Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Travel to Kiawah Island, South Carolina

The last few years the hubby and I have made it a point to take a couples trip to somewhere for a few days. We travel a ton throughout the year, but it is either individually or with the kids. Getting away for a few days together? That's a game changer. Getting the chance to leisurely eat dinner, talk uninterrupted, and sleep for longer than 30 minute blocks throughout the night is amazing.

"We're kid free!"

In the last few years we've done Islamorada, Chicago, and Key West. This year we decided to keep things tropical, but low country tropical. The hubby attended a conference hosted on Kiawah Island earlier this year, and thought it would be a great semi-close place to relax and unwind.

We blocked out five days in July, grabbed our favorite road-trip snacks and headed to the low country coast.

If you're planning a visit the Kiawah Island area soon or are looking for a great low key travel destination here's a quick peek at some of the highlights of our trip. We definitely recommend it and can't wait to visit again in the future.


Originally we had planned to stay at the ├╝ber luxurious Sanctuary Hotel, but since we booked the trip so last minute they were completely sold out.  We found this super cute boutique hotel to stay in instead. 

The Andell Inn is luxurious in its own right and offers fabulous decor, an amazing pool, great views, and is within walking distance to a ton of shops and restaurants.

I loved the decor! And loved that they had original artwork from local artists adorning the walls. They were available for purchase if you wanted to take a little piece of the Inn home with you.

 The room we had was quite spacious. It had a separate bedroom,  kitchen and living room. It was such a great size, and would be perfect for a girlfriends weekend or a family vacation as well.

There was a small restaurant on site with a great bar. There were often specialty treats and appetizers hanging around for quests to munch on - even outside of happy hour.

The pool was one of our favorite parts. It was spacious and surrounded by a ton of seating (which often hotels lack). It also had several large porches with bed swings and couches over looking it. So whether you were looking for sun or shade it was a nice place to relax. 

It was accessible from the hotel bar...which is always a positive when you want to keep the fruity drinks flowing! 

We ate our way through the island and still felt like we missed a ton of great restaurants. Here's a quick little food tour for you...

Night one we made it to Jasmine Porch at the Sanctuary Hotel. It's southern style fare was right up our alley and we enjoyed every bite of our Shrimp and Grits, and Filet Mignon followed up by the yummiest Bread Pudding you've ever had. 

Since our hotel was located near Freshfields Village we frequented a lot of restaurants in the vicinity. 

We are huge breakfast people and Hege's came highly recommended to us. We couldn't wait to dig in to all the yummy that they offered. 

It definitely lived up to the hype and was a meal we know we will come back to again and again. We also ate there for drinks and dessert one evening and it was just as delicious. 

Ladles was a lunch place that a few fellow hotel patrons suggested to us. It specializes in soups and sandwiches with a few other dishes mixed in. You can also order large soups to go for freezing or family style meals later. We saw tons of people utilizing the service. 

Fuji was another Freshfields Village repeat of ours. This sushi and hibachi combo is an islander favorite. 

It's one of the few out of this world sushi/hibachi places that I felt you got a ton of food for not a ton of money. And it was spot on delicious with excellent presentation. Definitely worth a try.

Cantina 76 was an instant favorite. We needed a break from all things seafood one day and it's Mexican style cuisine was calling our name.

I'm surprised we had a food pic to share. It didn't last long. The Dirty Queso was out of this world, and if I couldn't have bottled it up to bring home with me I would.

The Fat Hen was one of our few off island restaurants we gave a try. It was one that my husband remembered from his visit a few months earlier and after eating there I realize why this little hole in the wall out side of Charleston stood out in his mind. 

We dined over delicious southern style food and drinks, and in our food haze we didn't slow down to take one single photo. The sign of an excellent meal. 

Kiawah is kind of a sleepy island, so if you are looking to relax and enjoy beautiful beaches this is the place to go. There's very little night life outside of the resort area and Freshfield Village shuts down itself around 10p.m.

If you're into golf though. This is the place. Some of the prettiest golf courses in the world reside here and the island has no shortage of them. Some are exclusive, some are pricey, and all are top notch. 

The hubby made his way around the island one golf swing at a time and I enjoyed soaking up the sun poolside or beachside. I didn't complain one bit. 

Tip: The beach has a trolly/bus system for guests to utilize. Use it! The parking lot to the public beaches fills up fast and while it is the most organized parking system I've ever seen (Attendants take your name and number down via iPad and a spot is reserved for you as beachgoers leave.)

| flip flops | beach read
We rented chairs and umbrellas through the Beachwalker Beach attendants and they were extremely affordable. The attendants were attentive and very quick to set up everything in your desired spot. 

We loved how even during the busy season of July the beach wasn't crowded at all. 

Biking and hiking are huge around the island and there are tons of places to rent bikes and get maps for the trails. We hiked almost every morning before breakfast and the marsh views were beyond gorgeous. We saw a ton of wild life too! 

We were only on the island for a handful of days and kept pretty low key, but Freshfields Village seemed the place to be when it came to local shopping. From name brand shops like Vineyard Vines and Lilly Pulitzer to more localized shops like Sea Coast Sports - it had a little bit of something for everyone. 

It was a fun place to outdoor mixed use shopping center to walk around and even during the busy season never seemed overly crowded. They host a ton of great events as well as kid friendly activities throughout the year.

There are a ton of great Instagram walls set up around the shopping center as well.

One of our favorite things to do at the beach is read. I love that they were home to an independent book store. Those are becoming more and more of a rare treat, and to have one by the beach was nice.

 One afternoon we stumbled upon their Summer Farmer's Market. It had a ton of great local vendors and fresh produce. We couldn't resist stocking up on some of those delicious peaches and fresh veggies. Sadly a storm rolled in to shut down the browsing early, but definitely something to put on your radar for a little taste of local offerings.

Boutique shopping was also not lacking. I loved getting to experience the team at Beija Flor and finding the perfect fitting jean

Kiawah Island was just what you picture in your mind when you think of the Low Country. It was my first visit, but I know it will now be one of many. Coastal Carolina will always hold a special place in my heart and I love finding new islands to frequent. 

Have you been to Kiawah Island? 
What are some of your favorite island things to do, see, and eat? 

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