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When it comes to landscaping your home or business, it only takes a seed of an idea to begin something special. At Mr. Topsoil, we specialize in helping that dream grow into reality with unmatched landscaping supplies like mulch, topsoil, and sod.

As trusted landscaping suppliers in Kiawah Island, we know how important it is to have quality materials to reflect the beauty and style that you're looking to achieve. Unlike big-box stores, Mr. Topsoil offers attention to detail and stellar customer service that you just won't find anywhere else. There's a simple reason we've been in business for 34 years, and it's because we offer quality products and the best customer service in Kiawah Island. At the end of the day, we do right by our customers by offering them reliable deliveries and honest pricing. That's just the Mr. Topsoil way.

As locals who are born and raised in Kiawah Island, SC, we have a deep appreciation and comprehensive understanding of Lowcountry landscaping. Whether you're a business owner or a homeowner, Mr. Topsoil is your natural choice for landscaping materials.

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Mulch Supplier Kiawah Island, SC

Here are just a few reasons why customers consider us the best instead of the rest:

Impeccable Service

Impeccable Service - If you already know what landscaping materials you need to begin your project, let us know. We make life easy by delivering your topsoil, mulch, or sod right to your front door. If you're not quite sure, our dedicated team of professionals is here to help guide you.

Reliable Delivery

Reliable Delivery - Part Mr. Topsoil's commitment is to provide dependable delivery of your landscaping materials. Time and safety are big concerns when dealing with landscaping, especially when dealing with large quantities of materials. That's why Mr. Topsoil uses a fleet of delivery trucks and drivers to cater to your needs. Curious whether we deliver to your home or business? Contact our office today to find out!

Highly-Trained Staff

Highly-Trained Staff - At Mr. Topsoil, our landscaping experts have been around the block once or twice. There is no substitute for real-deal knowledge of landscaping, and our team has got it in spades. We're here to make your landscaping project easy and feasible, and we're here to assist with advice and best practices whenever we are able.

If you're ready to transform your yard or storefront into an outdoor oasis, look no further than Mr. Topsoil in Kiawah Island, SC.

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 Topsoil Supplier Kiawah Island, SC

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The Premier Topsoil Supplier in Kiawah Island, SC

Topsoil is much more than just dirt - it enhances just about every other aspect of your landscaping project. If you're looking for long-lasting, beautiful landscaping, it all starts with high-quality topsoil that is sourced for Kiawah Island's climate.

Topsoil can be used in many ways to improve the overall quality and health of your lawn or garden. Generally, topsoil consists of the top layer of dirt that is found in the first 5 to 6 inches inside the ground. Topsoil, especially the organic variety, is mineral-dense, nutrient-dense, and chock-full of organic matter. That makes it a top choice by amateur and professional landscapers alike.

The best quality topsoil for gardening and growing plants isn't found in bags - it's found right here at Mr. Topsoil. We optimize our topsoils to give customers a well-balanced mix of pH levels, nitrogen levels, and the perfect mineral content. Unlike some competitors, our topsoils are formulated with the correct chemical composition needed for South Carolina's climate and native plant life. That means longer-lasting beauty, less maintenance, less back-breaking labor, and more cost savings for you and your family.

Perhaps the most essential tool at your disposal is topsoil. Topsoil can be used in a variety of ways to improve the overall health and quality of your garden and lawn. Whether you're a rookie gardener or a landscaping connoisseur, there's never a bad time to learn about topsoil uses and how topsoil can play a role in your outdoor space.

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Common Uses for Topsoil in Kiawah Island

When it comes to essential tools in your garden, you might think a spade or sprinkler system would top the list. You wouldn't necessarily be wrong, but few folks think of topsoil as a crucial tool for gardening and landscaping. Topsoil is used in many different ways, but its main goal is to improve your lawn or garden's health and ability to grow.

So, what are some common reasons why you might need topsoil?
1.

Keep Plants & Gardens Healthy

Flowers and plants must draw nutrients from the soil they live in to survive. These nutrients must often be replenished, and one of the best ways to do so is by adding a fresh layer of topsoil. Of course, not all topsoils are the same. You'll want to choose topsoil meant for your needs and your location. For instance, topsoil meant to help fresh veggies grow near the coast may differ from topsoil needed to reduce inland soil erosion. To find the best topsoil for your residential or commercial project, be sure to contact Mr. Topsoil - our team is ready and waiting to help answer your questions!

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2.

Improve Drainage

If rainfall causes puddles to form in your garden or grass, you might need to apply a new layer of topsoil. When soil is densely packed, drainage issues abound because water isn't able to seep into the soil. You can remedy this issue by adding a sandy layer of topsoil to areas where water is pooling. By tilling the new and old topsoil together, you will break up compacted dirt, improve circulation, and ultimately help drainage issues around your plant's roots.

 Mulch Kiawah Island, SC
3.

Refresh Your Garden's Curb Appeal

Weeding, mowing, and planting new flowers are great for refreshing the look of your garden, but adding fresh topsoil helps complete the look. This is especially true after a long winter. Cold weather can strip the nutrients from your topsoil, leaving it dull and ineffective. Adding a new layer of topsoil instantly enhances how your garden looks!

 Topsoil Kiawah Island, SC

Quality Mulch. Gorgeous Landscaping. Unbeatable Service

At Mr. Topsoil, we proudly provide premium mulch, available for homeowners and commercial businesses. With several colors and varieties to choose from, you won't have to worry about searching high and low for your one-stop mulch shop. Our mulch helps reduce weed development, retains ground moisture, moderates your soil temperatures, and even helps stop soil erosion.

