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

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!


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