There is no place our family would rather spend summer vacation than on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. For the past 13 years, my husband and I have packed up our two sons and headed to this picturesque destination located about 21 miles south of Charleston. With five championship golf courses and two world-renowned tennis facilities, you can’t beat the first-rate amenities.
This year, we opted to bring along our newly adopted rescue dog, Charlie. For those who travel regularly with their furry friends, Kiawah Island offers various pet-friendly accommodations for budget-conscious families. We chose to stay in a villa located next to Night Heron Park which consists of over 21 acres of natural adventures. Charlie was able to join us for lunch after our family swim.The recently renovated pools offer hours of outdoor fun. Our teenage sons spent the majority of their waking hours carousing on the two waterslides. Afterwards, we dined at the Night Heron Grill located adjacent to the pool area. For those who have kids ages 3 to 11, Night Heron Park is also home to Camp Kiawah. Trained counselors will spend the day providing them with fun-filled activities while mom and dad experience all the island has to offer.
Of course, one of the main attractions to this barrier island is the ten miles of sandy beaches. We spent many lazy afternoons relaxing on the beach while Charlie frolicked along the shoreline. Dogs are permitted on the beach 24/7, but they must be kept on a leash. If your family likes to hike or bike, there are over 30 miles of trails waiting to be explored. We rented bikes for the week and toured the island every morning in search of gators.
Through the Night Heron Nature Center, you can choose from various activities like canoeing, walking tours, paddle boarding, dolphin excursions, fishing, archery, yoga, water painting, and much more. One of the highlights of our trip was paddle boarding. The boys set off for a wild time in search of sea creatures. We also chartered a boat and cruised along the river while looking for dolphins.
Charlie hit the jackpot when we pulled up alongside a pod consisting of about 20 dolphins. We were truly amazed by the dolphins’ willingness to approach the boat. Needless to say, we had to hold on tight to Charlie so he wouldn’t go overboard!
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As for dining options, there are approximately a dozen restaurants located within the resort like The Ryder Cup Bar with spectacular views and Tomasso at Turtle Point featuring scrumptious Italian cuisine. Our all-time favorite for any meal is the Jasmine Porch located in the only hotel on the island, The Sanctuary.
This magnificent hotel is located right on the majestic Atlantic shoreline. Its breath-taking views and superb hospitality make it a popular destination for weddings and special occasions. If you chose to dine in, the Town Center Market has groceries readily available and you can even have them delivered right to your villa for a nominal fee.
With Charleston practically on your doorstep, a quick drive to this historic city makes for an easy day trip or night on the town. Our favorite must-eat Charleston restaurants include Taco Boy, Fuel, and Poogan’s Porch which are all dog-friendly.
Charlie enjoyed his culinary adventures as much as we did. If you're thinking of planning a vacation, check out Kiawah Island. For more information, visit their website at www.kiawahresort.com.
Momtrends was not paid for this post. We were given a complimentary lunch for four in exchange for an honest review.