Your Guide to Kiawah Island, South Carolina

You don't have to be a golfer to vacation on pristine Kiawah Island, located just off the South Carolina coast near Charleston -- but it's an added bonus if you are.
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Sanctuary Hotel, Kiawah Island

Sanctuary Hotel, Kiawah Island

Guests of the luxurious Sanctuary Hotel enjoy the genteel Southern charm of a resort designed to resemble a sprawling seaside mansion. Hospitality is key at the 255-room hotel, and each room features handcrafted armoires and desks, as well as custom-made beds. You can relax with a personalized spa treatment, burn calories on the tennis courts, or swim in the Olympic-sized family pool. Kids can splash and play in the children's pool, which features two water slides.

You don't have to be a golfer to vacation on pristine Kiawah Island, located just off the South Carolina coast near Charleston -- but it's an added bonus if you are. Though the island boasts 10 miles of stunning beachfront, complete with breeze-blown sand dunes and waving sea grasses, it's the island's golf courses that draw visitors in droves. A private island, Kiawah is home to 5 championship courses located at the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. The property dominates the island and offers visitors amenities like restaurants, pools, and beach access.

WHERE TO STAY

The Sanctuary Hotel

Guests of the luxurious Sanctuary Hotel enjoy the genteel Southern charm of a resort designed to resemble a sprawling seaside mansion. Hospitality is key at the 255-room hotel, and each room features handcrafted armoires and desks, as well as custom-made beds. You can relax with a personalized spa treatment, burn calories on the tennis courts, or swim in the Olympic-sized family pool. Kids can splash and play in the children's pool, which features two water slides.

Andell Inn 

Andell Inn, Kiawah Island

Andell Inn, Kiawah Island

Located in the open-air shopping center, Freshfields Village, Andell Inn offers some of the island's more affordable -- and stylish -- accommodations. Guests can choose from studio, 1- and 2-bedroom suites, which all include fully equipped kitchens and living rooms. You can lounge by the salt water pool, work out in the fitness center, or sip cocktails at the Porch Bar. Free breakfast and wifi are also available.

Photo by: Andell Inn

Andell Inn

Located in the open-air shopping center, Freshfields Village, Andell Inn offers some of the island's more affordable -- and stylish -- accommodations. Guests can choose from studio, 1- and 2-bedroom suites, which all include fully equipped kitchens and living rooms. You can lounge by the salt water pool, work out in the fitness center, or sip cocktails at the Porch Bar. Free breakfast and wifi are also available.

Kiawah Golf Resort's Villas and Private Homes 

Multi-family parties or guests seeking absolute privacy and space can book one of Kiawah Golf Resort's deluxe villas or private homes. Tucked around the island, both the houses and villas feature varying levels of amenities. Guests can choose from among 3-bedroom, oceanview villas and 4- to 8-bedroom homes. Amenities include fully equipped kitchens, complimentary transportation around the island, access to pools and golf courses.

Kiawah Golf Resort's Villas and Private Homes

Kiawah Golf Resort's Villas and Private Homes

Multi-family parties or guests seeking absolute privacy and space can book one of Kiawah Golf Resort's deluxe villas or private homes. Tucked around the island, both the houses and villas feature varying levels of amenities. Guests can choose from among 3-bedroom, oceanview villas and 4- to 8-bedroom homes. Amenities include fully equipped kitchens, complimentary transportation around the island, access to pools and golf courses.

Photo by: Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Kiawah Island Golf Resort

WHERE TO EAT

Jasmine Porch

Jasmine Porch, Kiawah Island

Jasmine Porch, Kiawah Island

When in the deep South, it's natural to crave a little low country cuisine. Jasmine Porch puts a high-end twist on the low country, with a menu that features well-executed classics, like She Crab bisque, and shrimp and grits. Other highlights include a butternut squash and apple bisque and fried green tomatoes served with pimento cheese, roasted shallot aioli, and pickled okra. If you saved room for dessert, dig into the peach bread pudding with brown sugar ice cream and salted caramel sauce. Pro tip: arrive before sunset to enjoy the waterfront views.

