South Carolina is one of the most beautiful places in the United States to call home. However, our local weather can be extreme – high temps and thick humidity in the summer and chilly winter weather during cold months. As a local HVAC company in Kiawah Island, SC, we know how crucial it is to have a quality HVAC system in your home and experienced technicians to keep it working correctly.
With more than 35 years of serving the Lowcountry, we are proud to be an active part of our local community. As your neighbors, we are here for all of your HVAC needs, whether you need a new AC unit installed this summer or a heat pump replacement this winter. With a reliable team of NATE-certified technicians and decades of experience in our industry, no HVAC project is too big or small for us to handle.
We offer highly competitive pricing and convenient financing options for all of our clients. At the end of the day, our goal is to make it easy and affordable to live comfortably in your home all year long. We are committed to hard work, honesty, and integrity with every service we offer. If you aren’t 100% satisfied with our work, we’ll do our part to make it right.
Here are just a few of the reasons why homeowners and business owners in South Carolina trust Action Heating & Air Conditioning:
If you need a trusted AC repair company in Kiawah Island, know that our team is geared up and ready to help you today. While you browse our website, have a look at just a few of our specialties here at Action Heating & Air Conditioning:
Summers in the Lowcountry are hot, humid, and sticky. After a long day at the beach or downtown with your friends, nothing feels better than kicking back on the sofa while your air conditioning cools you off. On the other hand, nothing feels worse than walking into your home and feeling warm, stale air hit your face. Those who know, know – having your AC go out during a South Carolina summer is no joke. With time, a relatively minor inconvenience can turn into a real health problem.
In situations like these, something has probably gone wrong with your HVAC system. If your AC has stopped working in the middle of summer, it’s time to call Action Heating & Air Conditioning right away. Our team of certified HVAC professionals has years of experience repairing and servicing AC equipment. It doesn’t matter how old your unit is or what brand you bought – we have the skills to get your home comfort system up and running in no time.
Over time, condensation builds up in your AC equipment because of its cooling process. This accumulated byproduct must be drained regularly, or the increased amounts of moisture can damage your air conditioner’s components.
Refrigerant is the substance responsible for keeping your home nice and cool in the summer. When refrigerant levels drop due to a leak, it will affect your AC equipment’s ability to cool your home. If your HVAC unit isn’t blowing cold air, this could be a reason why.
This is a common AC issue in South Carolina and the U.S. in general. Sometimes this problem is fixed by switching your thermostat to “auto.” If that doesn’t work, you may have a broken thermostat or a wiring issue that needs to be addressed quickly.
It’s normal for your heater to produce a slight burning smell if it hasn’t been used in a while. However, if you are experiencing a persistent burning smell during the summer months when your air conditioning is on, it could be a serious problem. Turn off your HVAC system immediately and call our office as soon as possible so that we may send out a technician to diagnose your problem.
This fan plays an important role in your AC unit’s heat transfer process. When your air conditioning fan breaks, your AC equipment won’t be able to cool your home off in the summer when it’s needed the most.
One of our goals as a company is to provide HVAC repair services at fair and competitive prices. In addition, we want you to feel confident about investing in high-quality heating and cooling systems without having to worry a lot about the costs. We make sure to provide honest and accurate quotes and we offer a variety of financing options. We want you to get the best bang for your buck, so here are some special offers.See Our Offer
If you are experiencing any of the problems above, be sure to hire a professional contractor to fix your issues. For your safety, don’t ever try to make HVAC repairs on your own unless you are trained. When the time come to have your air conditioning system repaired, our team of licensed AC technicians will handle all of the hard work on your behalf. That way, you can stay safe and have peace of mind knowing you’re in good hands.
Your HVAC system works hard all year long. If you have gone years without much maintenance or AC repair, you probably bought a great HVAC unit. However, with constant use and even normal wear and tear, even the highest-quality HVAC systems are prone to malfunctions. Eventually, it will need to be replaced.
If you need an energy-efficient, reliable cooling system for your home or business, you have come to the right place. We have decades of experience installing new AC systems for our clients and can handle any installation project you have. As a Carrier® Factory Authorized Dealer, we have the most top-rated AC systems available in South Carolina.
At Action Heating & Air Conditioning, we know that buying a new air conditioner and installing it can be a huge source of stress. But when you work with us, it doesn’t have to be that way. We have made it our mission to make the AC installation process easy and efficient for our customers. That way, they can focus more on living life and enjoying their home while we work hard on their AC install in Kiawah Island.
