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Sandy beach
Yes
Hike-in Required
No
Surfing
No
Snorkeling / SCUBA
No
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Kiawah Island has amazing beaches but a lack of public access. Most of the island is bought up by private communities. Though the beach itself is open to anyone, the only public access point is Beachwalker Park on the island's west end. Nonetheless, the trip to Kiawah may be worth it for families seeking an uncrowded and kid-friendly beach.

Unlike beaches in many places besides Kiawah, the slope here is very gradual, so much so that the beach is almost flat. This is great for ball games, bike riding, or long walks in the sand. The surf is shallow and relatively mellow, which is ideal for small children. Slight gradient means that the tide moves very far in and out, however, so keep an eye on your belongings. This is also a particularly good place for beachcombing, with a wealth of shells that are slimly picked over.

For a nice long walk or bike ride, go all the way down to the end of Captain Sam's Spit to the west, where the Kiawah River meets the ocean and the island comes to a point. Out here the views get even better, and so does the shelling because fewer people go that far. You may even spot dolphins, which like to hunt for fish in the shallow water near the river's mouth.

The parking fee at Beachwalker is $10, and the gate is only open during hours that usually fall just inside of sunrise and sunset, depending on the season. The park is open year round and has picnic tables, grills, restrooms, changing rooms, and outdoor showers. During summer season only there is a snack bar, rental chairs, umbrellas, and wheelchairs, and lifeguards on duty.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Wide beach. Gentle slope. Uncrowded.

Cons

Entrance fee. Closes before sunset.

Pets allowed

Allowed with Restrictions

Features

ADA accessible
Fishing
Picnic tables
Whale watching
Wildlife
Bird watching
Family friendly

Location

Field Guide

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