Charleston’s Private Islands – Ultimate Luxury Real Estate

In the world of luxury real estate, private islands stand as unparalleled treasures. Charleston’s private island communities include Kiawah and Seabrook Islands, Wild Dunes on the Isle of Palms, and Headquarters Island and Kiawah River Estates on Johns Island. Nestled along the picturesque South Carolina coastline, these havens offer more than just property ownership – they boast a lifestyle that blends seclusion, natural beauty, and exclusive amenities.

2 sailboats in the water in Charleston, SCPrivate island paradises epitomize the prestige of Charleston’s thriving real estate market. With low inventory and the allure of the Lowcountry attracting discerning buyers worldwide, demand for these exclusive properties has become more coveted than ever before. Homes here extend beyond mere structures; they embody a lifestyle of luxury and serenity. These gated communities are accessible only to property owners, renters, club members, and their guests. Buyers in this market are not just seeking a home, but an experience.

If a chance to embrace a life of tranquility and outdoor splendor in a coastal escape appeals to you, or if you’re a prospective buyer seeking appreciation, rental income, or a legacy investment, owning a home on a private island might be right for you. Let’s explore the allure of Charleston’s private islands, showcase their exclusive offerings, delve into the thriving luxury real estate market, and discover the investment potential of these coveted properties.



Teak table and chairs and umbrella outside on the marsh with a boat in the water in the distance on Kiawah Island, SC Neighboring Kiawah and Seabrook Islands are to the south of Charleston. Known for its pristine beaches, championship golf courses, and luxurious resorts, Kiawah offers a truly exclusive and upscale lifestyle. With world-class amenities, including the renowned Kiawah Island Golf Resort and the exclusive Governor’s Club, Kiawah Island is a sought-after destination for those seeking a luxurious and tranquil retreat.

Seabrook Island is known for its unspoiled beaches, lush landscapes, and abundant wildlife. It offers a variety of outdoor activities such as golf, tennis, horseback riding, and water sports. Amenities include a clubhouse, swimming pools, and restaurants. With its natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere, Seabrook is a popular destination for both residents and visitors alike.

Wild Dunes can be found on the Isle of Palms, just to the east of Charleston. It offers two championship golf courses, tennis courts, a spa, and access to beautiful beaches. The gated resort also features several dining options, from casual beachside cafes to upscale restaurants. With its stunning natural surroundings and luxurious accommodations, Wild Dunes is the perfect destination to visit or live.

Private docks across the marsh into the water in Kiawah River EstatesKiawah River Estates is a gated golf course community on the southern tip of John’s Island, just 2 miles across the marsh from Kiawah Island. It is surrounded by lush landscapes and native wildlife, making it a nature-lover’s paradise. Residents have access to a clubhouse, tennis courts, swimming pool, and community dock. Additionally, owners can join the Seabrook Island Club or the Governor’s Club at Kiawah Island Resort for even more amenities. Kiawah River Estates provides a less-expensive alternative to living on Kiawah Island itself.

Finally, Headquarters Island is actually a peninsula on Johns Island just over the Stono River from James Island. It offers captivating views of the Intracoastal Waterway and surrounding marshlands. Most homes are waterfront with private deepwater docks. The community has easy access to James Island and downtown Charleston’s shopping, dining, and entertainment options.



House on marsh and golf course in Kiawah Island, SCWhether you want to become a permanent resident or purchase a second home, Investing in a home on a private island isn’t just a lifestyle choice, it can be a savvy financial move. Charleston’s real estate market historically has seen steady appreciation. Limited inventory and increasing demand contribute to long-term value growth.

Additionally, many homeowners rent their properties when not in use. The allure of these exclusive retreats attracts affluent travelers, offering a lucrative source of short-term income. There is also long-term value as a cherished family retreat that preserves special memories, as well as wealth, for generations. No matter your goal, be sure to find experienced long-distance movers in Charleston to guarantee a hassle-free relocation.



Wooden hiking trail sign in the woods on a private island near Charleston, SCLiving on a private island is an invitation to embrace a lifestyle that blends luxury with natural beauty. Here, you’ll find endless opportunities to enjoy the outdoors in Charleston, and the experience is nothing short of extraordinary. Picture yourself waking up to the soft sounds of waves lapping against the shore and stepping onto the beach for a morning stroll. The sand and water are your playground, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or water sports. Explore the island’s trails through lush maritime forests that are a serene backdrop for leisurely walks or bike rides. Birdwatching enthusiasts will delight in the abundant coastal wildlife, while anglers can cast their lines into the surrounding waters to reel in a catch.

Enjoy all this with the charm of Charleston just beyond your shores. The Holy City offers a rich cultural scene, historic sites, and world-class dining experiences. Explore the historic district’s cobblestone streets and opulent mansions, watch a concert, attend a festival, or savor a seafood feast at a waterfront restaurant. With a private island as your base, you have the perfect balance of tranquility and access to the Charleston, SC lifestyle.


