A First Timer’s Guide to Sullivan’s Island, SC

A First Timer’s Guide to Sullivan’s Island, SC

Everybody loves a little beach vacation and what better place than Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. Even when visiting the Holy City, also known as Downtown Charleston, Sullivan’s Island Beach is the perfect relaxing stop just 25 minutes away. Sullivan’s Island is full of history, recreation, restaurants, and a fun neighboring island to Isle of Palms.

When traveling or vacationing, people are always looking for something fun and new to do. Whether you are on Sullivan’s Island, planning to be; or just browsing vacation ideas, you are in the right place to start making the most of your next adventure. 

In Sullivan’s Island you can learn about the history of the island and sightsee all day, lay on the beach, or a little mix of both. The perfect trip has a mix of both relaxation and exploring. Here are 5 things I would make sure to put on my itinerary when in town. 

1- Have a Relaxing Beach Day

Sullivan’s Island Beach is the perfect place to grab a towel or beach chair and head out to any station of your choice. There you can get a nice tan, read a book, play sports like volleyball or spikeball, or swim in the ocean for a refreshing break from the warm sun.

If you didn’t bring a beach chair, you’re in luck because right on the downtown strip is home to Sealand Sports shop. Here you can rent beach chairs and an umbrella daily or for as long as you are staying! You can even grab a new swimsuit or beach towel and restock your favorite sun bum sunscreen and lip balms.

2- Tour Fort Moultrie

Fort Moultrie was the first fort on Sullivan’s Island and a great way to take a break from soaking in the sun and learn some of the town's rich history. The fort was originally built incomplete from palmetto logs and sand but was able to repel land and sea attacks by the British forces during the American Revolution. The fort remained an active military post for many years to come. I won’t go into the history too much so you can go ahead and learn about it at the site itself.

Fort Moultrie is a great place to explore if you're looking to learn about Charlestown’s history. Sullivan’s Island holds lots of culture and Fort Moultrie is one of the best places to start learning about it. 

3- Surf and/or Paddleboard at the Beach

Surfing is a great way to cool off and go for a refreshing swim. If you don’t own a surfboard Sealand Sports does rentals for boards as well as beach essentials in their shop! If surfing isn’t your thing, they also have paddleboard rentals that you can take to the beach if the water is calm enough or down to Shem Creek. 

Paddleboarding is a great way to watch the sunset if you go out around 7-7:30. Whether you are on the beach of Shem Creek you will get an amazing view and maybe see a dolphin or two.

4- Stop downtown for Dinner and Ice Cream

In downtown Sullivan’s there are plenty of restaurants to eat and hangout at that are perfect for after the beach. Depending on what you are looking for here are some of our favorite spots to dine after a long beach day on Sullivan’s Island:

The Obstinate Daughter - Perfect for trying wood-fired pizzas, homemade italian dishes, and delicious meals from oysters and peel and eat shrimp to a caprese sandwich!

The Co-Op - Great for a refreshing coffee or Frose. They also have delicious gourmet sandwiches you can take with you to the beach!

Hometeam BBQ - great if you are looking for some authentic bbq and drinks

Sullivan’s Fish Camp - plenty of fresh seafood from oysters to lobster rolls to enjoy with a cold bucket of beers

Mex 1 Coastal Cantina - delicious Mexican cantina if you’re looking for some tacos and tequila!

A great place to stop for a milkshake or an ice cream cone is Republic Ice Cream. They have plenty of delicious flavors to choose from and are centrally located on Middle Street. 

5- Be Open to Try Something New

My biggest and best advice for your first, or next, trip to Sullivan’s Island is be open to trying something new. Sometimes just wandering down some side roads, or checking out the Sullivan’s Nature Trail Head on Station 18 are some of the best ways to explore the island or even come across some of your own hidden treasures. Some other options range from learning some of the history of the land like at Breaches Inlet or some of the historic graveyards, or learning to kitesurf in the beautiful blue oasis at Station 28.5. The options for adventure are endless and have no limits.

It is important to keep an open mind during vacation so you try new things you didn’t think you would ever do or try a new type of food.  

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