For all of you buyers out there that are out of state, this blog is for you.  It seems the two most popular places to live outside of historic downtown Charleston are Mt. Pleasant and James Island.  Basically, the two areas are similar in distance to downtown and the beaches, with each having similarities and each having their own differences.

One of the big questions I get as a Realtor is: Which is better, Mt. Pleasant or James Island?  Well, that answer is easy…There is no right answer.  It all depends on your lifestyle, standard of living, interests, extracurricular activities, school interests…the list goes on.  It all depends on what you strive to get from each community.  What I’d like to do is break down each area from a local’s perspective, which may help you get a sense of both areas.  *My disclaimer: Please note that there are thousands of differences between the two, and I’m obviously going to leave out your favorite points, but I’m going to try and make this as simple as I can, for the average out-of-towner that doesn’t have a “favorite”.

The first area I’ll talk about is James Island.  James Island lies south of downtown Charleston, and has about 20,000 residents.  It is an island by definition, but the bodies of water that surround it are rivers/creeks.  Most of the homes on James Island were built in the 60’s, with brick ranch homes making up the majority of residences.  James Island also has a good amount of condominiums and townhomes.  This seems to attract the students going to MUSC or the College of Charleston.  Prices typically are less expensive than in Mt. Pleasant, and the younger crowd enjoys this.  Folly Beach is the closest beach to James Island, being no more than 15 minutes away from the furthest point.  James Island is a little more rural than Mt. Pleasant, with a lot of “pocket” neighborhoods.  There are a lot of homes on tidal creeks, since you can find water at almost any neighborhood.

Mount Pleasant lies east of downtown, Charleston and has a population of about 50,000.  It has its share of older neighborhoods dating back to the 1800’s (like the Old Village), but most of the neighborhoods are newer.  Instead of pocket neighborhoods like James Island, Mt. Pleasant has larger, planned communities, almost self-sustaining.  Mount Pleasant has seen an explosive growth since the 90’s due to its location to downtown, and because of the construction of I-526 (easy access to anywhere, now).  Mt. Pleasant is made up of mostly families, retirees, and young professionals.  Some of the best schools in the area are found here, making it an easy choice for these families.  Mt. Pleasant has its choice between two beaches, Sullivans Island and Isle of Palms.  These beaches have less of the college-aged crowd, and more of the family-oriented, or retiree feel.  Mt. Pleasant has more strip-mall plazas than James Island, and more shops/restaurants than James Island.  Everything is a little newer, and may even move at a faster pace.

Either area you choose is a winner in my opinion.  Here again, it all depends on what you like.  The interview process is so crucial with your Charleston Realtor, because it is at this point you will find out what area might be best suited for you.  I would highly recommend spending a day in each area, driving around and taking it all in.  If I can help you answer any question on either area, give me a call, I’d be happy to help! Posted by Mike Ciucci on


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Mount Pleasant seems to offer everything you could possible want. I just haven't spent much time around James Island, maybe I should visit for a couple days.

Posted by Myrtle Beach Real Estate on Friday, July 17th, 2009 at 6:31am

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