Looking to keep your garden or lawn in tip-top shape all year long? Mr. Topsoil's bulk mulch products are perfect for what you need, whether you own a home or work as a property manager and need to maintain your tenant's lawns. By buying in bulk, you get the benefit of mulch delivery straight to your front door at the lowest costs around. As your top mulch supplier in Kiawah Island, SC, you can rest easy knowing our team loves to help our customers find the best ways to improve their landscaping. While it's true that you can buy bagged mulch at your local hardware store, these products are typically packaged weeks, months, and even years ahead of time. In many cases, these bags are stored outdoors where the mulch absorbs rainwater, chemicals, and nasty contaminates. As if that weren't bad enough, this kind of mulch is very expensive, making the price of a large residential or commercial landscaping project unrealistic.

At Mr. Topsoil, our mulch is produced from local trees and is made fresh and available immediately to our customers. With affordable rates and flexible delivery options, choosing Mr. Topsoil for your mulch delivery in Kiawah Island makes all the sense in the world.

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Benefits of Adding Mulch to Your Home or Business in Kiawah Island

Gardens and other landscaped areas come in many sizes, shapes, and styles. Flower gardens add that extra special something to your home or commercial property. Veggie gardens are great for cutting back on grocery bills and add their own aesthetic appeal. If it's green and it grows, chances are it can benefit from mulch.

There are many reasons to use mulch, including:

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Improve Soil Quality

Improve-Soil-Quality

As mulch breaks down and decomposes, it leaves micro-nutrients in your soil, which helps it stay fertile and great for growing. In addition, studies show that tree roots located below a layer of mulch have high counts of mycorrhiza, which help your trees live and thrive.

Conservation & Prevention

Conservation

If you have a garden, you know how important it is to keep your plants watered. When you add mulch to your garden, it actually helps conserve water, meaning you may not have to break out your watering or sprinklers as often. In addition, mulch helps prevent pesky weeds from springing up in your flower beds, gardens, and outdoor living areas.

Improve Landscaping

Conservation

Sure, mulch adds a unique ambiance and feel to your garden or landscaping, but mulch also fosters the presence of earthworms. These slithery creatures add nutrients to your soil and help its structure so that your plants and vegetables grow healthy and strong.

We Are #1 Topsoil Supplier In The Tri-County Area.

Weather you are near or far will deliver all your needs with affordable prices

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Superior Sod Supplier in Kiawah Island, SC

Buying the right sod for your home or business in Kiawah Island speaks volumes. Proper sod placement can turn a dingy, dilapidated outdoor space into a pristine place where you love to spend time with friends and family. At Mr. Topsoil, we source the highest quality sod products from local farms, providing our clients with fresh, durable, clean grass. Whether you're upgrading your lawn or giving your commercial property a facelift, we have premium sod and timely delivery options to cater to your needs.

Having been in business for more than 34 years, we know that most customers have an idea of the kind of sod they want but don't know what it's called. Other times, they know the name but don't know how to install the sod. As a full-service sod provider, we can help with those issues and much more. It would be our pleasure to travel to your home or business and help you decide which kind of sod is best for your lawn our gardening project. If you need help applying the sod, our team of professionals are ready and waiting on your call.

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Here are just a few ways we assist customers with their residential and commercial sod needs:
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Sod Delivery in Kiawah Island

Mr. Topsoil's team has been delivering sod for years. Over that time, we have built an incredible amount of experience working with nurseries and landscapers. We source our sod from local farmers, so its quality is never in question. From home gardens and lawns to local golf courses and sports fields, there is no job too small or large that we can't handle.

Mulch Supplier Kiawah Island, SC

Sod Supplier in Kiawah Island

As Kiawah Island's top sod supplier, it's no surprise that we work with local farms to get the highest-quality sod available. Quality sod means great grass and happy customers, and that's what we're all about. Our team of helpful pros will make sure your sod is delivered promptly and without error. When it's all said and done, the only thing that matters to Mr. Topsoil is your satisfaction, which is why we're not afraid to deliver near or far to meet your needs.

 Topsoil Supplier Kiawah Island, SC

Yard Sod in Kiawah Island

Our selection of residential and yard sod is the best in our region. Our customers demand all sorts of yard sod, and we're happy to accommodate them. From different hues and textures to high durability sods meant for heavily trafficked areas - we've got it all. Need a little assistance on how to properly prep your yard? Our friendly team are happy to give you tips, tricks, and best practices to ensure your project is completed correctly.

Ready to Get Started?

Whether you're looking for a topsoil supplier in Kiawah Island, SC, who can deliver to your home or a sod supplier for your small business, Mr. Topsoil is here to serve you. Whether you're a landscape gardener or a weekend warrior, we've got everything you need in one place, at a price you can afford. Contact our office today for your free quote!

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Latest News in Kiawah Island, SC

How South Carolina’s Kiawah Island strikes a balance between tourism and conservation

From inside of Voysey’s, the private restaurant that overlooks Kiawah Island’s Cassique course, a diner might be tricked into believing that this country club island is just like any other luxury destination. The windows that frame the course betray swaying grasses, moody greens and nearly imperceptible stick-figure golfers enjoying the splendor of one of the country’s most celebrated golf courses.But the barrier island of Kiawah, some 25 miles south of Charleston, S.C., is more than a golf destination with premier b...

From inside of Voysey’s, the private restaurant that overlooks Kiawah Island’s Cassique course, a diner might be tricked into believing that this country club island is just like any other luxury destination. The windows that frame the course betray swaying grasses, moody greens and nearly imperceptible stick-figure golfers enjoying the splendor of one of the country’s most celebrated golf courses.

But the barrier island of Kiawah, some 25 miles south of Charleston, S.C., is more than a golf destination with premier beachfront homes. Kiawah Island has solidified itself as one of the most eco-friendly residential areas and tourist destinations in the United States, with conservation efforts dating back nearly half a century. Visitors are the beneficiaries of these extensive efforts, and the island is a rare example of how tourism and ecological concern can coexist.

In 1973, Kiawah Island established the Kiawah Turtle Patrol, an organization that tracks and protects the island’s native population of nesting loggerhead turtles. Soon after, Kiawah Investment, a Kuwaiti-owned company, purchased the island from heirs to a lumber company operator and, in 1975, conducted an environmental inventory of the island over the course of 16 months, studying natural habitats, wildlife and archaeological history, said Donna Windham, executive director of the Kiawah Conservancy.

