What to Do on Kiawah Island This Fall

What to Do on Kiawah Island in Fall

As summer fades to autumn and the cool breezes start to blow, your mind might turn toward pumpkins and turkeys.

Not so fast! The beach is still calling your name. On Kiawah Island, fall offers the perfect mix of warm days and cool nights, with a distinct lack of summer crowds.

Most of your favorite summer activities are still available, plus a few more, just for the season. So without further ado, here’s your official guide for what to do on Kiawah Island in the fall.

Stretch Out on the Sand

Yes, we know you typically think of summer as beach season, but it can be crowded and hot during the peak months. Here’s a little secret: fall is the best time to visit the coast. The waters have already been warmed by the summer sun but the crowds have disappeared. So when we say stretch out, we mean it. S-t-r-e-t-c-h. The beach is all yours…

Throw out a Line

Whether you’re grabbing a spot on the pier or chartering your own boat, fall fishing on Kiawah Island can’t be beat. With the fish trying to fatten up for the winter, there’s a lot of extra activity in the water.

Inshore fishing charters will take you to Kiawah’s creeks and marshes for an unforgettable Lowcountry adventure (1 to 6 people, prices range from $550 to $750 depending on group size). Redfish, Spotted Sea Trout, Sheepshead, Sharks, Ladyfish, and Croaker are just some of the varieties you can expect to see.

Or head out for a Near Coastal and Reef Fishing Adventure. Boats transport you 1 to 3 miles off shore, where you can drop lines over sandbars, wrecks, and artificial reefs. Look out for Redfish, Weakfish, Cobia, Black Sea Bass, Triggerfish, Spadefish, Black Drum, and Sharks. ($650 for 1 to 4 people; $750 for 5 to 6 people).

Contact Bohicket Marina for more information. Rather set sail on a dolphin or sunset cruise instead? Checkout these sailing tours.

Fall biking Kiawah Island

Biking

Of course you can bike in any season, but fall may be our favorite time to pedal around the island. Not only can you avoid the summer heat, but you’ll be treated to fall’s changing foliage.

As temperatures fall, the sweet grass begins blooming and the marsh turns to gold—what better way to see it than by bike? The cool weather makes it an ideal time to make longer trips out to stunning natural areas like Eagle Point Landing and Rhetts Bluff.

With miles of trails and hard-packed beaches just waiting for you to cruise them, biking is the ultimate answer to what to do in Kiawah Island in the fall.

Get Fit for Fall

Every September, Kiawah Island hosts Tri-Kiawah, a USAT-sanctioned intermediate distance triathlon—the only one in Charleston with an ocean swim. Show your best stuff with a 0.7 mile swim, 25.1 mile bike, and 6.1 mile run.

Even the kiddos can get in on the fun with a children’s triathlon the day before. With three separate age groups and distances, there’s something to suit every skill level. The 2018 races are set for September 15th and 16th.

Prefer to cheer on the athletes instead? At Night Heron Park you’ll find a 21-acre spectator and family area with several walking-distance vantage points—making it easy for everyone to see the action.

Kiawah Island birds

Birding

What to do on Kiawah Island if you’d rather take things at a slower pace? Carolina Lowcountry is known for its diverse bird species, from the tiniest hummingbirds to the grandest birds of prey. Since fall brings on the start of a new migration, this can be one of the best times of year for birding.

If you’re a newbie, then the beginner’s walking tour (1.5 hours) will teach you the basics (ages 8+, $15/person). For the more advanced, sign up for a Back Island Birding trip: you’ll be transported by van to several remote spots, where you can learn about the native birds in their own habitats (ages 14+, $35/person).

Call (843) 768-6001 to make your reservations.

What to eat on Kiawah Island

Sample the Southern Fare

Not only does autumn offer a feast for your eyes, but cooler day temps and less humidity, make this an ideal time to explore all the sights and tastes nearby Charleston. If you’re a foodie at heart, be sure to visit during early September for Charleston Restaurant Week, when you can sample an eclectic mix of prix fixe lunch and dinner offerings at hundreds of local hot spots. In 2018, Restaurant Week runs from September 5th to the 16th; visit Charleston Restaurant Association for more info or check out our favorite eateries.

