Summer is the season of family vacations, flip flops and ice cream, lazy days on the beach, and outdoor adventures the whole tribe can enjoy together. The ultimate summer vacation awaits on Kiawah Island, a breathtaking barrier island and nature conservancy on the South Carolina coastline, worlds away from the hustle and bustle of city living, yet only 25 miles from the charming and historic City of Charleston.
Ranking #2 on Travel+Leisure “Top 15 Islands in the Continental US” (second only to Hilton Head Island), Kiawah Island is a world-class vacation destination with miles of pristine natural beaches, tranquil Lowcountry landscapes, and luxury resort living in harmony with nature.
Summer is the most popular season on Kiawah Island, a season of fun and festivities, so start planning soon! Here’s our Top 10 things to do on Kiawah Island this summer.
1. Fun & Sun at Beachwalker Park
Kiawah Island’s award-winning Beachwalker Park is ranked among the best in the world, and consistently voted the most beautiful beach on the South Carolina coastline. Stretching 10-miles along the Atlantic Coastline, Beachwalker Park is a haven for nature lovers and beach-goers with wide golden beaches, clean, calm and warm waters (often above 80oF), and fewer crowds than most US summer beach destinations.
There’s no need to organize the kids and extra beach gear! Beachwalker Park boasts amazing amenities for a family beach day with stands for snacks and drinks, beach gear rentals, and even games for endless fun in the sun. Take long beach walks or bike rides along the tideline, build sandcastles, beachcomb for sand dollars, take dips in the tidal pools, learn to surf together as a family, and spot wildlife right from the beach.
It’s not uncommon for beach-goers to see deer grazing in the dunes, dolphins frolicking in the ocean, shorebirds wading in the sand, and loggerhead sea turtles nesting in the lower dunes. May through October is hatching season for Kiawah Island’s loggerhead sea turtles. If you’re in the right place, at the time of hatching, you may even experience hundreds of tiny sea turtles taking their first steps to the ocean. Book an oceanfront rental for front row seats or share a unique turtle experience with Kiawah Island’s Turtle Patrol.
Wherever you stay on Kiawah Island, you’re only a bike ride away from a boardwalk to Beachwalker Park.
2. Eco-Adventures at Night Heron Park
The Nature Center at Night Heron Park is your one-stop shop for outdoor adventures on Kiawah Island. The Nature Center has amazing interactive exhibits to learn about the local wildlife and nature conservation on Kiawah and offers an enticing calendar of events and choice of eco-tours, cruises and charters for every age and adventure level.
Take a walking tour along the shaded nature trails within Night Heron Park with an expert birdwatcher or naturalist, kayak, SUP or cruise the creeks in search of our friendly pod of local dolphins or join a tournament-winning captain on a Lowcountry fishing charter. If you prefer to adventure alone, the Nature Center has paddleboard and kayak board rentals with a public launch point at Mingo Point. The options for eco-adventures on Kiawah Island are endless!
In addition to endless eco-adventures, Night Heron Park is the epicenter of family fun. Night Heron Park features a soccer field, basketball and volleyball courts, a 9-hole disc golf course, archery lessons, extreme laser tag, creative programs at Turtle’s Nest Art Studio, and plenty of space for free play. The kids will need no convincing to head to summer camp on Kiawah Island! There’s Kamp Kiawah for the little ones (ages 5-7) and Camp Xtreme for older kids (ages 8-15) with age-appropriate adventures, activities and unique Kiawah Island experiences, both under the close supervision of highly devoted and trained counselors.
Our selection of Night Heron Cottages place you in the heart of the adventure, activities, and action on Kiawah Island for a summer of fun right on your doorstep!
3. Bike the Kiawah Island Tideline & Trails
Kiawah Island is a vacation destination where you can park your car and forget it, a bonus with current gas prices! Not only is cycling the best way to save money, avoid the summer traffic, and park with ease – biking is the best way to explore the diverse ecosystems, encounter our local wildlife, and take scenic stops at natural attractions along the trail.
Guests on Kiawah Island have 10-miles of hard-packed sands for beach cruises along the tideline and 30-miles of interconnected, paved and flat trails weaving through the neighborhoods of Kiawah Island. You can ride everywhere on Kiawah Island – from East Beach to Vanderhorst Plantation, up to Freshfields Village, and even onto Bohicket Marina (a favorite spot for an island sunset!).
