Kiawah Island Rich with Amenities, Both Natural and Man-Made
By Prentiss Findlay
An aerial view shows the back nine holes of The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island, where the PGA Championship is scheduled to return in 2021. Kiawah Island is a private gated community and vacation destination that has hosted prestigious golf events such as the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup
No alcohol, firearms, fireworks or other dangerous projectiles.
Swim in designated areas only.
Parents should remain with children at all times.
Boats, surfboards and motorized watercraft are not permitted in designated swimming areas.
Fishing is not allowed in designated swimming areas.
Leashed dogs are allowed at the beach park, but a town of Kiawah ordinance now identifies specific regulations: Both the eastern and western ends of the island that are marked as “Critical Habitat Areas” prohibit dogs at any time (on or off leash) year round. From the Beach Club (west) to the “Critical Habitat Area” beyond the County Park, is now a seasonal area and pets can be unleashed only between Nov. 1 – March 15. The owner must remain with their pet, have their pet under control and have a leash in their possession. From March 16-Oct. 31, there is no off-leash on the west end of the island.
No trespassing on dunes. Use designated boardwalk.
Motorized vehicles permitted on designated roadways only.
Fires allowed only in approved cooking grills.
Removal or disturbance of natural resources or wildlife is prohibited.
The island is considered a world-class resort. Amenities include 30-plus miles of paved paths for biking and the renowned Ocean Course links. Residents and vacationers kayak down the tree-shaded Kiawah River to watch egrets, herons and bald eagles. The beaches are considered among the best.
Kiawah is open to the public on a limited basis. Those who want to visit for the day may go to Beachwalker Park or dine at a restaurant. The park is at the west end of the island and offers ocean and river views, the beach and a chance to enjoy a varied nature scene. It is operated through a cooperative agreement between Kiawah Development Partners, Charleston County Council and the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission.
The park has a dressing area, outdoor showers and a picnic area with grills.
The island has its share of celebrity visitors. Overnight guests have included Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates and Joe Biden. Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski has called Kiawah home.
Kiawah has a lively arts scene, including jazz, blues, classical music and musical revues. It has an annual tour of homes in the spring and has hosted Piccolo Spoleto previews.
Island history includes American Indians, pirates, plantation owners, enterprising lumbermen and Kuwaiti investors who were precursors to modern-day Kiawah.
The island’s rich variety of wildlife is monitored and managed by two town staff biologists. Bobcats, deer and alligators are plentiful. Birdwatchers enjoy spotting colorful visitors such as the painting bunting.