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 Islands Information

Place: Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island; Not Just For Golfers
By Caitlin Moore

Island experts know of it, nature buffs would like it if they tried, and golf lovers consider it one of the happiest places on earth. Kiawah Island, just off the coast of South Carolina and a few miles from Charleston, specializes in providing sports-themed memories with seaside backgrounds, but it has a few tricks up its sleeve for making sure all of its visitors have a fine time.

Yes, Kiawah Island is a golfer’s paradise. Five professionally designed courses make it a prime destination for players of all skill level. After all, even if you can’t play like Pete Dye or Jack Nicklaus, at least you’ll be able to say you stood in the same place that they made some of their greatest shots. These courses have been home to many past championship tournaments, and the Ocean course will host the Senior PGA in 2007 and the PGA Championship in 2012. If a love for this sometimes frustrating, sometimes rewarding, and always challenging game helps to define your existence, then a visit to Kiawah should be on your list of things to do in life.

Golf could be considered the main draw of this barrier island, but non-players should not despair. If you’re athletic in a different way, be aware that there are a number of highly regarded tennis courts located here. Visitors, websites, and TENNIS magazine consistently rank the clay and hard courts in Kiawah as top-notch, and area resorts will arrange lessons, match you with other players, or give you time to go head to head with your traveling companions. Let Hall of Fame Pro Roy Barth and his fellow instructors inspire you to take your game to the next level.

But not everyone is into sports, and Kiawah understands that. If getting in touch with the pulse of Mother Nature is your idea of a day well spent, then wander the10 miles of beaches or 30 miles of biking trails that the island has to offer. Take a kayak out into the surf for a physical challenge, or head inland on the river for some bird-watching. Tours are available to help you identify the wildlife that you’ll see as you explore marshes and lagoons. From pelicans to alligators, there should be plenty of chances to view the most unique inhabitants of the island.

Several high quality restaurants located all around the island help to round out Kiawah’s reputation as an accommodating vacation site. Also, specialty and souvenir shops will tempt you with their wares as you wander through West Beach Village. From outdoor wear to ice cream, you’ll find everything you need to truly enjoy yourself during the downtime on this trip.

For more diverse activities, there is a marathon held in December and various summertime carnivals and events. For a taste of history, head to Charleston, which is about twenty miles away. The southern charm and colorful past of this city will keep you busy for a while, but the slower pace of Kiawah will make you glad that you’ve chosen to make that your home base.

As far as choosing a place to stay on Kiawah, plenty of options exist. The resorts will likely have rooms available, but for a less cookie-cutter experience, look into renting a vacation home. Staying in a cottage near Night Heron Park will allow you close proximity to golf courses, tennis courts, and other resort offerings, but you’ll also have some breathing room.

The park has a nature center, sandy playgrounds for the kids, and lighted basketball courts, and your home itself has all that you could ask for. From video games to a sunroom with a view of the tropical woods, you’ll have all the space you need with all the amenities of home, if not a few more. Cozy up in the master bedroom or head out to the beach (which is only 250 yards away), and you’ll soon find yourself sinking into a state of utter relaxation.

As you can see, though Kiawah is best known for being a beautiful backdrop for teeing off or serving up aces, it has what it takes to satisfy visitors with all kinds of interests. No matter what brings you here, be sure to reserve a place to stay that will make your nights as fulfilling as your days.

HomeAway.com has thousands of vacation rental listings all over the world.

Go online to check out all the Kiawah Island Vacation Rentals, and make your upcoming trip a memorable one.