Whether you plan to replace a faulty air conditioning system or need a Carrier unit for your new construction home, we have got you covered. We will work with you directly to find the best fit for your home and budget. We are also happy to answer all of your AC installation questions prior to and during your initial service appointment.
Trying to figure out whether your air conditioner needs to be repaired or replaced can be a tricky decision to make. Most people have a hard time letting things go, and that includes AC units. It can be hard to know when to let go of the old and welcome in the new. To help save you time and make your decision a little easier, keep the following signs in mind. If you find yourself saying, “that sounds like my AC unit,” it might be time for a new air conditioning installation.
Your air conditioning system works very hard every day, all year long to keep your home comfy and cool. Machines that work hard year-round are going to require maintenance and ongoing services to stay operational.
As a family-owned and operated HVAC company in Kiawah Island, SC, we know better than anyone how expensive it can be to maintain an AC unit. We know that money doesn’t grow on trees. We also understand that finding last-minute resources to fix an air conditioning system can be challenging. That is why we offer extended warranties for your new or existing AC equipment. With an extended warranty from Action Heating & Air Conditioning, you benefit from repairs, replacement, and additional services covered under warranty. That way, you can enjoy your HVAC products as long as possible.
From inside of Voysey’s, the private restaurant that overlooks Kiawah Island’s Cassique course, a diner might be tricked into believing that this country club island is just like any other luxury destination. The windows that frame the course betray swaying grasses, moody greens and nearly imperceptible stick-figure golfers enjoying the splendor of one of the country’s most celebrated golf courses.But the barrier island of Kiawah, some 25 miles south of Charleston, S.C., is more than a golf destination with premier b...
From inside of Voysey’s, the private restaurant that overlooks Kiawah Island’s Cassique course, a diner might be tricked into believing that this country club island is just like any other luxury destination. The windows that frame the course betray swaying grasses, moody greens and nearly imperceptible stick-figure golfers enjoying the splendor of one of the country’s most celebrated golf courses.
But the barrier island of Kiawah, some 25 miles south of Charleston, S.C., is more than a golf destination with premier beachfront homes. Kiawah Island has solidified itself as one of the most eco-friendly residential areas and tourist destinations in the United States, with conservation efforts dating back nearly half a century. Visitors are the beneficiaries of these extensive efforts, and the island is a rare example of how tourism and ecological concern can coexist.
In 1973, Kiawah Island established the Kiawah Turtle Patrol, an organization that tracks and protects the island’s native population of nesting loggerhead turtles. Soon after, Kiawah Investment, a Kuwaiti-owned company, purchased the island from heirs to a lumber company operator and, in 1975, conducted an environmental inventory of the island over the course of 16 months, studying natural habitats, wildlife and archaeological history, said Donna Windham, executive director of the Kiawah Conservancy.
The widespread inventory led to a master plan, which has since been enacted by the town of Kiawah, that combines environmental activism with tourism and leisure. “It was a whole new environment for them,” Windham said of the Kuwaiti effort. “They took it very seriously that this island was special.” Today, Windham said, the Kiawah Conservancy operates as a nonprofit land trust for the island, encouraging the protection of the environment by working in conjunction with landowners.
The conservancy, established in 1997, can hold land and issue easements. It has, to date, preserved “2,273 acres of Kiawah’s 10,000 acres,” according to the island’s website. In January 2000, Windham said, 152 acres of land known as Little Bear Island — a nesting destination for coastal birds such as the piping plover, peregrine falcon and osprey — were preserved by the Wetlands America Trust, part of the Ducks Unlimited nonprofit conservation group. The easement was updated in 2007 to include protection from the trust and the Kiawah Island Natural Habitat Conservancy.
As a traveler, you may see no concrete indication of the infrastructure that governs the island’s conservation. Yet the influence is everywhere, evident in the clamoring hermit crabs at the shoreline, the robust oyster beds that climb upward on the riverbanks, and the petite raccoons that scale trees at dusk in search of their next meal.
Close to the island’s Ocean Course, where a strip of cerulean is just visible beyond the marsh, a passerby might be privy to any number of natural encounters: alligators with snouts just visible in the pond water; hook-necked blue herons staring out into the palmettos; white-tailed deer bedding down beneath the drapery of Spanish moss. These moments, despite their frequency, arrive as a surprise in a place where golf clubs and impeccable architecture are the local currency.