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Kiawah & Seabrook Islands

It doesn’t take long to fall in love with the islands.

Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island are places steeped in history and Lowcountry legend. Sprawling oaks meld seamlessly with tropical flora. Vast stretches of tidal marsh serve as a buffer between the islands and the world beyond. Whitetail deer, fox, otters and birds of every imaginable feather call the islands home. Sea turtles crawl up their beaches to lay their eggs and return to the sea. Your sense of hearing is soothed and pampered, as the ocean gently breaks on the shore and sea breezes rustle through the pines and palm fronds. These islands are, quite simply, worlds unto themselves. Residents slip free from the bonds of stress that tie them to ordinary life and lie in a hammock of natural beauty, wonder, and recreation.



The history of Kiawah Island goes back the the beginning of Charleston itself. The island is named for the Kiawah Indians, who led the first English settlers to the site that is now Charles Towne Landing in 1670. After some time as a lumber farm, it began to be developed in the 1970s and ’80s. Today, it is a world-class resort by any standards. It offers a 10-mile stretch of pristine beach, world-renowned golf courses, two exceptional tennis centers, restaurants, shopping, swimming pools, a 21-acre recreation park, and over 30 miles of paved bike trails.

Kiawah IslandMany who visit Kiawah declare it the most beautiful place they’ve ever seen. But what makes this island so spectacular? It’s actually quite simple: the island’s beauty spans 360 degrees. There are no “less desirable” views; the flora and fauna teem throughout. No matter which way you look, the island has beauty to spare. From the wide, pristine beach to the diverse and wondrous maze of dunes, from the rich and healthy maritime forest to the creeks and marshes that hold countless fresh seafood dinners, Kiawah is a place that demonstrates the value of master planning for the future.

To a golfer, the sport alone is enough to place Kiawah as a resort without peer. Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Clyde Johnson have all designed Kiawah gold courses. The most famous, The Ocean Course, is only the fourth course to have hosted each of the PGAs major championships. Very few golfers in the world would disagree with a Kiawah resident who bragged, “I don’t go on golf vacations…I live a golf vacation.” For non-golfers, Kiawah Island also boasts one of the Charleston area’s most lauded luxury resorts, The Sanctuary Hotel and Spa.



Located just 23 miles from historic Charleston, SC, the gated community of Seabrook Island is close enough for commuting, but far enough to feel like a world all its own. It was named after William Seabrook, who owned it in the early 19th century. The island has a natural beauty that’s second to none. More than 4 miles of unspoiled beaches border the Atlantic surf and the tidal flow of the Edisto River. When you leave the sea oats and sand dunes behind, another side of the island’s character unfolds. Along with miles of beautiful beaches, Seabrook Island has two championship golf courses, a first-class racquet club, a marina complex, shops, restaurants, and fishing. Homes are tucked into a lush subtropical forest of live oaks, hickories, magnolias, and palmetto trees.

An award-winning environmental plan protects the wildlife habitat. It has helped make Seabrook Island one of America’s premier bird watching centers. Over 80 species, including federally protected birds, make the island their home. Seabrook is also a special retreat for the equestrian. A network of riding trails winds through the island, and beach riding is at its best. The Seabrook Island Equestrian Center is one of the finest in South Carolina, with boarding, lessons, and a professional staff.



Bohicket MarinaAdditional shopping, dining, and activities are available at the entrance to both islands on Betsy Kerrison Parkway at Freshfields Village and Bohicket Marina. Truly, these resort communities offer something for everyone. Some will argue that once a place is discovered as desirable, it loses the things that make it desirable. While that may be true of many beautiful areas in the world, it’s far from true in the cases of Kiawah and Seabrook Islands. To the delight of residents (and consternation of competitors), these islands keep getting better.

To make one of Charleston’s private islands your home, call Disher, Hamrick &  Myers at 843.577.4115 today.

View All Homes For Sale on Kiawah & Seabrook Islands


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Visit the Edge of America at Folly Beach

Looking for some beach fun close downtown Charleston? Be sure to explore Folly Beach off of James Island. With great surf, fun restaurants and bars, and stunning beaches, Folly has it all. Dubbed “The Edge of the America,” Folly Beach is a barrier island at the western end of Charleston Harbor. It boasts six miles of coastal beach on the Atlantic Ocean, plus peaceful river and marsh views along the other side, providing waterview property galore.


The history of Folly goes back to Colonial times. In 1696, King William III granted the land to an Englishman, even though it was mainly inhabited by the Bohicket Indian tribe. Its name comes from the Old English term describing the dense foliage on the island. During the Civil War, US troops occupied and developed Folly as a supply depot. During the 20th century, Folly grew into a beachside tourist destination with a boardwalk, amusement rides, hotels, and the famous Folly Pier – which hosted many of the biggest bands of the day. George Gershwin even composed Porgy and Bess while renting on Folly Beach. He immortalized his time there with the lyrics “Summertime, and the livin’ is easy.”

