Where is Kiawah Island: Your Quick and Easy Beach Getaway

Aerial view of Kiawah Island

So you’ve just had coffee with a friend who’s raving about her latest Kiawah Island escape. Or maybe you spent the morning drooling over social media photos of Kiawah’s amazing beach, lowcountry charm, and coastal cuisine.

Either way—now you can’t stop thinking about your own laid-back week on Kiawah’s shore. But why is this place so special? What exactly is “lowcountry”? And, just where is Kiawah Island? Read on to find out.

The “Just Right” Factor

When it comes to your vacation, climate is a big concern. Head too far north and you could spend your trip shivering on the windy shore. Go too far south and you might spend the whole day blasting the AC while you watch the waves from your living room. Not at Kiawah Island! Conveniently located halfway up the eastern seaboard—Kiawah Island offers the “just right” climate for the perfect beach getaway.

Lowcountry

Low on sea level but high on fun—that about sums it up. Okay, geographically speaking, lowcountry is an area of Carolina coastline stretching from Pawleys Island in South Carolina to the Savannah River at the Georgia state line. Known for its marshlands, preserved ecosystems, and a coastal cuisine rich in Caribbean and African influences, the lowcountry offers visitors an unparalleled array of cultural and natural encounters. A beach vacation with a little Kiawah character to boot? Yes, please!

where is kiawah island near charleston

Day-Tripping

Lazing away with your toes in the sand might be just what the doctor ordered, but an easy day trip can add the perfect dash of spice to your relaxing vacation. Thankfully, you’re just 45 minutes from all the charm and southern comforts of Charleston. Spend the day wandering the historic streets, take a walking tour of the city’s striking cemeteries and churches, and sample the local cuisine. Top off the experience by making a wish at the Pineapple Fountain.

Other nearby sights include Magnolia Plantation, Middleton Place, and Draytonn Hal (all are about a 45-minute drive from Kiawah island). For something truly unique, visit the Charleston Tea Plantation—the only tea plantation in North America—where you can see thousands of tea bushes on acres of gorgeous land, not to mention sample the delicacies (about a 40-minute drive).

Love nature and trivia? At an estimated 400 to 500 years “young,” Angel Oak is believed to be America’s oldest living thing east of the Mississippi River, and you can see it with your own eyes on nearby John’s Island—just 25 minutes away.

Southbound

Now you’re intrigued. But how easy is it to get to Kiawah Island? If you’re thinking of driving from the East or even the Midwest, it’s as simple as packing up the car, popping the kids in their car seats, and off you go! No need to bother with making extra hotel reservations or wasting two days in the car. Whether you’re heading from Boston, Cleveland, or somewhere in between, you’ll be watching the waves crash by sunset.

kiawah island boardwalk

Where is Kiawah Island? Show Me the Way!

You’ve heard all about it, but you still have one burning question: Where is Kiawah Island? No worries—your wait is over, without further ado, directions to Kiawah Island:

If you’re heading South from Northern New England, try to avoid 95 as much as possible. We recommend taking the Saw Mill Parkway to 684/84S. As you’re leaving New York, cross over the Tappen Zee Bridge, then go south onto 287 to 78W. Hold tight through Pennsylvania and then jump on 81S to 77S. In Columbia, you’ll take 26S to Charleston. From there, simply follow US 17 and State Road S-10-20 will lead you to the Kiawah Island Parkway.

From Ohio and the Midwest: Take 75S to 640E and then 40E toward Asheville. Then simply head south on 26 until you hit Charleston. Hop on US-17S for a few miles, then take State Rd S-10-20 all the way to the Kiawah Island Parkway.

Flying High

If you’re coming from the west, or just want to get here as quickly as possible (we can’t blame you for that!) Charleston’s renovated and expanded International Airport offers nonstop flights from 18 US cities and Canada, as well as quick connections in Atlanta and Charlotte. Kiawah Island is just a 30-mile drive from the airport. We recommend that you rent a car as a round trip taxi, Uber or Lyft ride will cost you about the same. Plus, it’s nice to have a car while you are on Kiawah Island so you can take one or more of the above mentioned day trips.

Where Should I Stay on Kiawah Island?

Now that you know where Kiawah Island is and you’ve seen just how easy it is to get here, you want to know the answer to the most important question: Where do I stay once I get to Kiawah island? The answer is easy: Look no further than Kiawah Island Getaways. Take a peek at our lovingly appointed villas, each complete with a beach or scenic view. We can’t wait to see you here!

Marital Bliss: Your Guide to Kiawah Island Weddings

Kiawah Island weddings

Intimate gathering or blowout bash? Live music or DJ? Chocolate cake or vanilla?

Anyone who’s planned a wedding knows the choices can seem endless. And one of the first—and maybe toughest—choices you’ll make is where to host the event. If your heart is set on a Kiawah Island wedding, we can make finding the perfect venue a little easier.

Whether you dream of saying your “I do’s” barefoot on the sand or in a classic ballroom with a string quartet playing in the background, Kiawah Island offers something extraordinary for every couple’s big day.

Surfside Wedding

Waves crash in the background and the scent of saltwater lingers on the air. A small crowd gathers as the sun casts a golden hue and specks of light glisten on the Atlantic. Sound amazing? There’s something truly magical about a beach ceremony. With miles of breathtaking shoreline, far from the crowds, it’s easy to make your Kiawah Island wedding fantasy a reality. Call (800) 654-2924 to speak to a professional wedding planner.

Kiawah Island lawn wedding

Going Green

The Sanctuary’s Grand Lawn is an ideal spot for ceremonies, cocktails, and receptions. A lush green expanse overlooks the Atlantic and a private beach creating a spectacular backdrop for your special day. No matter if your group is large or small, you can adjust the space to meet your needs.

