Kiawah Island is designed for those looking to master the art of laziness. The island inspires its' visitors to slow down, connect with nature and stroll through the days with no cares in the world. You will be immediately enchanted and drawn into the present moment, you will never want that moment to pass. A typical day on the island looks like this: head over to village for morning coffee fix, walk on over to the beach, go home to relax, bike through the thirty miles of trails around the island. Repeat.
The island has over ten miles of beautiful beaches. Since summer is practically over, we pretty much had the beach to ourselves and bathed ourselves in the warm waters for as long as we cared to or until we spotted or got stung by a jelly fish. On the first day I thought I saw a plastic bag floating in the water but upon closer inspection we realized it was a gigantic jellyfish, the largest one we have ever seen before. We ran out of the water, as fast as we could. However, that did not deter us from reentering the next day, the water is too inviting and just too tempting to pass on. Once again, jelly fish flirted with us and our oldest son got stung. Imagine this, despite the sting, he wanted to stay in the water- that's how magnetic Kiawah's beaches are. You can't seem to pull away, until your son gets stung a second time. So once again, we left sooner than anticipated but also not too soon, we had ample time soaking the sun and sea before its' critters toyed with us. As you can probably predict, we returned again the next day. Nothing could break the spell of the water's call luring us in to her magical embrace.
There is something about the lush, Jurassic Park-esque landscaping that, like Hilton Head Island, makes me want to get fit and active. This island propels you into the outdoors at its' every whim. I am not a runner, I actually detest running but I decided we would all start the days running together for forty five minutes (with walking intervals in between). Of course my kids complained about this new routine but although they didn't officially acknowledge it, I can tell they felt empowered afterwards. I certainly did. Also, bribing them with ice cream later in the day at Ben & Jerry's in Freshfields Village, the town square, helped motivate them through their run. The village is so well maintained and offers a host of upscale shops with many restaurants that have outdoor seating options. Although we opted to cook at home for our meals, we really loved starting our day there at Java Java for coffee and an easy awakening.
VayK Gear had our bikes delivered to our home before we even arrived and they also pick them up upon check out. Super easy. Riding bikes is the best way to explore the island and get lost in its' endless trails. Nothing is more exhilarating than cruising through trails with wind in your hair and your family in tow while you discover new things together.
There is plenty of wildlife on the island and luckily mosquitoes have not been a problem here. We encountered deer on a regular basis and got a chuckle out of the alligator crossing signs smack in the middle of bike lanes.
The Sanctuary Hotel is the island's five star golf resort. It is massive and boasts twelve restaurants and four pools. Although it is quite beautiful, I would not personally stay here. It was packed. So many people, not all wearing masks. We were uncomfortable with the crowds and rushed through our visit to Beaches & Cream, the hotel's ice cream parlor. We rented our home through ESPM Vacations and were very happy with their service and property selections and mostly having our own space, crowd free during Covid.
For those who love golf, Kiawah has five golf courses all perfectly integrated into the island.
On our last evening, we decided to head to the beach for a sunset swim and mark our last beach day of summer. Kiawah Island is definitely our favorite beach destination out of the ones we explored this summer. I cannot imagine moving here full time, I don't think many here are year round residents, but I can absolutely envision having a vacation home here and even retiring here. Kiawah Island is my top choice for a second home location or a place to settle down later in life. New Yorkers love the Hamptons, but Kiawah is a tick-free no brainer. A flight into Charelston and drive over to the island is quicker than a drive from NYC to the Hamptons on summer weekends. Its' close proximity to Charleston (45 minutes away), manageable size, abundant wildlife, easily digestible summer temperatures, lush landscaping, beautiful homes, quaint main village, abundant bicycle trails and spectacular coast makes it a destination I can totally imagine living in one day. Just not quite yet.
Thank you Kiawah Island for your grace, warmth and beauty. You are remarkable.