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travel

Kiawah Island, SC Travel Guide

Where to begin with this post!  I use to vacation to Kiawah Island every summer as a child and went on to get married here on September 13th, 2014!  We were able to spend our 6th year wedding anniversary on the island with Lainey & Roman this time to experience it with us.   (You can see all the details about my wedding on A Low Country Wed Blog & Destination I Do.)  This island holds such a special place in our hearts and never disappoints in all aspects.  It truly is one of those magical beaches that has the prettiest golf courses along the coast to enjoy too.  There are 10+miles of beach, and 30+ miles of bike trails, and multiple kid splash park pools and playgrounds to keep them entertained.  I’ve always heard families favorite thing about the beaches here are the huge tide pools that appear and the fact you can have your dog on the beach!


(view from Sanctuary pool)

& Here is everything you need to know about Kiawah Resort

How to Get there:
It is about 45 minutes depending on traffic from the Charleston, SC Airport.  You drive through rows of beautiful trees in route to Kiawah Island, where you simply drive up to the front security gate and let them know where you are staying.

Where to stay:  
*When booking a place through Kiawah Resort, you get access to all the resort amenities & benefits. You have access to pools, fitness centers, discounted rates on recreational activities, golf, and tennis.  Keep in mind, people who book through the resort get preferential tee times and court times at the tennis center as well.

  • The Sanctuary Hotel- this is the only luxury hotel on the island.  We spent our wedding night here and this past weekend we stayed 3 nights and it was amazing!  Forbes Travel Guide awarded the hotel a solid 5 stars and you receive nothing short of a 5 star service!  “Choose from 255 well-appointed guestrooms, with King rooms spanning 520 square feet or more. Or upgrade to an exceptional suite, including the awe-inspiring 3,000-square-foot Presidential Suite.”
  • Villas– If you prefer more space for an affordable nightly rate, you can book any of the villas on the island!
  • Private Homes-  We rented several houses my wedding week that had 6+ bedrooms and turned into a huge family event.  You can book private homes on the kiawah website here.  There isn’t a bad view on the island, you just need to decide if you want to be on the beach or in a neighborhood!
  • COMING SOON! The Ocean Course cottages Vacation cottages that are 2 & 4 story will be under construction soon.  They are estimated to be ready in Fall of 2020.

 

What to do:

  • Bike: Reserve bikes ahead of time depending where you are staying on the island and ride bikes on the beaches and through the island.
  • Pool Hop: Visit all the pools, make sure to go to Night Heron Park and explore their splash park/water slides!
  • Play Golf– the PGA Championship is held on the Ocean Course located here. Kiawah has some of the nicest & most challenging courses in the world. Keep in mind certain courses require you to also have your own caddy.
  • Play Tennis- Voted the top tennis resort in the world by tennisresortsonline.com for 2019. “For an unsurpassed player experience, we offer 22 tennis courts, including ten new Har-Tru clay courts, all tucked into the resort’s stunning surroundings and bordered by fragrant oleander, rustling palmettos, swaying pampas grass and vibrant flowers.”
  • Beach- especially in the afternoons, don’t miss the tide pools that make you feel like you are on a secluded island!

     

  • Kamp Kiawah– If you’re traveling with the kids look into this, some of my favorite child hood memories were at Kamp Kiawah.  Find more info here.
  • Attend an Oyster Roast Dinner at Mingo Point- Available dates here and you can purchase tickets!
  • Spa– This is located in the Sanctuary Hotel.  The Forbes Travel Guide recognized The Spa at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort with Five Stars for the ninth year in a row!  This Forbes Five Star Spa’s soothing treatments are derived from botanical extracts, nourishing seaweed, rich mud and natural enzymes, all offered in a spectacular setting.  From beginning to end the entire experience was amazing.  We got the custom couples massage in one of their suite seclusion, I chose to incorporate a lavender scent for relaxation.  Designed for the most exclusive experience, their beautifully appointed Couple’s Suite features two treatment tables, a relaxation area and a private therapeutic bath and shower.  Make sure to arrive 30+ minutes early to enjoy all the spa has to offer.  We sat in the coed Magnolia room and enjoyed their custom granola and hot tea before our service.  They have a Sauna, whirl pool, and steam room to relax ahead of time or post treatment so make sure to bring your swim suit.  If you do only one thing on this trip, make sure to book a spa appointment! I can’t rave about this experience enough.  Explore all the treaments here.

     

Here is a Sample Itinerary they customized for us which was the perfect amount of family fun + relaxation for a 3 day weekend at the Sanctuary Hotel:

Day 1:  Check in, head to the beach to enjoy the late tide pools that show up for the kids.  End with Dinner at the Ocean Room at the Sanctuary.

Day 2:  Up early with kids- Grab bikes for the weekend and ride them to the beach or Night Heron Park Pool!  Head back for lunch at Logger heads by the sanctuary pool, and get the kids down for naps!  3pm- book the dolphin excursion where you can see them swim right up to the boat and various animals along the sound.  4:30pm-  Play nine holes at one of the famous golf courses- We did Cougar Point!  Then head to dinner at the Ryder Cup room (located at the Ocean Course for a one of a kind sunset).  Let the kids roll down the hill while you have a cocktail on the lawn waiting for your table. (Always make reservations in advance)

Day 3: Get up early and ride bikes around the island again and enjoy a full day at the beach & park to just relax.  Book a babysitter from the concierge for 3pm and head to the spa for a full afternoon of relaxation.  Head to dinner at the Atlantic Room at the Ocean Course to enjoy dinner without the kids and soak in that sunset one more time!