Ballroom Splendor

Prefer an indoor venue for the reception, the ceremony, or both? The Sanctuary offers three stylish ballrooms to suit your event:

  • Terrace Ballroom: French doors open to a courtyard with stunning views of the Grand Lawn and the Atlantic beyond. Let your guests dance the night away as ocean breezes waft through this 2,880 sq. ft. space. Keep the party going in one big room or split in two for a more intimate experience.
  • Heron Room: Perfect for mid-sized receptions, this 1,853 sq. ft. room can be divided into two smaller spaces. Have the ceremony in one, then move next door for cocktails before the formal reception. With flexible spaces, the possibilities are endless.
  • Grand Oaks Ballroom: At 6,050 sq. ft., The Sanctuary’s largest indoor venue can be split into four quarters. Opening to a garden patio, your guests can mingle indoors and out. Enjoy live music and drinks al fresco, then move inside for an elegant sit-down dinner. Your day; your way.

Mingo Point

Mingo Point

Want to infuse your reception with a solid dose of southern charm? An oyster roast and BBQ is just one way to say “I do” with one of the Low Country’s best traditions. For a laid-back, kick-off-your-shoes venue or a rehearsal dinner to remember, Mingo Point offers three gorgeous spaces:

  • The Clubhouse at Osprey Point: Tucked among live oaks, this lagoon-side venue features a spacious veranda and intimate dining rooms.
  • The Clubhouse at Turtle Point: A wraparound veranda and sophisticated ballroom are just two reasons to check out this idyllic space. Perfect for pre-reception cocktails.
  • The Ocean Course Clubhouse: With 3,000 feet of adaptable space, the newest venue on the list overlooks the 18th green and boasts jaw-dropping ocean views.

Additional Venues

If you’re lucky enough to have friends on the island, you can also make arrangements to host your Kiawah Island wedding at one of the privately owned venues, including The Sandcastle and The Beach Club.

Kiawah Island weddings

Be Our Guest at Accommodations Near Kiawah Island Wedding Venus

So you’ve booked your dream venue, and now you just have to. . . do a million other things—we get it! But finding accommodations for your guests is one less thing you’ll need to worry about. Kiawah Island Getaways offers a range of properties, all oceanfront or within a short walk of the shore, ranging from one to four bedrooms. You’ve invited your closest friends and family to share the most important day of your life, now let us pamper them with our lovingly curated selections:

At The Breeze at Seascape, your guests will find a beautifully renovated space with a huge oceanfront deck and four bedrooms. Perfect for a family with young children.

With custom-designed interiors and stunning panoramic ocean views, The Penthouse at Windswept is one of most sought-after villas. Mother of the bride and up to five other guests will be thrilled to call this spot home.

Kiawah Island weddings

The Surf Shack at Sparrow Pond is a four-bedroom cottage right on the lagoon. The gourmet kitchen, vaulted ceilings, and shiplap walls raise the word “shack” to a whole new level. Big enough for the whole wedding party.

For luxury accommodations with a splash of southern comfort, check out The Shell Seeker at Sparrow Pond. This beach cottage features two master suites, a third queen bedroom, cozy-chic décor, and a screened-in porch that’s sure to help anyone on your guest list unwind.

For more southern charm, The Sea Shell at Oceanwoods offers an upscale cottage feel with three bedrooms, a stunning kitchen, and a screened-in porch.

A gorgeous deck overlooking the golf course and lagoon, exposed wooden beams, and dusky blue accents make The vV at Turtle Point a special spot for the special people in your life. With three bedrooms and a den, this space is ideal for a pair of families with children.

To book directly or check out other accommodations, visit our rental listings.

Why Kiawah Island Should be on Your South Carolina Vacations Shortlist

Kiawah Island a South Carolina Vacation

Did you know Conde Nast Traveler readers voted Kiawah Island as the 2017 No. 2 Island in the world, and Charleston, South Carolina as the 2016 No.1 City in the World?

With its majestic beach, award-winning golf courses, meandering bike trails, and proximity to Charleston, we’re not surprised the secret’s out about Kiawah Island. As long-time island residents, we have the inside scoop on the area’s best day trips, restaurants, and outings.

Here are 7 reasons why Kiawah Island should be your destination on your next South Carolina vacation!

South Carolina beach vacation

1. One of America’s Top 10 Beaches

Picture hard-packed sand (perfect for biking on!) and gentle waves. A serene nap under the umbrella while the sun kisses your toes. When it comes to sunbathing, bodysurfing, or exploring the natural beauty of tidal inlets, every option is a here in Kiawah Island.

“Dr. Beach” listed Kiawah Island’s Beachwalker Park as one of America’s Top 10 Beaches of 2018 in Forbes. Our beach has also been applauded in Travel + Leisure and Coastal Living.

2. Reef Fishing, Beach Bootcamp & Much More

From naturalist tours to glass fusing classes to surf lessons, there’s always something fun to try on Kiawah Island. Some of the things we’re looking forward to this summer include Dolphin Encounters at Mingo Point, “Dive-In” Movie Night at Heron Pool, and Moonlight Yoga on the beach near the Sanctuary.

There’s lots for the kids to do as well — Teen Night at Night Heron Park includes Capture the Flag, bonfires, and marshmallow toasting, and Bohicket Marina hosts a thrilling Pirate Adventure cruise the whole family will love.

Family South Carolina vacation

3. Family-Friendly South Carolina Vacations

There’s so much for the whole family to do on the Island, and plenty for just the kids while you enjoy a romantic lunch or trip to the spa.

Kamp Kiawah offers everything from arts and crafts and swimming to motorboat trips and Ninja Warrior courses. Hit the beach for an epic sandcastle competition. Mingo Point’s Oyster Roast and BBQ is a family favorite—follow up your delicious dinner with a sweet old-fashioned sundae at Vincent’s Drug Store.