Folly amusement postcard



Today, the town of Folly Beach delights residents and visitors alike. Although the original pier and a replacement burned down, now the Edwin S. Taylor Fishing Pier stretches into the Atlantic Ocean just as the famous piers of Folly’s heyday did. On the weekends, it once again comes alive with the sound of live music and shag dancing. If you enjoy the outdoors, you will find plenty to do. Try out water sports or charter a fishing excursion. Visit the Folly Beach County Park and let the kids break out the boogie boards and enjoy the surf. For the more experienced surfers, the Washout provides the best waves in town. Folly has something for the whole family.

If you are hungry for a good meal in Folly Beach, there are plenty of choices. Some delicious and lively hangout spots are:

  • BLU Restaurant & Bar – for oceanfront dining featuring sustainable seafood, as well as live music
  • The Crab Shack – for some of the best crab cakes in town
  • Snapper Jacks – with 3 floors of fun for the social crowd, including a rooftop bar
  • Jack of Cups Saloon – if you’re looking for vegan and vegetarian offerings, along with craft cocktails and live music
  • Chico Feo – a funky outdoor restaurant with a Caribbean vibe, serving tacos, burritos, and salads
  • Lost Dog Cafe – a breakfast and lunch spot known for its cozy atmosphere, homemade food, and hearty portions

Locals enjoy relatively quiet and tranquil winters with fewer vacationers, but be prepared for those summer months when this part of the region comes to life as arguably the best beach near Charleston. Every summer you can catch fishing events, surfing contests, family-friendly festivals, and more. Annual events include the Taste of Folly, The Bill Murray Polar Bear Plunge, and the New Year’s Eve Flip-Flop Drop. The island community consists of a mix of eclectic local residents, vacationers, and day-trippers tossed with plenty of Southern hospitality, all wrapped up in a fun, small beach town atmosphere.


Real estate in Folly Beach is valuable and ranges from vacation houses on the ocean, to single family homes, to condos, townhouses, and more. If you are looking for a home for sale on Folly Beach, please contact us at at 843.577.4115.

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Kiawah River Estates: the Kiawah Lifestyle Without the Price

Want the Kiawah Island lifestyle — including membership to the exclusive Governor’s Club at Kiawah Island Resort — without the Kiawah Island price tag?

You’ll definitely want to discover Kiawah River Estates. Single family homes start in the very accessible $300,000s and go up to several million dollars.


This gated golf course community is located on the southern tip of John’s Island, less than 2 miles across the marsh from Kiawah Island. It’s conveniently near the shopping and dining destination of Freshfields Village. Originally a cotton and indigo plantation, the neighborhood was developed in the early 1990s as Hope Plantation. In late 2005 it was rebranded as Kiawah River Estates. The land is a nature-lover’s paradise with lush landscapes punctuated by picturesque native wildlife. Outdoor activities abound with beaches, Bohicket Marina and the Mullet Hall Equestrian Center all within a short drive. Downtown Charleston is approximately 35 minutes away by car.


Kiawah River Estates entranceKiawah River Estates amenities include a clubhouse, tennis courts, swimming pool, exercise room and community dock. Many homes back up to the semi-private Oak Point Golf Course, owned by Kiawah Island Resort. This Clyde Johnston-designed, Scottish-American par 72 has been rated among “America’s Best” golf courses by Golfweek magazine.

Residents also have access to four public golf courses on Kiawah Island: the Ocean Course, Cougar Point, Osprey Point and Turtle Point. You may join the nearby Seabrook Island Club for access to two golf courses, tennis, an equestrian center, fitness center, swimming pools and restaurants.


In addition to its own amenities, Kiawah River Estates residents have access to the exclusive Governor’s Club at Kiawah Island Resort. This is the only opportunity to join the Governor’s Club without living behind the gates of Kiawah. Membership includes golf, tennis, pool and/or social categories. All levels include access to each of four Kiawah Island Golf Resort pools and optional access to The Sanctuary indoor pool. In addition to guest allowances, you may also add non-resident family members to pool membership. There is no initiation fee to join the Governor’s Club and annual membership starts at just $2500. Members also enjoy shopping and dining discounts and private beach access.

Kiawah Island Resort has received numerous accolades including:

  • #1 Golf Resort in the US – Golf World magazine
  • Most Excellent Golf Resort – Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence
  • #1 Island in North American and #2 Island in the World – Condé Nast Traveler


Disher, Hamrick & Myers’ Real Estate agents are happy to help you navigate this wonderful community. If you are interested in buying or selling a home here, contact us at 843.577.4115.

View All Homes For Sale in Kiawah River Estates


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