Kiawah Island: Seaside Cycling Paradise

Kiawah Island is a barrier island located approximately 20 miles from downtown Charleston, South Carolina.  Most normal people come here to sit on the beach or play golf.  We came mainly to cycle, with a little beach time thrown in.

The island is private with controlled access for vehicles, but the bike path onto the island bypasses the guard booth and cyclists can come and go at will.  The ten-mile-long island advertises 30 miles of hiking and biking trails.  Once on the island, we encountered a mixture of excellent cycling options.  Some are off-street paths along the main roads…


Others are paths through natural areas….


And then there are miles of back roads, flat and generally with minimal vehicular traffic; those vehicles we did encounter were very careful around cyclists.  The roads at the end of the island, the farthest from the gatehouse, are best for putting in a few unobstructed miles.


Of course, you must always respect the local wildlife…


We encountered varying scenes, including bays…


Atlantic ocean beaches,


And several manicured golf courses…


Speaking of golf courses, on the advice of friends we stopped for lunch at the Ryder Cup Bar located at the clubhouse of the famous Ocean Course


We walked through the lobby and the sumptuous indoor bar, continuing to the back veranda.  Here, you can see golfers warming up on the practice green with the Atlantic Ocean in the background…


We were seated at one of the outdoor tables and took in the views as we enjoyed our lunch…


Groups of golfers and their caddies moved by, finishing on the 18th hole…


After lunch, it was time to continue on our cycle tour of the island, eventually stopping at the secluded Marsh Island Park Nature Area.  We got off of the bikes and took a walk down a path across the salt marsh to an elevated viewing platform.


At the top of the platform, we enjoyed expansive views of the marsh, and much-appreciated cooling breezes.  It was a very serene and peaceful place.


Then it was back on the bikes, heading off the island and into Freshfields Village, our base of operations for this stay.


The “village” is a planned commercial development of shops and restaurants.  It is walkable and actually quite well executed.


We stayed at the Andell Inn, a Marriott property, which was conveniently located right at the edge of the village on a small lake.  A great spot to relax poolside after a day on the bikes!


For dinner there are several options in the village, but we chose to head to the nearby Bohicket Marina on John’s Island to check out the highly recommended Lokal Seabar restaurant.  The restaurant atmosphere is casual and the food was great.  Especially accompanied by this beautiful sunset.


We will definitely be coming back to Kiawah for another dose of cycling, sunshine, seafood, saltwater, and smiles.

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