James Island

Many would argue that James Island is quite possibly the truest representation of mainstream Charleston culture, which is no surprise considering it is just a few minutes from downtown and forms most of the southern shore of Charleston harbor. James Island is bordered by the harbor to the east, Wappoo Creek (Intracoastal Waterway) to the north, the Stono River to the west, and Greater Charleston’s largest tidal flats and Folly Beach to the southeast. While approximately half of James Island is still part of the City of Charleston, the balance is part of the recently incorporated Town of James Island. In what has become a peacefully fought legal secession from the city, the new Town is currently winning, but the City of Charleston has appealed to the courts. Considering that James Island is home to Fort Johnson where the fledgling confederates conducted their infamous bombardment of Fort Sumter at the start of the Civil War, we locals certainly don’t overlook the irony.

Regardless of their political battles, as major communities go, James Island truly does have it all. It has history dating back to the original Charlestonians in the 1600’s. It was home to Samuel Smalls, the subject of the novel Porgy and Bess. It’s home to many of the most colorful personalities in Charleston. It has authentic oak canopied roadways. It has Folly Beach as its little brother, and also shares a genuine sense of community with West Ashley residents.  It has its own dedicated expressway that crosses the harbor directly into the heart of downtown for a dreamy 3 minute drive that lands onto Calhoun Street, the nerve center of the finest complex of hospitals in the Southeast.

The to and fro on the expressway is an outrageously scenic short drive… one of the best in America. It has great public and private schools, including the highly regarded James Island Charter High School, which is possibly the most successful charter high school in the state. It’s home to Charleston Country Club and its pristine Golf Course, and it’s also home to the City of Charleston’s municipal golf course. James Island has a huge county park that boasts the state’s most spectacular Christmas light show. It‘s on the Intracoastal Waterway and enjoys the coolest and most elaborate network of deep water channels and marsh creeks anywhere in Greater Charleston. For one of the best adventures anywhere, we suggest you take a jet ski from Charleston Harbor and circumnavigate the island… and make sure to venture out to the ocean for some real wave running. You will never forget it… especially when you find yourself cruising by the world famous Morris Island Lighthouse just offshore. Have we left anything out? Surely we have… but that’s James Island for you.

Where is it?

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