Updated: December 2017

Kiawah Island Lodging Options:

Back in 1997 I had visited Kiawah Island, which is just 30 minutes south of Charleston South Carolina. My wife and I had always said we would return and the opportunity arose in 2011 when our children were 10 and 6. We live on the West Coast so vacationing to South Carolina isn't all that convenient, but our memories of Kiawah Island brought us back. The island has changed a lot in 14 years and the amount of homes has increased quite a bit. There is a new Sanctuary Hotel that is located right past Night Heron Park and near the Windswept Villas and Mariners Watch Villas. The Vanderhorst Planation section is huge and offers lots of private homes for rent via the Kiawah Island Golf Resort itself or through websites like VRBO.com. The resort is right on the Atlantic Ocean and water temperatures in June (when we were there) were above 80 degrees. Kiawah is a great vacation spot for families and couples that live on the East Coast since it is so accessible.

Places to Stay on Kiawah Island - The one thing that we were looking for when choosing our accommodations on Kiawah Island was a condo or home that was near the ocean. We wanted to be able to walk from our rental unit right to the beach. One of the best spots is near the Straw Market in West Beach Village. You have the Shipwatch Villas, Seascape Villas, Beach Townhouses, and Duneside Villas. All offer up boardwalks that let you walk across the dunes to the beach. We ended up at Shipwatch Villas and were able to secure a "Premier" property rental which allowed us access to the Night Heron Pool complex. If you are thinking about renting a house on Kiawah Island, Eugenia Avenue is loaded with rental homes that are just off the beach. Same goes for Surfsong Road which is past East Beach Village and located in the Vanderhorst Plantation. If I had to choose, I would go with the Windswept Villas as they are in a great central location to the beach, pool, stores, golf, and tennis. You can view an interactive map of Kiawah Island at http://www.kiawahresort.com/kiawah-island-south-carolina-map/. Pricing for the houses is often $3000 or more for 1 week during the peak summer months. You can get a 4 or 5 bedroom place that is within walking distance to the beach. You will pay a premium for those that are oceanfront or with ocean views.

Shipwatch Villas:

We were on the 3rd floor of Shipwatch Villas with a non-ocean view, but the 3 balconies were great and allowed us to sit back and relax at the end of the day. There are also a few sun decks within Shipwatch (on the 4th floor) although we didn't see anyone using those. The elevator gave us quick access to the 3rd floor and dropped us right back down on the 1st floor next to the boardwalk to the beach. The villas facing the ocean were about $1000 more per week, but if you have the money, the views are amazing. The villas was adequately furnished with 2 bedrooms, an updated kitchen, 2 bathrooms, a family room, and an entry area which was great for keeping things like tennis rackets, boogies boards, pool gear, etc. On each floor are 2 sets of washers and dryers which are always handy when vacationing with kids. We did a few loads of laundry just to keep our clothes clean. With the humidity levels high, you go through clothes in a hurry. The villas were quiet at night except for a few people coming and going on the main hallways. We checked in for the villa at the East Beach Village area and got cardkeys, recreation information, and a guide to dining on the island. What I particularly like about the "Premier" properties is that you get your room key (just like those at hotels) except you can use the same card key to charge meals, snacks, rentals, and more on the island. No need to carry your wallet everywhere. Very convenient and something all resorts should consider. We suggest you check out VRBO.com and see the complete listings for vacation rentals on Kiawah Island in South Carolina.

Sanctuary Hotel:

The latest luxury at Kiawah is the oceanfront beach hotel called The Sanctuary. There are 255 guest rooms and the pools are just for the hotel patrons. We were able to see them, but not use them. The hotel is grand and has beautiful artwork and shops. The restaurant Loggerhead Grill is right next to the pool area and we had dinner there one night. Decent food and a little overpriced. The rooms feature king or queen beds with balcony. You can get ocean view, ocean front, garden or dune views. Rooms in late June start at $500/night so the hotel is not cheap, but it's luxurious and offers everything you could want.