The widespread inventory led to a master plan, which has since been enacted by the town of Kiawah, that combines environmental activism with tourism and leisure. “It was a whole new environment for them,” Windham said of the Kuwaiti effort. “They took it very seriously that this island was special.” Today, Windham said, the Kiawah Conservancy operates as a nonprofit land trust for the island, encouraging the protection of the environment by working in conjunction with landowners.

The conservancy, established in 1997, can hold land and issue easements. It has, to date, preserved “2,273 acres of Kiawah’s 10,000 acres,” according to the island’s website. In January 2000, Windham said, 152 acres of land known as Little Bear Island — a nesting destination for coastal birds such as the piping plover, peregrine falcon and osprey — were preserved by the Wetlands America Trust, part of the Ducks Unlimited nonprofit conservation group. The easement was updated in 2007 to include protection from the trust and the Kiawah Island Natural Habitat Conservancy.

As a traveler, you may see no concrete indication of the infrastructure that governs the island’s conservation. Yet the influence is everywhere, evident in the clamoring hermit crabs at the shoreline, the robust oyster beds that climb upward on the riverbanks, and the petite raccoons that scale trees at dusk in search of their next meal.

Close to the island’s Ocean Course, where a strip of cerulean is just visible beyond the marsh, a passerby might be privy to any number of natural encounters: alligators with snouts just visible in the pond water; hook-necked blue herons staring out into the palmettos; white-tailed deer bedding down beneath the drapery of Spanish moss. These moments, despite their frequency, arrive as a surprise in a place where golf clubs and impeccable architecture are the local currency.

But you’re more likely than not to encounter a wild animal during your visit, and that’s because Kiawah Island includes 3,000 acres of tidal salt marsh and 10 miles of shoreline, providing shelter for a variety of wildlife. According to town of Kiawah Wildlife Biologist Jim Jordan — his position was created in 2000 and, eight years later, Assistant Wildlife Biologist Aaron Given arrived — there are 315 species of birds, more than 30 species of mammals, more than 40 species of reptiles, more than 20 species of amphibians, and thousands of invertebrates that call the island home.

“It’s pretty unique,” Jordan said. It is, he said, “a functioning, intact ecosystem that’s working the way it would have worked if there were no houses there.”

One of the island’s most fascinating predators is the bobcat; the current bobcat population, Jordan said, is between 15 and 20. Four to six bobcats are collared by the biology team each year, so their movements can be tracked via GPS. “Visitors and residents can look at the tracking maps online and see where they’ve been,” he said.

Take a boat out onto the serene Kiawah River — you can book tours through the island’s sole resort, the Kiawah Island Golf Resort — and you’re bound to see a dolphin or two, gray fin slipping in and out of the water. These are the island’s bottlenose species, and they’re friendly, tracking vessels and providing the occasional show, flippers aflight. They also engage in a unique behavior known as “strand-feeding.”

“In a coordinated effort, they will basically force a school of fish or a school of shrimp up toward the bank,” Jordan said. “They beach themselves.” The western end of the island makes for good viewing of this behavior, although he warned that disrupting dolphins during their strand-feeds can be harmful. “It’s a learned behavior,” passed down from generation to generation, Jordan said. Should a strand-feed get interrupted, dolphins could abandon the behavior entirely, thus keeping future generations from learning how to eat in this location-specific manner.

The serenity experienced on this island oasis is thanks to more than just the work of the conservancy. At the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, for instance, an AAA five-diamond resort that was built in 2004, live, mature oak trees were transplanted to help promote the maintenance of the natural environment. “This really wasn’t required. It was just something that we did voluntarily, because we thought it was the right thing to do,” said Bryan Hunter, director of public relations for the Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

The resort, he said, places a premium on conservation efforts, encouraging guests to immerse themselves in the local environment through organized boat trips to other barrier islands, alligator safaris and dolphin-viewing excursions. Visitors can also tag along with the Turtle Patrol in the morning in search of hatching and migration patterns (although that program has been greatly restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic). Some may even get to assist hatchling turtles, Hunter said. Those who join the Turtle Patrol outings look for nests, take notes and record observations about the year’s hatch.

One conservation effort enforced by island residents — including hoteliers — is the Lights Out for Sea Turtles initiative, which requires that beach-illuminating lights be turned off in the evenings during loggerhead nesting season. As Jordan pointed out, artificial light confuses hatchling turtles, often accidentally guiding them away from the ocean.

Low light pollution, Hunter said, is “vital.” “The resort, along with the rest of the island, through town ordinance, makes sure that we really carefully monitor light pollution along the beach, so that it doesn’t disorient nesting sea turtles or hatching sea turtles,” he said.

As the sun descends at dusk, there is a vibration in the air. Is it the cicadas, on their 17-year cycle? Or maybe just a faraway flock of birds? Whatever the origin of the ambient noise, it calls to mind a soothing bedtime melody, the kind you might slip into as you wind down into sleep.

This AAA five-diamond property has 255 guest rooms and suites, as well as multiple dining venues and direct beach access. Rooms from about $240.

Run by the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, this 1.5-hour boat excursion takes guests through creeks and marshes in search of the island’s native bottlenose dolphin population. $450 for up to six passengers.

Situated on the west end of the island, this ocean beach offers the only public access on Kiawah. Amenities include lifeguards, chair and umbrella rentals, restrooms, outdoor showers, a snack bar and a picnic area with grills. Parking $5 to $15 per vehicle.

Guests can ask resident wildlife biologists about the local ecology and visit with some of the native and nonnative species, such as diamondback terrapins and a 10-foot-long Burmese python. The center’s gift shop sells handcrafted items made by local artists. Free.

