For the ultimate, private beach feeling, look no further than Kiawah Island. While most of the island is off-limits to the public, there is a beautiful stretch of beach which is open to anyone: Kiawah Beachwalker Park. This pristine park is one of the widest beaches in the area, and because it takes a little longer to arrive (approximately 45-50 minutes from downtown), usually way less populated than the competition. An ornithologist's dream - migratory birds, birds of prey, and a variety of seabirds all bask in the sparsely populated glory of Kiawah and the surrounding beaches.
Activities on Kiawah Island:
Honestly? Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the waves. Collect shells, look for wildlife, and ride your bike around the island. Watch out for alligators and rouge golf balls.
If you absolutely must know what lies beyond the entrance gate to Kiawah Island, you can always get a day pass to the Sanctuary Hotel, located about 3 miles from Beachwalker Park.
Best Breakfast on Kiawah Island: LIke all the restaurants at the Sanctuary Hotel, The Jasmine Porch, is open to the public. Be sure to try the brunch buffet on the weekends starting at 11:45 (last seating at 2pm), with the option to include mimosas, AND live music.
Best Lunch on Kiawah Island: If you’ve made it past the gate and onto the island with your Sanctuary Pass, look no further than the Market at Town Center, located just off Kiawah Island Parkway, before you reach the Sanctuary. Very reasonably priced sub sandwiches, a few hot specials, and limited groceries are available for purchase, with a nice outdoor patio to sit and enjoy a meal (or stay inside for an air conditioned refuge during the sizzling days of summer).
Best Dinner on Kiawah Island: If you absolutely have to eat dinner on Kiawah Island itself, and you’re prepared to pay a premium, try the Ocean Room. However, I highly recommend skipping both those options altogether, and traveling back towards town where on John’s Island, you’ll find a few more options, including: The Tattooed Moose (casual atmosphere with delicious, heart-attack inducing bar food); The Fat Hen (southern cuisine with a french twist); and the Wild Olive (neighborhood Italian restaurant with wonderful wine list and homemade pasta. Just be sure to wipe the sand off your feet and maybe change into something a little nicer before entering).
Freshfields Village - shopping and dining close to Beachwalker, before you arrive on Kiawah. Find $5 subs, plus salad and hot food bars at the Harris Teeter, and root beer floats at the counter of Vincent’s Drug Store & Soda Fountain.
Dogs on Kiawah Island: Dogs are allowed at Beachwalker park OFF LEASH (one of the only places where this is allowed) but only during certain times of the year.
Rules and Regulations for Beachwalker Park: https://www.ccprc.com/1416/Park-Guidelines