If you want a seaside setting studded with some of the region's priciest homes shielded by the dunes, Sullivan's Island offers some of the area's widest beaches with close-up views of ships entering and leaving the harbor.
And don't worry about rubbing elbows with people staying in hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfasts inns. The island offers short-terms rentals, but no other accommodations for transient lodging.
Things you can do:
Sightsee: At Fort Moultrie, the National Park Service attraction affords visitors the opportunity to move steadily back in time from the World War II Harbor Entrance Control Post to the site of the palmetto-log fort of 1776.
Learn about famous author's connection: Noted author Edgar Allan Poe spent time on Sullivan’s as an Army private stationed at Fort Moultrie, providing the setting for his story “The Gold Bug.” The town's library and a popular restaurant are named for the 19th-century writer.
Note the lighthouse: With its unusual triangular design Sullivan's Island Lighthouse is a local landmark that rises above the island at 140 feet tall. The 54-year-old lighthouse keeps watch over the harbor with a rotating beacon that can be seen 27 miles out to sea. It’s the last lighthouse built in the U.S. and the only one built with an elevator inside. It’s not open for regular tours but can be viewed from the street.
Shop and dine: For those looking to shop or grab a bite, Middle Street sports a number of shops and restaurants next to a town park that offers tennis and basketball courts.
Unusual occurrence: One unusual note about Sullivan’s is that it has grown by about 100 acres at its south end. The reason is the century-old, three-mile-long jetties that stabilize the harbor channel but also block the southerly flow of offshore sand. As a result, sand has built up and created land near the harbor where a maritime forest has grown. There are walking trails in the forest as well as a new boardwalk.
Other things to do: Prop up a beach chair or lay down a blanket, go for a stroll on the beach, search for shells and watch big ships slip in and out of the harbor.
Swim at your own risk; no lifeguards on duty.
Also, there are no facilities such as changing rooms, showers or restrooms.
No alcohol, glass containers, fireworks, motorized vehicles or unpermitted beach fires.
All dogs, including visitors' pets, must have a valid Sullivan’s Island permit.
Dogs can be off leash 5-10 a.m. May 1-Sept. 30, and 5 a.m. to noon Oct. 1-April 30.
Dogs must be on a leash 6 p.m.-5 a.m. May 1-Sept. 30, and noon to 5 a.m. Oct. 1-April 30.
No dogs on the beach 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 1-Sept. 30.
Owners must clean up after dogs.
Do not walk or play on dunes.
There is no municipal lot.
Parking only along public rights of way where permitted (see posted signs), not residents’ yards or driveways.
All four tires must be completely off the street pavement.