Walk or bike this one-mile scenic trail that extends over the marsh to a lookout tower. Part of the larger Kiawah Island bike trails system, which covers about 30 miles, this trail is suitable for all ages.

The 10 Best Resorts in South Carolina

As far as T+L readers are concerned, the combination of charming small towns and white sand beaches makes South Carolina...

As far as T+L readers are concerned, the combination of charming small towns and white sand beaches makes South Carolina a great choice for a family vacation. And whether the destination is Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, or Kiawah Island, travelers are sure to find plenty of activities — from golf to tennis to paddleboarding to fishing and more.

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels (including safari lodges) were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city hotel, resort, or safari lodge based on their locations and amenities.

Of the 10 South Carolina resorts on this year's list, nine are repeat honorees from last year. T+L readers seem to enjoy returning to their favorite places again and again — one voter's family has journeyed to the No. 7 Westin Hilton Head for 12 years. Another visitor called No. 6 Wild Dunes Resort — which has private condos, house rentals, and hotel rooms and suites — "a perfect beach getaway with outstanding service and amenities."

Many of the state's top-ranked resorts are located along the Atlantic coast. In fact, the one non-coastal resort that made the list is the No. 4 Willcox, located on the state's western edge, in Aiken. "All-around great hotel in a beautiful setting on the edge of the Hitchcock Woods," noted one reader.

Once again, the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort claimed the top spot. Find out why — and which other resorts made it onto the list of best South Carolina resorts.

1. The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Kiawah Island

As the No. 1 resort for the second year in a row, the Sanctuary hits all the right notes, according to T+L readers. Many praised the impressive grounds, outstanding hospitality, robust fitness facilities (including golf and tennis), and flavorful Lowcountry cuisine at Jasmine Porch. And while the beaches are a big draw in summer, some guests noted that the winter season is just as special. "The Sanctuary goes all out at Christmas," said one visitor. "There's a huge tree in the lobby and one outside on the green leading to the ocean. There is also a chef's creation out of chocolate; this year they made a chocolate train."

Score: 92.46

2. The Beach Club at Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, Mount Pleasant

Score: 91.24

3. Montage Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton

Score: 90.31

4. The Willcox, Aiken

Score: 89.64

5. The Inn & Club at Harbour Town, Hilton Head Island

Score: 86.48

6. Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms

Score: 86.00

7. The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa, Hilton Head Island

Score: 84.80

8. Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, Hilton Head Island

Score: 81.86

9. Marriott Myrtle Beach Resort & Spa at Grande Dunes, Myrtle Beach

Score: 81.31

More information: marriott.com

10. Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort, Hilton Head Island

Score: 79.86

This South Carolina beach is one of the best in the nation, report finds. Here’s why

A South Carolina beach was named one of the nation’s best places to soak up the sun, a new report finds.The beach at Kiawah Beachwalker Park ranks No. 9 on a list of places offering top-notch surf, sand and other qualities that make for a relaxing getaway, according to results published Wednesday, May 25.Stephen P. Leatherman — a Florida International University professor with the nickname “Dr. Beach” — created the rankings afte...

A South Carolina beach was named one of the nation’s best places to soak up the sun, a new report finds.

The beach at Kiawah Beachwalker Park ranks No. 9 on a list of places offering top-notch surf, sand and other qualities that make for a relaxing getaway, according to results published Wednesday, May 25.

Stephen P. Leatherman — a Florida International University professor with the nickname “Dr. Beach” — created the rankings after conducting his annual study of 650 public beaches. This time, he used 50 criteria to evaluate the water, sand, safety and cleanliness at locations across the United States, findings show.

Beachwalker Park was the only place in the Palmetto State to earn a top 10 spot on the national list. The park lies along the ocean on Kiawah Island, roughly 25 miles south of the tourist hotspot of Charleston, according to the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission website.

In Dr. Beach’s report, the park received nods for being in a setting that boasts access to waterfront activities.

“This is a nature-lovers coast so visitors can bring their canoes and kayaks to paddle through the tidal inlets,” the report said. “It is also fun to walk or bicycle down the fine-grained sand beach to Captain Sam’s Inlet to see thousands of birds. The water is not clear, but it is clean and provides fantastic seafood for low-country cooking.”

Beachwalker Park is no stranger to earning national recognition. It also landed at No. 9 on last year’s list, when it received the same nature-related acclaim.

The latest rankings were released just ahead of Memorial Day weekend, which is expected to kick off a busy U.S. travel season.

So far this year, Charleston was named one of the nation’s trendiest places to visit based on vacation website data. The region also has been honored for having top-ranking places to eat and drink beer.

Overall, the highest scoring location on Dr. Beach’s list was Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Rounding out the top five were Caladesi Island State Park in Florida, Cooper’s Beach in New York, St. George Island State Park in Florida and Duke Kahanamoku Beach in Hawaii, The News & Observer reported.

How Kiawah Island, S.C., keeps itself a haven for golfers and wildlife alike

From inside of Voysey’s, the private restaurant that overlooks Kiawah Island’s Cassique course, a diner might be tricked into believing that this country club island is just like any other luxury destination. The windows that frame the course betray swaying grasses, moody greens and nearly imperceptible stick-figure golfers enjoying the splendor of one of the country’s most celebrated golf courses.But the barrier island of Kiawah, some 25 miles south of Charleston, S.C., is more than a golf destination with premier b...

From inside of Voysey’s, the private restaurant that overlooks Kiawah Island’s Cassique course, a diner might be tricked into believing that this country club island is just like any other luxury destination. The windows that frame the course betray swaying grasses, moody greens and nearly imperceptible stick-figure golfers enjoying the splendor of one of the country’s most celebrated golf courses.

But the barrier island of Kiawah, some 25 miles south of Charleston, S.C., is more than a golf destination with premier beachfront homes. Kiawah Island has solidified itself as one of the most eco-friendly residential areas and tourist destinations in the United States, with conservation efforts dating back nearly half a century. Visitors are the beneficiaries of these extensive efforts, and the island is a rare example of how tourism and ecological concern can coexist.