4. Downtown Charleston is an Easy Drive Away

Downtown Charleston is only a 45-minute drive from Kiawah Island. There you’ll find historic streets and some of the best food on the East Coast. Taste Gullah-inspired cuisine, fresh seafood, and traditional Southern fare at countless restaurants and cafes.

Kiawah Island deer

5. Wildlife Galore

Kiawah’s diverse ecosystems make the Island a prime place to spot river otters, deer, osprey, Bob cat and more. Contact Kiawah Island Turtle Patrol for a sea turtle experience from May through October. Bird lovers, grab your binoculars and book a trip with Back Island Birding.

6. Pedal On

There are over 30 miles of paved bike trails to explore on Kiawah Island, and 10 miles of pristine, bike-friendly beach. Check out our map detailing all the local bike paths to plan a trek along the Atlantic or around wildlife-rich Night Heron Park.

South Carolina golf vacation

7. 7 World-Class Golf Courses

Kiawah Island is a golf-lover’s dream. Five public courses offer an array of challenges — Turtle Point requires accuracy while success at Oak Point relies on strategy.

Family golf outings are available at Osprey, Cougar, Turtle, and Oak Points in the summer and around the Christmas and Easter holidays. The holes are 250 yards long or less, and tee times are spaced out for added practice time. Book a family session by calling (843) 266-4050.

South Carolina vacation rental

Your Next South Carolina Vacation

However you decide to spend your South Carolina vacation, we offer over a dozen oceanfront and scenic-view rentals along picturesque Kiawah Island. We promise high-end accommodations, indoor and outdoor living space, and excellent service for the whole family. Learn more and book here.

Kiawah Island Weather Report: What to Know Before You Book

Weather on Kiawah Island

Of course there’s no time quite like summertime on Kiawah Island—but don’t count the other months out! Kiawah Island weather varies from season to season, but with our subtropical climate, you can enjoy the outdoors almost all year long.

Our Kiawah Island weather report will clue you in on the best time to book for your perfect vacation. Whether you’re planning to relax on our pristine 10-mile beach or venture to downtown Charleston, find out which season is ideal for your visit.

Spring Kiawah Island Weather

Spring

There’s nothing quite like catching the fragrance of flowers in bloom as you whizz down Kiawah’s wooded bike trails.

Spring here is idyllic—kids are still in school so the island is a bit quieter, the temperatures hover between high 60s and low 80s, and in May, the ocean’s already warm enough to take a dip. Plus, downtown Charleston is oh-so-scenic with spring blooms, and the pleasant weather means you can comfortably spend whole afternoons wandering its cobblestone streets.

Ever-popular Easter is a mixed bag when it comes to weather. Many years, it’s sunny and wonderful. Others, the weather is still a bit crisp. But even if the temperature dips, the show goes on. Egg hunts and recreation events will keep you entertained if it’s too chilly for a day on the beach.

Summer Kiawah Island weather

Summer

A hands-down favorite among vacationers and locals alike, summertime will show you Kiawah Island in full swing. With daily temperatures averaging upper 70s to lower 90s, it’s the perfect time to hit the beach.

On a rare few days of the season when the breezes are still, no-see-ums come out to pester beachgoers. And on a handful of others when the winds are high, blowing sand makes the beach a no-go. But the overwhelming majority of summer days are just plain perfect for kicking back and catching some rays or playing in the surf.

If you’re visiting in the summer, we recommend keeping your daytime adventures on the island, where the cool coastal breezes make temperatures manageable. Steer clear of downtown Charleston until the evening. All that summer sunshine can cause some real city scorchers.

Fall weather Kiawah Island

Fall

Summer temperatures without the crowds—September is a gorgeous time to stay on Kiawah. As the fall marches on, daily highs begin to dip from the 80s to the 70s and 60s, so late fall is better for those who’d rather enjoy cooler days.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t clue you in on this important Kiawah Island weather fact: mid-September to mid-October is our storm season. While these months are lovely if the rain stays away, we always advise guests booking fall getaways to purchase travel insurance.

Winter Kiawah Island Weather

Winter

Winter brings chilly winds to our breezy beach town. When it comes to Kiawah Island weather in winter, average highs hover in the low 60s while lows dip to the low 40s and below; snow is uncommon but not unheard of.

If you’re planning on visiting the island during winter, bundle up and prepare for a low-key, low-traffic environment. The chillier months also tend to be the louder ones: most renovation projects begin then, so you may encounter some construction noise during your stay.

But chilly weather and construction aside, the season has its perks. Stay during the winter and you’ll feel like you have the whole island to yourself. Plan a trip around the holidays to enjoy The Sanctuary’s Christmas displays and the New Year’s fireworks.

Plus, once the weather starts cooling off in November, we offer 25% discounts for stays of four weeks or more, and guests who stay 91 days or longer don’t pay accommodation tax.

Kiawah Island accommodationa

Properties to enjoy every type of Kiawah Island weather

Alfresco evening cocktails on your oceanfront balcony. Cozy winter mornings watching a cool fog fall over the marsh. In our immaculate vacation rentals, you’ll find something to love about every type of Kiawah Island weather. Learn more by checking out our accommodations page.

Beginner’s Guide to the South Carolina Islands

South Carolina Islands

You don’t have to go to the Caribbean to live the “Island Life”— it’s all right here on the the South Carolina islands. Our string of 34 palmetto-studded sea islands range from untamed and secluded to five-star and bustling.

While we can’t possibly cover all 34 islands in one blog post, we’ve chosen a representative sample of the South Carolina islands we know and love—making our way from north to south along the chain. Read on to determine which of these South Carolina Islands is the best option for you and your fellow vacationers.

Side note: If you’re staying at one of our Kiawah Island Getaways properties, most of these islands are within day-trip driving distance—with the exception of Daufuskie Island, which is remote and requires a ferry ride to reach it.

