Charleston, SC

Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island, a barrier island located 25 miles southwest of Charleston, offers some fantastic options. It’s mainly a private beach and golf resort: visitors must be staying at one of the hotels or have a golf/restaurant reservation. HOWEVER, the public is permitted to enter the island by bike or on foot.  Enter via Mingo Point or the Beachwalker Parking Lot. Our recommendations for running:

Run on the Beach. There are 10+ miles of beach running on hard, packed sand. This is one of the best beaches for running on the east coast — in fact, biking on the beach is really popular! The beach goes from just west of Beachwalker Park, and heads east to the Stono River, unbroken.

Author Photo

Bike Paths. There are 30 miles of bike paths, which are all lovely for running, passing by scenic golf courses and lovely homes. This link from Timbers Kiawah, a resort on the eastern side of the island has some good descriptions. Favorite golf course loops are paths around the Cougar Point course on the western side of the island and the Turtle Point Golf Course, starting at The Sanctuary Hotel. On the eastern end of the island, there are scenic good paths for 2 miles along Ocean Course Drive and then around then ~2 miles around the Ocean Course Golf Club, featuring terrific views of the salt marshes and golf course, with some ocean glimpses.

For a longer run, there’s a bike path following the main road, Kiawah Island Parkway, which turns into Governors Dr.

Just outside the island, there’s a multi-use path from the Freshfields Village shopping center that follows Kiaah Island Parkway for 2 miles to the front gate — there are some nice marsh views along this road.

Night Heron Park. Pleasant paths, roads, and fields in this area. Plus an Olympic-sized swimming pool for a post-run dip!

Good Roads for Running. For the main roads, run on the bike paths. There are some quieter side roads around resorts and residential neighborhoods where running is possible.  Some of the more scenic roads, with little traffic, are on the northeast part of the island. Blue Heron Pond Rd. passes by numerous ponds and marshes, with some great views and observation towers. A loop of this area is ~5 miles (MAP).

Essentials
  • Walk through security gate or use Beachwalker Drive, located just before the security gate on Kiawah Island Parkway