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The Mr. Topsoil Difference

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?

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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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.

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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


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


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


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!


Latest News in Kiawah Island, SC

South Street Partners Announces Final Closing of Oversubscribed Inaugural Discretionary Fund

CHARLOTTE, N.C. and CHARLESTON, S.C., July 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- South Street Partners ("South Street") a leading private equity real estate investment firm headquartered out of Charlotte, NC and Charleston, SC, announced the final close of SSP GP Fund I (the "Fund") yesterday. The firm's inaugural discretionary commingled fund raised over $225 million, significantly exceeding an original target of $100 million. The Fund was formed to continue South Street's established track record of executing on opportunistic, value...

CHARLOTTE, N.C. and CHARLESTON, S.C., July 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- South Street Partners ("South Street") a leading private equity real estate investment firm headquartered out of Charlotte, NC and Charleston, SC, announced the final close of SSP GP Fund I (the "Fund") yesterday. The firm's inaugural discretionary commingled fund raised over $225 million, significantly exceeding an original target of $100 million. The Fund was formed to continue South Street's established track record of executing on opportunistic, value added and special situation investment opportunities in real estate assets located in the Southeastern United States as well as select U.S. and international markets.

The Fund's GP structure enables South Street to scale its successful 13-year strategy of partnering with institutional investment firms on large cap transactions as well as to pursue small and mid-cap deals utilizing the Fund's balance sheet. In addition, the firm expects to generate co-investment opportunities for its limited partners. The Fund could provide South Street with as much as $2.25 billion of unlevered buying power via these partnerships and co-investment vehicles.

The Fund can invest across the entire spectrum of real estate asset classes but will be primarily focused on upscale and luxury resort and residential opportunities including its first two investments:

The Fund secured commitments from a broad range of high-quality limited partners including family offices, Registered Investment Advisors, wealth management firms, funds of funds and high-net-worth investors through an oversubscribed fundraising process.

"As a former fund-less sponsor raising capital on a deal-by-deal basis, reaching the closing of our inaugural U.S. discretionary commingled fund is a major achievement," said Chris Randolph, Partner. "Raising this fund through the pandemic certainly created challenges but we are honored by the outsized investor demand the fund received, which we believe is not only related to compelling opportunities that we are seeing but also the reputation and track record we've built over the past 13 years."

The Fund will seek to generate attractive risk-adjusted returns for its limited partners by:

"The current environment and demographic trends in our markets of focus create significant opportunities for the Fund's investment strategy," said Patrick Melton, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of South Street. "We believe our history of sourcing and executing a wide range of complicated transactions throughout various stages of the market cycle while providing excellent returns to our investors over the last decade is one of the main reasons investor appetite was so strong."

Todd Whitenack, Co-Managing Partner of BBR Partners, whose firm's clients anchored the Fund, stated, "Our firm was delighted to be part of this raise and we believe the strong interest from our clients is related to South Street's track record, unique value proposition as well as the relevance of the strategy in the post Covid world."

Since its founding in 2009, South Street has established itself as one of the country's preeminent private residential club and resort investors. The firm has executed on some of the industry's most recognizable trades over the last decade, including North Beach Towers, Kiawah Partners, Doonbeg, Christophe Harbour, The Cliffs Communities, The Residences at Salamander and Palmetto Bluff.

About South Street Partners

South Street Partners is a private equity real estate investment firm headquartered in Charlotte, NC, and Charleston, SC and the largest owner of private residential club and resort communities in the Southeast – including Kiawah Island Club and Kiawah Island Real Estate, Palmetto Bluff, The Cliffs, and the Residences at Salamander. Founded in 2009, South Street has deployed over $500 million of equity across resort, residential and commercial properties and has over $1.3 billion of assets under management. South Street acts as a principal investment platform as well as an operating partner and co-investor for institutional partners interested in special situations, opportunistic and value add real estate investments in the Southeastern United States as well as select continental US and international markets. SouthStreetPartners.com

Media Inquiries:

Alex Malloy, Alex@AlexandraMalloy.com

Morgan Stewart, Morgan@AlexandraMalloy.com

SOURCE South Street Partners

Developer and Clients Find Charleston to be a Real Estate Dream

National residential and commercial developer, East West Partners, found the city of Charleston, SC, to mirror the qualities that matched the company’s real estate vision. Over the past year, these attributes translated into East West’s three Charleston area projects selling out in a matter of months.After hitting three consecutive Charleston real estate home runs, the 20 employees devoted to creating and managing these thriving residential retreats feel like they are just getting started. The truth is, this community-mind...