But you’re more likely than not to encounter a wild animal during your visit, and that’s because Kiawah Island includes 3,000 acres of tidal salt marsh and 10 miles of shoreline, providing shelter for a variety of wildlife. According to town of Kiawah Wildlife Biologist Jim Jordan — his position was created in 2000 and, eight years later, Assistant Wildlife Biologist Aaron Given arrived — there are 315 species of birds, more than 30 species of mammals, more than 40 species of reptiles, more than 20 species of amphibians, and thousands of invertebrates that call the island home.
“It’s pretty unique,” Jordan said. It is, he said, “a functioning, intact ecosystem that’s working the way it would have worked if there were no houses there.”
One of the island’s most fascinating predators is the bobcat; the current bobcat population, Jordan said, is between 15 and 20. Four to six bobcats are collared by the biology team each year, so their movements can be tracked via GPS. “Visitors and residents can look at the tracking maps online and see where they’ve been,” he said.
Take a boat out onto the serene Kiawah River — you can book tours through the island’s sole resort, the Kiawah Island Golf Resort — and you’re bound to see a dolphin or two, gray fin slipping in and out of the water. These are the island’s bottlenose species, and they’re friendly, tracking vessels and providing the occasional show, flippers aflight. They also engage in a unique behavior known as “strand-feeding.”
“In a coordinated effort, they will basically force a school of fish or a school of shrimp up toward the bank,” Jordan said. “They beach themselves.” The western end of the island makes for good viewing of this behavior, although he warned that disrupting dolphins during their strand-feeds can be harmful. “It’s a learned behavior,” passed down from generation to generation, Jordan said. Should a strand-feed get interrupted, dolphins could abandon the behavior entirely, thus keeping future generations from learning how to eat in this location-specific manner.
The serenity experienced on this island oasis is thanks to more than just the work of the conservancy. At the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, for instance, an AAA five-diamond resort that was built in 2004, live, mature oak trees were transplanted to help promote the maintenance of the natural environment. “This really wasn’t required. It was just something that we did voluntarily, because we thought it was the right thing to do,” said Bryan Hunter, director of public relations for the Kiawah Island Golf Resort.
The resort, he said, places a premium on conservation efforts, encouraging guests to immerse themselves in the local environment through organized boat trips to other barrier islands, alligator safaris and dolphin-viewing excursions. Visitors can also tag along with the Turtle Patrol in the morning in search of hatching and migration patterns (although that program has been greatly restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic). Some may even get to assist hatchling turtles, Hunter said. Those who join the Turtle Patrol outings look for nests, take notes and record observations about the year’s hatch.
One conservation effort enforced by island residents — including hoteliers — is the Lights Out for Sea Turtles initiative, which requires that beach-illuminating lights be turned off in the evenings during loggerhead nesting season. As Jordan pointed out, artificial light confuses hatchling turtles, often accidentally guiding them away from the ocean.
Low light pollution, Hunter said, is “vital.” “The resort, along with the rest of the island, through town ordinance, makes sure that we really carefully monitor light pollution along the beach, so that it doesn’t disorient nesting sea turtles or hatching sea turtles,” he said.
As the sun descends at dusk, there is a vibration in the air. Is it the cicadas, on their 17-year cycle? Or maybe just a faraway flock of birds? Whatever the origin of the ambient noise, it calls to mind a soothing bedtime melody, the kind you might slip into as you wind down into sleep.
Potential travelers should take local and national public health directives regarding the pandemic into consideration before planning any trips. Travel health notice information can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's interactive map showing travel recommendations by destination and the CDC's travel health notice webpage.
This AAA five-diamond property has 255 guest rooms and suites, as well as multiple dining venues and direct beach access. Rooms from about $240.
Run by the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, this 1.5-hour boat excursion takes guests through creeks and marshes in search of the island’s native bottlenose dolphin population. $450 for up to six passengers.
Situated on the west end of the island, this ocean beach offers the only public access on Kiawah. Amenities include lifeguards, chair and umbrella rentals, restrooms, outdoor showers, a snack bar and a picnic area with grills. Parking $5 to $15 per vehicle.
Guests can ask resident wildlife biologists about the local ecology and visit with some of the native and nonnative species, such as diamondback terrapins and a 10-foot-long Burmese python. The center’s gift shop sells handcrafted items made by local artists. Free.