Folly Island South Carolina islands

Folly Island

Located just 20 minutes (about 10 miles) from downtown Charleston and less than an hour from Kiawah, Folly Island and Folly Beach welcome a diverse crowd of College of Charleston students, families, and anyone who loves fresh seafood, quirky shopping, and taking in panoramic views from the end of a fishing pier (Folly has the second longest pier on the East Coast!).

This SC island is great for:

  • Surfers. (And kiteboarders and stand-up paddleboarders and…) Folly has a laid-back, colorful and carefree vibe—where the days are long and the ocean offers endless fun. The island’s motto could be “have a good time, and don’t take yourself too seriously.”
  • Nightlife. Live music, cold drinks and rooftop bars make Folly Beach a hit with those who like to stay out late and sleep in.

Wadmalaw Island, an island in South Carolina

Wadmalaw Island

Distilleries, vineyards and farms, oh my! Wadmalaw Island is also just a short drive from Charleston and Kiawah (about 35 minutes from each) and presents the opportunity to sample locally made libations in a rustic setting. On your way, stop by the famed Angel Oak on nearby Johns Island—this 400-500-year-old (estimated) Southern live oak is a gnarly, twisted, dramatic and beautiful sight to behold.

This SC Island is great for:

  • Sweet tea sipping. Seriously. If this cold southern treat pleases your palate, you’ll love Wadmalaw, home to both the Charleston Tea Plantation, which offers trolley tours of the process, and the Firefly Distillery, where you can taste (and purchase) a selection of their famous tea-infused vodkas, plus whiskey, moonshine, and other spirits.
  • Wine tasting. Once you finish your spirits-sampling at Firefly, make your way to Deep Water Vineyard, which is located on the same farm, to give their offerings a try.

Kiawah Island in South Carolina

Kiawah Island

And now we’ve arrived at our favorite of the South Carolina islands… Kiawah Island, of course! Kiawah had my heart from the moment I saw its idyllic, wide sandy beach and hasn’t let go of it since. Like many South Carolina islands, Kiawah isn’t as sleepy as it once was, but it’s still the sort of place where life slows down, clearing your head to focus on what matters.

Have a look around our Kiawah Island blog for more of our favorite tips for enjoying Kiawah’s bike paths, restaurants, beaches and more.

This SC island is great for:

  • Everyone! We truly feel that Kiawah is a one-size-fits-all-island—from toddlers just finding their sea legs to retirees seeking the good life…even teenagers are known to put down their phones and have fun on Kiawah.
  • Kiawah is often named as one of the best beaches on the East Coast. And no wonder—its wide, welcoming beaches are so flat and hard-packed you can even ride bicycles on them! And because a pass is required to come onto the island (shown at the guard house), the beaches are rarely crowded.
  • Golfers. We’d be remiss not to mention Kiawah’s PGA Tour pedigree (with a repeat PGA coming our way in 2021) and the world-renowned, Jack Nicklaus-designed Ocean Course at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. But, of course, you don’t have to love golf to love Kiawah.
  • Honeymooners. Kiawah sets an idyllic stage for romantic getaways. Think hand-in-hand strolls along an empty beach, a bottle of wine at sunset (and sunrise coffees on your oceanfront balcony!), a couple’s massage, a bicycle ride under the shade of live oaks… we could go on. Hint: Kiawah Island also makes a great spot to “pop the question” to that special someone.

Edisto Island in South Carolina

Edisto Island

Edisto will lure you with its lovely beaches and keep you there with its friendly, residential beach-town vibe (there are just 3,000 full-time residents and a refreshing lack of chain businesses). Edisto is wonderful for active outdoor pursuits like kayaking, hiking, biking and fishing.

This SC island is great for:

  • Families. With quiet beaches but plenty to do, Edisto maintains just the right amount of beach town charm. Great swimming on Edisto, too!
  • Nature enthusiasts. The island’s wild side will impress your group’s birders, botanists, and hobby marine biologists. Head to the Edisto Island Serpentarium to observe and learn about alligators, turtles, snakes and other reptiles.
  • Budget-concious vacationers. Edisto has its own lovely State Park campground, offering an affordable place to lay your head at night—be it in a tent or an RV. For sites with water and electricity hookups, you’ll pay $21 – $55 a night, depending on location and season. For walk-in, tent-only sites, the rate is $15-$20 per night.

Daufuskie Island in South Carolina

Daufuskie Island

Daufuskie is the southernmost of the South Carolina sea islands—one mile off the coast of Hilton Head—and is accessible only by boat or a passenger ferry departing from Hilton Head or Bluffton. With only a few paved roads and a rich Gullah culture, Daufuskie is a step back in time… at least for now. Some development has taken hold in Daufuksie, with a few exclusive residential communities and a private golf course (there’s a public golf course, as well, but true golf buffs will want to try Kiawah or Hilton Head instead).

This SC island is great for:

  • Bicyclists. Pedal your way down quiet streets shaded by live oaks, where cars are rare — but golf carts are common.
  • History and culture buffs. Visit the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation to learn about the Gullah culture of the slave-descended residents of Daufuskie, as well as its oyster fishing era (which ended in the 1950s, just before electricity came to the island).
  • Day trips. Hop on the ferry for sleepy Daufuskie, rent a golf cart, grab lunch at Lucy Bell’s Cafe, explore on foot, then catch the ferry back to Hilton Head.

Don’t Miss These Kiawah Island Events This Summer

summer events in kiawah island

It’s officially time to plan your summer fun. Here’s some good news for those vacationing on our barrier island: Kiawah Island events abound! Best of all, there really is something for everyone, from active adventures to eco-friendly explorations and wildlife encounters the whole family can enjoy.

Read on to learn about can’t-miss Kiawah Island events this summer.