National residential and commercial developer, East West Partners, found the city of Charleston, SC, to mirror the qualities that matched the company’s real estate vision. Over the past year, these attributes translated into East West’s three Charleston area projects selling out in a matter of months.

After hitting three consecutive Charleston real estate home runs, the 20 employees devoted to creating and managing these thriving residential retreats feel like they are just getting started. The truth is, this community-minded team doesn’t rest … even after clients move into their luxury residences featuring amazing views, walking distance convenience, and high-end amenities.

The Cape on Kiawah, 71 Wentworth, and The Waterfront on Daniel Island showcase an irresistible allure of last-of-their-kind buildouts, historical architectural perspectives, and vacation-style appeal. Let’s look at East West’s vision for these amazing developments and what led to these residential gems being purchased in the blink of an eye.

Charleston – Timing is Everything

To understand East West’s current success, it’s helpful to flashback to the company’s history in Charleston. East West Partners nationwide real estate development company

found its way to Charleston in 2000. Their love where you work approach to Charleston echoes their previous developments in Colorado, Hawaii, and Utah. East West’s underlying passion for its portfolio comes with a caveat. Their development selection process targets the cornerstone of living like you’re on vacation.

A handful of East West employees, now based in Charleston, already had deep South Carolina roots. Before opening their local office, the team noted Charleston’s wonderful sense of community, and they began digging into the city’s real estate upside.

Their initial projects in Charleston’s historic downtown, and in neighboring Mount Pleasant, were rousing success stories. Coincidentally aligning with this early success were Charleston’s surging tourism, employment, and restaurant industry numbers. East West’s vision for the Charleston real estate market seemed poised for a breakthrough.

New Meets Old

Everywhere you look in Charleston you’ll find beautifully maintained businesses and residences that are actually hundreds of years old. Coexisting with streets and neighborhoods dripping in history are entire blocks and communities undergoing new construction or restoration.

East West Partners’ real estate plan fits seamlessly into the Charleston culture. In fact, East West’s current trio of projects are two parts new and one-part historical marvel.

Representing the new, The Cape on Kiawah’s is a last-of-its-kind oceanfront development on prestigious Kiawah Island. Another East-West fresh take is The Waterfront on Daniel Island. This development, perched on the Wando River, features a best-in-class boating environment as well as direct access to a 25-mile mix of walking and biking trails.

For those who love Charleston’s amazing historical story, there is 71 Wentworth, located in the heart of downtown. With a past life dating back 150 years, this historic residence has the architectural world perched on the edge of its seat while awaiting its 2023 opening.

The Cape on Kiawah

Kiawah Island is Charleston’s premier luxury beach resort. Located just 21 miles south of downtown Charleston, Kiawah is a private island community known for its world-class golf, top-tier tennis, 10 miles of beach, and luxury residences.

With that description, imagine the response to a new development described as “a last of its kind oceanfront setting on Kiawah Island.” You’d be imagining The Cape on Kiawah, a retreat of just 78 residences that offer year-round lock and leave convenience.

These oceanfront residences and penthouses lasted just a handful of months before being devoured by eager buyers seeking a first or second residence on Kiawah’s last bastion of luxury. Residents awaken to a footprints-in-the-sand Atlantic Ocean address, the new beachfront Cape Club, an infinity pool, rooftop owners lounge for entertaining, access to the freshest seafood, and some of the best golf in America, and after-the-sale attention by the East-West Partners property management team.

71 Wentworth – An 1872 Renewal

Architectural buffs find this 12-unit luxury property to be magical, especially when you consider its prime location in the heart of downtown Charleston. Originally built in a Tudor Gothic Revival style, the buyer’s new interior includes molded and arched windows soaring up to 18 feet tall and a cathedral ceiling with heights up to 25 feet

This old meets new residential alliance honors centuries-old brick, timber trusses, and heart pine beams. When handed the keys, owners will luxuriate amidst open floor plans, contemporary finishes, state-of-the-art conveniences, and a master suite featuring an abundance of natural light. New homeowners will also enjoy a stunning sheltered loggia for quiet reflection and relaxation.

Interior Designer Cortney Bishop describes 71 Wentworth as a cultural renaissance happening on one of Charleston’s most legendary downtown intersections. Owners of the 12 unique residences calling 71 Wentworth home will appreciate the easy walking convenience of downtown Charleston’s vibrant restaurant, history, and shopping scene.

The Waterfront on Daniel Island

Much like their Kiawah development discovery, East West Partners offers a second last-of-its-kind real estate prize. The Waterfront is the final remaining piece of Daniel Island riverfront.