Photo by: Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Kiawah Island Golf Resort

When in the deep South, it's natural to crave a little low country cuisine. Jasmine Porch puts a high-end twist on the low country, with a menu that features well-executed classics, like She Crab bisque, and shrimp and grits. Other highlights include a butternut squash and apple bisque and fried green tomatoes served with pimento cheese, roasted shallot aioli, and pickled okra. If you saved room for dessert, dig into the peach bread pudding with brown sugar ice cream and salted caramel sauce. Pro tip: arrive before sunset to enjoy the waterfront views.

Southern Kitchen

Southern Kitchen, Kiawah Island

Southern Kitchen, Kiawah Island

Start your day with a hearty meal at Southern Kitchen, a local favorite for breakfast and brunch. Put the diet on hold and order the Kiawah Benedict, two poached eggs, served over crab cakes and gouda-grit cakes, and topped with Hollandaise. Southern classics like biscuits and gravy, and chicken and waffles also grace the menu. If you really must stick to your diet, yogurt and fresh fruit, as well as oatmeal, make an appearance.

Photo by: Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Start your day with a hearty meal at Southern Kitchen, a local favorite for breakfast and brunch. Put the diet on hold and order the Kiawah Benedict, two poached eggs, served over crab cakes and gouda-grit cakes, and topped with Hollandaise. Southern classics like biscuits and gravy, and chicken and waffles also grace the menu. If you really must stick to your diet, yogurt and fresh fruit, as well as oatmeal, make an appearance.

Ryder Cup Bar

Ryder Cup Bar, Kiawah Island

Ryder Cup Bar, Kiawah Island

After a long afternoon on the golf course, kick back with a cold beer and a tasty meal at the Ryder Cup Bar. While admiring sweeping views of the ocean from the verandah, diners can chow down on an order of warm crab dip followed by a burger topped with smoked cheddar and peppered bacon. If you're craving something more substantial, try the fish and chips with pickled pepper tartar sauce.

Photo by: Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Kiawah Island Golf Resort

After a long afternoon on the golf course, kick back with a cold beer and a tasty meal at the Ryder Cup Bar. While admiring sweeping views of the ocean from the verandah, diners can chow down on an order of warm crab dip followed by a burger topped with smoked cheddar and peppered bacon. If you're craving something more substantial, try the fish and chips with pickled pepper tartar sauce.

WHAT TO DO

Tee Off at a Premier Golf Course

Kiawah Island Golf Resort 

Kiawah Island Golf Resort 

Arguably the finest golfing in South Carolina, the courses at Kiawah Island Golf Resort are second to none in the region. The resort lays claim to 5 championship courses, including the Ocean Course, whose claim to fame is being one of just 4 U.S. courses to host every major PGA event.

Photo by: Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Arguably the finest golfing in South Carolina, the courses at Kiawah Island Golf Resort are second to none in the region. The resort lays claim to 5 championship courses, including the Ocean Course, whose claim to fame is being one of just 4 U.S. courses to host every major PGA event.

Unwind on the Beach

Ten miles of windswept beaches line the shores of Kiawah Island. Though most of the beaches are private and can be accessed through the Kiawah Island Resort, Kiawah Beachwalker Park is open to the public. Located on the island's west end, the park has lifeguards on duty, and features family-friendly amenities like dressing rooms and showers, restrooms, picnic areas, and umbrella and beach chair rentals.

Seabrook Island

Seabrook Island

Seabrook Island

As if a trip to Kiawah Island couldn't be more relaxing, a 20-minute drive to tiny Seabrook Island cranks the serene vibe up another notch. The island's 2 and a half miles of pristine beaches, windswept dunes, and quiet communities offer ample opportunity for exploration. The island is also home to tennis, golf, and horseback riding facilities. Because the island is private, visitors must call the town of Seabrook Island to schedule a time to visit.

Photo by: OzarksRazorback via Wikimedia Commons

OzarksRazorback via Wikimedia Commons

As if a trip to Kiawah Island couldn't be more relaxing, a 20-minute drive to tiny Seabrook Island cranks the serene vibe up another notch. The island's 2 and a half miles of pristine beaches, windswept dunes, and quiet communities offer ample opportunity for exploration. The island is also home to tennis, golf, and horseback riding facilities. Because the island is private, visitors must call the town of Seabrook Island to schedule a time to visit.

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