Have a Dolphin Encounter

Enjoy a close encounter with South Carolina’s iconic marine mammal, the dolphin, as you explore inlets, creeks, and marshes in search of the resident pod. Set sail with local favorite seafarer Captain Jack right out of Bohicket Marina. Book your private tour for up to six in advance by calling (843) 343-1772.

Watch a Movie Under the Stars

Each Wednesday night from June 13 through August 15, you can catch today’s favorites and classic, kid-friendly flicks beneath twinkling skies — free of charge. This Kiawah Island event takes place at Freshfields Village from 8:30pm-10:30pm. Remember to bring beach chairs and blankets!

kiawah island fitness classes

 

Work Up a Sweat on the Beach

Squeeze in an intense, 45-minute workout right on the sand during a boot camp-style workout intended to build strength while torching calories. It costs $18 per person and is recommended for those age 13 and up. Reservations are required and can be made by calling (843) 768-6001.

Catch Live Acts

Each Friday from 6pm-9pm throughout the summer, make your way to Music on the Green, a complimentary music festival at Freshfields Village where you can spread out a blanket and listen to bands from the barrier islands and beyond play under the night sky.

Visit the Farmer’s Market

Each Monday from 4pm-6pm, Freshfields Village hosts a weekly farmer’s market. Browse the specialty foods, fresh-caught seafood and Lowcountry crafts, or grab a BBQ dinner or sweet treat to enjoy back at your villa.

Or venture less than a half hour away from Kiawah and enjoy other nearby and hugely popular farmer’s markets. On Saturday morning on John’s Island and Sunday morning on James Island, local farmers and vendors peddle everything from produce to home goods. Enjoy food trucks at the John’s Island market and live music at the market on James Island.

Fishing on Kiawah Island is a favorite summer event

Go Near-Coastal Reef Fishing

Cast a line out over sandbars, wrecks, and artificial reefs to catch native Kiawah Island fish including redfish and black sea bass. These daily fishing charters are open to both families and seasoned anglers, so bring the whole crew and see what you can reel in for dinner. A single party of up to four costs $650, while five to six rings in at $750. For more details, information, swing by the Heron Park Nature Center or call (843) 768-6001.

Catch Sharks

Ever wished you could catch a shark? Make your dreams come true on a shark-fishing adventure that sets sail from Bohicket Marina. From makos to tiger sharks, you’ll have the chance to get up close and personal with a variety of species. Custom charters start at $250 for 2 hours. Learn more here.

Send Kids to Adventure Camp

Tweens and early teens just wanna have fun — sometimes without their parents in tow. That’s where Kiawah Adventure camp comes in. Slotted for 8:30am-4pm the week of August 8, it features everything from disc golf, atlatl and pool games on Monday to paintball on Thursdays. Call (843) 768-6001 to reserve their spot.

Have a younger camper in tow, or visiting a different week? Kamp Kiawah offers kid-friendly options for fun on the island all summer long. Learn more in our post about the top family-friendly things to do on Kiawah Island.

wetlands bike tours kiawah island events

Embark on a Wetlands Bike Tour

Get to know Kiawah Island’s landscape and fascinating wildlife from a different vantage point: on your bike. Pedal through dunes, salt marshes, forests, and more while learning about the diverse plant and animal life that calls Kiawah Island home. The cost is $20 per person, not including bike rental. The minimum age is 10. Call (843) 768-6001.

Indulge at an Oyster Roast

Score freshly barbecued oysters as the sun sets over the Kiawah River at Mingo Point Oyster Roast and Barbecue, a scenic, communal — not to mention tasty — gathering that’s not to be missed. At this beloved Kiawah Island event, there’s a kid’s zone, craft market and naturalists on hand, too. The event — held Monday evenings at 5:30pm, 6:15pm, 7pm and 7:45pm through August 27 — costs $49.95 for adults and $25.95 for children ages five to 12. Additionally, there’s a river cruise that costs $20 per person. Advance reservations are recommended. Call (843) 768-2121.

accommodation near kiawah island events

Accommodations Near the Best Kiawah Island Events

Ready to book your stay? Check out our pitch-perfect Kiawah Island accommodations, which range from luxurious, beachfront villas with panoramic ocean views, to welcoming getaways surrounded by marshland.

Top 10 Family-Friendly Things to Do on Kiawah Island

things to do on kiawah island families

Top 10 Family-Friendly Things to Do on Kiawah Island

Family vacations are a fine art. If you spend too much time lounging at the beach, the kids will get antsy. Jam pack your days with active pursuits, and you might leave feeling more tired than when you arrived.

But with its bike paths and marshes, scenic parks, and kid-friendly activities, Kiawah Island offers the ideal setting for an all-ages getaway. Here, you’ll strike the perfect balance between fun and relaxation.

As a family ourselves, we’ve done plenty of firsthand research on the best things to do on Kiawah Island, for kids from young to old. So if you’re searching for ideas on how to spend your time as a family on Kiawah, look no further. Here are our ten favorites.

Cast a line in a Kiawah river.

Book a fishing tour with your tiny anglers. Let the little ones cast their lines in Kiawah’s channels and creeks and reel in some prize catches. Or if you’d rather stay on land, grab a bucket of bait and head to the island’s fishing lagoons or the pond at Night Heron Park.

Swim your hearts out.

With 10 miles of beach, Kiawah is a haven for water-lovers. We recommend heading to Beachwalker Park if you’re planning on doing some serious swimming: lifeguards are on duty there during the season. Or if you’re seeking a little more excitement, bring the family to the Splash Zone at nearby James Island County Park. Let the kids zoom through the waterslides while you meander down the lazy river.

things to do on kiawah island build sandcastles

Have a sandcastle competition.

