A day on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina

One of the great things about Charleston is its proximity to so many different islands. If you have time on your itinerary, I would definitely suggest crossing the Ravenel Bridge and heading to Sullivan’s Island. This small town, once inhabited by Edgar Allan Poe, is full of remarkable things to learn, see, do, and eat! Here is an outline for a phenomenal day:

I’ve been to plenty of lighthouses before. Tall ones, fat ones, all different colored ones, those made with different building materials, but never a single triangle one! Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse [Intersection of Station 18 1/2 st and Flag St, Sullivan’s Island, SC], also known as Charleston Light, is really unique and worth visiting for that reason. It was built triangular pointing towards the ocean so that it can withstand 125 mile per hour winds. It’s really neat to walk around the grounds, but the 163-foot tower is fenced off, and normally people are not allowed to the top because it is difficult to access the lantern room.

charleston_light_The lighthouse is right next to the Sullivan’s Island Beach, so we just continued on down the road bidding the lighthouse goodbye (even though we could still see the tippy top from the beach). We took the boardwalk heading towards the sand, sullivans_island_beach but stopped so many times to check out the birds! A line of pelicans, a vibrant cardinal, a bird of prey, and an eastern bluebird were among the colorful assortment we saw while standing on the boardwalk, what an added bonus.

sullivans_island_birdingWe hit the sand and made note of the numbered entrance we walked in, there were many entrances up and down the beach.

sullivans_island_beach_south_carolinaAhh the glorious Atlantic, it was so wonderful to be on the beach in March!

sullivans_island_beach_charlestonPeople were swimming and sun bathing, this is also a popular dog walking beach. During our stroll on the sand we saw some intense jellyfish and playful plovers.

sullivans_island_beach_We walked all the way down towards the point of the island and caught a glimpse of Fort Sumter.

fort_sumter_charlestonThen it was time for a few minutes of R&R in the sun. Would have loved to lounge longer, but we had lunch reservations at the Obstinate Daughter [2063 Middle St, Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482].

the_obstinate_daughter_sullivans_islandIt was worth leaving the beach to have lunch here, what a treat! The décor was outstanding and service was on point.

obstinate_daughter_sullivans_islandWe both went for the frogmore chowder which was ultimately creamy, yet delicate and light. It was filled with savory bites of fish, potato, and corn. I loved the presentation.

frogmore_stewFor our main we decided to split a sandwich and went for the pan bagna, chunks of tangy local tuna paired with a rainbow assortment of fresh vegetables: radish, tomato, cucumber, olive, bell pepper, onion, and arugula – plus a hard boiled egg! The bread it was on was delightfully fluffy.

the_obstinate_daughterCombined with the soup this was a perfectly filling lunchtime meal! Next stop was Fort Moultrie [1214 Middle St, Sullivan’s Island, SC 29482] to take in some history and catch up with some old friends who were in town as well. We decided to visit this fort over the more popular Fort Sumter for a few reasons. You don’t have to take a boat to get there, you can drive. You also save $20 this way if you don’t have your own boat. It’s actually free to enter if you have an America the Beautiful pass (and very affordable otherwise). It is far less crowded. It covers a much longer span of history. So we started in the visitors center and oriented ourselves with the 171 years the fort was in use.

fort_moultrie_sullivans_islandThe displays were eye catching and informative. We crossed the street to enter the fort itself and walked around the curving paths to check out the weaponry that was used throughout the years.

fort_moultrie_sullivans_island_The landscape surrounding the fort is beautiful. We walked out to take a look at the water and saw where Charlotte was proposed to.

fort_moultrie_south_carolinaNow outside of the fort we took the path to cannon row,

fort_moultrie_charlestonand finally to battery jasper.

battery_jasper_fort_moultriePhew! From the Revolutionary War all the way to World War II, that was a lot of history. Our last stop of the day technically wasn’t on Sullivan’s Island, but Mount Pleasant was on the way back to Charleston. Last but certainly not least was a visit to Pickett Park and Pitt Street Bridge [998 Pitt St, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464], one of the highlights of our trip.

picket_park_mount_pleasantThe sun was starting to dip and it cast a most romantic light on the park.

pickett_park_mt_pleasantThe path isn’t too long, couldn’t be more than a mile out and back. A paved portion of the trail and a grassy area shared respectfully by joggers, bikers, and walkers alike. There are distant views of Fort Sumter and the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse. You’ll find many sitting benches along the way to take in the view.

pitt_street_bridge_mt_pleasantWhen we got to the end of the road there were the remnants of the old Pitt Street bridge. pitt_street_bridge_mount_pleasantWhat made this walk so very special was the incredible diversity of birds.

pitt_street_bridge_charlestonI mean, absolutely amazing amounts! We saw oystercatchers, kingfishers, egrets, plovers, mergansers, herons, grebes, magpies, everywhere you looked there was a new and interesting bird.

pitt_street_bridge_birdingSo after a long blissfully busy day we made our way back over the Ravenel Bridge to Charleston.

ravenel_bridge_charlestonSullivan’s Island was a fantastic day trip and really added a special element to our trip.

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