What to Do On Kiawah Island in Case of Bad Weather

While you can still enjoy warm beach days well into late fall, there’s also a possibility for severe weather, including storms and hurricanes. Thankfully vacation insurance is available for purchase, and we recommend you take advantage so you can rest easy and focus on the fun, rather than the skies.Kiawah Island rental for fall

Gather Around the Fire

Nothing says fall quite like getting cozy by a fire. If you agree, then we have two properties you’ll definitely want to check out:

The Surf Shack on Sparrow Pond (sleeps 8) features charming shiplap walls and a cozy living room with two sofas facing each other in front of a gas fireplace. In the evening, enjoy lagoon views while you sip hot cocoa around the deck’s fire pit and watch the stars come out.

Three Cougar on Greensward (sleeps 6) remains sophisticated without losing any of that beachy charm and is great for families with small children. On a cool fall night, gather in front of the living room’s fireplace or head to the back deck and relax by the fire light. After the little ones are asleep you can slip out to the two-person hot tub.

To check out these and our other accommodations, visit our vacation rental gallery.

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.

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.

Stroll Kiawah Island with Us

Shawn and Jeanette Lawson, Owners of Kiawah Island Getaways<br> <em>Photo credits to Michael Cyra of KiawahIslandPhoto.com<em>
Shawn and Jeanette Lawson, Owners of Kiawah Island Getaways
Photo credits to Michael Cyra of KiawahIslandPhoto.com

I always enjoy strolling Kiawah Island’s beach with Shawn as the day winds down and the sun is setting. Shawn and I generally walk from Shipwatch along the beach until we reach Mariners Watch. Then we turn around. It is fun to watch the families as they pack up their chairs, beach towels, coolers and bags, slowly draw the children away from the waves and start heading back to their villas to prepare for dinner.

We talk about the day’s accomplishments, (or as is the case at Kiawah, our lack of accomplishments), we talk about our family, the houses that we see along the way, interactions with our latest guests. And as we walk, Shawn splish-splashes through the waves, which always results in me wearing wet pants. Of course, I have learned (ever since that fateful July 4th, many years ago) to hand over my cell phone to Shawn (they don’t work too well after a dip in the salty water!).

Benjmin Lawson on the beach.
My oldest son, Benjamin, taking photos the beach.

We walk with the wind in our faces, the sun setting behind us. I am always reminded of our Kiawah photographer who has taken so many photos of our family on the beach – he calls the time between 7 PM and 8 PM in the summer, the “Golden Hour”, which is the ideal time to take photos on the beach. And as I walk with Shawn, I too take photos – not of people, at least not most of the time, but of the beach, of the shells on the beach, the birds, and of the incredibly colorful, wide-open and ever-amazing cloudscapes. And if I am lucky, I will spot a rainbow over the ocean, or a small herd of deer on the beach. Of course photography is simply a hobby for me – and capturing that perfect image is illusive, always taunting me to take more.

So please enjoy my collection of Kiawah photos. And maybe some evening, as the sun is going down, we’ll stroll past each other on the beach, cameras in hand.

Kiawah Island Vacation Video - Kiawah Island Getaways, 2016
Kiawah Island Vacation Video, 2016
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Feeding Sea Gulls on the Beach

This is a fun simple thing to do with kids or when acting like a kid yourself. Take a box of saltines, or an old loaf of bread to the beach and have fun feeding the sea gulls! For extra fun – try feeding them a big red apple! The birds will almost eat right from your hands. It is soo much fun to do – and what a way to bring the nature right to you!!

Check Out Angel Oak!

This is a MUST SEE when you are visiting Kiawah. Located just off the island (near McDonald’s) is the largest tree East of the Mississippi. Angel Oak is believed to be in excess of 1500 years old, its massive, draping limbs and wide spreading canopy present the aura of an angel but the naming of this tree was acquired from the tree’s previous owners, Martha and Justin Angel.