Kiawah Island - Beyond the Golf

I want to go skeet shooting!

No sooner did the words leave my mouth, than I began to wonder if years of extreme coffee abuse had finally caused my brain to go haywire. And yet, the statement seemed entirely appropriate as we made our way through the low country of South Carolina toward the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. The golf has made this oceanfront retreat famous - PGA Championships and Ryder Cups are good that way - but the sound of shotgun blasts along the tree covered lane which lead to the resort showed that there are plenty of things to do on Kiawah Island beyond its illustrious links. 

Kiawah Island Clubhouse

The adventure begins at The Sanctuary - the appropriately named Five Diamond and Five Star award-winning hotel which anchors Kiawah Island. There is plenty of pontificating to be found on this incredible hotel, however we start here because it is home to one of the most renowned attractions on Kiawah Island: The Spa. This entire island is an oasis of tranquility, but the spa along with its own Five Star award takes serenity to a whole new level. While I returned from battle on The Ocean Course beaten and worn down, MJ was fully relaxed from a day of pampering and a hot stone pedicure. A great example of why The Spa at Kiawah Island has been named one of the top 20 in the country by both Conde Nast and Travel & Leisure magazines. 

Kiawah Island Spa
Not a bad place to spend an afternoon...

It wasn't long before I came to realize that Kiawah Island is one of the most physically active places I've ever visited. Everywhere we turned there was someone taking advantage of the numerous opportunities for recreation on the island, from long runs on the beach to an afternoon bike ride with the entire family. I built up immunity to these whims long ago, having learned my lesson the hard way about the perils of long bike rides on barrier islands. Still, the constant reminder that I was, in fact, a bum inspired us to try our hands at something new... Kayaking.

Kiawah Island Alligator
Some of the local wildlife.
Kiawah Island Beach
Miles and miles of white sand...

There was significant risk involved with MJ and I boarding a kayak together. One of us has a great deal of common sense and experience with this sort of thing, while the other - read: me - is a certified space cadet in need of training on how to work a paddle. We started off by working against the tide to the mouth of the river, passing a few dolphins and other wildlife along the way, before turning around at the beach for the easy ride back to the dock at Mingo Point. It all had the recipe for many hours of marriage counseling, but in the end our kayaking adventure on the Kiawah River was one of the most fun experiences of the weekend.

Kiawah Island Kayaking
Two hours of kayaking and we're still smiling...

Finally, there's the most important attraction of them all: the food. Kiawah Island is home to several great options for dining, from the Four Diamond rated Ocean Room at The Sanctuary, to the tiny ice cream and coffee shop known as Beaches & Cream. A personal favorite was Southern Kitchen, where my iced coffee came served in a mason jar, and the Chicken & Waffles were some of the best in my extensive career with the dish. But it was The Atlantic Room and its view of the Ocean Course which we will always remember. If there's one thing I've come to learn, it's that few things pair together better than great food and sunsets.

Kiawah Island Southern Kitchen
Everything tastes better from a Mason jar.
Kiawah Island Sunset
The sunset from the Atlantic Room.

While the golf receives top billing, and rightfully so - it is Kiawah Island Golf Resort after all - those who wouldn't know a 9-iron from a 3-wood will still feel right at home. Whether you discover nirvana in the spa, learn to operate a kayak, or just soak up the rays on the miles of white sandy beaches, Kiawah Island will not only keep you occupied, but leave you wanting more. And if you are a golfer, well, then allow me to introduce you to this little place called heaven.

Enjoy Your Stay

Special thanks to Kiawah Island Resort for hosting our visit. As always, all opinions are my own. Note: Kiawah Island does not currently offer skeet shooting as a recreational activity. The above mentioned encounter was found a few miles outside of the resort on SC 10-20