Walk or bike this one-mile scenic trail that extends over the marsh to a lookout tower. Part of the larger Kiawah Island bike trails system, which covers about 30 miles, this trail is suitable for all ages.
The Post’s best advice for living during the pandemic.
Kiawah Island, S.C. – Catamount women's golf returns to action on Monday and Tuesday, heading to the South Carolina Lowcountry for the Buccaneer Classic, hosted by Charleston Southern at the par-72, 6,100-yard Oak Point Golf Course. The three-round, 54-hole event is scheduled for 36 holes of continuous play on Monday, Oct. 18, with the final round slated for Tuesday, Oct. 19.The tournament will have shotgun starts on both days, beginning at 8:30 a.m., and includes a Sunday team practice round. Live scoring of a...
Kiawah Island, S.C. – Catamount women's golf returns to action on Monday and Tuesday, heading to the South Carolina Lowcountry for the Buccaneer Classic, hosted by Charleston Southern at the par-72, 6,100-yard Oak Point Golf Course. The three-round, 54-hole event is scheduled for 36 holes of continuous play on Monday, Oct. 18, with the final round slated for Tuesday, Oct. 19.
The tournament will have shotgun starts on both days, beginning at 8:30 a.m., and includes a Sunday team practice round. Live scoring of action Monday and Tuesday will be available online through BirdieFire with a link through CatamountSports.com.
In addition to the host CSU Buccaneers and the Catamounts, the 13-team field includes golfers from Southern Conference squads The Citadel and Wofford. Rounding out the field is Coastal Carolina, Gardner-Webb, Georgia Southern, Houston Baptist, Limestone, Presbyterian, Radford, USC Upstate, and Winthrop.
"This team is excited to get back to Kiawah. We were there only six months ago for the Southern Conference Championship, so we feel very comfortable at Oak Point," said WCU head coach Courtney Gunter. "This team has already shown they are capable of doing really great things, and we still have over half of our fall season left to see what else we can accomplish."
After leading the Catamounts in their most recent action in match-play at the Aggie Invitational in her hometown of Greensboro, junior Victoria Ladd is set to pace WCU's scoring five in the stroke-play competition. She is flanked by senior Madison Isaacson, who posted a Top 10 individual finish at the K&M Bank APSU Intercollegiate season-opener.
Rounding out WCU's scoring five is freshman Elizabeth Lohbauer, who finished tied for fourth in her collegiate debut in Tennessee, with classmate Kaitlyn Wingnean and redshirt freshman Kayleigh Baker filling out the Catamount order.
Sophomore Trinity Ahing, who attended WCU last year but did not participate in golf activities and joined the squad before this season, will make her collegiate debut unattached as an individual in the field.
Keep track of everything related to Catamount women's golf and WCU Athletics through its social media outlets on Facebook (fb.com/catamountsports), Instagram (@wcu_catamounts), and Twitter (@catamounts, @CatamountWGolf).
Former S.C. Gov. and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, who now lives at Kiawah Island, has been appointed to fill a lifetime seat on the Clemson University Board of Trustees vacated by former House Speaker David Wilkins of Greenville. Wilkins also served as ambassador to Canada in the Bush administration in the early 2000s. More: SC Public Radio, ...
Former S.C. Gov. and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, who now lives at Kiawah Island, has been appointed to fill a lifetime seat on the Clemson University Board of Trustees vacated by former House Speaker David Wilkins of Greenville. Wilkins also served as ambassador to Canada in the Bush administration in the early 2000s. More: SC Public Radio, The Post and Courier
In other headlines:
First in-person S.C. State Fair since start of pandemic opens today. The South Carolina State Fair returns Wednesday after last year’s drive-thru event brought on by higher numbers of infections during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. More: Associated Press, The State, The Post and Courier
Civil rights groups sue McMaster, state lawmakers over redistricting process. Two civil rights groups are suing South Carolina, saying state lawmakers are taking too long to draw new district maps. More: Associated Press, WCSC TV, The State, The Post and Courier
Charleston ports operating smoothly despite record volume, supply chain woes. More ships are adjusting their schedules to visit Charleston-area ports earlier than planned, with cargo continuing to move smoothly despite record volumes. More: The Post and Courier
Sullivan’s Island seeks attorney opinion on Maritime Forest settlement. Sullivan’s Island Town Council has decided to get an opinion from a Greenville attorney about the legal path forward in their Maritime Forest settlement. More: WCSC TV
To get dozens of South Carolina news stories every business day, contact the folks at SC Clips.
