Local Information

Barrier Islands

Welcome to Barrier Islands

Charleston's barrier islands are one of a kind. Old oaks draped with Spanish moss rise majestically from the ground and the area hums with cicadas in the summer, evoking an old-timey feeling of warm evenings spent collecting fireflies and watching the sunset over the creek. Here, you'll discover untold Southern charm and hospitality from the many friendly faces who call the Barrier Islands home. Lets discover the distinct character of these one-of-a-kind communities.

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Quick Facts

Getting Around

Columbia: 2 hour 19 min
Mount Pleasant: 38 min
Charleston International Airport: 42 min
Major Roads: SC-700, Betsy Kerrison Pkwy, S-10 54


Population: 4,300
Zip Code29412, 29455, 29455, 29487
County: Charleston
Median Household Income: $116,789.60

Spotlights of Barrier Island

James Island

Just across from Charleston is James Island, where residents make their homes among the town's historic charm and tidal marshes. Many homes are within large subdivisions, and you can find historic properties, cozy waterfront homes, and new construction throughout this community. 

Over 10,000 people live on the island, and the residents take immense pride in preserving the area's small-town feel with a plethora of festivals and community celebrations — such as Carolina Green Fair and Holiday Festival of Lights. James Island is also where the Lowcountry Cajun Festival takes place, and where you can visit the beautiful Folly Beach. 

Johns Island

About 30 minutes from Charleston, nestled between the Stono River and Kiawah River, Johns Island is a lowcountry paradise. It's quiet, surrounded by marshes and farmland, and has kept its small-town southern atmosphere amid Charleston's growth. 

A hidden gem in Johns Island is the historic Angel Oak, one of the oldest trees east of the Mississippi River that has become a symbol of the area. 

Kiawah Island

Considered "the happiest seaside town in America," Kiawah Island has a rich history extending beyond the 18th century, when pirates, planters, and entrepreneurs have all made their home on the island. Today, the area is a gated resort community. 

Kiawah Island offers today's residents a luxurious way of life among the lowcountry charm that Charleston is famous for. The Kiawah Island Resort has two swimming pools, two restaurants, a bar, and a golf course. 

Seabrook Island

Like Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island is a gated residential community, providing a relaxing atmosphere amid Charleston's beautiful scenery. The island borders the Atlantic Ocean and Edisto Island, about 30 minutes from Downtown Charleston, and has many opportunities for waterfront homes. Seabrook Island has the best modern amenities, like its Racquet Center with 15 lighted tennis courts and full-service pro shop, along with a large equestrian center, golf course, upscale Freshfields Village, and more.

Wadmalaw Island

Wadmalaw Island was first settled in the mid-1600s, and still retains a small community feel with its few thousand residents about 35 minutes from Downtown Charleston. The island is a true treasure, offering unspoiled natural gems in its marshes and southern oak trees. A bridge over Church Creek is the island's only connection to the mainland. Wadmalaw Island is home to America's last working tea farm, the Charleston Tea Plantation, and is the site of the historic Irvin-House Vineyards.

Capers Island

Capers Island isn't your typical island getaway. The island is a great hidden gem with hiking trails, camping available with permit, and it is only accessible by boat. The island offers plenty of driftwood for a campfire and is known to be active with wildlife. While there are no buildings on the island, it is only 15 miles from Charleston.

Barrier Island Attractions

What Every Resident Should Know

Charleston is more than just a place to visit—it's also a spectacular place to settle down. Here are a few perks that every buyer should know about.

Shopping & Dining

South Carolina's Barrier Islands offer a delightful mix of beachy finds and culinary adventures. Explore Charleston's James Island for local boutiques at the Folly Road Shopping Center, or browse the art galleries and homegrown produce at the James Island Farmers Market. Head to John's Island for fresh seafood at the Bohicket Marina or indulge in a gourmet meal with stunning water views at Kiawah Island's casually elegant restaurants. Kiawah also boasts high-end shopping at Freshfields Village, featuring designer brands and upscale boutiques.


Education on South Carolina's barrier islands thrives alongside the stunning natural beauty. The Charleston County School District plays a vital role, with some of its schools consistently ranking among the state's best. For those seeking a private education experience, options exist from pre-kindergarten through high school, catering to a range of needs. All the schools leverage the unique island environment. By incorporating outdoor learning and environmental programs into the curriculum, students develop a love for nature and gain a deeper understanding of the coastal ecosystem. This hands-on approach fosters a well-rounded education that's enriched by the islands' special character.


The Barrier Islands are hubs for diverse employment opportunities. James Island is home to Volvo Car plants and the Medical University of South Carolina, offering a range of jobs in manufacturing and healthcare. John's Island attracts those in agriculture and tourism, with Kiawah and Seabrook Islands boasting resorts, golf courses, and hospitality careers. Additionally, all the islands offer opportunities in construction, property management, and local businesses catering to residents and tourists.

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Find Your Own Island Paradise

Discover Charleston's natural beauty among its barrier islands, and find your niche among these unique lowcountry communities. If you desire extraordinary living in these charming southern treasures, choose RARE Charleston for your real estate needs. Connect with us today to experience the barrier islands for yourself. If you're selling your piece of paradise in one of Charleston's barrier island communities, work with us to reach the largest audience of interested home buyers; list your property with RARE Charleston to get the real estate results you're looking for.

Selling a home in Barrier Island? We can certainly help you out with that, too!