I don’t know about you, but this current heat wave has me dreaming of one thing and one thing only: the beach.
Have you ever heard of Kiawah Island, South Carolina? It’s a charming coastal town that’s approximately a 45-minute drive from Charleston, SC, and it’s known for its beaches, golf, and incredible hospitality. The next time you’re vacationing in or around Charleston, I’d recommend making a day trip out to Kiawah Island. Between the beaches, the shopping, and the cuisine, it’s certainly a destination you won’t want to miss!
The team over at Freshfields Village was kind enough to host me and my dear friend Greta for a girl’s getaway, and it was an unforgettable experience. Here are five things to do in Kiawah Island this summer for your next South Carolina trip.
5 Things to Do in Kiawah Island This Summer
1. Relax at the Beach
While Charleston, SC, is on the water, you must head outside of town to get to a beach. This is one reason why a day trip to Kiawah Island is ideal if you’re visiting the Holy City anytime soon.
The Kiawah Island Club was nice enough to host us at their Beach Club for a glorious afternoon. However, this space is usually only open to club members and guests. The Freshfields Village team recommends visiting Beachwalker County Park for public beach access.
2. Shop Until You Drop
Admittedly, we spent most of our trip getting some retail therapy at Freshfields Village, a premier open-air shopping and dining destination. Trust me when I say you could spend a few days browsing all of the retailers they offer.
While Freshfields Village is home to several national retailers (ex., Faherty, J.McLaughlin, Lilly Pulitzer, etc.), they also have some local boutiques and smaller retailers that you won’t want to miss. Some of my favorite local retailers included:
- Showroom Kiawah: I ran into Grace while I was at Freshfields Village, and she recommended that I check out Showroom. It’s tucked behind Hege’s Restaurant, and you’ll be in awe over their carefully curated collection. Showroom offers women’s apparel, accessories, and home gifts at a luxury contemporary price point. Think brands like Aje, Loeffler Randall, Citizens of Humanity, VVB (Victoria Victoria Beckham), and more!
- Las Olas: I usually dread shopping for swimsuits. That is until I stumbled upon the Las Olas boutique at Kiawah Island. In 2007, they opened their first location in Charleston and currently have five store locations in the Carolinas and California. They sell both Women’s and Men’s swimwear and lifestyle accessories. I can’t remember the last time I willingly tried on bikinis for over an hour, but their selection was too good, and their staff was amazing. This is a must-visit!
- Palmetto Scent Studio: Have you ever made your own custom candle before? It’s super easy to do so at the Palmetto Scent Studio. Here, we learned how to create our own signature scent from a selection of over 120 fragrances and got personalized candles to bring home. I decided to bottle up some of the coastal energy I was feeling in Kiawah and created a fresh-smelling candle with plenty of eucalyptus and other local signature scents the store had to offer.
- GDC Home: We’re still trying to add a few finishing touches to our L.A. apartment, so we decided to check out GDC Home while at Freshfields Village. I loved their unique selection of home goods: here, you can buy everything from small trinkets to display to full-sized furniture pieces. The only downside is that GDC does not ship — they do offer local delivery, though. However, I still found a few fantastic small pieces to bring home!
3. Stay at the Andell Inn
While visiting Kiawah Island, our home base was the Andell Inn, just steps away from Freshfields Village. This stylish boutique hotel was upscale and modern yet incredibly charming at the same time.
We enjoyed the luxury amenities here: the pool and fitness center were just what we needed to keep up with our health and wellness during our visit. The Porch Bar offered a delicious hot breakfast in the mornings and great drinks and snacks throughout the day.
4. Dine Like Royalty
Let’s face it: traveling to eat is always the way to go. Kiawah Island is also home to some pretty incredible restaurants. Some of the restaurants that we loved in Freshfields Village were:
- Java Java: An independently-owned coffee shop with beans sourced from King Bean Coffee Roasters in Charleston, SC, and delicious pastries. This was a great place to fuel up before a fun day in the sun!
- Café Eugenia: This charming Mediterranean restaurant offers breakfast, pastries, and to-go charcuterie boards and wines for whatever outdoor adventures you might enjoy on Kiawah Island.
- La Tela Pizzeria: This family-friendly restaurant offers Neapolitan-style pizzeria and house-made traditional Italian cuisine in a laid-back environment. You have to get the Ricotta pizza; trust me: you will not regret it!
- FortyEight – Reserve Room: This was the wine bar of my dreams and was the equivalent of Disneyland for this wine lover. FortyEight offers 48 wines on tap by the glass and 840 hand-selected wines by the bottle daily. With their tap selection, you can opt to try a taste (1 ounce), a half-pour (3 ounces), or get a full 6-ounce glass of wine. They have wines from all over the world here, so don’t be shy: taste those premium wines from Bordeaux or Napa!
5. Enjoy the Great Outdoors
Looking for a bit more action during your trip to Kiawah? There are plenty of ways you can get outdoors.
Nature tours, kayaking, and paddling boarding tours are available through the Kiawah Island Golf Resort recreation department. Also, SeaCoast Sports and Outfitters in Freshfields Village offers bicycle, kayak, and paddleboard rentals for guests to venture out on their own.
Have you ever visited Kiawah Island before? Let me know in the comments below!
Photos by Tom McGovern
Thank you to Freshfields Village for hosting me on a media trip to Kiawah Island! All thoughts and opinions are my own.