It has been a great golf season and there is still some nice weather in the forecast. However, there are some cool days ahead and Mother Nature has plans for the near future. This is the perfect time to plan a golf getaway down south. So many golfers enjoy traveling to Florida for a golf vacation but there are some great destinations in South Carolina and Georgia that you may want to consider over the next three to four weeks if you can get away.The weather in the Southeast is still very nice with temperatures in the 70s. That is cert...
It has been a great golf season and there is still some nice weather in the forecast. However, there are some cool days ahead and Mother Nature has plans for the near future. This is the perfect time to plan a golf getaway down south. So many golfers enjoy traveling to Florida for a golf vacation but there are some great destinations in South Carolina and Georgia that you may want to consider over the next three to four weeks if you can get away.
The weather in the Southeast is still very nice with temperatures in the 70s. That is certainly pleasant weather to play golf and enjoy other outdoor activities. Even when the weather dips down into the 60s, you can play lots of golf and enjoy a stroll along the beach. There are lots of good deals on flights to Myrtle Beach, S.C.
They are still offering flights from Manchester for a few more weeks with some very good prices. Otherwise, Spirit Airlines also offers direct flights from Boston to Myrtle Beach. You can even travel to Logan International Airport by bus with Concord Coach Lines from the Eastern Slope Inn in North Conway. It is a comfortable and convenient way to get to the airport, without dealing with traffic and parking. The bus service brings you directly to the airport terminal.
There are a variety of golf courses and accommodations in Myrtle Beach, they have more ranked golf courses there than any other U.S. destination. The Dunes Golf and Beach Club, Caledonia Golf and Fish Club, True Blue Golf Club, King’s North at Myrtle Beach National, Moorland Course at Legends Resort, Grand Dunes Resort Course and three courses at Barefoot Resort are amongst the best and most challenging courses in the area.
Another great option is Charleston, S.C., with lots of great golf courses and excellent restaurants. If you want to experience southern hospitality at its finest, consider Charleston and enjoy the historical architecture in the downtown area. While you are in Charleston, Kiawah Island is a great day trip to play golf, it is about 45 minutes away. Kiawah Island is also a great destination, relax in low country, South Carolina.
Kiawah Island Resort is world-class and they hosted the 2012 and 2021 PGA Championship. It is a high-end resort that offers world-class accommodations, golf and 10 miles of beaches. The resort is award-winning and recognized with AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Stars ratings.
There is also Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, less than one hour from Savannah, Ga. It is one of the premier golf destinations in the country. Visit hiltonheadisland.org and consider a stay and play package. This would probably save you money on greens fees. The golf courses there are very good, the prices vary by course. There are fewer crowds, the temperatures in October-November are in the 60s and low 70s during the day. That is great weather to play golf, especially since we are used to cooler temperatures in northern New Hampshire.
Continuing further south into Georgia, Jekyll Island offers four golf courses, three of which are municipal courses and affordable. If you are looking for a quiet getaway, with peace and serenity, this might be the perfect place for you to enjoy golfing and relaxing. Check out www.jekyllisland.com for more information.
If you can get away for a trip to the warmer weather, you should be able to find some deals since this is a quiet time for these areas before Thanksgiving week. Enjoy reading up on these areas and consider even a long weekend or better yet a midweek getaway over the next few weeks. Lodging rates drop, fewer crowds and the golf courses often have midweek specials. Otherwise, put it on your list of things to do in February/March 2022 when the weather warms up again in the South.
The golf season is winding down here in the Mount Washington Valley. Here are some recent results and news from a few of the local golf courses.
Hale’s Location Golf Course, West Side Road, North Conway, (603) 356-2140: Here are the winners of the Three Tee Tournament — first place Mike Albarelli, Barbara Plonski, Scott Matthews and Cathy Steesy. Second place Ed Chappee, Suzanne McCarthy, Tom Proulx and Mary Jane Proulx.
Lake Kezar Country Club, Route 5, Lovell, Maine, (207) 925-2462: Recently, Friends of Conway Rec held its golf tournament. It was a good turnout, with prizes awarded to both men and mixed division.