Look at the beach and you’ll see the proof—building sandcastles is one of the islanders’ favorite things to do on Kiawah Island. With smooth, compact beaches, you’ll have an excellent base— and an array seashells offer plenty of options for decoration. Team up or face-off individually to see which of your kin can craft the best castle. It’s classic, simple beach fun.

Book a family tee time.

Have a budding pro on your hands? Osprey, Cougar, Turtle, and Oak Points all offer family tee times in the summer and around the Christmas and Easter holidays. No hole is longer than 250 yards, and tee times are spaced out for a low-pressure environment. Book with ease by calling (843) 266-4050.

Hit the bike paths.

Part method-of-travel, part fun, riding the bike paths is among the top things to do on Kiawah Island. Get in a workout and let the little ones burn off some energy by riding all around the island. Pedal past lagoons, scenic marshes, the beach, Freshfields Village, and Bohicket Marina—where you can window shop as the boats pass by or dine at a mouthwatering Mexican restaurant. When you’re not sure how to spend your day, just start pedaling: you’re bound to find something to keep the troops entertained.

kamp kiawah things to do on kiawah island

Spend the day at Kamp Kiawah.

Sign the kids up for a morning, afternoon, or full day at Kamp Kiawah, a favorite among young guests on the island. They can choose between classic camp fun—like arts and crafts and swimming—and faster-paced theme camps with activities like kayaking, motorboat trips, and Ninja Warrior courses. Plus, while they’re having a blast at camp, you can treat yourself to an afternoon at the spa or on the green. Book a day at camp by calling (843) 768-6001.

See what’s happening at Mingo Point.

Mingo Point’s Oyster Roast and BBQ is a longstanding favorite thing to do on Kiawah Island. But this scenic spot is home to more than the famous cookout. Visit during the day to catch dolphin encounters tours, family kayaking groups, and more. For a rundown of the day’s activities and to make reservation in advance, call (843) 768-6001.

wildlife watching things to do on kiawah island

Go on a wildlife scavenger hunt.

From egrets and pelicans to bobcats and alligators to the beloved loggerhead turtle, Kiawah’s lagoons, marshes, and forests are home to a vast variety of wildlife. Set out on a day-long scavenger hunt to see who can spot more of the island’s native creatures. For a little bit of help, catch a daytime or nighttime naturalist tour out of Night Heron Park.

Find the best ice cream on Kiawah.

No day on the island is complete without a sweet treat. Try a new spot every night to find your favorite cone—you’re on vacation, after all. Taste seasonal scoops at The Sanctuary’s Beaches and Cream, order the famous vacation sundae at old-timey Vincent’s Drug Store, or save room for dessert at any one of Kiawah’s mouthwatering restaurants.

Make a splash at the movies.

Every Thursday night in the summer, The Sanctuary opens up its pool for a very special Kiawah Island tradition: dive-in movies. Grab a poolside lounger or cool off with a dip while family-friendly flicks play on the big screen by the pool. Where else can you watch a movie under the stars, with the waves rolling in in the distance?

accommodations near things to on kiawah island

Find family-friendly accommodations near the top things to do on Kiawah Island.

Choose accommodations with room for the whole family to rest, relax, and enjoy vacation to its fullest. Our Kiawah Island villas offer spacious bedrooms—many configured to accommodate small families—and indoor and outdoor living areas, ideal for spending time together. Learn more and book here.

Which Bike Trails on Kiawah Island are Best for You?

bike trails on kiawah island

Which Bike Trails on Kiawah Island are Best for You?

What’s the best way to see Kiawah Island? By pedaling around with sand beneath your tires and an ocean breeze in your hair, of course.

We’ve created a map of the best bike trails on Kiawah Island, where you’ll find everything from treks along the shoreline to journeys to local oyster cookouts. But with so many great options, how do you know which trip to choose?

We hope you’ll spend enough time on the island to enjoy them all! But if you’re looking to narrow down your options, we’ve put together a guide to the best bike trails on Kiawah Island for each personality. Whether you love watching coastal birds cut across the sky or prefer mingling with the locals, there’s a trail that’s guaranteed to be worth your time.


beach bike trails kiawah island

The Wildlife Enthusiasts

Dolphins, alligators, river otters, deer—there’s a whole population of winged, finned, and four-legged creatures that you can spot when you hit the bike trails on Kiawah Island.

Set out on the beach in the morning or late afternoon and ride straight down the hard-packed sand to the east end. Stop along the way to dip your toes in tide pools and herd minnows with your feet as they dart back and forth in schools. Once you’ve reach the soft sand on tip of the island, walk your bike to the waters and keep an eye out for wildlife.

Or bike to Captain Sam’s Inlet on the west end to watch dolphins play where the river meets the ocean. If you’re lucky, you may even catch sight of one fishing in the shallow surf.

See wildlife flying high and slinking deep when you pedal around Night Heron Park. Listen for the song of the loggerhead shrike or look to the skies to catch sight of the cheerful yellow pine warbler or iridescent tree swallow. Glance out across the pond and you’re bound to see tall herons wading and even alligators swishing their way through the waters.

scenic bike trails kiawah island

The Scenery Seeker

Seeking the most scenic spots on the island to impress your Instagram followers? Or just want to experience Mother Nature’s handiwork? Then Eagle Point is a must-visit. It’s one of our favorite spots on the island for its quiet serenity and sweeping views. Pedal out to the open marsh and catch glimpses across the greenery all the way to Cooper River Bridge.

Can’t get enough of the wetland views? Pack lunch and ride bikes over to Mingo Point, where you can dig in at picnic tables with panoramic lowcountry views, or go for a spin down the Kiawah Island Parkway, over the Kiawah River and into Rhett’s Bluff to take in scenes of the marsh and Bass Pond.

