Homes for sale in Charleston are going under contract quickly, and many people from throughout the state and region are interested in moving to the area. What is it about Charleston that is so appealing? Perhaps you’ve thought about relocating to Charleston, but you have questions about living in the area. In this article, you’ll get a thorough introduction to life in Charleston that you can use to decide whether or not moving to Charleston is the right decision for you and your family.
Neighborhoods in Charleston
If you’ve only heard Charleston
mentioned in passing, you’re in for quite a treat. The city is renowned for its elegance, hospitality, history, and genteel beauty. Charleston dates back to 1670, and its real estate comprises an astonishing collection of pre-Revolutionary homes. Less surprising, though no less significant, are the antebellum properties representing various classic architectural styles. All this history contrasts beautifully with modern downtown Charleston, where you’re sure to find culture and adventure in spades.
The North Charleston
area extends about 15 miles north of the peninsula and encompasses Charleston International Airport (CHS). The swath is bisected by I-26, making travel even more convenient for the city’s residents and commuters. North Charleston is considered a shopper’s paradise because of its handful of malls and some excellent local boutiques. Residents also enjoy the scenic Riverfront Park
and the North Charleston City Gallery
When your real estate agent mentions Daniel Island
, they’re referencing the planned town established there in 1995. Residential Daniel Island is a friendly place with tree-lined streets, several parks, and a few golf courses. Though small, the community is not especially remote or far from necessities. The island’s miles of coastline are conducive to activities like boating and fishing.
A bastion for mature trees and sagacious residents, Johns Island
occupies the middle ground between historic Charleston and its most popular resort islands. People move to Johns Island for its natural beauty and tranquil coastlines. If you find yourself drawn to Johns Island, make it a point to see the Angel Oak — an ancient tree and genuinely one of the world’s most beautiful.
is a large area with several smaller constituent neighborhoods. There is geographical intrigue in every direction: a harbor to the north, beaches to the east, the ocean toward the south, and a river to the west. James Island contains The Country Club of Charleston, considered the nation’s first golf club. One of the island’s best neighborhoods is Stiles Point, which has beautiful harbor views and homes with unique features like wrap-around porches and inground pools.
follows the Wanda River north from Charleston proper. U.S. Route 17 makes it easy for residents to access downtown Charleston. People favor Mount Pleasant as a conduit between the city and the Atlantic beach communities of Sullivan’s Island
and Isle of Palms
. Creekside Park is one of the top neighborhoods in Mount Pleasant. Most of its custom homes have four or five bedrooms, and the streets are lined with plenty of mature trees.
Cost of living in Charleston
The cost of living in Charleston is on par with the national average
. Most individual expenses are around where you would expect them to be. Charleston residents can spend more on their utility bills than those living in other communities, but they tend to save on grocery and transportation costs.
Transportation in Charleston
One highlight of Charleston is that driving distances within the city rarely exceed 30 minutes. That includes Charleston International Airport
, just north of I-526 — fewer than 30 miles from nearly all communities in the Charleston metro area. Downtown Charleston is highly walkable. The city provides bus service and recently rolled out a partnership with Uber that provides on-demand rides to seniors.
Things to do in Charleston
There are many fun and exciting things to do in the Charleston area, regardless of your primary hobbies or interests. Several museums and historic sites commemorate the city’s role in the Revolutionary War and Civil War — history buffs should check out Fort Sumter
, Fort Moultrie
, and The Museum at Market Hall
. You can dig even deeper into history at The Charleston Museum
, which was founded in 1773, making it the nation’s oldest museum. Children will enjoy themselves at the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry
and the Edisto Island Serpentarium
In addition to its affinity for history, the community’s appreciation for beauty is evident throughout Charleston. The city has some of the most beautiful flowers; you can see them blooming at Middleton Place
, Magnolia Gardens
, and White Point Garden
. You can patronize the visual and performing arts at many venues throughout Charleston (the city has several theaters putting on shows year-round).
Charleston is as conducive to golf as it is to the foliage that decorates local courses. Kiawah Island Golf Resort
is one of the world's golf capitals; its Ocean Course merits mention, having hosted the Ryder Cup and the PGA Championship. Other prime courses include Daniel Island Club
and the City of Charleston Municipal Golf Course
The Lowcountry Tennis Association runs several leagues on courts throughout the city. Casual spectators will enjoy Charleston Race Week, one of the foremost regattas on the East Coast.
No discussion of Charleston would be complete without reference to its impressive roster of annual events. January’s Lowcountry Oyster Festival, July’s Fireworks at Patriot’s Point, and December’s Festival of Lights at James Island each add to the city’s flavor.
Restaurants in Charleston
The miracle of the Charleston food scene is that it brings together everyone, from tourists and newcomers to longtime Charlestonians. The city’s restaurants represent more cuisines than you could shake a stick at. If there’s a common theme, it’s Lowcountry barbeque, seafood, and other specialties like cornbread and fried green tomatoes.
Palates everywhere are thrilled to discover the dishes at restaurants throughout Charleston. Two beautiful downtown restaurants to try are Hank’s Seafood Restaurant
and Fleets Landing Restaurant & Bar
, the latter of which occupies an abandoned naval loading dock. Slightly North of Broad Restaurant
(SNOB) serves modern cuisine inside a refurbished 18th-century warehouse near the water. Magnolias
is another local favorite popular for its fresh twists on Southern cooking and centuries-old dining room.
Schools in Charleston
The Charleston metro area comprises three counties, each with its own school district: Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester.
Across the board, these public schools have an average ranking of 9/10 per Public School Review, meaning Charleston’s public schools are in the top 20% of public schools statewide. Prime example of superb education are Academic Magnet High School
(ranked second nationally) and Charleston County School of the Arts
(another top-ranked magnet school).
Weather in Charleston
Charleston is blessed with a mild year-round climate. Summers are warm and humid, so Charlestonians take to the beach when it heats up in July and August (a few of the best public beaches are Edisto State Beach, Folly Beach, and Isle of Palms County Park). Many swimming pools stay open through October, so you can capitalize on the chance sultry day. Charleston golfers enjoy peak seasons in spring and fall. There are over a dozen championship courses nearby — Kiawah Island has several, including the famed Ocean Course
Conclusion & next steps
Once you decide that Charleston is where you want to live, Kenton Selvey
would love to help you shop for Charleston real estate. Known for being a passionate seller, relentless negotiator, and innovative marketer, Kenton is focused on being his clients’ champion when it comes to the sale or purchase of their Charleston home. He is a steady guide and sounding board through the transaction process and provides his clients with unparalleled market data and trend analysis to allow them to make informed decisions. Kenton’s skills have been honed throughout his 25-year career building and marketing global media and fashion brands, celebrity representation, and real estate. Reach out to Kenton
if you have more questions about living in Charleston or if you’re ready to start shopping for homes for sale in Charleston.