The Town of Seabrook Island – A Brief Overview

The Town of Seabrook Island is a sea island jewel located off the southeastern US Atlantic Ocean coast. Just 23 miles south of historic Charleston SC, Seabrook Island offers residents and guests a unique coastal experience.

As of 2023, the average age of homebuyers on Seabrook Island is 56 years old. This is a decrease from 65 years of age. The island is 94% built out and there are only 168 undeveloped land parcels left.

The Seabrook Island Property Owners Association (SIPOA) predicts the island will be built-out in 5-7 years. Currently, 67 homes are under construction. As of February 2023, 25 new construction projects have been approved, but not yet started.

What is Seabrook Island Like?

This luxury, gated community is an ecological oasis, retaining the grace and charm of past centuries.

The modern Seabrook Island offers a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life with breathtaking sunsets, luxury club amenities, and 3.5 miles of pristine beach.

Native flora and fauna coexist in harmony with island residents creating one of a kind opportunity to enjoy a true Lowcountry lifestyle.

  • Early History of Seabrook Island

The early history of Seabrook Island offers evidence the island was home to native Americans. The Bohicket, Stono and Kiawah tribes thrived on an abundance of native flora and fauna. The waters surrounding the island teemed with oysters, crab, shrimp, and fish.

The British sent explorers to the Americas and the Stono Tribe ceded lands including Seabrook Island to the crown. The creeks and surrounding Bohicket river proved to be desirable for navigating goods and also hiding ships from marauders.

Seabrook Island passed from Thomas Jones to Ebenezer Simmons. Simmons, who named the island after himself, cultivated rice, cotton, and the highly sought-after indigo.

The area found itself occupied by British soldiers during the Revolutionary War.

A cotton planter by the name of William Seabrook acquired the island in 1816.  It retains its name given by Seabrook today.

His revolutionary methods of farming solidified cotton as the main crop on Johns Island.  And, it was used primarily for resources, rather than being farmed.

The island fell to the ownership of William Gregg, who made his fortune in textiles. The island again found itself occupied by enemy forces during the Civil War. The Union Army staged a campaign at Privateer Creek.

Following the war, Seabrook Island came under the ownership of William Andell. Under Andell’s ownership, the long-standing tradition of conservation and stewardship began.

Once again, the island sold. This time, New Yorker Victor Morawetz acquired a large portion of the island. He generously donated the island to the Episcopal Church in 1951. The church sold all but 230 acres to the Seabrook Development Corporation in 1970. The development of Seabrook Island evolved over the past 50 years culminating in the balanced, sustainable, luxury lifestyle currently enjoyed by island residents.

The Town of Seabrook Island Government

The Town of Seabrook Island operates under a Mayor-Council form of government. The Mayor of Seabrook Island commands all powers as prescribed by state law and serves as the chief administrative officer of the town.

A Town Administrator, appointed by the Mayor, assists the Mayor with the administration of all departments and duties governing the Town of Seabrook Island.

The Town Council includes the Mayor and four Town Council members. This governing council is elected at large.

Elections are held in November of odd-numbered years. The term for each position is 2 years. There is no term limit.

A quorum of no less than 3 members must be present for voting. The Mayor and council members serve the community without compensation.

  • Town of Seabrook Beach Management

Seabrook Island is a special island. Community residents and town officials share a common mission to preserve the unspoiled character of the beaches.

The Town of Seabrook Island, the Seabrook Island Property Owners Association (SIPOA), the Seabrook Island Club, and Camp St. Christopher collaborated on the Comprehensive Beach Management Plan.

This plan's most recent updates occurred in 2019. This plan, approved by the Seabrook Island Town Council ordinance, is part of the South Carolina State Beachfront Management Plan.

