charleston beach.jpg

Charleston’s downtown peninsula gets plenty of acclaim for being a top tourist destination. And rightfully so. But when seeking the perfect Holy City vacation, exploring the islands near Charleston, SC essential. Each island boasts its own cultural experiences and must-see attractions. Here’s a quick guide to getting the most out of your Charleston island adventures!



A lovely little beachfront community with a small strip of topnotch restaurants and bars, Sullivans Island is an ideal stop for the whole family. Stroll down its pristine beaches and soak in the sun—or if you’re a history buff, there’s Fort Moultrie, a series of fortifications built of palmetto logs. Fort Moultrie is the only attraction in the National Park System that traces the entire history of American seacoast defense (1776-1947)!


Neighbor to Sullivans Island, the low-key environment of Isle of Palms makes it the perfect spot for some rest and relaxation. But if you’re in search of some action, IOP also boasts spectacular eco-tours. Go crabbing and have a Lowcountry boil, or take a boat tour to undeveloped Capers Island, spotting dolphins, bald eagles, and herons along the way. It’s a one of a kind way to see some untouched seaside environs.


On the other side of the downtown peninsula, James Island is home to the area’s biggest county park. Spanning 643 acres, James Island County Park is crisscrossed with paved walking and biking trails, picnic areas with grills, and of course gorgeous landscapes to sit and spy out local animal life. James Island is one of the largest islands near Charleston, SC and has innumerable restaurants and bars to choose from, including one of the most acclaimed local music venues—The Pour House.

folly beach pier.jpg


Looking for a beach with more of a local feel? Folly Beach is the place. A vibrant nightlife keeps the good times rolling all the way to last call. And during the daytime, this bustling seaside community has plenty of artisan shops and restaurants to explore. Plus, if you’re really intent on exploring the islands of Charleston, SC, a kayak tour is a must. A specialty on Folly, these expertly guided tours take you through the local seaways for an adventure unlike any you’ve experienced.


Johns Island has more of a country feel, with local farms fresh for the picking and the world-renowned Angel Oak. Considered one of the oldest trees east of the Mississippi, Angel Oak stands 65 feet tall and provides shade to over 17,000 square feet. This gorgeous display of nature has to be seen to be believed. Johns Island is also home to the Charleston Tea Plantation—the only tea planation in North America—and South Carolina’s first distillery, Firefly Distillery, home of sweet tea vodka, both of which offer comprehensive tours and tastings.


If you’re looking to hit the links, Kiawah Island has some of Charleston’s most prestigious golf resorts. Or you can visit kid-centric Night Heron Park, which boasts sports fields, picnic areas, and four pools, including a children’s pool with 27 water features. Then, fulfill all your shopping needs at Freshfields Village, a unique town center with chic clothing collections, restaurants that run the gamut in style and fare, an upscale grocer, and over 60 events a year!



No matter how you explore the Charleston, SC islands, making downtown your home base is a smart route to go. And there’s no better way to vacation in style than by renting a luxury vacation rental from Walk Away Stays. Explore our properties and book today!