We might not be exactly ready for bathing suit season, but the warmer weather has us itching for that yearly pilgrimage to the beach. In honor of that longing, we’ll be taking a closer look at the seaside communities that surround Charleston, South Carolina. These locations offer a salty, laidback lifestyle with enviably easy access to one of the country’s most enticing historic cities. First up on the itinerary is beautiful Sullivan’s Island.
Sullivan’s Island’s recorded history dates back to the late 17th century, when its location at the northern entrance to Charleston Harbor was first utilized for defense purposes. The name of the island originated from a lighthouse keeper that worked around that period (Sullivan’s Island is also the name of the town - pop. 1,900). Military and defense uses would come to characterize the barrier isle, especially given the presence of now defunct Fort Moultrie. Random historical tidbit: Edgar Allen Poe was stationed at Fort Moultrie in the 1820s, and its where he penned The Gold Bug. After the defense role of the island dissipated post-WWII, some of the fortress-like batteries were converted into very original, and very sturdy, homes.
Charlestonians have been coming here for sun and sand since at least the town’s incorporation in 1817, but the character of the island is much more residential than business. Some grand hotels were constructed in the Victorian era; all of them succumbed to destruction, usually of the fiery variety. In present day, the town of Sullivan’s Island is committed to maintaining a lower density of development, and the minimum lot size is set at a half acre. The only lodging comes in the form of rental houses, while shopping and other daily necessities are met in nearby Mt. Pleasant (5 minutes away) and Charleston (15 minutes away). Myrtle Beach this is not.
Purchasing a home on Sullivan’s Island is similar to any coastal real estate market: it’s pricey. Trulia has the current average list price displayed at $1,771,823, with the median sales price a chunky $1,190,500. Also, the usual home on the island is going to be older, given that approximately 70% of the housing stock was constructed before 1980. At the time of this writing, listing prices are at a high of $4.5M and a low of $495,000. But barring the creation of some Dubai-inspired fantasy islands, it’s safe you’re buying something that’s not being made anymore on the coast of South Carolina.