Surfscooter Bike Rentals have been getting our guests on the Kiawah bike trails for over 20 years. Surfscooter offers quality rentals for the whole family including bike seats & burley seats for the little ones and tag-a-longs for a tandem ride, free delivery to your vacation home, and discounted rates for Kiawah Exclusives guests.
4. World-Class Golf & Tennis
The prestigious Kiawah Island Golf Resort boasts five public 18-hole championship golf courses: Cougar Point by Gary Player in West Beach, Turtle Point by Jack Nicklaus in East Beach, Oak Point by Clyde Johnson on the Kiawah River, Osprey Point by Tom Fazio, and the fearsome and famous Ocean Course by Pete Dye in Vanderhorst Plantation. The Ocean Course is the most famous of Kiawah Island’s five championship courses with stunning stretches of oceanside golf, the most oceanside holes in the Northern Hemisphere, and the 19th hole Ryder Cup Bar to round-off the day.
From teeing off on oceanfront holes to world-class tennis under the towering palmettos, palms and scented oleanders. Kiawah Island is voted the No. 1 Tennis Resort in the World with award-winning tennis and pickleball facilities and professional instruction for guests at the Roy Barth Tennis Center near The Sanctuary in East Beach.
5. Socialize & Shop at Freshfields Village
Freshfields Village is situated between Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island, accessible both by road and along the Kiawah Island bike paths. In the summer months, Freshfields Village comes alive with locals and tourists socializing on the village green, feel-good shopping at the farmers market and open-air stores, and wining and dining on summer patios.
There’s always something fun on the events calendar in the summertime at Freshfields. Classic cars and collectibles at Cars & Coffee, weekly farmers markets, wine tastings and dinners, and live jazz weekly at the Porch Bar overlooking Andell Lake.
6. Music on the Green
Music on the Green is a not to be missed Kiawah Island summer tradition! Every Friday night from 6pm to 9pm the Village Green at Freshfield Village hosts the Music on the Green Concert Series, a free, family-friendly event with everything from laid back country and jazz to old time rock n’ roll for the whole family to get their dance moves on. We hope to see you on the dance floor this summer on Kiawah Island!
7. Mingo Point Oyster Roast & BBQ
Speaking of summer traditions, the Mingo Point Oyster Roast & BBQ is Kiawah Island’s longest running tradition, and another unique Kiawah Island experience for the vacation itinerary! Spend an evening at Mingo Point on the banks of the Kiawah River, roasting succulent oysters over an open fire, BBQing traditional Lowcountry feasts, dancing the night away to live music, and filling your camera roll with the most spectacular shots of a Kiawah Island sunset. The Mingo Point Oyster Roast is an occasion for the whole family and one you’ll never forget.
8. Sunrise Yoga & Spa Days
Every vacation deserves a little me-time and there’s no better place to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul than at the Forbes 5-Star Spa at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island. Known for its luxury Southern-inspired facilities and treatments, guests can choose from a sunrise yoga class on the beach to rejuvenating single spa treatments or exclusive full day pamper packages.
Elevate your experience at The Sanctuary Hotel with an evening of fine dining at Jasmine Porch or the Ocean Room, Kiawah Island’s premier steakhouse, followed by specialty southern cocktails and the smooth sounds of southern jazz in The Lobby Bar. Indulge, you deserve it!
9. A Day-Trip to Charleston
Kiawah Island is only 25 miles from the charming city of Charleston, a bucket-list destination for a day trip. The best way to experience Charleston in a day is on a guided sightseeing tour. Whether your travel style is a cruise around the harbor, zipping through the streets on a segway, or stepping back in time on a horse-drawn carriage ride through Charleston, you’ll find a tour perfect for your travel tribe. The Charleston Pirate Adventure Cruise is a favorite for swashbuckling adventures with the kids.
10. Stay with Kiawah Exclusives
Live the Lowcountry lifestyle this summer with Kiawah Exclusives collection of island condos, cottages, villas and luxury private homes. Take leisurely strolls to miles of beautiful beaches, birdwatch with afternoon tea from the front porch, bike to the summer events, and watch a perfect island sunset from home.
Whether you’re seeking affordable luxury or booking a bucket-list luxury vacation to Kiawah Island, you’ll find an idyllic summer escape on Kiawah Island with Kiawah Exclusives that ticks all the boxes, and more!