Summer may be the most popular time to visit the South Carolina barrier islands, but Kiawah Island’s sub-tropical climate is perfect for a quieter fall vacation. The heat and humidity have faded, and summer crowds have dispersed, but Kiawah Island’s natural attractions, outdoor recreation, beautiful scenery, abundance of wildlife, and friendly local community welcome visitors to the island year-round.
Nestled on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, just 25 miles south of Charleston, Kiawah Island is one of the most eco-friendly tourist destinations in the US. Temperatures on Kiawah Island stay in the warm upper 60’s and 70’s well into November and while you may not be topping up your suntan on the sand, it’s the perfect season to switch to island time, get the whole family outdoors, and enjoy a slower pace of life on Kiawah Island.
1. Beach Days & Bike Rides
The Atlantic Ocean may (or may not) be too chilly but fall visitors to Kiawah Island have easy access to 10-miles of uncrowded, hard-packed sand perfect for beach picnics, building sandcastles, long beachcombing walks, and fun family bike rides along the coastline. Beachwalker Park ranks among some of the best beaches in the world and wherever you stay on Kiawah Island, you’re only a short walk or bike ride away.
2. Eco-Tours & Excursions
It may be too chilly to get in the water, but the weather is perfect to paddle the Lowcountry waterways and explore the diverse ecosystem of Kiawah Island. Kiawah Island has year-round guided nature programs for every age and ability from kiddie crabbing adventures, fishing charters, and active kayaking excursions to tranquil birdwatching tours and majestic sunset cruises along the Kiawah River.
Pick up a rental and adventure alone from Mingo Point or book a guided tour for an eco-adventure through the saltwater marshes, rivers, creeks and natural splendor of Kiawah without the summer crowds.
3. Undisturbed Birdlife & Wildlife Viewing
Kiawah Island’s 10 miles of pristine shoreline, 3,000+ acres of tidal salt marshes, and ancient maritime forests are home to over 290 species of birds, 60 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 30+ species of mammals including armadillos, bobcats, raccoons, white-tailed deer, and Kiawah’s famous Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins.
Whether you’re strolling the shoreline, bike riding the Kiawah Island trails or embarking on an eco-adventure at Night Heron Park you’re highly likely to encounter wildlife during your stay on Kiawah Island. In the fall, visitors to Kiawah can catch the tail end of South Carolina’s sea turtle season, witness the unique phenomenon of dolphin strand feeding at Captain Sam’s Inlet, and ride the bike paths at dawn or dusk for the best wildlife viewing on Kiawah.
4. Book a Beach & Golf Combo
Kiawah Island is a famous golfing destination, known around the world for incredible championship courses designed (and played) by the biggest names in golf. Spring and fall are the most popular times of year to play golf on Kiawah Island with cooler temperatures, gentle ocean breezes, and tempting late fall golf deals.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort boasts seven award winning courses including five public golf courses – Oak Point by Clyde Johnson, Cougar Point by Gary Player, Turtle Point by Jack Nicklaus, Osprey Point by Tom Fazio and the legendary Ocean Course by Pete Dye. Each course has its own 19th hole clubhouse, driving range, and pro shop or you can up your game with a PGA-certified pro at the Tommy Cuthbert Golf Learning Center at Turtle Point. Be sure to book your Kiawah Island tee times and golf vacation villa well in advance.
5. Family-Friendly Fall Festivals
Skip the bustling boardwalk attractions and opt for old-fashioned finger lickin’, foot-stompin’ family-fun on Kiawah Island this fall. Get lost in a giant corn maze, pick your own pumpkins for jack-o-lantern carving, load up for a family hayride, play in the petting zoo, or even build your own scarecrow. That’s only the beginning! Fabulous feasts, foot stompin’ bluegrass bands, craft fairs, and farmers markets await at Kiawah Island’s authentic Lowcountry fall festivals.
- Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch every weekend at Boone Hall Plantation
- Annual Pumpkin Patch on weekends at Legare Farms on Johns Island
- Harvest Festival at Johns Island County Park.
- Heron Park Fall Festival and Thanksgiving Festival at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.
6. Spooky Halloween Celebrations!
It’s the spooky season and there’s Halloween celebrations and haunted happenings all over town! Throw a dress-up Halloween party with friends and family at home, go trick-or-treating around your local neighborhood, take a ghost tour of Charleston (one of the most haunted destinations in the US!), or pick up a Fear Pass to South Carolina’s largest haunted event, Fright Nights at Boone Hall Plantation in nearby Charleston.
7. Tour Charming Charleston
The historic city of Charleston is voted “#1 City in the US” and is situated only 25 miles from Kiawah Island! Take a scenic drive and soak up the autumn scenery, book a city sightseeing tour (on foot, bike, segway, or even by horse-carriage), hop on a harbor cruise, shop ‘til you drop on King Street, and savor a taste of world-class Lowcountry cuisine at Charleston’s hidden foodie gems. Charleston’s fall foodie festivals to note are Charleston Restaurant Week and Charleston Beer Week.
For a unique Charleston experience save a spot on your fall vacation itinerary for the Falls Tours of Charleston in October to explore the gardens, private porches, piazzas, and historical architecture of some of Charleston’s finest buildings and homes. Another fall favorite is a leaf peeping adventure at Magnolia Plantation, one of America’s most beautiful gardens. Charming Charleston will capture your heart in fall.
8. Lowcountry Oyster Roasts
Oyster Roasts are one of our favorite Lowcountry traditions and whether you like them steamed, roasted, grilled or fresh from the raw bar, there’s plenty of opportunity to indulge in oysters on Kiawah Island. Oyster season on Kiawah Island kicks off late September and lasts through the fall.
Make a day of it and throw your own oyster roast at home, snack on chilled oysters on the half shell at the famous waterfront Salty Dog Café or indulge in southern oysters Rockafeller-style at The Atlantic Room, Kiawah Island’s signature seafood restaurant. Plan your fall getaway to Kiawah over Thanksgiving and feast on fresh oysters on the banks of the Kiawah River at the annual Thanksgiving Mingo Point Oyster Roast. It may be the beginning of a new Kiawah Island fall family tradition of your own!
9. Shopping & Spa Days
The fall season is much quieter than summer on Kiawah Island so it’s the perfect time to snag a seat at your favorite restaurant, save on an off-season shopping deal, or find an open time slot to spoil yourself with a pampering spa treatment. Freshfields Village is situated just off the island and is easily accessible on the bike paths for a day of retail therapy and spa treatments, or indulge with luxury shopping and a signature massage at The Spa at the Sanctuary.
10. Switch to Island Time
It’s easy to switch to island time when you stay with Kiawah Exclusives. We represent a collection of 110+ of the most exclusive vacation rentals on Kiawah Island with quiet retreats on the tranquil Kiawah River, golf villas and homes on the lush fairways, family cottages in the heart of Night Heron Park, and luxury oceanfront homes with all the bells and whistles!
Fall is the perfect season to plan a family vacation or long-term stay on Kiawah Island – escape the cold, work from the beach (if you must!) and live a luxurious Lowcountry lifestyle without the summer crowds! Thinking long-term? Our selection of luxury Kiawah Island monthly rentals are available from mid-October to mid-March for an extended stay.