Things To Do On Sullivan’s Island

Your guide to fun things to do on Sullivan’s Island, from surfing to visiting a historic WWII era military base

This article shares the top things to do on Sullivan’s Island, from the best places to sit by the ocean to adventure-packed activities.

Sullivan’s Island, a barrier island just off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, offers a variety of activities for visitors. Unwind with a frosty beverage from the local Co-Op while soaking up the sun on the sandy beach, or explore the island on a rented beach cruiser. Immerse yourself in history at Fort Moultrie, then test your skills with a kiteboarding lesson – the choice is yours!

This guide to things to do on Sullivan’s Island shares all of these and more.

Things to Do on Sullivan’s Island

Play or Relax at the Beach

Beach at Sullivan's Island, SC

One of our favorite things to do on Sullivan’s Island is relax at the beach. There are plenty of public beach access points on the island.

What’s interesting about the area is that there aren’t any hotels on the island, so the area is typically less crowded than other Charleston beaches. Although, the main dining area can get pretty busy!

Parking is available at beach access points all along the island. Below are some of the best beach spots on the island:

  • Station 18: located near the Lighthouse
  • Station 23: closest to the restaurants on Middle Street
  • Station 16: access beaches via the Sullivan’s Island Nature Trail to get a remote island beach feel

Explore Historic Fort Moultrie

Fort Moultrie in Sullivan's Island, SC

Explore Fort Moultrie and learn about its historic past dating back to the American Revolution. The fort has been modernized over the years and was in operation through WWII.

On the grounds you can explore buildings, underground bunkers and take in breathtaking views of the ocean and Charleston harbor from the fort’s walls.

Park at the Fort Moultrie Visitor Center across the Middle Street from the fort near Station 12. Tickets for Fort Moultrie are $10 for adults 16+.

Stroll along Middle Street and stop in for a bite or drink

Exterior of Poe's Tavern in Sullivan's Island, SC.

Middle Street is the small commercial corridor at the heart of Sullivan’s Island.

It’s home to several eateries ranging from casual grab and go to fine dining establishments. There are also spots to have a beer or cocktail after a fun day at the beach.

Kiddos love grabbing ice cream from Republic Ice Cream or Beardcat’s Sweet Shop and playing at the playground at J. Marshall Stith Park.

Explore Sullivan’s Island by Bike

Beach cruiser bike on sand

One of the best ways to spend a day on Sullivan’s is to explore by bike. And lucky for you, Sealand Sports offers bike rentals on Sullivan’s Island.

The entire island is 2 1/2 miles long and flat so it’s easy to cycle from end to end. Along the way you can stop at tourist attractions like Fort Moultrie and the Lighthouse or pop on the the beach at several popular beach spots.

You’ll also be primed for eating at some of Sullivan’s Islands best eateries. Along the way you’ll be able to enjoy the coastal architecture.

Catch a Sunset at the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse

Lighthouse on Sullivan's Island

The Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse, also known as Charleston Light, is one of the Charleston area’s most recognizable landmarks. This black and white lighthouse is operated by the National Park Service.

Unfortunately it is not accessible to the public but the grounds are a great place to visit to catch a breathtaking sunset over the Charleston harbor.

The iconic modern lighthouse built in 1962 is also worth marveling at.

Watch Ships Float into Charleston Harbor

Ship sailing into Charleston Harbor just off of the beach on Sullivan's Island.

From the southern end of Sullivan’s Island you have a great view of the Charleston harbor and can watch the flurry of sea traffic that comes and goes every day.

The beaches here are so close that it seems like you can almost touch the container ships, bulk carriers, cruise ships and recreational boats that travel in and out of the harbor.

The best place to watch the ships is on the beach between Station 18 near the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse and Station 12 next to Fort Moultrie.

The ships are a great bonus and fascinating for kids when playing on the beach!

Go Surfing or Stand-up Paddleboarding

Stand up paddle boarder in ocean

If you want to get into some water sports without too much skill required rent a surfboard or stand-up paddleboard from Sealand Sports.

Surfing is a great way to get into the ocean while a stand-up paddleboard is great for exploring both ocean and marsh. The area isn’t totally known for surfing, so unless you know there are big waves to be conquered, you may want to stick to a paddleboard.

Sealand Sports on Sullivan’s Island carries rugged exploration paddleboards that are great for the marsh and ocean. Each rental comes with a life vest, leash and paddle. Rentals start at $40 (daily) and go to $160 (weekly.)

If surfing is more your style, you can rent a Mick Fanning soft top board that comes with a leash. Rentals start at $40 per day.

Take a Kiteboarding Lesson

Kite surfer in ocean

Looking for a fun way to spend a breezy day on Sullivan’s Island? Take a kiteboarding lesson!

You can do this through Sealand Sport’s Kiteschool. They have kiteboarding lessons ranging from 3 to 8 hours. It’s a great way to get introduced to the sport and test it out!

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