In 1973, Kiawah Island established the Kiawah Turtle Patrol, an organization that tracks and protects the island’s native population of nesting loggerhead turtles. Soon after, Kiawah Investment, a Kuwaiti-owned company, purchased the island from heirs to a lumber company operator and, in 1975, conducted an environmental inventory of the island over the course of 16 months, studying natural habitats, wildlife and archaeological history, said Donna Windham, executive director of the Kiawah Conservancy.

The widespread inventory led to a master plan, which has since been enacted by the town of Kiawah, that combines environmental activism with tourism and leisure. “It was a whole new environment for them,” Windham said of the Kuwaiti effort. “They took it very seriously that this island was special.” Today, Windham said, the Kiawah Conservancy operates as a nonprofit land trust for the island, encouraging the protection of the environment by working in conjunction with landowners.

The conservancy, established in 1997, can hold land and issue easements. It has, to date, preserved “2,273 acres of Kiawah’s 10,000 acres,” according to the island’s website. In January 2000, Windham said, 152 acres of land known as Little Bear Island — a nesting destination for coastal birds such as the piping plover, peregrine falcon and osprey — were preserved by the Wetlands America Trust, part of the Ducks Unlimited nonprofit conservation group. The easement was updated in 2007 to include protection from the trust and the Kiawah Island Natural Habitat Conservancy.

As a traveler, you may see no concrete indication of the infrastructure that governs the island’s conservation. Yet the influence is everywhere, evident in the clamoring hermit crabs at the shoreline, the robust oyster beds that climb upward on the riverbanks, and the petite raccoons that scale trees at dusk in search of their next meal.

Close to the island’s Ocean Course, where a strip of cerulean is just visible beyond the marsh, a passerby might be privy to any number of natural encounters: alligators with snouts just visible in the pond water; hook-necked blue herons staring out into the palmettos; white-tailed deer bedding down beneath the drapery of Spanish moss. These moments, despite their frequency, arrive as a surprise in a place where golf clubs and impeccable architecture are the local currency.

But you’re more likely than not to encounter a wild animal during your visit, and that’s because Kiawah Island includes 3,000 acres of tidal salt marsh and 10 miles of shoreline, providing shelter for a variety of wildlife. According to town of Kiawah Wildlife Biologist Jim Jordan — his position was created in 2000 and, eight years later, Assistant Wildlife Biologist Aaron Given arrived — there are 315 species of birds, more than 30 species of mammals, more than 40 species of reptiles, more than 20 species of amphibians, and thousands of invertebrates that call the island home.

“It’s pretty unique,” Jordan said. It is, he said, “a functioning, intact ecosystem that’s working the way it would have worked if there were no houses there.”

One of the island’s most fascinating predators is the bobcat; the current bobcat population, Jordan said, is between 15 and 20. Four to six bobcats are collared by the biology team each year, so their movements can be tracked via GPS. “Visitors and residents can look at the tracking maps online and see where they’ve been,” he said.

Take a boat out onto the serene Kiawah River — you can book tours through the island’s sole resort, the Kiawah Island Golf Resort — and you’re bound to see a dolphin or two, gray fin slipping in and out of the water. These are the island’s bottlenose species, and they’re friendly, tracking vessels and providing the occasional show, flippers aflight. They also engage in a unique behavior known as “strand-feeding.”

“In a coordinated effort, they will basically force a school of fish or a school of shrimp up toward the bank,” Jordan said. “They beach themselves.” The western end of the island makes for good viewing of this behavior, although he warned that disrupting dolphins during their strand-feeds can be harmful. “It’s a learned behavior,” passed down from generation to generation, Jordan said. Should a strand-feed get interrupted, dolphins could abandon the behavior entirely, thus keeping future generations from learning how to eat in this location-specific manner.

The serenity experienced on this island oasis is thanks to more than just the work of the conservancy. At the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, for instance, an AAA five-diamond resort that was built in 2004, live, mature oak trees were transplanted to help promote the maintenance of the natural environment. “This really wasn’t required. It was just something that we did voluntarily, because we thought it was the right thing to do,” said Bryan Hunter, director of public relations for the Kiawah Island Golf Resort.

The resort, he said, places a premium on conservation efforts, encouraging guests to immerse themselves in the local environment through organized boat trips to other barrier islands, alligator safaris and dolphin-viewing excursions. Visitors can also tag along with the Turtle Patrol in the morning in search of hatching and migration patterns (although that program has been greatly restricted because of the coronavirus pandemic). Some may even get to assist hatchling turtles, Hunter said. Those who join the Turtle Patrol outings look for nests, take notes and record observations about the year’s hatch.

One conservation effort enforced by island residents — including hoteliers — is the Lights Out for Sea Turtles initiative, which requires that beach-illuminating lights be turned off in the evenings during loggerhead nesting season. As Jordan pointed out, artificial light confuses hatchling turtles, often accidentally guiding them away from the ocean.

Low light pollution, Hunter said, is “vital.” “The resort, along with the rest of the island, through town ordinance, makes sure that we really carefully monitor light pollution along the beach, so that it doesn’t disorient nesting sea turtles or hatching sea turtles,” he said.

As the sun descends at dusk, there is a vibration in the air. Is it the cicadas, on their 17-year cycle? Or maybe just a faraway flock of birds? Whatever the origin of the ambient noise, it calls to mind a soothing bedtime melody, the kind you might slip into as you wind down into sleep.

And conservation-minded tourists will sleep just fine.

2 SC towns among the ‘Best Islands in the continental US,’ according to Travel + Leisure

The ‘Best Islands in the U.S.’ list was released to the public Tuesday.Luckily, southeastern residents have only a short journey to visit many of the top 15 Best Islands in the Continental U.S., according to Travel + Leisure.Hilton Head Island was ranked in ninth place out of all 15 islands in the country for being the best overall and scored an 82.99, according to readers, beating out Florida favor...

