Some years back a movie came out starring Leonardo DiCaprio called The Beach. DiCaprio plays a young American college student travelling the world. He crosses paths with a mysterious traveler who reveals the location of a secret community on a beautiful uninhabited island off the coast of Thailand with an unspoiled beach and pristine lagoon, completely untouched by the tourist industry. He immediately embarks on an adventure to find it and learns that the community has been living off the land while cautiously guarding their secrecy to avoid word spreading to other travelers, who would undoubtedly descend upon the beach en masse. DiCaprio falls in love with the natural beauty of the island and realizes he can never bring himself to leave the tropical oasis.
DiCaprio’s discovery of an off-the-beaten-path paradise is a fantasy that many people dream about and only few have found and even less have admitted to finding. These places seem worlds away yet sometimes can be right under our nose, especially if you live in Charleston.
Enter Dewees Island. This privately owned barrier island is situated 11 miles north of Charleston near the Capers Island Heritage Reserve. The only way to get to this rustic island is via a 20 minute boat ride or island ferry. There are no golf courses, spas, bars, or fancy restaurants nor cars or paved roads to ride on once you’re there. This exclusive barrier island community is home to a select group of local residents. They call this their own personal paradise which transcends traditional “island-culture” altogether.
According to Island Eye News, “Over 95 percent of the 1,200 acre island is in its natural state with only 64 secluded houses flanked by one of the most pristine and private beaches in the country.” Land owners on the island have strict guidelines in how they can build their home. All homes are required to use only naturally surfaced driveways and roads, native plants, and water efficient home plans while also being built away from the beach front to preserve the natural ecosystem. There are no cars on the island, but residents do utilize electric golf carts and bicycles to get around. There is a small central community area with condos available to rent for guests of residents, family members or those with a referral from a homeowner. Amenities include a tennis court, saltwater swimming pool and recreation area.
Since there are no restaurants or grocery stores most people prepare ahead of time bringing food and supplies over on the ferry. Yet, many find it easier to catch their own dinner. The island’s close proximity to the intracoastal waterway and numerous tidal creeks make it perfect for crabbing and fishing. Red Drum, Spotted Seatrout and Flounder are a few of the many fish species found around the island that are delicious eating while Stone Crab and Blue Crabs can also be found in the shallows.
The island consists of residents and homeowners only which helps to maintain its quiet beauty. There are no crowds, in fact most of the time you have the whole beach to yourself to walk, collect shells or sharks teeth, or just relax by the ocean. There is so little development that several species of native shorebirds have claimed nesting grounds near the beach including the Least Tern which was almost wiped out in the 20th century. Like many of the neighboring barrier islands, Loggerhead turtles make use of the beach by digging nests for their eggs in the dunes. It is common to see them starting in May and continuing into early August.
Whether Dewees is as magical as The Beach in Thailand, that’s up for DiCaprio to say, but one thing is for sure Dewees is one of the most unique and eco-friendly islands around, focusing on preservation by limiting development while coexisting with the barrier island ecosystem. It continues to be one of the cleanest, quietest and most beautiful beaches in the country.
Check out the latest real estate listings on Dewees Island:[idx-listings city=”Dewees Island” statuses=”1″ propertytypes=”293,295″ orderby=”DateAdded” orderdir=”DESC” count=”10″ showlargerphotos=”true”]
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