And then, of course, there’s the marsh towers. These tucked-away viewpoints soar over 30 feet skywards so you can see the island from a birds-eye view. Ride the trails at Cougar Point to the Marsh View Tour, or pedal along Marsh Island Park (off Governor’s Drive in Vanderhorst) to find the Marsh Island Park Tower.

clubhouse bike trails kiawah island

The Social Butterfly

For most, hitting the bike trails on Kiawah Island is all about reconnecting with nature. But for some, it’s a social experience. For those people-people, we recommend pedaling from the guardhouse to Freshfields Shopping Village, where you can grab a bite to eat, shop the boutiques, and even catch spirit tastings, jazz nights, and meditation workshops.

Keep following the path, beyond the village towards Seabrook Island and you’ll find Bohicket Marina. Stop to watch the boats sail by or dine on fresh caught fish (and don’t forget to grab an ice cream cone to fuel your journey home).

Foodies can also earn their meal by riding out to Mingo Point on Monday nights in the summer, when locals and visitors alike gather for a traditional lowcountry oyster roast and BBQ. Bring the kids and a little extra cash: you’ll find naturalist demonstrations, local merchants, and a design-your-own beach bag station to visit after you’ve finished chowing down. You’ll need a reservation to attend: call 843.768.2121 to save your spot.

Rather indulge in a liquid lunch? Ride past unique shingle-style architecture to the Ocean Course Clubhouse, where you can reward yourself with a cold drink and panoramic ocean views at the Ryder Cup Bar.

accommodations near bike trails kiawah island

Getaways Near the Best Bike Trails on Kiawah Island

After a long day on the trail, come home to a cottage, penthouse, or condo with scenic views of the ocean or wetlands. See where our vacation rentals are located in relation to your favorite trail, or check out our full offering of luxury accommodations on Kiawah Island.

6 Tips for First-Timers Visiting Kiawah Island

visiting kiawah island

6 Tips for First-Timers Visiting Kiawah Island

If you’re visiting Kiawah Island for the first time, you’re in for a treat! The breathtaking barrier island — situated just off Charleston’s Atlantic coastline — brims with natural beauty. From its abundance of shore birds and wildlife to its 10 miles of pristine beach, it offers unspoiled wonders at every turn.

Before visiting Kiawah Island, some insider tips can help you plan the vacation of your dreams. With over 30 years of island living and nearly 20 years experience hosting vacationers, we are sharing our must-know tips for first-time visitors to Kiawah Island. Read on to learn more.

visiting kiawah island beaches

1. Leave bulky beach gear at home.

There’s no need to use valuable travel space for beach gear because beach chairs and umbrellas are available for daily rental, courtesy of the Island Beach Service.

More of an adventurer than a sunbather? You can rent other fun stuff from us directly like boogie boards and bikes, as well as portable beach chairs if you don’t mind carrying them to the beach yourself.

2. Visit West Beach for old school Kiawah charm.

When it comes to the beach, first-timers often wonder about the difference between West Beach and East Beach. Both are lovely, lush and serene, and they’re located about one mile apart on the same 10-mile stretch of pristine beach.

The West Beach area is the “original” Kiawah, developed in the mid 1970s with a bike-to-everything mentality. A lot of changes are happening here in advance of the 2021 PGA.

The Cougar Point Golf Course has been completely redesigned and is now open for play, as are the tennis courts. Still to come is a new state-of-the-art conference center along with a brand new West Beach Inn.

visiting kiawah island accommodations

3. East Beach is the place for families visiting Kiawah Island.

East Beach, developed in the 1980s, is anchored by large, central Night Heron Park. The site of family-friendly social events throughout the summer, it also features a basketball court, soccer field, a small grill/picnic area and a picturesque lagoon

Also in East Beach is Kiawah’s high-end, swanky hotel – The Sanctuary. The hotel boasts three notable restaurants, shopping, and a spa—all available to guests of Kiawah Island Getaways. The East Beach area also offers tennis, golf and the East Beach Conference Center, which sports a small grocery store and a food court.

4. Save your appetite for Kiawah’s diverse dining scene.

Be sure to check out casual local favorites like perfectly prepared burgers at King Street Grille, or treat yourself to a special evening of prime seafood and sweeping ocean views at The Atlantic Room at Kiawah’s Ocean Course Clubhouse.

There are so many memorable dining experiences waiting for you on and around Kiawah Island, it’s impossible to try them all in one trip. But with our dining guide, you can give it your best shot!

visiting kiawah island bike trails

5. Know which perks come with your stay.

When you stay with Kiawah Island Getaways, you have full access to restaurants, tennis, Kamp Kiawah, the spa services at the Sanctuary and, of course, the beach.

You’re able to play five of Kiawah’s golf courses, including the Ocean Course, Turtle Point, Osprey Point, Cougar Point, and Oak Point. Two of Kiawah’s courses are private: The River Course and Cassique. You must be accompanied by a member of the club to play these two courses.

6. Do your homework on accommodations.

When selecting your Kiawah vacation accommodations, it’s important to know that all villas are individually owned and managed. As a result, no two properties are identical. Be sure you check out the full property descriptions and interior photos—and, even more importantly, the reviews—to avoid “surprises” on arrival.

You should also make a point to consider the type of vacation you want to have, the accommodation type that best suits your needs, and what location is most suited to your group’s interests.

We take pride in speaking with vacationers and helping them decide which accommodation is best for them, whether they’re coming for a romantic getaway or a multifamily vacation. Don’t miss our Must See video tours for in-depth looks at our properties and to virtually “meet” us—your hosts! We’re always available via phone and email to discuss Kiawah and answer any questions you might have.

visiting kiawah island rentals

Visiting Kiawah Island offers a bounty of options — and a range of pitch-perfect accommodations no matter the area. That includes posh, beachfront pads with panoramic ocean views, cozy cottages tucked amid lagoons and woodlands, and spectacular oceanfront villas brimming with southern charm. Start planning by perusing our Kiawah Island accommodations today.