LKCC held its annual Cross-Country Scramble on Oct. 3. It was a rainy start, but the weather soon cleared. The event had a very interesting format for playing 9 holes. Just an example you tee off on 18 and hole out on 1. The few groups that played had a good time.
The last club event for the season is the Turkey Shoot Scramble on Oct. 17. Call the clubhouse to sign up. Lot’s of turkey-related prizes are awarded.
LKCC will be open until Oct. 31, weather permitting.
Eagle Mountain Golf Course, Carter Notch Road, Jackson, (603) 383-9090: The final week of Don Ho finds the Par Tee team in first place at -25.
Team members sweeping the Spring and Fall competition were Chris Bates, Steve Piowtrow, Rick Storm and Andy Narducci. In second at -18 was the Chislas followed by the Jocular Jewelers in third at -17. The Switchback team and the Marteenies finished tied for fourth place at -14.
Ann Bennett and Chris Bates won the last long drive contest.
Wentworth Golf Club, Route 16, Jackson, (603) 383-9641: The Cross-Country Tournament is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 24. Anyone interested in bringing a team please call the pro shop.
Indian Mound Golf Course, Center Ossipee, (603) 539-7733: The 13th annual Kennett Hockey Golf Tournament, held on Oct. 10. attracted a record of 30 teams. “It went really well,” reports Indian Mound’s Jonathan Rivers.
North Conway Country Club, Norcross Circle, North Conway, (603) 356-5244: Will be closing for the season on Oct. 31.
Omni Mount Washington, Bretton Woods, (603) 278-4653: The Mount Washington Resort Golf Club offers a variety of lessons and workshops to help golfers of all levels of ability improve their game. All clinic schedules are subject to change due to weather or other factors. Please contact the Pro Shop to book your lesson or for the latest details at (603) 278-GOLF (4653). Please check in at the Pro Shop at least 10 minutes before the start of the lesson.
Thank you to all the local area golf courses and their staff for working hard during this 2021 golf season. It is great that it was a busy season and we had some good weather. And thank you to all the golfers that supported the local golf courses all season.
“If you drink, don’t drive. Don’t even putt.” — Dean Martin
Jim McFadyen is a golf columnist and can be reached at email@example.com.
KIAWAH ISLAND, South Carolina – The young man behind the counter at the West Beach pool helped me pick out a bike, handed me a map and told me to have fun.What a contrast to the security attendant I encountered a few moments before, who made me feel like an interloper at the gated entrance to Kiawah Island.I brushed aside her grouchiness and headed out on two wheels, pedaling first through the island’s leafy interior before heading to the beach, where the sand at low tide cuts an incredible coastal path along the At...
KIAWAH ISLAND, South Carolina – The young man behind the counter at the West Beach pool helped me pick out a bike, handed me a map and told me to have fun.
What a contrast to the security attendant I encountered a few moments before, who made me feel like an interloper at the gated entrance to Kiawah Island.
I brushed aside her grouchiness and headed out on two wheels, pedaling first through the island’s leafy interior before heading to the beach, where the sand at low tide cuts an incredible coastal path along the Atlantic.
Kiawah, the mostly private barrier island about 25 miles south of Charleston, is often included on lists of the world’s most beautiful beaches. For that reason alone, I put the island on the top of my to-do list as I planned a short trip to South Carolina to try out the new Breeze Airways flights out of Akron-Canton Airport.
It’s not the simplest place to visit, however, especially if you’re not spending the night.
There’s one hotel on the island, the tony Sanctuary, a gorgeous, ocean-front AAA five-diamond property with 255 rooms. Rates here run $500 and up during the summer, which was too steep for me.
Instead, I overnighted at a hotel on U.S. 17, a 30-minute drive away, and planned a day trip to the island. Shortly after arrival, however, I wasn’t entirely sure that my plan was a good one.
I had called earlier to make a reservation for the Jasmine Porch, inside the Sanctuary, one of the island’s numerous restaurants. It’s one of several ways that non-guests are encouraged to visit the island, owned primarily by the Kiawah Island Golf Resort and other real estate development companies.
I made it to Kiawah by 10 a.m. on a recent Sunday, told the woman at the gate that I had a restaurant reservation and asked for a map of the island. She told me I wasn’t to linger on the island and wouldn’t give me a map.
“But I’m planning on renting bikes,” I told her. “You’re not allowed to rent bikes,” she told me.
