Kiawah Island is a beautifully preserved nature sanctuary and vacation paradise renowned for its timeless beauty, abundant wildlife, and eco-friendly resort amenities and activities that take luxury to another level.
It’s easy to get your nature fix on Kiawah Island! The quiet picturesque streets are lined with towering live oaks and the small barrier island encompasses 5,000 acres of marshlands, 300+ acres of lakes and ponds, and 10 miles of secluded natural beaches with glistening ocean waters.
Kiawah Island is a natural year-round playground for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, a nesting site for Loggerhead sea turtles, and a critical habitat for 20+ species of mammals, 250+ species of birds, 40+ species of reptiles, and thousands of invertebrates. On Kiawah Island, you’re naturally immersed in nature and wildlife at every turn!
Heron Park Nature Center
One of the best places to get your nature fix on Kiawah Island is at Night Heron Park, nestled in the heart of the island near the legendary Sanctuary Hotel in East Beach Village. This 21-acre nature park has it all – swimming pools, open sports fields, fishing ponds, disc golf, playgrounds, nature trails, restaurants, and an amazing Nature Center with interactive displays and exhibits and outdoor activities for the whole family – with their own age group, or together as a family.
Nature Tours & Programs
The seemingly endless variety of local-led nature tours & programs available at the Heron Park Nature Center sets Kiawah Island apart as one of the best eco-friendly destinations on the east coast. Explore the island’s diverse untouched habitats with a naturalist or island biologist, learn about the unique ecosystems and rich Native American history of the island, and get up close and personal with the wide array of local wildlife that calls beautiful Kiawah Island home.
Outdoor exploration on Kiawah Island begins at the Night Heron Park Nature Center, open daily year-round from 8:30 AM to 5 PM. Here’s a glimpse of the Nature Tours & Programs on offer at Kiawah Island’s Heron Park Nature Center:
- Archery Lessons
- Alligator Adventures
- Birdwatching & Butterfly Walks
- Wildlife Wetland Tours
- Night Beach Walks
- Junior Naturalist Programs
- Kayaking Tours & Rentals
- Shark Fishing
- Inshore, Coastal & Reef Fishing Charters
- Dolphin Encounters
- Bike Tours
- SUP Tours, Lessons & Rentals
- Teen Adventures
- Sunset Cruises
- Shelling Expeditions
- Crafts, Arts & Photography
- Surf Lessons
- Yoga & Fitness Classes
Kiawah Island’s kids’ camps are sure to steer the kids away from screen time or boredom! There are three unique camps to choose from: Kamp Kiawah for kids ages 3-7, Camp Xtreme for kids ages 8-13, and Adventure Camp for kids ages 8-15. Each camp offers nature-inspired activities geared to the specific age group with team-building events, sports, arts & crafts, and so much more! If you fancy a romantic spa session at The Sanctuary or a night of fine dining, Kid’s Night Out (ages 5-12) offers a night of fun for the kids.
Naturally Kiawah Pathways Self-Guided Tours
Pack your comfy walking shoes, rent a kayak, or take advantage of our discounted family deals with Surfscoter Bike Rentals to take a self-guided Naturally Kiawah Pathways tour of the island. It’s simple – download the free TravelStorys App and pick from one of seven GPS-activated tours including Kiawah Paddling, Beach Scavenger Hunt, Kiawahs’ Ponds: A Wildlife Wonderland, Central Kiawah Island, Eastern Kiawah Island, Kiawah Photography, and a tour of The Preserve.
You can also use the app to take a virtual tour of Kiawah Island’s diverse habitats, wildlife, and history from the comfort of your rental home.
Kiawah Island Turtle Patrol
Witness the miracle of nature in action during sea turtle nesting season on Kiawah Island! The efforts to preserve the natural beauty of Kiawah Island and protect our wildlife are ongoing and there are many opportunities to get involved. From May to October, the award-winning beaches on Kiawah are a nesting site for endangered Loggerhead sea turtles and are patrolled daily by a team of loyal volunteers at Kiawah Island Turtle Patrol.
Nesting begins on Kiawah around the middle of May and by July, the tiny turtles are hatching and making their first tracks to the Atlantic ocean waters. Stay oceanfront on Kiawah for first sightings, or join the Turtle Patrol on a morning beach walk.
Kiawah Island Nature Conservancy
The Kiawah Conservancy is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization established by island residents in 1997 to preserve and protect the unique, natural environments of Kiawah Island. Stop by the Naturally Kiawah Demonstration Garden in Night Heron Park, a fine example of landscaping for wildlife habitat, pick up a copy of their local magazine, Naturally Kiawah, at the Heron Park Nature Center, join a volunteer program, or make a tax-deductible gift online to contribute to the conservation of Kiawah Island.
Experience the Natural Beauty of Kiawah with Kiawah Exclusives
Kiawah Island’s network of scenic bike paths connects the neighborhoods of East Beach Village, West Beach Village, and Vanderhorst Plantation making it easy to get to the beaches, Audubon golf courses, restaurants and shopping at Freshfields Village, local island events, and back to your home away from home on Kiawah Island.
Wherever you choose to stay on Kiawah Island, you’re surrounded by the sights, sounds, and splendor of nature. Witness turtles tracking through the sand, our local dolphin pod cruising the creeks, deer roaming the fairways and dunes, and beautiful birdlife in your own backyard – all from the comfort of a private Kiawah Exclusive vacation rental.
With a collection of 100+ luxury Kiawah Island vacation rentals to choose from and a team of local vacation specialists to help plan your stay, the ultimate experience of the natural beauty of Kiawah Island awaits!