Kiawah Island Flashbacks

Blog Challege Day 8: share a place you’ve traveled to

Warning = This post is long and picture-heavy!

Andy and I love to travel.  So even with kids…we travel.  We just travel differently. 

We discovered Kiawah Island when I was pregnant with Stella.  It was a family favorite of one of our doula‘s.  So in 2008, when Stella was 11 months old we traveled there with my mom and little brother.  Kiawah is a gated community outside of Charleston, SC.  Although it’s secluded, there is a Piggly Wiggly (with a Starbucks!) nearby for groceries and there is a newer development called Freshfields Village (restaurants, upscale grocery, shops, activities, etc.) right off of the island. Here is why we loved it during that trip.

You could stop in Asheville on the way and visit the Biltmore:
The beach was fabulous and there were even tide pools to play in:
Lots of bike trails:
And a playground within walking distance:
We also went into Charleston (about a 45 minute drive) and took a boat to Fort Sumter, explored the Charleston streets of old houses, and ate at a family favorite – Jim ‘n Nick’s
So last summer we decided to return with Andy’s parents.  Stella was almost 3, Charlotte was 15 months, and I was pregnant with Henry.  We used the same rental company – Kiawah Island Getaways, but stayed in the Penthouse for this trip.  The whole vacation was fabulous again.  Here is what we loved.
We chose to spend more and stay ocean-front again.  Because I’m selfish.  Traveling with 2 toddlers means there is more time in the villa for meals and naps.  So if I’m going to be in the villa, I want to a) view the ocean and b) watch what everyone else is doing.  I could sit and stare at walls and a TV at home.  The arrow points to our balcony and the star is on our bedroom windows.  There are cheaper options across the street and some still have a great lagoon view (alligators included!).
We could set up “camp” every morning and leave our stuff until late that afternoon.
The amount of beach you have definitely depends on the tide schedule and the time of day:
Like us, the girls seemed to LOVE the beach. 
They enjoyed chasing the birds and each other:
The sand was great for sand castles:
Tons of seashells:
Although Andy brought his road bike, the rest of us rented cruisers to explore the island:
Playground still very nice:
Although we saw dolphins from our balcony…
We spent a cloudier day at the Aquarium in Charleston with the kids:
Although we’re skipping the long drive this year and heading to Lake Michigan instead, I know we’ll be back to Kiawah!
Some other things to note if Kiawah interests you:
  • It really is secluded; although there are a few resort restaurants and an ice cream shop on the island, it is very quiet and non-commercial…so if you’re expecting Hilton Head, it’s not!
  • It is a nature preserve and you will see alligators, turtles, dolphins, deer, etc.
  • Kiawah Island Resort is also supposed to be fabulous and the golf courses are beautiful; I think this is also the only way to get pool access (we spend all of our time at the beach)
  • Kamp Kiawah is great if you have older kids
  • The middle of May seemed prime time to go if you have smaller kids (and no school schedule to worry about) because the weather is not too hot and the prices are lower before Memorial Day
  • Both trips we stayed on East Beach in the Windswept Villas – the first villa we stayed at is no longer being rented by the owner
  • This Pam Harrington rental site is also supposed to be good


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