That came as news to the young man at the nearby West Beach pool, who told me I was welcome to rent a bicycle and to pedal anywhere I liked. “Security being security,” he said, and shrugged.
Indeed, non-guests are also welcome to sign up for recreational activities and nature programs, including dolphin encounters, kayak tours, art classes and more.
They’re even allowed to golf – and this island is well known for its spectacular and prestigious courses, including the waterfront Ocean Course, which hosted the 2021 PGA Championship in May. Five courses are open to the public, whether you’re staying on the island or not, including the Pete Dye-designed Ocean Course, Cougar Point, Turtle Point, Osprey Point and Oak Point.
I’m not a golfer, which kept my to-do list simple for my short visit: Explore the island by bike, enjoy a nice meal, check out the beach, maybe witness some wildlife.
I popped into the Nature Center, too, for some air conditioned-relief, where I saw numerous snakes, turtles, a stuffed bobcat and two infant alligators in tanks (the only gators I saw during my visit, despite omnipresent signage warning visitors to stay away from ponds and waterways).
I enjoyed almost all of it – the biking was terrific, with 30 miles of shady, flat, paved paths that rarely intersected with the roadways; and the Southern cuisine at Jasmine Porch was excellent, featuring she-crab soup and crab cakes plus bottomless peach iced tea. The beach, as expected, was absolutely stunning, massive at low tide, flat and perfect for walking, cycling, lounging, even bocce playing.
The attitude of the folks manning the security gates, however, was decidedly unwelcoming. Perhaps purposely so?
Cocktails at the Ocean Course
After we returned our bikes, my husband and I decided to have a drink at the Ryder Cup Bar, at the far east end of the island, overlooking the spectacular 18th hole of the Ocean Course. Our waitress at lunch assured us that the bar was open to the public.
There is a second security gate about midway down the island, which controls access to the eastern half of Kiawah. I told the woman at the gate that we were headed to the Ryder Cup Bar.
She saw the pass from earlier in the day on our car’s dashboard and asked us if we had been to the beach. “Um, yes,” I answered. She then told us that we should not have been on the beach. “If we let everyone on the beach, there wouldn’t be enough room for the people who pay a premium for access,” she said.
That did not seem to be remotely a possibility, given the size of the beach here. But I smiled and nodded.
In a more friendly tone, she said she would make an exception for us, and handed us a pass to proceed to the bar. I thanked her while controlling the urge to roll my eyes.
My husband was put off by her attitude that seemed to suggest we weren’t welcome. I was amused, but also confused.
Other than the security staff, everyone we encountered on the island – vacationers, homeowners, wait staff, shopkeepers – were all wonderful and welcoming. They seemed to want us around.
The drive out to the Ocean Course was stunning, past spectacular, multimillion-dollar-plus properties, along live-oak lined roadways that were draped with Spanish moss.
At the end of the drive: the Ryder Cup Bar, where I very much enjoyed a cocktail called a sweet tea mojito. I sipped my beverage and enjoyed the view.
Thirst (and curiosity) quenched, we made our way back west, toward the only public destination on the island, Kiawah Beachwalker Park, part of the Charleston County Parks system (note: parking here is $15).
While technically all beaches in South Carolina are public, private landowners can (and do) restrict access to those beaches.
Beachwalker park provides public access to Kiawah’s entire 10-mile stretch of sand. Theoretically, a visitor could access the beach here and traverse (by foot or bicycle) the entire stretch of the Kiawah coast.
I wasn’t that ambitious, walking perhaps a mile to the island’s western end, where the Kiawah River joins the ocean. I was hoping to see some dolphins strand feeding, a fascinating practice where the dolphins herd fish onto the sand then launch themselves out of the water to eat. Kiawah, nearby Hilton Head and other low-lying coastal regions are among the handful of places throughout the world where this occurs, typically just before or after low tide.
Alas, I didn’t see any dolphins, but the beach was engaging enough – wide and flat and glorious.
I could have walked longer, but my feet were tired, the sun was setting and my hotel was a half hour drive away.
If you go: Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Getting there: Kiawah is about 25 miles southwest of Charleston, an easy drive from the airport or downtown.
Staying overnight: The Sanctuary offers 255 oceanfront rooms, starting at about $500 per night during the summer. Other options include the Andell Inn, part of the Freshfields Village development, just off Kiawah on St. Johns Island.
The island also has hundreds of villas and private homes available to rent via the Kiawah Island Golf Resort or individual owners.