Charleston, SC

Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms

Isle of Palms pier. Flickr: Alistair Nicol

A worth-it destination run is to explore Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms, for its waterfront roads, attractive homes, and great beaches for running. The area is just a 15-minute drive from downtown and is a particular treat at sunset! There are a few different ways to do this run, depending on the preferred length. One running highlight in this area is the Ben Sawyer Bridge — it’s 2.5 miles from the mainland to Sullivan’s Island Beach, with nice marsh and water views, and a good pedestrian path. So that alone would be a 5-mile out and back. Best to park on Sullivan’s Island and start from there.

Sullivan’s Island Beach. Google Street View

One on the island, there’s more to explore on foot. From the beach, head west to Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse (1 mile out and back), or east for nearly 4 miles to Isle of Palms Beach, using waterfront roads and Rt. 703. There are nice palm trees, attractive homes, occasional water views, and at Isle of Palms beach a nice pier to run out. You can also run more miles on Palm Blvd. all the way to the end of Isle of Palms, but there are no water views and it’s a bit nondescript.

This is also a great area for beach running, with several miles of very runnable beach featuring firm, compact sand. On Sullivan’s Island, the beach is ~2.5 miles, and on Isle of Palms, up to 6 miles.

You can also run over the Isle of Palms Connector Bridge (Highway 517, ~3.5 miles one-way). It’s daunting looking, but there is a bike/pedestrian path (not protected).

Essentials
  • Many miles of options, see description
  • Flat
  • Depends on route/section chosing
  • There's parking available on the island for the beaches