Tranquil Travel: Your Guide to Kiawah Island, South Carolina

For the most part, vacations are wonderful. You get to take a break from work, be carefree for a little while, relax, and ideally have fun. Unfortunately, vacations aren’t always so picture perfect. Whether you are worried about your kids causing a scene or gaining 10 pounds after a week of eating delicious food and not exercising, vacations are often not as peaceful as they should be. If you want to combine the best of both worlds and relax while still staying healthy and fit, there are plenty of vacation destinations all over the world that should satisfy all of your vacation needs.

Sometimes a good beach is all you need for the perfect relaxing vacation.  No frills, no floating bars in a gigantic pool, no rowdy spring breakers, just miles of quiet beach and a great room to relax in after you soak up the sun.  Throw in a few local restaurants, some beautiful nature, and a charming nearby city, and you have a great vacation spot.  Does such a place exist?  Sure it does.  For years now, my family and I have paid frequent visits to Kiawah Island, South Carolina, which is located about a half hour away from Charleston and is a quiet, little resort community with great beaches and great golfing. The PGA was even held there in 2012.

Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head are also great South Carolina Beach spots, but I believe Kiawah is a little more laid back, and is also a great place to bring kids.  8 year old me had some good times there.  If you are looking for a new favorite beach, check out some of what Kiawah has to offer:

Where to Stay: 

The Sanctuary Hotel

Sanctuary Lobby

The Sanctuary really is just that.  It is complete with a spa, pool, and multiple dining options. It is located right along Kiawah’s pristine beaches and is a perfect combination of southern charm and a world class luxury hotel.

Rent a Resort Villa

Kiawah House
We splurged for a rental house once. In the dead of winter. Great discount.

Kiawah is a private island, and many of the properties can be rented out (or purchased – if you really fall in love with the place) throughout the year. Depending on your budget, the amount of people you want to house, and how close you want to be to the beach, you can rent anything from a spacious house that comfortably fits 12 to a smaller villa right on the beach.

What to do: 

Explore the Salt Marsh

Salt Marsh

Not only does Kiawah have an amazing beach, it is also home to a salt marsh.  If you are feeling adventurous, the resort offers a variety of programs and activities, like kayaking, that allow you to explore the marsh.  They have programs that are excellent for families with children, but also offer some more adult-centric programs, like a nighttime paddle throughout the waters.  In addition, walks on the beach and other activities for the kids are offered.

Play a Round of Golf

Ocean Golf Course

The PGA happened here. Enough said.  If golfing is one of your favorite ways to relax and unwinde, there is no better place than Kiawah. Even if you have never played before, it is worth a shot. There are 5 courses to choose from, so you can pick which one best suits your needs.

Spend a Day in Charleston

My recommendations on how to spend your day in Charleston would require a whole other article entirely.  It is a very charming city and there is a lot to do.  If you are interested in history, you can check out Fort Sumter. However if you find that it is very hot, I would hold off on this. It sure does get gets brutal out there. There is also a bigger variety of restaurants in the city than out on the islands.

Will you check out Kiawah Island?

For more wanderlust-worthy articles, take a peek at more of our Tranquil Travel posts.


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