The ‘Best Islands in the U.S.’ list was released to the public Tuesday.

Luckily, southeastern residents have only a short journey to visit many of the top 15 Best Islands in the Continental U.S., according to Travel + Leisure.

Hilton Head Island was ranked in ninth place out of all 15 islands in the country for being the best overall and scored an 82.99, according to readers, beating out Florida favorites: Amelia Island, Captiva Island and Sanibel Island.

“This Southern oasis is a perennial reader favorite thanks to its beaches, world-class golf courses, 60 miles of walking trails, and cultural offerings that can be enjoyed in flip-flops. Rental houses abound, but there are also resorts that will cater to your every whim,” wrote Travel + Leisure about Hilton Head Island.

The islands were rated by readers according to activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.

This year, the ‘Best Islands’ category was the most competitive it has ever been, with domestic island vacations being a first choice pick for the magazine’s readers throughout the pandemic.

Kiawah Island, near Charleston, ranked as the second best island in the country, according to readers.

“Located southwest of Charleston, Kiawah, which is also on this year’s list of the best islands in the world, is a popular destination for golfers, but you don’t need to pick up a club to fall in love. Bike to the pristine beaches for sightings of dolphins and nesting sea turtles, or just watch the waves from an oceanfront room at the five-star Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort — voted by readers as the No. 1 resort in South Carolina the past two years,” wrote Travel + Leisure.

Kiawah Island was also labeled as a ‘World’s Best Awards’ honoree, earning a score of 88.49.

Even more notably, Kiawah ranked 25th with a score of 88.49 in ‘The 25 Best Islands in the World’ category.

It’s no secret South Carolina is famous for many of its beautiful locations. On Tuesday, Charleston was ranked 23rd as one of the 25 Best Cities in the World, by Travel + Leisure. The ‘World’s Best Awards’ Hall of Fame honoree scored an 88.70 in the category.

Additionally on Tuesday, ‘The 15 Best Cities in the United States’ rankings were released with Charleston being ranked the number one best city in the country, according to Travel + Leisure.

“There’s a reason people keep going back to Charleston: the city expresses the perfect balance of Southern charm, knockout food and drinks, and walkability. Many readers also found the city’s history to be a draw. Others appreciated the simple pleasures of strolling the side streets of downtown.”, Travel + Leisure described Charleston.

Hilton Head Island neighbor, Savannah, ranked fourth place in the ‘Best Cities’ category.

The 15 Best Islands in the Continental U.S., according to Travel + Leisure

The 15 Best Cities in the United States, according to Travel + Leisure

This story was originally published July 14, 2022 5:00 AM.

President Biden Returns to Kiawah Island for Family Vacation Weeks After Testing Positive for COVID

President Joe Biden is in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, for a family vacation weeks after testing positive for COVID-19.On Wednesday, Biden, 79, and first lady Dr. ...

President Joe Biden is in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, for a family vacation weeks after testing positive for COVID-19.

On Wednesday, Biden, 79, and first lady Dr. Jill Biden, 71, were joined by family members including his grandson. They waved to a large crowd as they walked to board Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

During the first week of August, Biden was cleared to return to public duties after being diagnosed with COVID-19 for the second time.

His physician, Dr. Kevin O'Connor, announced that Biden was cleared to emerge from isolation in a letter shared Sunday, writing, "This morning, the President's SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing was negative for a second consecutive day."

"He will safely return to public engagement and presidential travel," he added.

Biden has not been to Kiawah Island since taking office in January 2021, but visited the quaint beach town regularly while vice president.

Only about 13 square miles, Kiawah Island is home to roughly 1,600 people and best known as a private beach and golfing destination.

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"I think he feels at home here. It's a place he's come for so many years to vacation. And he can enjoy a certain amount of insulation without being totally insulated," Dick Harpootlian, a South Carolina state senator and a longtime Biden political confidant, told CBS.

"I remember when he was VP and I came down to play golf with him, he could move around without drawing a crowd if he wanted to," he added.

Biden is expected to be at Kiawah Island with him family until next Tuesday, before heading to homes he has in Delaware to continue his summer break.

The 9 best golf courses you can play in SC, according to Golf Digest. Take a look

Summer is winding down, but there’s still plenty of time for a few rounds of golf in South Carolina.But where should you go for your next golf trip?South Carolina is loaded with golf courses. Myrtle Beach alone has more than 90 courses, most of which are public. But fear not, because Golf Digest can help you decide.The popular monthly magazine has compiled a list of the nine best go...

Summer is winding down, but there’s still plenty of time for a few rounds of golf in South Carolina.

But where should you go for your next golf trip?

South Carolina is loaded with golf courses. Myrtle Beach alone has more than 90 courses, most of which are public. But fear not, because Golf Digest can help you decide.

The popular monthly magazine has compiled a list of the nine best golf courses you can play in South Carolina, from Charleston to Hilton Head and everything in between.

Located on the eastern-most end the Kiawah Island, the Ocean Course has the most seaside hills in the Northern Hemisphere. The course was designed to give players an unobstructed view of the coastline from every hole.

The course can also be particularly challenging, due to strong winds from the Atlantic.

This perennial favorite among PGA Tour players is located on Hilton Head Island. The course has undergone recent enhancements, such as new Celebration Bermuda grass for the fairways and a new irrigation system. Since 1969, it has been home to the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.

This 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Course in Bluffton is surrounded by century-old live oaks and scenic native landscapes. The 7,171-yard course includes several holes on the bank of the river.

Built in the 1940s, the Dunes Golf and Beach Club dubs itself as the premier country club in Myrtle Beach. The 18-hole, oceanside course has been host to numerous high-end golf tournaments, from the PGA Senior Tour to the USGA Women’s Open.

This Pawleys Island golf course opened in 1994 and has been a perennial part of many top 100 golf course lists ever since. The 18-hole course was the first solo design of the late Mike Strantz.