(on the dolphin tour)


Where to eat:

  • Breakfast: 
    -Jasmine Porch-southern cuisine, also great for dinner!
    -Relax & order room service!
  • Lunch:
    -Logger Head grill- by the pool at the Sanctuary, I had an amazing chicken pineapple sandwich I’m still thinking about!
    -Tomasso at Turtle Point- Italian dishes!
    -Beaches & Cream for ice cream & snacks!
  • Dinner:
    -Ryder Cup at the Ocean Course: Modern Pub Fare & a la carte Breakfast choices
    -Atlantic Room at the Ocean Course: Amazing seafood restaurant, as for the back room!
    -The Ocean Room at the Sanctuary: Premier Steakhouse, boasting Forbes 4 stars!  They also have amazing sushi too.
    All of these were phenomenal dinners, read more details about Kiawah’s Dining Collection here.
    (out in front of the ocean course dining area)

Here are some pictures over the last 7 years Amelia & Dan have captured from our engagement to last weekend!



Thank you so much Kiawah Resort for having us and continuing to exceed our expectations every stay!  As always, all opinions are my own.  Follow them on Instagram to stay up to date on events happening on the island!

travel

Charleston Travel Guide

I have been to Charleston a few times over my life since I grew up a few hours away in NC and it always is so charmingly southern!  I love exploring cities with the kids because I get to do new things from their point of view & more family focused.  One of the coolest things you can do in Charleston is get the above sign customized at the American Theater for 24 hours.  It was Roman’s birthday “weekend” when we were in town, so I made sure everything was centered around his birthday (hence the sign).  I made my first road trip by myself with both kids & we squeezed in as much as we could do in two nights.  I wanted to explore two different areas that are family friendly while in town so you all could see the different options.

Sharing some pictures of our quick getaway first, scroll all the way down if you want the details immediately 🙂

(Kids are wearing local shop Pitt Street Kid attire, taken at beach entry pool located at the Beach Club Resort)


(Iconic Rainbow Row in downtown Charleston.  Romans outfit is from Zara, mine is from Pink lily here)


(Sunset celebration night at Beach Club, roasting S’mores!)



(Birthday party thrown by the Beach Club Resort (contact Amy smith) – Hulk Cake by Cupcakes Down South)



(Matching mommy & Me suits by Eberjey, red and yellow shown above)



(My outfit is from Shop Whilden, and my shoes are Adidas, SO comfy! Pictured here on Pier 101 by the tides hotel)

 

Where to stay:

1. Near Downtown/on the Marina
The Beach Club- At Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina–  We stayed here our first night in town and I was blown away!  I felt like I was on a tropical island resort the way they had everything set up.  It is VERY kid friendly, they have their own kid camp director run by our long time friend Amy Smith who is amazing.  My kids did not want to leave this place and neither did I.  It is on the list to go back as soon as we can!


What I loved about this resort:

  • The multiple pools: That’s probably what made it feel the most like a luxury resort.  You could keep the kids at the beach entry pool, go to one that was heated, or go to the hot tub (which my kids live in).  There were also pool bars & full menu pool service with staff that catered to you.  All of this mentioned overlooked the beautiful marina view!
  • Kids camp/Kid Parties:  Here is a list of all their offerings, but you can see from these pictures how awesome their birthday parties are!  Amy put together a special one for Roman that had sand art, splash pads, water balloons, you name it!  I got his cake from a local place called Cupcake Down South!
  • The Ferry/Transportation:  They have a daily water taxi that takes you right to downtown charleston in 10 minutes!
  • The Food: We had dinner & breakfast on site.  The Restaurant Charleston Harbour Fish House was so good!  I had the Surf & Turf, amazing.  We also ordered room service in the morning, very large portions on everything and just as good.
  • The Rooms:  We stayed in the Harbor Deluxe room and you can see videos of the inside under my Instagram stories highlights “Charleston”.  The room felt like a guest room suite in a house, it even had high ceilings with a sun light window!  It is the first time I’ve ever stayed in a hotel room that welcoming.**They are offering 10% off reservations made by calling this number 843-284-3500 and mentioning discount Becca2019!!  Certain black out dates my apply.

2. On the beach/Oceanfront:

The Tides–  We went here on our second night in town & I loved how you can walk straight out to the beach immediately.  The Tides hotel is located about 20 minutes outside of Charleston Folly Beach.  They recently renovated the hotel!

What I loved about this resort:

  • Oceanfront:  This is the place to stay in folly beach if you don’t rent a house and want to be directly on the beach.  It also had an oceanfront pool too, so you could hop back & forth with the kids!
  • Walk out rooms:  Request one of the first floor rooms and you will have patio to relax on right in front of the ocean!
  • Location: Folly Beach, I loved how you could easily walk to all the cute restaurants and shops for several blocks.
  • Dining: On site, we loved eating lunch at Pier 101 and also dining ocean front at Blue Restaurant & Bar.  Pier 101 is at the entrance of the Pier, it was fun to walk down and watch the surfers & birds with the kids.

 

Where to eat:

If you venture away from either of these hotels, these are some of the places we have loved over the years or came highly recommended.

  • Breakfast: The Lost Dog Cafe (in folly), Callies Hot little biscuit, Tasting menu at Charleston Grill
  • Lunch: Leon’s Oyster Shop, goat.sheep.cow.north, huriyali
  • Dinner: Husk, Fig, High Cotton, Magnolias

 

What to do:

  • Get the VIP Charleston Tour Pass if you are in town for more than 2 days!  We had these and used them to go to the Charleston Kids Museum which was really cute, but they give you access to 36+ hot spot attractions in town!  Make sure to visit at least on plantation, they are gorgeous.