South Carolina Picture Project
South Carolina Picture Project

Kiawah Island — Charleston, South Carolina

SC Picture Project  |  Charleston County  |  Kiawah Island

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Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island is a private, residential resort located in Charleston County. The name Kiawah, pronounced KEE-a-wah, comes from the Kiawah Indians who once lived here. They were a subtribe of the Cusabos, a now extinct tribe that once inhabited South Carolina’s coast. Kiawah’s 10 miles of open beach and well-developed dunes make it a safe haven for our state reptile, the loggerhead sea turtle.

Kiawah Ocean Course

Thomas Kulick of Kiawah Island, 2016 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Since female loggerheads are easily distracted by sounds and lights when they come to the shore to lay their eggs, Kiawah’s private beach is a perfect place for them to go. It is very important to many residents of Kiawah to protect the sea turtle population, so all lights are turned off at night, even at the resort and golf courses. Kiawah Island averages 150 nests per season!

Kiawah Island Beach

Douglas Stewart of Johns Island, 2009 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Beached Trawler at Kiawah

Back in November 2008, this shrimp trawler became stranded on Kiawah’s shore. Photographer Christian Hartsel explains, “The story goes that the captain was anchored when he went to sleep and woke up beached on Kiawah, about 75 feet from the dunes. I shot this picture the following morning, prior to the police setting up yellow caution tape. The Coast Guard and some heavy machinery pulled the boat back out to sea after it had been beached for almost a month.”

Beached Trawler on Kiawah

Christian Hartsel of Johns Island, 2008 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Reflections on Kiawah Island

Contributor Laura Beane, who honeymooned on Kiawah Island, describes her stay as follows: “Kiawah Island is one of the most romantic places I have ever visited. The wildlife on the island is abundant. We were provided with a wildlife book upon our arrival and enjoyed identifying and learning about the wildlife that calls the South Carolina Lowcountry home. South Carolina is a state rich with beauty and a compelling history. I highly recommend it as a vacation destination. We found this state to truly live up to its reputation for Southern Hospitality.”

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