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6 Reasons to visit Seabrook Island: Charleston’s island playground

April 29, 2016
Great opportunities for birders and photographers
Egret on the marsh on Seabrook Island

Egret on the marsh on Seabrook Island

Seabrook Island is a gated, planned community about 25 miles, 45 minutes, and a world away from historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina that is popular with boomers and retirees. Adjacent to larger Kiawah Island, this relaxed four-season resort is a perfect destination for those seeking a sunny summer beach vacation, a serene cold winter getaway or something in-between.

Comprised of about three square miles of lush maritime forest, the area is friendly, informal and easily traversed by foot, bike, car or golf cart. The Island is named after Robert Seabrook, an English landowner and businessman who arrived in Charleston in 1679 and was convicted of trading with pirates. After changing hands many times over the years, it became an incorporated town in 1987.

1- Sandy beaches 

Unspoiled beaches of Seabrook Island (Credit: Charleston CVB)

Unspoiled beaches of Seabrook Island (Credit: Charleston CVB)

Not too far from the beautiful live oak trees draped with Spanish moss, tall grasses, wildflowers and other plantings are three miles of wide sandy beaches and dunes along the Atlantic Ocean. The American Shore & Beach Preservation Association voted Seabrook Island Beach the country’s “Best Restored Beach.” 

2- Recreation options

Alligator relaxing on the golf course at Seabrook Island

Palm trees on the golf course at Seabrook Island

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Alligator relaxing on the golf course at Seabrook Island

Onsite facilities include a fully staffed and equipped fitness and wellness center, pools, tennis courts, an equestrian center, outdoor play areas, a large marina with opportunities for fishing, kayaking and boating, and two 18-hole golf courses. You can even horseback ride on the beach.

3- Abundant wildlife

Great opportunities for birders and photographers

Great opportunities for birders and photographers

The mission of Seabrook Island Property Association is to care, protect and preserve the wildlife and natural environment of Seabrook Island. As a result, sea turtles, alligators, Bottlenose dolphins, deer and birds coexist in this lush natural area with residents and visitors. The golf course is an Audubon Society certified cooperative sanctuary. 

4- Sunsets over the marsh

Jetty over the marsh on Seabrook Island

Jetty over the marsh on Seabrook Island 

One of the most magnificent times of day is at sunset. It’s a perfect time to wind down with a glass of wine after an active day, and watch the sun set from a jetty overlooking the tidal marshlands.

Seabrook Island sunset

Seabrook Island sunset

5- Proximity to Charleston

Rainbow Row in downtown Charleston

Rainbow Row in downtown Charleston 

A bridge over the U.S. Intercoastal waterway provides easy access to the enduring charms of downtown Charleston with its historic architecture; shops; world-class restaurants and bars with low-country favorites; cultural, religious and entertainment institutions; and expansive waterfront. Charleston also has a convenient, recently remodeled international airport. 

6- Short and long stay rentals

Salt Marsh, a community on Seabrook Island where we rented a townhome

Salt Marsh, a community on Seabrook Island where we rented a townhome

Close friends who live on Seabrook year-round introduced us to the area. About 1/3 of the community is comprised of permanent residents but there are also a range of vacation rental options. These include large homes, villas, and apartments—with golf and water views—suitable for young families, empty-nesters or large multigenerational family reunions.

When we visited for a month last winter, we rented through Wyndham Vacation Rentals but homes as also available on sites like AirBnb, HomeAway, and VRBO. The real danger of visiting, however, is that you may want to stay!


IF YOU GO


Also nearby:

  • Reply
    Laura
    April 29, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Looks like an incredible place to retire! This makes me rethink my Boca plans;)

  • Reply
    Kay Dougherty
    May 2, 2016 at 9:11 am

    I have a friend who just purchased a place there so this was great for me to check out her new home town vicariously before I can get there in person. I do wonder though how a retired lobbyist used to D.C. will do in such a small, quiet place. Maybe she’ll lobby on behalf of getting better sunscreen for the alligators!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 2, 2016 at 9:16 am

      We’ll have to introduce her to my ex-Washingtonian friends who have made a very easy adjustment to Seabrook Island!

      Best, Irene

  • Reply
    Cathy Sweeney
    May 2, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Seabrook Island just added to the “retirement possibilities” list — assuming we ever retire! 🙂 Looks great for a getaway or vacation. We visited Charleston only once when niece had a destination wedding there. Loved the city.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 3, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      Did you know that Charleston is the second most popular wedding destination in the U.S.—right after Las Vegas.

  • Reply
    Jo ~ Lifestyle Fifty
    May 3, 2016 at 5:14 am

    I agree, it does look an amazing place to retire! Also added to ‘bucket list for retirement’! Not sure about the alligator though … but we get lots of crocs in Australia.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 3, 2016 at 8:53 am

      Those alligators are more interested in sunbathing than “interacting” with people:-) There are many on Seabrook, though.

  • Reply
    Sue Reddel
    May 3, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Looks like a lovely spot to relax and enjoy beautiful this Seabrook Island. I especially like the birds and other animals I could spend hours watching the birds alone.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 3, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      I think they may have bottled the magic of making time pass more slowly.

  • Reply
    Michele Peterson
    May 5, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Seabrook Island looks like a magical place and not very well known among Canadians. Your Salt Marsh townhome looks like its set in the heart of nature – my kind of place.

  • Reply
    Janice Chung
    May 6, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Looks like a great place. I’ve never been to Charleston but have always wanted to visit. Seabrook looks lovely and the idea of renting a place for a few weeks or a month would be perfect….especially in winter! Love how it’s only 25 miles away from Charleston too.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 6, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      There are even several good French restaurants in Charleston!:-)

  • Reply
    Karen Warren
    May 7, 2016 at 6:48 am

    Seabrook Island looks like a great place to visit for the landscape and the wildlife. The proximity to Charleston (a place I’ve long wanted to see) would be an added bonus.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 7, 2016 at 9:25 am

      Every time we visit Seabrook Island, we want to return!

  • Reply
    Carol Colborn
    May 7, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    It sounds like Hilton Head Island! Yes, those islands are the attractions in the Atlantic Coast!

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 8, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      I think it may be a little less developed than Hilton Head, also more permanent residents.

  • Reply
    Donna Janke
    May 8, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    As my husband and I look for new places to spend part of the winter, we will have to add Seabrook Island to our list of possibilities. Sounds relaxing. And I would love to explore Charleston.

    • Irene S. Levine
      Reply
      Irene S. Levine
      May 8, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      Since you have such an appreciation for history, I think you would love it.

  • Reply
    alison abbott
    May 8, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    As my husband and I go back and forth about the many spots to choose from for the next chapter in our lives, Seabrook Island looks like a spot we should certainly investigate. I love all the nature! We had such a great time visiting Charleston, the community has the best of both worlds.

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