Kiawah Island is a beach and golf resort destination located on a barrier island in South Carolina. It is located about 15 miles south of Charleston and has a population of just over 1,100 residents. Kiawah Island has grown to become one of the major tourist sites in the state and is home to several golf resorts, beachfront villas, condo rental properties and miles of beaches. The most famous property on the island is the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, and this has become an attraction in itself. Whether you’re a golfer, nature lover, or just want to enjoy some time on the white sandy beaches, you’ll find plenty of things to do and enjoy around the beautiful Kiawah Island.
Kiawah Island is hailed as one of the premier golf destinations on the East Coast and is home to several award-winning golf courses that have been designed by many of the “greats” including Tom Fazio and Jack Nicklaus. The golf courses are scattered all across the island and offer some beautiful views of the ocean and surrounding sites.
Kiawah Island has a rich history that dates back to the late 17th century when the Kiawah Indians sold their land to the English. After his purchase the island was divided among two new owners – Captain George Raynor and John Stayarne. After John Stayarne passed away, he ordered in his will that the island would be split in two and that each half would go to one of his granddaughters. This division resulted in the establishment of two plantations that would last into the twentieth century.
The new owners built their own plantation house on their land and kept a few slaves to manage the crops of corn, indigo and peas. Sadly, the plantation would be destroyed during the American Revolution. However, it was rebuilt five years later and new crops flourished. One half of the island was passed on through the Vanderhorst family for several generations through the end of the Civil War. A man by the name of Quash was connected to the Vanderhorsts and came into a powerful position. He served as the primary caretaker for the widower “Miss Adele” and was later known as the Cassique of Kiawah, or Chief of Kiawah. He was one of the few black men on the island, but he is one of the most noted individuals in the island’s history. He later left the island to buy his own plot of land on Johns Island, and raised a whole family there. His grandson was Harold Arnoldus Stevens. Stevens was the first African American to take a position on the U.S. Supreme Court.
It wasn’t until the late 1900s that people started to purchase plots of land on Kiawah Island and built their own homes. Many believed that the real estate here was some of the best in the Charleston area, and interest for land and properties grew steadily. The Kuwait Investment Company became very interested in purchasing land here, and ended up purchasing land from the Royal Family to begin a residential development right on Kiawah Island. Stock problems in the 1980s led to the sale of undeveloped parcels of land across the island, and many are now privately owned by developers and independent investors.
Today, Kiawah Island has become the second home of many beach and golf vacationers. It is now home to several golf courses, world-class hotels and is an attractive vacation destination for Charleston residents and travelers from around the globe.
If you’re planning a trip to Kiawah Island, you can look forward to some beautiful vistas, amazing beaches and some of the most breathtaking sights of South Carolina.
Kiawah Island Weather and Best Time to Visit
Like Charleston, Kiawah Island has a humid subtropical climate with mild winters, and fairly hot and humid summers. Average temperatures in January and February are in the upper 60s, while average temperatures from May through September stay in the upper 80s. Temperatures in October, November and December tend to drop to the low 70s and mid-60s. It can get fairly cool in this area during the winter months, so you will need to bring some sweaters and light jackets if you plan to be outside during the day.
Rates at the hotels and resorts will increase slightly over the Fall and holiday seasons, and you may need to plan your trip several months in advance to secure your ideal dates. Peak season is during the late spring and Fall months when the weather is well-suited for golfing and other outdoor activities. If you’re traveling to the area during the peak summer months, it can be fairly hot and uncomfortable. Hotel and vacation rental rates are typically at their lowest during the middle of the summer, so this can be a great time to enjoy a budget-friendly vacation to Kiawah Island.
Experience Kiawah Island
In addition to the golf courses, those who want to enjoy some outdoor activities can head to any of the county parks, fishing piers and boat landings around the island. Kiawah Island is home to a handful of beach parks that are well-suited for picnicking, lounging and strolling. Make your way to Mount Pleasant or Folly Beach to enjoy an afternoon of fishing on the pier. Equestrians can find plenty of resources and places to ride their horse around the Mullet Hall Equestrian Center. If you’re traveling to Kiawah Island with kids, spend the day playing at one of the water parks or head to the splash zone at the James Island County Park. Some of the parks also have camping facilities, special events pavilions and kayaking programs.
Whether you’re planning a golf getaway to Kiawah Island or are looking for a quiet escape around South Carolina’s beautiful shores, you’ll find plenty of things to do and enjoy around Kiawah Island. Stay at one of the larger resorts or rent a vacation villa for a few days to make the most of your experience.
Kiawah Island is a golf resort destination located a short drive from historic Charleston. The barrier island is a picture-perfect destination to enjoy water activities, visit some historic attractions, enjoy recreation and sports activities and enjoy an untouched, natural setting.