Kiawah Island Is Home To One Of The Top Ten Beaches In The US

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Have you heard of Kiawah Island’s Beachwalker Park? This park is one of the nation’s top ten rated beaches, and it’s just a few hours away off the coast of Charleston. Kidding Around’s Melanie took a trip to Kiawah Island recently, and it didn’t take long for her to see why that honor was warranted!

Making the Top Beach List

A lot goes into deciding what beaches get bestowed with being named to one of Stephen Leatherman’s beach lists. Stephen, AKA Dr. Beach isn’t just some permanent beach bum. He is a doctor of coastal science and knows what makes a great beach. One of the first years he created the list the beach local to me in Florida was named number one in the entire country! Siesta Beach is Sarasota county has made the top lists of beaches in the world, too. I was intrigued to see a South Carolina beach on the list. Siesta Beach has sand that looks like talcum powder, and usually, the Gulf of Mexico is a beautiful shade of turquoise. Would this beach in South Carolina be similar?

If you are planning on taking a trip to the coast soon, we have a huge guide to Charleston.

Planning a Trip To Kiawah Island

At a little under four hours from the Upstate, I don’t think Kiawah Island is suitable for a day trip. Grabbing a hotel for the night is the best way for you to enjoy a day at this exceptional beach.

The Andell Inn on Kiawah Island is a Marriott boutique hotel. The hotel has all the amenities you’d expect from a Marriott property, plus they provide a free shuttle to Beachwalker Park.

The island isn’t very commercialized, so you’ll need to grab any picnic provisions or beach snacks before you leave the Charleston area. There is a convenience store a few blocks away from the beach to grab ice and anything you may have forgotten. Make sure you stop at Five Below or another discount retailer and grab the kids some boogie boards! I had the idea to grab them and didn’t realize that they were the cool thing to have at the beach. Every kid there had one, and at just $5, it was the best decision ever.

Spending The Day at Beachwalker Park

If you don’t already own a beach style wagon or a rolling cooler, I suggest you look into getting them. The walk from the parking lot to the shore includes a trek down a long boardwalk. I have never regretted leaving my rolling cooler at home more than on that boardwalk.

Once you arrive at the park, you will need to pay for parking. During the summer months, an attendant is on duty to take payments. On Weekdays the cost is $10 and weekends it is $15. Should the park be at capacity, you can leave your name and number, head to the open-air market Freshfields Village and they will notify when you can head back.

Even when the parking lot is at capacity, there is plenty of space on the beach. You can rent chairs and umbrellas at the beach or bring your own. One of the wonderful things about Beachwalker Park is that unlike other South Carolina beaches, there are no restriction here on tents and sunshades. You can set up camp for the day and have your family protected from the sun while they enjoy the beach!

There must be a pod of Bottlenose dolphins that love this beach just as much as the humans. They are a famous sight in the water there, just take note that getting too close or harassing them is illegal.

After A Long Day At Beachwalker Park

Once it’s time to head home, you can clean up all the gear and the kids at the top end of the boardwalk. There are changing rooms and showers available. I’m going to warn you after a long day in the sun; the fresh cold water feels SO GOOD coming out of that shower. My kids just stood there staring at me, while I enjoyed it for way too long.

Before I had left, I was already planning a return trip. When done responsibly, a trip to the beach doesn’t have to be a threat because of coronavirus. Due to the calmer, family-friendly nature of this beach and the non-commercialization of the island, you can enjoy a visit while still maintaining social distancing.

Have you been to Kiawah Island’s Beachwalker Park? What did you think?

About the Author
Melanie is a native New Yorker, who landed in the Upstate by way of Florida. She is the mom of two awesome kids, and the three of them love going on adventures!

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Andrew Scott
3 years ago

The strand feeding that the dolphins do during low tide in the inlet at the end of Beach walkers is an extraordinary exhibition of nature and dolphin intelligence. It only occurrs in a couple locations in the world and beach walkers is one of those spots