Kiawah Island Thanksgiving Traditions

thanksgiving pies

Families who return each fall attest that Thanksgiving Traditions at Kiawah Island Golf Resort keep them coming back. And what an advantage to kick your holidays off with a long stress-free weekend. Just leave all the work to us and give the family cook a break. All you have to do is rest, relax and recreate (and feast, of course) in fine fashion. We offer a surprising range of options to make any family grateful. 

Flexible Feasts

Whether you’re staying in our Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond Sanctuary hotel, a Resort Villa one of our luxurious Homes,  we provide a wide range of options for your Thanksgiving dinner. 

A sumptuous buffet in the hotel’s Grand Oaks Ballroom offers numerous stations and a well-paired wine menu and decadent dessert options. We offer the buffet from late morning to late afternoon to accommodate all schedules. 

You can also opt for a specially crafted kid’s menu next door in the adjacent Heron Room. While the food always pleases young palates, kids always find the games, live animals and arts & crafts even more enchanting.

In the opposite (west) wing of the hotel, Jasmine Porch‘s Lowcountry-inspired Grand Buffet displays a smorgasbord of traditional Thanksgiving fare (with an unmistakable Southern accent). Live music and a complimentary glass of bubbly provide inspiration to toast your loved ones and the Holiday season.

If you opt to go light on lunch, The Ocean Room, The Sanctuary’s signature Forbes Four Star steakhouse, enhances its usual seasonal menu with a selection of an epicurean take on holiday classics (a children’s menu is available). For a truly nontraditional take, the adjoining Lounge offers a selection of sushi, small plates and sophisticated libations.

On the main floor, the Lobby Bar proves an excellent place to gather for a pre- or post-dinner drink, and also offers a tempting menu of light bites along with an impressive list of wines, beers and spirits.

Outside the hotel, The Atlantic Room devises a special Thanksgiving dinner menu. Enjoy superbly crafted dishes that capture the spirit of the season while you soak in the spectacular views of the eighteenth fairway and the Atlantic beyond from The Ocean Course Clubhouse.  

Finally, if you prefer grandma’s recipes and decide to tackle dinner yourself in your villa or house, at least allow our talented pastry team to supply dessert. We’ll have your freshly baked pumpkin, cinnamon-apple crumble or pecan pie (or one of each!) boxed and ready for pick-up the day before Thanksgiving.

Post-Feast Festivities      

It may come as a surprise that not all Kiawah Island Thanksgiving traditions involve food. Besides, after everyone sleeps off the turkey tryptophan, they want to get out and about. No worries, we’ve got that covered too.   

Greet the day with healthy start by entering our Turkey Trot, a one-mile walk or one- to three-mile fun run on our award-winning beach. If that leaves you feeling motivated, stick around immediately after for Yoga on the Beach. Later, you won’t feel so guilty about your massive caloric intake.  

Bring the whole family out to Night Heron Park to join in Pumpkin Hockey. “What’s that?” you ask. Just take our word for it when we say you’ll get a kick out of this zany take on America’s favorite winter team sport.

Nature lovers get a special thrill with an up-close encounter with owls, hawks and eagles. The Center for the Birds of Prey, visiting from just up the road in Awendaw, SC, takes over Night Heron Park to display a range of birds performing flight demonstrations. Knowledgeable naturalists wait on-hand to explain these feathered predators’ vital contribution in maintaining ecological balance.  

If you want to start tackling your gift list, make your own one-of-a-kind gift at the Holiday Bazaar Workshop the day after Turkey Day. The lucky folks on your list will marvel that you invested so much sweat equity into making a body scrub, scented candle, jewelry, or whatever your creative mind conceives. You’ll find all the supplies you need at Turtle’s Nest Art Studio in the heart of Night Heron Park. 

Friday night, you’ve been so busy and active that you’re shocked to find yourself hungry again. That’s good, because now you can join in one of the South Carolina Lowcountry’s most honored customs— a traditional oyster roast. At Mingo Point, nestled under Spanish moss–draped live oaks and pines, resort guests (and locals) gather to feast on succulent oysters prepared in the time-honored fashion: on a huge grill laid over a roaring wood fire. The peculiar few who don’t eat bivalves can dig into authentic Carolina pork barbecue cooked low-and-slow over hardwood coals. Live musical entertainment and local artisans hawking their wares complete the carnival-like atmosphere.  

Deck the Halls, Kiawah Style

On the Friday of Thanksgiving, thoughts instantly turn to the holiday season. While Kiawah provides a relaxing escape from the hustle (and hassle) of Black Friday, that doesn’t mean we go about business as usual. 

Rather we kick things off with our highly anticipated tree lighting ceremony once the hotel staff has taken time to tastefully decorate the entire lobby. Further afield and earlier in the day, we invite guests to huddle around the Pavilion fireplace to create their own ornaments while they sip hot chocolate.

Next morning, back at the hotel, the young (and young-at-heart) gather in the Terrace Ballroom for cookie decorating. But that’s just a prelude to the main event: the arrival of Santa to The Sanctuary (by golf cart, naturally) to visit with the children and collect notes on Christmas lists.   

All of the Thanksgiving weekend activities described above barely scratches the surface. It’s simply impossible to mention everything. Get all the details and take the first step towards establishing your own Kiawah Thanksgiving Traditions.