Take a trip back in time at Kiawah Island, South Carolina. This peaceful, private coastal community sits just 25 miles southwest of Charleston on a barrier island. It is a haven for beach lovers and wildlife enthusiasts alike. Many of the villas, cottages, and other Kiawah Island vacation rentals are either directly situated on the oceanfront, or just a short walk from the beach. Moreover, most of the popular local attractions are in walking distance or accessible by bike. Check out the top family-friendly activities in Kiawah Island.

1. Spend Long, Lazy days at the Beach

Kiawah island sports 10 miles of unspoiled, private beach that enjoys beautiful sunrises and sunsets, thanks to its east-west orientation. The beach remains uncrowded even on holiday weekends, so whether you’re stepping out from your beachfront vacation home, or making the short trip from an inland location, there is plenty of space for your family to spread out. Take a beach chair and relax while the kids wear themselves out building sandcastles, running in and out of the sea, or playing ball games.

2. Go for a Bike Ride

Cycling is a favorite form of transport for the local community, so your vacation rental might well come equipped with a set of bikes. The hard-packed beach is a great place to go for a family bike ride, and the area also has around 30 miles of paved leisure trails to explore. If you need to hire bikes, Kiawah Island Bicycle Rentals has bikes to suit all the family, along with child seats and tow carts, and they include complimentary helmets on request. They offer daily and weekly fees, and can deliver to your home for rentals of two or more days. Unlike some rental companies, they encourage you to take their bikes on the beach.

3. Join a Nature Walk

Get an expert insight into Kiawah’s wildlife by taking a nature walk with a local naturalist. On a day tour, you might see alligators, freshwater turtles, butterflies, and other creatures. These summer-only tours are suitable for children ages seven and older, and you must accompany any children under 16. On a night beach walk, you can learn about the native Loggerhead Sea Turtles and listen out for and spot owls, bats, and alligators. They also run winter walks. Find out about these tours at the Nature Center.

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4. Join in the Fun at Night Heron Park

Night Heron Park is packed full of activities for the family. Call in at the Nature Center to learn about the trails and to rent discs for the nine-hole disc golf course. Cool off in the pool and check out the range of summer activities, such as family craft events, archery, and a map hunt. The family pool sports an aqua sun deck and has lanes for serious lap swimmers, while the children’s pool has open two flume slides, a beach entry, baby bouncers, and a small gator slide for toddlers.

5. Turtles Nest Art Studio

If you want to escape the summer heat or simply want to get in touch with your creative side, take a trip to Turtles Nest Art Studio in the West Beach Straw Market. There is something for all the family with projects such as pottery, glass fusing, mosaics, and canvas painting. Check out their schedule online, and call to make a reservation.

6. Join in the Pluff Mud Paddle

If you are new to kayaking, join the Pluff Mud Paddle adventure. This short paddle to explore the treasures of the sandbar is led by a naturalist and uses tandem sit-on-top kayaks. Children must weigh at least 35 pounds and be accompanied by an adult. Make sure that to wear shoes that stay securely on your feet and that you don’t mind getting muddy. This fun adventure is available throughout the year through the Heron Park Nature Center and runs at times to fit in with the tides.

7. Take the Whole Family Fishing

The Island offers a range of fishing charter and tours that are suitable for everyone. The Kiawah River Creek Fishing trip that runs in spring and fall stays in the smaller channels. At two and a half hours this trip is ideal for smaller kids. The Family Fishing and Kiawah River Eco Cruise combines fishing and crabbing with dolphin and bird watching. Contact the Nature Center for an up-to-date schedule.

8. Indulge in Retail Therapy and Ice Cream

The hub of the community is Freshfields Village, a shopping center with a family-friendly atmosphere. There are one-of-a-kind specialty shops and boutiques as well as upscale grocers and a regular farmers market, so you can stock up on supplies for your vacation rental. Treat the kids to a delicious ice cream at Jeni’s Ice Cream Trailer as a reward for their good behavior.

9. Enjoy Live Music or Catch a Movie Under the Stars

Kiawah’s Freshfield Village is more than a shopping center. In addition to regular free live music events, the Starlight Cinema Series runs on Wednesday nights from mid-June through mid-August showing free movies under the stars. Pack some popcorn and sodas, take along a beach chair or a blanket, and settle back to enjoy the fun.

10. Play a Round of Golf

Family golfers can get their fix at one of Kiawah’s five world-renowned public golf courses: the Ocean Course, Cougar Point, Osprey Point, Turtle Point, and Oak Point. The Ocean Course, host to the PGA Championship in 2012, has been named America’s toughest course on account of its numerous seaside holes, while beautiful Osprey Point is considered one of the best golf courses from women.

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