayaking and canoeing along the city’s waterways and hearing dolphins come up for air beside you is a truly remarkable experience. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and weave through brackish waters, blackwater swamps, creeks and rivers teeming with wildlife.
- Dragon Boat Racing—It takes incredible mental and physical power to propel a massive boat through the water. Even if you don’t partake in dragon boat racing yourself, Charleston’s Dragon Boat Festival is something you don’t want to miss!
- Crabbing—Ready to give crabbing a try? Head to Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant, S.C. and give it a shot. Be sure that you’re familiar with the rules first and to get your crabbing license in advance. Once you’ve got that taken care of, drop a line and plan to spend a relaxing day on the water.
- Fishing—If you’re looking to relax with a fishing pole in hand, Charleston won’t disappoint. King Mackerel, Amberjack and Bull Redfish are all prevalent in the coastal waters, and there are plenty of helpful guides who will take you out on the water to reel in your first big catch of the day.
- Water Fountains—Need something for the kiddos to do? There are free water fountains scattered around Charleston that are perfect for the kids. Visit the Waterfront Park for a variety of fun fountains that will help everyone cool off during the summer.
Enjoy the Great Outdoors in Charleston, S.C.
Breathtaking beauty and natural wonder are mere minutes from downtown Charleston, and yet, many don’t take advantage of what awaits them just beyond city limits. Don’t let the Lowcountry’s stunning beauty pass you by! From aquatic experiences to relaxing on the beach with a book in hand, there is something for every outdoor enthusiast to enjoy.
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.
Originally constructed in 1924 as a schoolhouse known as the Sullivan’s Island Graded School, the building now known as Sullivan’s House was built in the Craftsman architectural style. By 1938, two wings were added to the east and west, and a portico was constructed at the west wing’s façade. Over the years, this building served as a church and a gathering place and the 1938 footprint remains intact today.
A recent restoration blends historic details mingled with artfully selected modern finishes to create the four luxury residences of Sullivan’s House. The project was developed by a group led by Patrick W. Marr, Steven G. Kleiman, and David C. Stern. Laura Middleton was the lead architect of The Middleton Group, an award-winning firm that has completed many historic renovation projects in Charleston. With interiors by designer Carol Lund, and timeless landscaping by Kelly D. Messier, Sullivan’s House is as beautiful as it is historic.