5 Reasons Why I Love Living On James Island


When my husband and I moved to Charleston, we had zero clue what part of town we should live in. We asked our realtor where all of the young families were, and he said, “everywhere.” Super helpful. So we looked…everywhere! And by luck, we ended up on James Island.

My love for James Island runs DEEP. I don’t think I have ever loved someplace I’ve lived as much as I love James Island. There is something so special about this little island and it feels like everyone who lives here knows it. There are so many reasons to love living on James Island, but here are my top five:

5 Reasons I love Living On James Island

  1. Small Town Feel. One of my favorite things about James Island is how it feels like a small town. I feel like I run into someone I know all the time, which I love. The librarians, bank tellers, and women at the packing and shipping store know you. Our beautiful brand new town hall hosts events (like the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony) that feel straight out of a movie. I have never lived in a small town, but now I know the charm of it! Seeing familiar faces everywhere you go, feeling a part of a community and connected to your neighbors…it’s just the best!
  2. Chilled Out, Relaxed Vibe. I think being so close to Folly Beach helps give James Island its cool, hippy vibe. James Islanders are just happy and chill. From my perspective (and I’m sure this could be debated), there’s not a lot of “mommy wars” or competition as to who has the nicest house, etc. People are genuinely really nice and are open to meeting new people. Our neighborhood is not fancy, but we’ve got the best neighbors in the world. To me, that’s everything.
  3. Location. I tell people all the time that I live ten minutes from downtown Charleston and ten minutes from the beach. What is better than that? I feel so lucky that I can take the kids on a last-minute walk on the beach at 5 pm without having to make a big day of it. And, I love that it takes such little effort to get downtown! It seriously is the best of both worlds. It’s so fun to be so close to the excitement of a beach town and also have such easy access to the #1 tourist city.
  4. Small Businesses. James Island is filled with wonderful and quirky small businesses and restaurants. Oh, Bohemian Bull, Smokey Oak Taproom, Baguette Magic, Tiny Tadpoles, Charleston Pour House, Ellis Creek Fish Camp, Paisanos, Zia Taqueria, Terrace Theater…let me count the ways that I love you! There are so many small businesses that I love here! It’s rare to see a chain restaurant and that’s the way I like it.
  5. Parks, Outdoor Space, and the Views! As an island, we are blessed with spectacular views. Driving along Harborview Road and looking out towards the peninsula is gorgeous. Driving down Folly Road at sunset towards the beach is breathtaking. These views remind me daily how lucky I am to live here! And the parks on James Island! We have one of the best county parks (James Island County Park), in my opinion. Sunrise Park overlooks the harbor and is great for hunting for sharks’ teeth. We also have awesome playgrounds like Plymouth Park and Pickney Park.

Have I convinced you yet that James Island is THE BEST? If you live on James Island, I’d love to know your favorite things about living here! Comment below and let me know!


  1. I completely agree! We fell in love with James Island in 2005 when we first moved here! It’s an amazing place to live for the exact reasons you mentioned. I love my neighbors, the school’s, beaches, parks, the view of beautiful Charleston every morning when I take our 10 yr old son to school at Harbor View Elem. Our older 2 boys went to James Island Elem, then James Island Middle (Now Camp Rd Middle) and then James Island Charter HS. We loved all the school’s. It’s an amazing community here on James Island and we feel incredibly lucky everyday that we live here!

    • Yes!! I’m so glad to hear that you’ve loved all of the schools. My little guy is going to start at JIES next year and I have heard nothing but great things about it!

  2. It really is the greatest. My husband grew up downtown, SOB. His mother is in Mt P now. So we are all over the CHS area and without a doubt, James Island is the Best! Love your article and agree with all of it- you nailed it.

  3. Retired on James Island in 2008. Moved back to Ohio to be close to great grandchildren in 2015. I hated leaving! If I could move back and have the family there it would he paradise. We lived on Cross Creek Dr. with a little lake in back of our apartment. I really loved the peace and tranquility there. And the fact that we were so close to everything we needed was a big plus. The county Park Christmas lights are the BEST anywhere!

    • Yes! Totally! You are a good grandma for making the move 🙂 I bet they love having you closer! Come back and vacation here anytime!

  4. I love being an JI gal now too! We lived on folly for 7 years and after selling our home we were priced out of actual folly. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise as living on James island is seriously the bear of both worlds. I can get to the beach in under 10 mins but don’t have to deal with the insane beach traffic to get home I’d i don’t want to. Also no loud parties every night anymore from all the beach vacationers. Also discovering the James island county park with my newborn has been amazing.

    • Take that sweet little girl of yours to Babygarten at the James Island library too! The librarian is the sweetest and Babygarten is so cute. And it’s a great way to be around other JI moms with little babies!

  5. You nailed it! We are James Islanders all the way. Friendly people, best location & fabulous outdoor, coastal living!

  6. I don’t want to sound like a Debbie downer and it’s a great post it really is a great piece but I can think of about 17 things that were original motivations for me to move here that are now forever mere memory. If you’ve been here say 1215 years you remember the happy zone win SC grew into its vibrant self but had yet to feel the crush of residential demand. Still I can’t leave I love it

  7. My wife and I moved to James Island for the schools and neighborhoods. We wouldn’t live any place else. My son went to Fort Johnson and now the high school. The one thing I would change, if I could, would be to increase family friendly restaurants. We seen to have too many bars and places to get a beer and wings on JI. The “hippy vibe” can be smelled in the air behind a lot of these bars and in there parking lots. ” Hey kids , jump in the van so we can catch a contact high before we go into a bar and try to feed you”
    Other than that, I love James Island.

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