Located just to the south of Downtown Charleston across the Ashley River is triangle-shaped James Island. It’s bounded by the Stono River to the west, Wappoo Creek to the north, as well as Ashley River and Charleston Harbor to the northeast. The island’s nearest neighbors include West Ashley to the north, Johns Island to the west, Folly Island to the south, Morris Island to the southeast, and Sullivan’s Island to the east.
Laced with creeks and marshes, James Island was originally used for agriculture, with cotton plantations covering much of the island. Development started around the end of World War II, which saw a period of growth as James Island became a suburban bedroom community to Charleston.
Today, the island is home to over 30,000 people, and one half of its area lies within the city limits of Charleston. The remainder is part of the town of James Island, located on the central and southern parts of the island, along with some unincorporated areas.
James Island offers a diverse selection of homes, with options ranging from single-family residences to townhouses and condos. Here you’ll find sprawling estates and waterfront properties in a variety of styles, including Antebellum (Georgians and Colonial Revivals) as well as contemporary ranches, and more.
Homes are on average to large lots and located mostly in neighborhoods with lush, tree-lined streets. In the neighborhood of Riverland Terrace, considered one of James Island’s oldest neighborhoods, the Avenue of Oaks that leads into the area consists of 73 live oak trees that are believed to be more than 100 years old.
Other notable neighborhoods in James Island include:
- Affirmation Oaks
- Country Club
- Country Club II
- Harbor Woods
- Lawton Bluff
- Parrot Creek
- Point Verona
- Seaside Plantation
- Stiles Point
- Waterfront Plantation
- Woodward Point
For those who prefer to build their own homes, vacant land and lots are also available.
Areas of interest
James Island County Park is a 643-acre park and recreation center accessible via the James Island Parkway from Riverland Drive. Featuring grassy open meadows, picnic areas, a children’s playground, dog park, volleyball court, an 18-hole disc golf course, and miles of paved trails for walking, biking, and skating, the park is a popular year-round destination, particularly for families.
You can also go kayaking and pedal boating in the tidal creeks and lagoons, and you can go fishing as long as you have a saltwater fishing license. In addition, the seasonal Splash Zone Waterpark can also be found here, along with The Climbing Wall, considered as South Carolina’s tallest outdoor climbing facility. Those who enjoy camping can choose from 124 campground sites and 10 vacation cottages.
The McLeod Plantation on the corner of South Carolina Highway 171 and Country Club Drive is a heritage site preserved in recognition of its cultural and historical significance. Among its prominent features are a Georgian-style manor house and six clapboard slave cabins, as well as the McLeod Oak tree, which is thought to be more than 600 years old.
Fort Sumter is a sea fort located on an islet near the entrance to Charleston Harbor, just across the northeastern tip of James Island. Built in 1829, the fort figured prominently in the coastal defense of Charleston through the years, and is most famous for being the site of the first shots of the Civil War.
It was destroyed but rebuilt and partially redesigned, seeing service through both World Wars until it was decommissioned and turned over to the National Park Service. The original site is now part of the Fort Sumter National Monument, along with the Fort Sumter Visitor Education Center, and Fort Moultrie on Sullivan’s Island.