Sullivan’s Island is a town on a barrier island of the same name located along the Charleston County coastline, just to the east of the entrance to Charleston Harbor. The Atlantic Ocean lies to the south, while its nearby neighbors include Mt. Pleasant to the north and the Isle of Palms to the east.
The island was named for Captain Florence O’Sullivan, who was stationed there and whose post established the island as an important component of the harbor’s defenses, a role that it would retain until World War II. Present-day Sullivan’s Island combines the charm of small-town living with the laid-back vibe of a peaceful beach community, while honoring its rich history.
Understated elegance is the vibe that most homes in Sullivan’s Island project. Enjoy relaxed, gracious living in single-family detached residences, beach cottages, and estate properties on large lots with architectural design influences ranging from Victorian to Classic Revival.
Many homes have features such as cypress exteriors, mansard roofs, gabled dormer windows, or other distinctiveSouthern details. Most do not have garages, and while a majority of the streets are not landscaped, they are neat and lined with lush greenery.
Homes on the south side have spectacular ocean views and access to the beach, while homes on the north side have their own private docks and lovely views of the Intracoastal Waterway.
Would you prefer to build your own custom home? There’s a limited number of land and lots available for new construction. As for rental properties, the number is strictly restricted in order to preserve the sense of community on the island.
Interesting fact: Sullivan’s Island streets that run from north to south are called "Stations." This hearkens back to the 1890s when horse-drawn and electric trolleys traveled the streets along a series of tracks and stations throughout the island.
Areas of interest
Fort Moultrie was initially built to protect the city of Charleston from invaders coming in through the harbor, but it was still incomplete when it was attacked by a squadron of British warships in 1776.
After a nine-hour battle, the British were driven off the harbor, and the fort was named in honor of its commander, Colonel William Moultrie. Successive wars through the years saw the Fort neglected, destroyed, then rebuilt a number of times, and sometime after the end of World War II, the fort was decommissioned and turned over to the National Park Service. Today, it is part of the Fort Sumter National Monument, with the Fort Moultrie Quartermaster and Support Facilities Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Located along Ion Avenue between Station 18 Street and Station 18 1/2 Street is the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse, also known as Charleston Light. Built in 1960 to replace the Morris Island Lighthouse, Charleston Light has a distinctive look and modern shape, being made of metal with a steel frame, aluminum alloy skin, and a half-black, half-white color scheme. The 140-foot tall lighthouse is not open to the public, and is still active, with a 1.2 million candlepower light that can be seen over 26 miles.
Sullivan’s Island also has a small commercial district along Middle Street, which is lined with shops and restaurants that are local favorites. Drop by Cafe Medley, Dunleavy’s Pub, High Thyme Cuisine, Home Team BBQ, Poe’s Tavern, and Sullivan’s.
Interestingly, even though there are no golf courses anywhere on Sullivan’s Island, golf carts can be seen on the streets most of the time – they’re a popular a mode of transportation.