four things not to miss while staying on Kiawah Island

So some of you may know that a few weeks ago, I took a little staycation with my parents while they were in town from Michigan. As staycations go, I didn't travel very far -- just to Kiawah Island, about a 45-minute drive south of Charleston. We had the best time just taking it easy, not making plans, and seeing where the days took us -- which is what vacation is all about, in my opinion. I've made a little list of the things that I particularly enjoyed while staying on the island, but it's by no means exhaustive -- we were only there for five days and there's lots more to see! Check out what I enjoyed, though, and have the best time on whatever type of vacation you're planning to the Charleston area! Side note: in an effort to "be more present," which is apparently a thing I say now, I didn't take a lot of pictures while we were on the island. Sorry 'bout it.

1. Food. This is a given if you’re staying anywhere in the Charleston area, but during our Kiawah getaway, we definitely spent the majority of our time eating. I had been wanting to try The Fat Hen on John’s Island for a while, so we made the short drive there one night and it didn’t disappoint – but then again, how could you go wrong with a French and Lowcountry fusion? I got the short rib, which was phenom, but I’m still dreaming of the steak that Judge got (if anyone needs tips on distracting fellow diners so you can steal food off their plate, I’m your girl). For most of our other meals, we stayed close to home and dined on Kiawah or Seabrook. The various country clubs on Kiawah Island all had menus that looked awesome, and of course, brunch at the Jasmine Porch was my favorite – I might be biased because of my fondness for that particular meal, but the food was great, the service was perfect, and my parents were happy to see a brunch buffet, which is what us Midwesterners are used to when we think of brunch. Overall, a great week of eating – like every week has been for me since I’ve moved here. It’s starting to make sense why I’m ten pounds heavier than two years ago. #ohwell

2. Riding bikes. Every guide to Kiawah ever written mentions this, and for good reason. I ride my bike pretty frequently downtown to get to work, but something about the island made these bike rides so much more relaxing. There are bike paths everywhere and cars were super respectful of riders, which isn’t always the case downtown. Biking is a great way to get moving after all the eating out, scout the island for alligators (didn’t see any, #bummer), check out all the gorgeous island homes that you might miss if you’re driving, and get some cute Boomerangs for that Insta-story that I know you’re trying to post.

3. Hit the beach. Again, obvious. But because Kiawah Island is gated, it’s one of the least crowded beaches I’ve been to near Charleston, and it’s super easy to get out to the beach from wherever you’re staying on the island. Not having tons of people around made the beach ideal for sunbathing (read: napping), and we were also able to casually drink our daiquiris without being worried about hotel security. Virgin daiquiris, obviously, with a pineapple slice on the rim.

four things not to miss on kiawah island charleston sc

4. Explore. this one is general but encompasses a lot of the other places that I want to mention. My mom and I spent an afternoon shopping in Freshfields Village (we rode our bikes there, which was a longer trip but doable); the Village is super cute and has some nice shops that are perfect for vacationers. Most notable for me here was FortyEight, a wine bar with 48 wines on tap (and at least four rosés, which is important). I love unique spots like that and FortyEight definitely had a very cool vibe. We also enjoyed biking or driving to a few of the clubhouses on the island and checking those out; the Sanctuary is insanely gorgeous but it was great to see all the different places (and browse some Caddyshack memorabilia, so cute). Visiting the clubhouses also made it easy to see the golf courses – I’m not a golfer, but because Kiawah is so known for golf, it was cool to at least see these courses (and especially cool for my dad, who’s used to playing in Michigan and was beyond excited to play with Judge on the island).

I still feel like this staycation flew by –- I guess that’s what happens when you nap every day. Kiawah was definitely unique and feels so far removed from Charleston; I kept forgetting that I was really only about 45 minutes from our apartment downtown. We did go into Charleston one day for the Farmer’s Market and to shop on King Street before dinner at Monza, but we mostly stayed near the island, and I personally really liked that. It’s a different experience than staying closer to downtown, for sure, but it was definitely relaxing and will always be a great memory for me.

If you’re planning a trip to Charleston or Kiawah Island, and have questions for me about what to do or where to stay, please feel free to reach out! I’m always happy to talk Charleston and would love to help with any details. 

Have fun!