Beachin': Sullivan's Island

A barrier island north of the Charleston harbor, Sullivan’s Island is a favorite alternate to the popular (and much more touristy) Isle of Palms. Long-standing land easements protecting the natural environment mean you won’t find any hotels here; this is a rare gem of a beach community. It can take a little more effort to find a short-term rental property, but it’s worth the extra work if you’re looking for an unspoiled landscape and less crowded beaches. —A. A.

Photo: iStock

What’s New:
The CO-OP, Sullivan’s new gourmet grocery and deli, offers local produce, groceries, and made-to-order sandwiches and salads. Order the Islander, a sandwich with pesto ham, Swiss cheese, roasted red peppers, lettuce, and sprouts on sourdough ($7). They’ll even add the necessary accoutrements to turn it into a picnic lunch. 843-882-8088,

Where to Drink:
Stop by the appropriately-named Café Medley, which offers a great wine and beer selection along with coffee and espresso drinks, plus an assortment of goodies from sandwiches and baked goods to ice cream and desserts. 843-793-4055,

Where to Shop:
Art lovers should be sure to stop at Adele’s Pottery Studio & Gallery. Inside you’ll find the artist, Adele Deas Tobin, at work on the pottery wheel or teaching a pottery class, plus a showroom featuring her art pottery and functional pots with food-safe glazes. 843-883-9545
Stay Here:
Since there aren’t any hotels on the island, you’ll have to locate a rental property if you’re planning a stay on Sullivan’s. You’ll find a selection of weekly rentals to choose from through Island Realty. From $1,795 per week, 877-496-4945,

Or Here:
For a broader selection, check out the many Sullivan’s homeowners who rent out their beach houses themselves. Browse owner-managed rentals by price, size, and proximity to the beach at

For the Kids:
Go treasure hunting! Sign up for a relic finding adventure with Addam’s Artifacts: They’ll teach you how to recover artifacts left behind from Sullivan’s’ historic past, rich with remnants from colonial times to the present. Any piece of history you discover is yours to keep. Rates start at $40 for one hour; kids ten years old and younger are free with  a paying adult. 843-889-6073,

For the Adults:
Maximize the restorative effects of a beach vacation with a treatment at The Body Garden. Choose from massage therapy and bodywork, plus facials, waxing, and spray tanning. 843-883-9131

Eat With Edgar

Poe’s Tavern is named for Edgar Allan Poe, who spent a year of military service stationed on the island. This longtime favorite offers gourmet salads, sandwiches, and tacos, plus a roster of burgers named for Poe’s famous stories. Try the Amontillado burger, which features guacamole, jalapeno jack cheese, pico de gallo, and chipotle sour cream ($9.50), or the Tell-Tale Heart, with a fried egg, applewood bacon, and cheddar ($9.75). 843-883-0083,