Hall of Fame players and course architects Greg Norman, Davis Love III, Tom Fazio and Pete Dye designed the multi-course Barefoot Resort in North Myrtle Beach. They’ve all received awards, but the Dye course stands above them all. The unique bunkering at the Dye course helps it stand out.

True Blue is known for its vast fairways and impressive elevation changes. It’s also the sister course to the Caledonia in Pawleys Island. The club features an 18-acre practice facility and is just minutes south of central Myrtle Beach.

The Tournament Players Club of Myrtle Beach has challenged many golf legends over the years, including Lanny Wadkins, Gary Player, Lee Trevino and Ray Floyd. The 18-hole course is open to the public and offers PGA Tour-caliber challenge. It also has a practice area, numerous water hazards and strategically-placed trees.

The championship-level Osprey Point Golf Course was completely renovated in 2014. The course offers four challenging par-3s, four distinctive par-5s and 10 par-4s ranging in length from 340 to 461 yards. The track’s classic-style clubhouse adds to its appeal.

This story was originally published August 18, 2022 5:00 AM.

Par for the Course: Clutch play qualifies Cape Elizabeth duo for national tournament

Reese McFarlane and John Hayes play golf out of Purpoodock, so one would think that they play in four-ball tournaments often.It is believed, however, that Aug. 25 at Great Horse in western Massachusetts was a first for them. If not, the result of their play in Massachusetts definitely was a first. The twosome, both of whom grew up in Cape Elizabeth, qualified at Great Horse for the ninth USGA Four-Ball Amateur, which will be held next May on the Cassique Course of the Kiawah Island Golf Club.They combined to shoot a 6-under 66 ...

Reese McFarlane and John Hayes play golf out of Purpoodock, so one would think that they play in four-ball tournaments often.

It is believed, however, that Aug. 25 at Great Horse in western Massachusetts was a first for them. If not, the result of their play in Massachusetts definitely was a first. The twosome, both of whom grew up in Cape Elizabeth, qualified at Great Horse for the ninth USGA Four-Ball Amateur, which will be held next May on the Cassique Course of the Kiawah Island Golf Club.

They combined to shoot a 6-under 66 and then waited nearly five hours to see if they had qualified for one of three spots for the 2023 national tournament.

It turned out that three other teams had carded a 66, so there was a playoff. On the second playoff hole, Hayes sunk a lengthy birdie putt, which made it possible for them to journey to South Carolina next May for the National Four-Ball Championship.

What is significant about this accomplishment is that among the top nine teams in the qualifier, eight of them with the best scores of the day were from Massachusetts. McFarlane and Hayes were the only Maine twosome in the top 10. It is not often that Maine golfers qualify for any USGA national championships, but it is the second time it has happened this year, with Caleb Manuel of Brunswick having made it into the U.S. Open.

This does not translate to Maine becoming a United States golf mecca, but it does put the Pine Tree State on the map.

For Hayes, who has been a significant player in Maine amateur events for more than a decade, it is not a USGA first. It is his fourth qualification for a USGA championship event, having been in the 2016 U.S. Amateur and in the U.S. Mid-Amateur championship in 2017 and 2019.

McFarlane does not have a Maine State title to his credit, but he did win the New England Amateur in 2018 at the Portland Country Club. Hayes is a veteran Maine state champion, having won the Junior, Amateur and two Mid-Amateur crowns.

Hayes is 32 and McFarlane is 25, so they did not go to school together. They are young enough to have a bright future as a twosome.

Apologies to readers who might ask if other Maine twosomes over the past eight years have qualified for the USGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship. This writer was unable to obtain an answer to that question.

*****

The Aug. 4 scramble, run by Fore A Cause at Summit Springs, was a huge success when you consider that Summit Springs is a nine-hole course, meaning that a field of 19 teams was a maximum number. The final tally was that more than $12,000 was raised for food to feed children in the MSAD 17 school district.

There is no question that this is a worthy cause, so congratulations to chairperson Bunny O’Leary and her committee. Persons interested in supporting Fore A Cause should contact O’Leary at olearybunny@gmail.com.

*****

MSGA’s next play day for men is Sept. 6 at Natanis Tomahawk. The women’s play day is Sept. 6 at The Meadows.

*****

Sept. 5 is the deadline for USGA members to apply for tickets and packages for the 2023 U.S. Open, which will be June 15-18 at the Los Angeles Country Club. A lottery will determine who gets the opportunity to take advantage of the packages and tickets. To apply for either, click on to tickets@usga.org.

Bill Kennedy, a retired New Jersey golf writer and editor now residing on Thompson Lake in Otisfield, is in his 10th season as the Sun Journal’s golf columnist.

How to Spend 48 Hours on Kiawah Island, SC

From renowned tennis and golf facilities to miles of breathtaking beaches, there's so much to see and do on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Here's your guide to experiencing it all.Kiawah Island is an upscale destination in South Carolina’s Lowcountry known for its beautiful scenery and residences, and its wide variety of family-friendly activities. Here, we’re sharing our experience with a destination within the destination — the Kiawah Isla...

From renowned tennis and golf facilities to miles of breathtaking beaches, there's so much to see and do on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Here's your guide to experiencing it all.

Kiawah Island is an upscale destination in South Carolina’s Lowcountry known for its beautiful scenery and residences, and its wide variety of family-friendly activities. Here, we’re sharing our experience with a destination within the destination — the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Don’t let the name fool you. Yes, it’s famous for its golf courses, but there’s so much more to it than that! For some, the draw might be miles of expansive beachfront to explore or quiet marshlands to discover by kayak. Some might prefer to dedicate the weekend to indulging in local food and drink, while others may stick to the area’s renowned tennis or golf facilities, where it’s exciting to play on the same turf as the pros. Here’s a weekend itinerary that allows you to take advantage of it all.

