Sullivan’s Island is a charming beach town located about 10 miles from downtown Charleston. The island is about a 20 minute drive from downtown Charleston, and accessible by taking the Ben Sawyer Bridge.
The small island, comprising only 3.3 square miles, is a popular spot for tourists and residents who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The island has a strict preservation plan, so visitors will find limited accommodations. There are no major hotels or motels on the island, so the only lodging option are vacation rental homes. The island has about 200 of these vacation rental homes that must be rented for a week during the summer.
The island also boasts an acclaimed restaurant district with lots of local family restaurants, pubs, and fine dining establishments. Many restaurants have indoor and outdoor seating, bars, and live music.
Visitors looking for something to do on the island can visit Fort Moultrie, snap a quick pic of the unique Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse, or take a stroll down the beach. Sullivan’s Island Beach is without a doubt the most popular attraction on the island. The area is well known for its seashells, especially the sand dollars that wash up regularly along the shoreline. Visitors are asked to keep the white, sun bleached sand dollars, and throw the gray, fuzzy ones back into the water, as they are still alive. Other popular beach activities include surf fishing, crabbing, surfing, and kayaking. The island also has several art galleries and beach shops selling clothing and souvenirs.
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Fort Moultrie - Fort Moultrie is one of the oldest standing forts on the East Coast. Learn about how the fort was used to defend Charleston during the Revolutionary and Civil Wars by taking a self-guided tour. Learn More >> Fort Moultrie
Sullivan's Island Beach - Sullivan’s Island has three miles of pristine coastline with very little commercial development. The wide beaches offer plenty of room to sit back, relax and enjoy the ocean. Learn More >> Sullivan's Island Beach
Sullivan's Island Lighthouse - The Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse is one of the most modern lighthouses in the country. Standing an impressive 140 feet with a unique triangular and slim design makes it easy to spot. The lighthouse is closed to the public but can be easily viewed from the beach. Learn More >> Sullivan's Island Lighthouse
Dunleavy’s Pub - Dunleavy's Pub is celebrating its 27th anniversary on Sullivan's Island. This family owned pub is a staple on the island serving up salads, wings, burgers and sandwiches along with live music and lots of beer.
Home Team BBQ - Home Team is a great hang out spot with a coastal vibe and amazing barbecue. Patrons will find perfectly seasoned chicken, super moist and flavorful brisket and a large beer selection. The must-try menu items are the dry rubbed smoked chicken wings and the mac and cheese. The restaurant has inside and outside seating and live music in the evenings.
450 Pizza Joint - This casual pizzeria serves up great pizza in a fun and funky environment. In addition to serving New York and Detroit style pizza, they also serve breakfast from 8 am - 11 am, and an expansive selection of coffee, craft beer, and local ice cream.
Pier 22 - Pier 22 serves up fresh seafood with an Asian twist in an elegant beach atmosphere. Choose from favorites like the lobster roll, the tuna tartare burger, or Shrimp Ceviche. The space is small and seating is relatively limited so arrive early for dinner.
Poe's Tavern - Poe’s Tavern is a great burger joint named after the poet and writer who spent some of his early years on the island as a soldier. The tavern, located just two blocks from the beach, also has great fish tacos and an impressive cocktail list. Just be warned that this place is almost always crowded and parking can be hard to come by but the food is worth the wait.
Sullivan’s Restaurant - Sullivan’s Restaurant is a casual family-owned restaurant with a low key vibe and super fresh seafood. The restaurant has been serving up seafood, burgers and pasta for the past 30 years. They also serve lunch on Friday and Saturday and brunch on Sunday.
High Thyme Cuisine - High Thyme is a charming cozy restaurant serving great food on Sullivan’s Island. The dinner menu features an eclectic collection of American fare—fresh seafood, beloved comfort food and seasonal dishes. Serving dinner Wednesday through Saturday, tapas on Tuesdays and brunch on Sunday.
Obstinate Daughter - The restaurant, which pays homage to Sullivan’s Island Revolutionary War history, has an eclectic menu. The menu has a large selection of plates including griddle octopus, crispy duck or Lowcountry Shrimp Roll. You can also choose from a good selection of pastas and pizzas. The restaurant serves dinner nightly, lunch during the week and brunch on the weekends. Reservations are highly recommended.
Sandpiper Gallery - The art gallery has paintings, ceramics, prints, and jewelry from a variety of artists.
Almost Pink - This store offers contemporary clothing to look chic on the beach and beyond, like summer sandals, loose pants and flowing dresses.
Shades of Charleston - Find a pair of stylish shades to wear to the beach or choose from a selection of locally designed graphic hats.
Goldbug - This boutique has a large selection of clothes, bathing suits, beach accessories and jewelry.
Adele's Pottery - This pottery studio and gallery features wheel-thrown and hand-built clay-works by Adele Deas Tobin. Pottery classes are also offered.
Current and Upcoming Events
on Sullivan's Island
What: Sullivan's Island Farmers Market
When: April - June, 2022
Time: 4 pm - 7 pm
Where: J. Marshal Stith Park
Every Thursday from 4:00-7:00 PM you can join neighbors from the area at J. Marshall Stith Park (2050 Middle St.) for local produce and other goods, as well as food and craft vendors.
What: Art on the Beach
When: Nov. 13, 2022
Time: 1 pm - 5 pm
Where: Sullivan's Island
This event is a dynamic tour of homes on Sullivans Island, held annually on the second Sunday in November. Tickets are required to enjoy this self guided tour from 1:00-5:00pm. Ticket holders may begin their journey at any home – a map will be provided the week of the event. Patrons are encouraged to hop from home to home exploring a well curated gallery of artists in each location. Materials range from fine art to found art, including jewelers and small batch craft makers. Sample cuisine from local chefs along the tour. All proceeds from this event will benefit Charleston Pro Bono Legal Services, a non-profit organization that provides free civil legal services to hundreds of low-income individuals and families in our community each year.