The beach at Sullivan's Island can best be described as a "locals' beach." You won't find the throngs of tourists that you will at the nearby Isle of Palms on this beach! Of course, the beach can get crowded on holidays and particularly lovely weekends. It is the closest beach to downtown Charleston, taking maybe a ten to fifteen minute drive by car. Because the city enforces development restrictions along the beachfront, exploring this beach you may feel like you are far from the city.
This beach is a little less wide than Isle of Palms or Kiawah, however it makes a great beach for walking. You can walk all the way from the light house down towards the tip of the island, just past Fort Moultrie, where you will find an excellent view of downtown Charleston, the harbor, and the new Ravenal Bridge. It's also not the best beach for swimming, due to the dangerous currents created by the shipping channel leading into Charleston Harbor, which runs adjacent to the southern tip of the island.
You'll find a lot of dogs on this beach. Owners and residents love to walk their dogs here in the early mornings.
Parking can be found beside Fort Moultie and at the end of Station 18 1/2. Parking is currently free, but that may change in the future.
We arrived on the beach bundled up! It was about 44 degrees, but felt like the upper 30's. It was nice for a change. but I think it makes me appreciate the Summer months. A couple of large cargo ships came by while we were there. Unless you saw it for yourself, you would never believe how close the come to the show on the way to the Charleston and Wando terminals.
I took a very nice photo of the lighthouse as we left the Fort Moultrie area.
I love to visit Sullivan's Island and the beach is one of the key reasons.
We usually park near Fort Moultrie since it's very convenient for the harbor view. There tends not to be very much tourist traffic along this stretch of beach.
You can see ravens and small pods of dolphins along the shore occasionally. Fort Sumter can somewhat further into the harbor.
If you are lucky, you can see an arriving or departing cargo ship. If you've never seen one of these monstrous ships in person, you will not believe how large they are until you do.
This is one of my favorite beaches to visit because it is a little quieter than the others in the area, while still close to the city. Sullivan's island is a residential community, therefore you will find no large hotels or seasonal condos along the beach front. The city of Sullivan's Island enforces strict environmental controls that prevent construction that is viewable from many parts of the beach. The dunes and wild shrub areas are protected and you will find that, from much of the beach, no inland structures are visible