Snag a Table at These Must-Visit Restaurants on Kiawah Island

restaurants on kiawah island

Snag a Table at These Must-Visit Restaurants on Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island is a stunning barrier island that brims with maritime forests, a varied marine habitat, snap-worthy vistas, and, of course, mouthwatering dining. From fresh catches to authentic French cuisine, restaurants on Kiawah Island offer something for all tastes.

Whether you’re into barefoot luxury, romantic sunsets, or afternoons spent on the beach, you’ll find options like private chefs, top-tier grocers and restaurants galore to feed your appetite.

Read on to discover our foodie and family-friendly restaurant faves — and more — on Kiawah Island, or just a stone’s throw from it.

la tela kiawah island

Casual Spots

Sometimes dressing up is the last thing you want to do. Fortunately, you can chill over good meals at several well-loved restaurants on Kiawah Island or minutes from it.

In the mood for authentic Mexican fare — think tacos, burritos, enchiladas and flautas? Look no further than El Mercadito & Taqueria, 15 minutes from Kiawah Island on John’s Island. Just be sure to wash it all down with a frosty margarita or large, ice-cold mug of beer.

About 15 miles from Kiawah, you’ll find also find cafe and farmers’ market The Tomato Shed, a welcoming, Paula Dean-like haunt known for southern standbys like tomato pie, collard greens, and squash casserole. Not your cup of tea? They serve a mean hamburger, too.

Have a basketball or baseball enthusiast in your midst? Find common ground at flat-screen-filled King Street Grille in Freshfields Village. Gather with your clan over classic appetizers, fresh salads, perfectly prepared burgers, and classic wings. Visiting during the off-season (Oct-April)? You’ll be privy to half-price burgers on Wednesdays and half-price salads on Tuesdays.

If you’d rather indulge in Italian, La Tela Pizzeria in Freshfields Village offers some of the best Neapolitan-style pies and Italian cuisine around. There’s also a top-tier wine list, making it date-appropriate, too.

loggerhead kiawah island

Looking to take in the views? Overlooking the Sanctuary pool (hotel guests only) and Atlantic Ocean, Loggerhead Grill is a must for casual dining and tropical cocktails, as well as locally caught seafood, sandwiches and burgers.

Special Occasion Dining

When the mood strikes, dining out can — and should — be an affair. Fortunately, restaurants on Kiawah Island and in the surrounding communities are well suited for nights to remember.

For French-inspired southern fare, head to Fat Hen, 15 minutes away on Johns Island. Whether you settle on seared duck, braised chicken, the quiche of the day, or salmon Bearnaise, expect Instagram-worthy eats for the ages.

Just minutes away from Fat Hen, Wild Olive, also the creation of celebrated Chef Fred Neuville, turns out Italian fare like tagliatelle alla Bolognese in a cozy-yet-streamlined, cucina-like dining room and bar.

For another French fare alternative, try Hege’s Restaurant in Freshfields Village. Known for its simply prepared dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, it’s a pitch-perfect option for celebratory dinners.

If you want to go all out, reserve a table at The Ocean Room at Kiawah in the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Then, tuck in to prime steaks and seafood amid leather chairs, a clubby bar area and posh dining room with sweeping views of the sea.

For another resort option, there’s the Ocean Course Grill. Affording panoramas of the shimmering Atlantic Ocean and Pete Dye’s sea breeze-swept, masterpiece golf course, it provides a jaw-dropping backdrop for a seaside breakfast, casual midday meal, or sunset cocktails.

Perhaps you’d prefer some authentic Lowcountry cuisine? FIG in Charleston is the spot for locally sourced, seasonal fare, like baked snowy grouper plated with spring shallots, asparagus, vin blanc and Champagne sabayon.

r kitchen kiawah island

In search of something even more unique? Consider R Kitchen (also in Charleston), an ultra-intimate, sans-sign-speakeasy, serving a nightly, five-course dinner to handful of guests.

And our final Charleston favorite, Hall’s Chophouse, serves up prime USDA steaks, vegetarian, and vegan options, as well as the most memorable Sunday brunch you’ll ever attend. Choose from entrees like prime rib eye steak benedict and southern sweet baked potato pancakes while enjoying live entertainment from gospel singers.

bobby trigg kiawah island

A Chef Just for You

Have you ever wished you had a chef all to yourself — one who will cater the whims of picky eaters, exotic tastes and vegetarians at once? Perhaps you’re an entertainer at heart — yet the idea of doing the planning, shopping, preparing and cleanup proves daunting. In that case, there’s no need to visit restaurants on Kiawah Island at all because our Kiawah Island private chef offers the fix.

When you make your reservation, you’ll have the opportunity to arrange for our chef to cook for your friends and family.  He is a cookbook author and former restaurant owner who has cooked for prestigious settings and presidential dinners.  An evening with our Chef guarantees delectable eats and at-home family fun.

Makings of Great DYI Meals

If you enjoy cooking, preparing meals doesn’t feel like a chore. However, grocery shopping just might.

seafood kiawah island

Our advice? Skip wandering the aisles and instead pre-arrange to have groceries delivered to your property post-arrival. GroceriesAhead.com simply requires that you be there to accept your delivery.

Have a hankering for fresh seafood? Consider local go-to The Village Market in Freshfields Village, or mainstay Huff’s Seafood for fresh, seasonal catches. Or swing by Cherry Point Seafood Company on Wadmalaw Island, where fresh-plucked catches are snagged right off the boat.

kiawah island rentals

Refined Accommodations near the Best Restaurants on Kiawah Island

Whatever you decide, return to a fab home near restaurants on Kiawah Island. From luxury penthouses overlooking the ocean to cottages amid marshland and beachfront villas, our Kiawah Island accommodations are yours to discover.