The beach communities of Charleston present as barrier islands rather than mainland strands – long, narrow seaboards whose eastern geography features the sandy beaches of the Atlantic, separated from the mainland by marshy waterways.
Buffering James Island is the laid-back Folly Beach, with a bohemian, local-centric vibe that draws surfers and seafood lovers.
Steeped in history dating back to the 1700s, Sullivan’s Island is as old as Charleston itself, with a small town culture that provides a respite for locals just a short stroll from historic Mount Pleasant.
Almost adjacent to Sullivan’s Island is the town of Isle of Palms, with its several miles of modern beachfront homes, exquisite enclaves along the IOP Marina, and on its north end the golf resort community of Wild Dunes.
On the furthest side of Johns Island are two barrier islands that have developed more recently – the magnificent resort community of Kiawah Island with its world class golf courses, and the adjacent Seabrook Island, a woodsy community with equestrian amenities.
The conservatory of Dewees Island is the naturist’s paradise, an incredibly low-impact community accessible by ferry from the IOP Marina.