James Island Living: The Secret is Out
The secret may be out on James Island, as the once quiet island is now a destination for Charleston area newcomers and veterans alike. Convenient to Folly Beach and downtown Charleston, there’s no shortage of reasons more and more people want to call James Island home.
Bisected by a busy commercial thoroughfare, Folly Road, you’ll find everything from box stores like Lowes and Walmart, to freshly made must have French croissants (Baguette Magic) and Belgian waffles (Sweet Belgian). The road to Folly Beach certainly hosts its fair share of fast food establishments, but you’ll also find family-fun, like Wild Blue Ropes Adventure Park, a confidence building challenge course for children as young as 5 and adults looking to test their limits.
Wild Blue Ropes challenges adventure seekers 5 years old and up.
Turn at almost any intersection and you’ll find you’re never very far from the marshes and tidal creeks that are the envy of our upstate friends. Cruise down one such offshoot, Riverland Drive, and you’ll be taken away by glimpses of the Stono River and mature grand oaks that hide the older ranch homes that once defined James Island’s landscape. Drive too fast, however, and you’ll miss the small, coveted neighborhoods of new construction that attract so many families today.
On Riverland Drive you’ll also find the massive 643 acre James Island County Park that attracts visitors far and wide for its spectacular Christmas light show, and locals year round as a recreational haven for outdoorsmen. The picnic grounds host birthday parties and community groups for afternoons of fun in the sun, while the fishing pier hides in the back of the park for those looking for more solace. A busy dog park on the park’s waterway brings together the island’s dog-lovers, while a medium-sized waterpark will cool you and the kids off during the summer doldrums.
Find quiet companionship on James Island County Park fishing pier.
Find your way to Maybank Highway and stumble upon a well-used municipal golf course, but also the small but trendy Riverland Terrace Shopping Center- a hop, skip, and jump from the same-named eclectic neighborhood. Enjoy a community movie experience like no other at the Terrace Theater, where you’ll find independent films playing right next to blockbusters, and comfy stadium seating for 20 rather than 200 (then come back 200 more times). After your movie, walk a few yards to two of James Island’s best eats; Zia Taqueria or Crust Wood Fired Pizza. Sit outside for some quiet people-watching or enjoy a bustling, community feel on the inside. Either way you won’t be disappointed.
The Terrace Theater will make your rethink your movie theater expectations.
Head over to the East side of the island and you’ll find mostly residential homes filled by crazy convenience lovers with a 5 to 10 minute commute downtown. The newly reconstructed Harborview Road added sidewalks to either side of the road, a center turn lane, a bike lane, and the street’s first and only two traffic signals. Say goodbye to rush hour and say hello to evening strolls to Harris Teeter and the locally owned and frequented La Tabella (found in the same shopping center). One mile away stop at Ellis Creek Fish Camp for the best out-door seating on the island.
With the newly completed bike lane, locals on the East Side can now safely bike or drive to Demetre Park. Tucked quietly away at the end of Fort Johnson Road and donated to the city by Melton Demetre in 1990, this James Island treasure lays claim to sandy beaches, a fishing pier, walking grounds, and gorgeous views of the Charleston Harbor. The park, surnamed Sunrise Park by islanders, or “shark tooth beach” by young paleontologists, easily fills a morning searching for fossils and taking in views of the Battery.
James Island residents walk the water line at Demetre Park in search of shark teeth.
It's no wonder James Island has become such a desirable landing spot for so many in the Lowcountry; median home prices outperformed the region as demand for James Island homes surged. And with so much going for it, it won't be surprising to see this trend continue.