  • Town of Seabrook Beach Rules

The town’s Beachfront Management Ordinance prohibits the following activities on all beaches within the town:

  • Walking on any portion of the primary frontal sand dune (other than designated SIPOA or private access points);
  • Driving or operating any motor vehicle on the beach, except as authorized by the town;
  • Harming, harassing, or disturbing any loggerhead turtle or endangered/threatened bird species, including their eggs and nests;
  • Swimming in Captain Sams Inlet during the period two hours before to two hours after low tide, or any time when dolphins are present in the inlet (NEW);
  • Failing to restrain a pet when and where required by ordinance (see below for leash requirements);
  • Failing to pick up and dispose of animal waste;
  • Leaving trash, debris, or refuse on the beach;
  • Negligent operation of any vessel or watercraft, including while under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Launching or retrieving a motorized vessel of any kind;
  • Overnight storage of personal beach equipment and supplies;
  • Building or maintaining a fire or open flame (unless approved by SIPOA above the high-water mark);
  • Using any grill, cooker, or heating device heated by fire;
  • Igniting or discharging fireworks;
  • Using any type of glass container;
  • Engaging in commercial activities (including solicitation); and
  • ​“Chumming” on or within 600 feet of the beach.

  • Town of Seabrook Island Pet Rules and Leash Law

Seabrook Island’s beaches are pet friendly! To ensure that all users can have a safe and pleasant Seabrook Island pet-friendly beach experience, pet owners must observe the following requirements:

Beach Rules for Pets on Seabrook Island

Restricted Area

  • The restricted area begins at a line extending from Boardwalk #1 (Community Center Boardwalk) to the Atlantic Ocean and continues in a northeasterly direction to Captain Sams Inlet.
  • Within the restricted area, no pets shall be allowed at any time, whether on or off a leash.​

Limited Restriction Area 

  • The limited restriction area begins approximately 300 yards northwest of a line extending from Boardwalk #9 (Pelican Watch Boardwalk) to the Edisto River and continues in a northwesterly direction to Privateer Creek.
  • Within the limited restriction area, pets must be on a leash at all times.
General Beach Area: In all other areas of the beach, the following seasonal rules shall apply:
  • Peak Season (April 1 – September 30): Pets must be on a leash between the hours of 10:00 am and 5:00 pm. At all other times, pets may be off a leash, provided they remain effectively controlled while on the beach;
  • Off-Peak Season (October 1 – March 31): Pets may be off a leash at all times, provided they remain effectively controlled while on the beach.

Description of Seabrook Island Leash Requirements

​When a pet is required to be on a leash, it must be restrained using a physical restraint made of cord, rope, strap, chain or other material effective for restraining the type and size of the animal to which it is attached. In addition, the physical restraint must be no more than sixteen (16) feet in length, secured to the animal’s collar or harness, and continuously held by a competent person physically capable of restraining the animal. Animals under voice control, or under control of remotely operated devices (such as electronic collars), are considered to be “off leash.”​

​When an animal is allowed to be off-leash, it must be effectively controlled by a competent person from (a) entering any area on or adjacent to the beach in which a pet is prohibited; (b) destroying or damaging any property; (c) attacking or threatening to attack any person or any other animal or pet in any manner; or (d) being a nuisance to other beach goers.

Ready to Buy Seabrook Island Real Estate?

When you are ready to buy beach real estate near Charleston, SC Seabrook Island should be a top choice to consider. Seabrook Island Real Estate is highly desirable and still a good value compared to some Charleston area island communities. The combination of nature and island amenities offer an unparalleled island lifestyle.

The Pam Harrington Exclusives Real Estate team brings over 45 years of continuous real estate sales experience to Seabrook Island buyers and sellers.

We are a recognized leader in Seabrook Island real estate sales.

Many island residents and owners begin their journey to buying property as a guest on this Charleston area island. If you are ready to find your beach house or property connect with our real estate sales team and let's get started now.

If you are not quite ready to work with an agent, sign up for Seabrook Island listing alerts and stay up to date on new listings as they come on the market.

When you are ready to make Seabrook Island your primary or secondary home, Pam Harrington Exclusives is here to make that a reality.