The resort is 33 miles from the Charleston airport and less than that from the historic area of town, so Kiawah’s location makes for a great way to experience relaxing beach time in conjunction with all the charms of Charleston. Kiawah accommodations include the luxurious Sanctuary Hotel, with its 255 rooms on the ocean, and a variety of villas spread out over the property under picturesque live oak trees. You can also rent one of the larger private homes and still enjoy resort privileges by going through Kiawah’s website. Check-in time is mid-afternoon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get there earlier and start exploring.

SB Note: As with many resorts, making reservations well ahead of time for meals and activities is highly recommended.

All 255 rooms at Kiawah’s luxury hotel, The Sanctuary, come with balconies and upscale amenities: Italian linen sheets, a deep soaking tub, and plush robes in the closet. Image: Kiawah Island Golf Resort

The Sanctuary opened in 2004, and the idea was for it to feel like a grand, historic seaside mansion. With that in mind, the furnishings are elegant but not over the top. The expansive lobby offers plenty of places to sit, and almost all rooms possess a view of the Atlantic Ocean. Image: Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Head to one of the bicycle rentals (one at The Sanctuary and another at West Beach Pool Shop), where you can secure a bike — there are plenty of options, including an adult tricycle or bicycle for two — then grab a map and start exploring! Kiawah excels at its easy-to-follow bike paths, and you’ll find 30 miles of trails that wind through wooded areas, over bridges, through neighborhoods, and along golf courses. You’ll likely spot signs pointing to beach access and, by all means, head that way. Kiawah’s vast shoreline is perfect for long walks, but bike-riding on the beach is a big thing here, too!

As beach-goers ponder the pros and cons of the Gulf Coast versus the East Coast, consider this: the firmly packed sand at Kiawah is ideal for bike-riding by the ocean, with plenty of space to avoid running into people. Bikes are easy to rent at Kiawah, and getting around the resort is a breeze with 30 miles of dedicated bike trails (plus the beach). Image: Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Golf courses and bike trails at Kiawah are surrounded by lush, almost other-worldly landscaping, such as this hole on the Cougar Point Course along the marshlands. Image: Kiawah Island Golf Resort/O’Brien

Lowcountry cuisine is the theme at Jasmine Porch, a restaurant at The Sanctuary. It’s a great choice for breakfast, but it’s also a relaxed, delicious option for dinner. Consistent with the hotel’s decor, brick walls and oak floors bring in a bit of Charleston charm, and there are patio tables if the weather cooperates. The restaurant menu boasts fresh-caught choices, but when in doubt, go with the specialty here: shrimp and grits.

On day two of your expedition, get up close and personal with Kiawah’s natural beauty in a kayak. The scenic Mingo Point offers guided and self-guided kayaks through the marshes, where you can observe abundant birdlife and maybe even a dolphin. Kiawah’s Night Heron Nature Center is a big hit with children, but all ages can learn from its displays and educational materials.

Natural beauty is abundant at Kiawah, and the resort loves to help guests get up close and personal with its naturalist programs. Here, a bird-watching naturalist brings his scope and binoculars to view the dozens of bird species on the island. Image: Lisa Mowry

There are two ways to get around the resort other than a car: the aforementioned bicycles and a continuously running shuttle. One way or another, get yourself over to Tomasso at Turtle Point for lunch with an Italian flair. Hand-tossed pizzas and artisan salads are one way to go, but there’s heartier fare, too, such as meatball subs and short-rib grilled cheese.

Next, relax by the pool or splurge on a spa treatment — both excellent ways to spend an afternoon. The Spa at The Sanctuary is one of the reasons the resort received a five-star Forbes rating, so you’ll want to try it out! The spa’s spacious layout includes multiple relaxation rooms, a whirlpool/sauna/steam room, and thoughtful refreshments. In other words, arrive early for your massage or facial treatment to enjoy the whole luxurious experience.

Receiving a treatment at The Spa at The Sanctuary is a well-earned splurge. Make sure to get there early to enjoy a soak in the whirlpool or relax in one of the lounges. Image: Kiawah Island Golf Resort

The Sanctuary’s U-shaped building offers a large lawn with plenty of places to sit and be mesmerized by the ocean. Image: Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Whether or not you’re a golf enthusiast, head over to the famed Ocean Course, the #4 public golf course in the U.S. Even non-golfers will swoon over the rugged, breezy landscape, which is often compared to locations in Scotland and Ireland. And even without a round on the coveted course, visitors can access the clubhouse, including a pro shop and dining area. Grab a drink at the Ryder Cup Bar, with its gorgeous views of the course and ocean. The Atlantic Room next door has a similar ocean setting with signature seafood selections for dinner. All the appetizers look terrific, but don’t miss the crispy shrimp starter with sweet chili sauce — They apparently removed it from the menu one day and received so many complaints that it was back 24 hours later! The Country Captain seafood stew is also well-known, and you can’t go wrong with a catch of the day prepared with seasonal vegetables.

The Ryder Cup Bar, also at the Ocean Course, is a pub-type spot for lunch or a drink. Image: Lisa Mowry

Restaurants are strategically located around the resort, but be sure to visit one of the spots at the Ocean Course (home to all of the significant PGA championships) to feast your eyes on the gorgeous view. The Atlantic Room at the Ocean Course is open nightly for dinner, and you can’t go wrong with the fresh-caught seafood. Image: Kiawah Island Golf Resort

The Atlantic Room’s Seafood Stew is one of the most popular items on the menu, with its array of ocean delights: fresh-caught shrimp, clams, crabs, and Carolina Gold Rice in a special broth. Image: Kiawah Island Golf Resort

If you can spare another day of activities before heading home, start the morning of day three with Yoga on the Beach. Then choose from any number of adventures such as fishing expeditions, tennis lessons, mosaics, or a photography cruise. Of course, there’s also nothing wrong with sitting on the beach, watching the shorebirds do their thing, and dreaming of your next trip to Kiawah. After all, it’s known for its repeat visitors!

For more information on Kiawah Island Golf Resort, head to kiawahresort.com.

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