Kiawah Island, South Carolina: Great Destination for a Winter or Spring Break

Kiawah is a barrier island on the Atlantic coast just 21 miles from the beautiful, historic city of Charleston. Comprising 10,000 acres of marshland and forest, with over ten miles of hard-packed sandy beach, five award-winning golf courses, two clay and harcourt tennis complexes, and miles and miles of bicycle trails, it is an ideal location for a relaxing, but active vacation.

In winter and spring, it may not be warm enough to satisfy some, but with temperatures usually ranging from the 50s to the 70s Fahrenheit, it is perfect if you are looking to do more than just lie on a beach in the sun (although that is possible, too), yet want to be able to exercise in comfort without undue heat and humidity. What’s more in winter and early spring, it is off-season in South Carolina so accomodation is plentiful and there are bargains to be had, especially in attractive housekeeping villas that line the beach and golf courses.

Of course, there are also luxurious homes scattered throughout the island, and many of these are available for rent as well. And on top of that there is a grand hotel on the beach where guests have the feeling they are staying in an extravagantly wealthy planation home. But a better option may be to stay in an affordable, but comfortable and attractively furnished villa and save one’s resources for golf and tennis. The facilities for both are first rate, but they’re not cheap. Kiawah is, after all, the home of the Ocean Course, one of the most challenging in North America. It was the site of the 1991 Ryder Cup, the 1997 World Cup of Golf, the 2007 Senior PGA Championship, and from August 9-12 this year, it will host the PGA Championship. The tennis complexes are also on a par with the best in the world. In fact, Kiawah is ranked the number one tennis resort in the world by tennisresortsonline.com.

Here’s how the South Carolina coast and Kiawah Island are described in Missing the Bus, Making the Connection: Tales and Tastes of Travel:

“I love those vast marshlands along murky rivers and inlets leading to the open Atlantic. Long wooden docks on tall stilts protrude from their banks like centipedes idly floating on the tidal waters. Flocks of shorebirds do the Charleston on the muddy banks, picking for insects among the oyster and crab shells. Snowy egrets, so still they seem the work of taxidermists, cling to stalks of grass, looking for prey, while turtles doze in the afternoon sun on half-submerged rotting logs and pelicans drift nonchalantly on little puffs of wind. Out on the open ocean, silhouetted against a red-beach-ball sun, shrimp boats rock in a gentle swell, nets swinging from their hulls like the wings of gypsy moths, and a line of sailboats parades toward harbour.”

In winter, “the beaches, trails, courts, and courses are…uncrowded, and there’s a quiet, unhurried feel to all the coast that puts you in harmony with the birds gliding gracefully over the salt marshes and the dolphins cruising the shore, blowing softly as they surface and dive in unison.”

“Carolina ‘Cues” in Missing the Bus, Making the Connection: Tales and Tastes of Travel.

To order, please visit: www.penumbrapress.com.

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About t. a. keenleyside

author of travel/food books and popular fiction
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