How special is this 22-acre playground intersecting River Landing Drive and the Wando River? After the addition of a second dock, an interactive fountain, an on-site market/coffee shop, and an acclaimed restaurant, the first phase of The Waterfront sold out in a matter of months.

Included in the plethora of resident fingertip amenities are outdoor terraces, ferry service to downtown Charleston, easy access to the Wando River, and walking to the award-winning Kingstide Restaurant. The construction phase on the second collection of one, two, and three-bedroom condominiums has already begun. Limited opportunities to own are remaining.

Charleston Can’t Wait for Tomorrow

What is in the real estate future for bustling Charleston? “The success of each of our projects has been incredible thus far, and we see continued high demand for Lowcountry luxury living long-term,” Miller Harper, Managing Partner for East West Partners said.

Some developers build where they see things going. East West Partners design where they believe a new community should be. “Our ethos has always been to create places we ourselves want to live. Our goal is to build a true sense of community within each of our developments,” Harper said.

What is the vision for Charleston’s next best residential community? If East West’s upcoming development is anything like the last three, interested buyers may be living a real estate dream.

The top things to do in South Carolina for a true taste of the Palmetto State

Beautiful shorelines and dreamy marshes dot South Carolina’s idyllic Atlantic coast. But there’s much more to experience in the Palmetto State, named for the trees that became a symbol of liberty because of their ability to absorb the force of British cannonballs during the 1776 battle at Fort Moultrie.Look beyond showstopping destinations such as ...

Beautiful shorelines and dreamy marshes dot South Carolina’s idyllic Atlantic coast. But there’s much more to experience in the Palmetto State, named for the trees that became a symbol of liberty because of their ability to absorb the force of British cannonballs during the 1776 battle at Fort Moultrie.

Look beyond showstopping destinations such as Charleston and Myrtle Beach and you can enjoy dozens of hidden gems and nature escapes in the state. From iconic gardens to jaw-dropping sunsets and action-packed thrill rides, here are the best activities to add to your itinerary the next time you visit South Carolina.

Make the most out of every adventure with help from our weekly newsletter delivered to your inbox.

Snap a photo in front of the giant peach

More than 30 types of peaches are grown across South Carolina, and the peach is the state's official fruit. Peaches became such a staple that in 1981, a massive 135ft water tower beside I-85 South in the town of Gaffney – just 45-minutes south of Charlotte, NC – was transformed to look like a giant peach.

It's become a tradition to snap a photo of the iconic Peachoid; you can get closest to the peach via exits 90 to 92, along the Cherokee Hills Scenic Highway.

Take the entire family fruit picking

People from near and far travel to York County, South Carolina – just across the border from the southern end of Charlotte – to spend an entire day picking fresh fruit on some of the county’s long-established family-owned farms.

Bush-N-Vine has been growing a fine assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables since 1979, and members of the public are invited to pick their own produce.

The most popular picking crops are strawberries (from fall until early July) and blueberries (starting in mid-May). While you're there, pop into the farm's country store for a freshly made strawberry soft serve ice cream or a raspberry blendie (a mix of ice cream and raspberry-flavored iced slushy).

Also look out for stalls and stores selling freshly picked peaches across the state from June to September.

See every species of swan at the state’s longest-running festival

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the state's Iris Festival in the town of Sumter, located 45 miles from Columbia, SC. This three-day event, typically held over the Memorial Day weekend, features over 120 species of Japanese iris growing along the banks of the Swan Lake Iris Gardens.

The park is also the only place in the United States where you can see all eight of the known species of swans. Local vendors and artisans set up throughout the garden, but since the park is considered a bird sanctuary, pets are not allowed on the grounds.

Enjoy unique views of South Carolina from above at the Aiken Hot Air Balloon Fest

Just under 20 miles from the city of Augusta, Georgia, Aiken is the fourth-largest county in the state, and every year in late April, locals head out to the Western Carolina Fairgrounds to participate in the area’s two-day hot air balloon festival.

This family-friendly day of fun features live music, a kid’s zone with rides and games, local food vendors, and the opportunity to tick off a bucket-list-worthy experience – riding in a tethered hot air balloon. The showstopper is the night show, where dozens of larger-than-life balloons take to the skies for a spectacle unlike any other.

Enjoy a romantic couples' boat ride at Cypress Gardens

Head about an hour north of Charleston to check out backdrops from one of the most romantic movies of recent years – The Notebook, starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.

The cult movie, based on the novel by Nicholas Parks, was filmed at several locations in the state’s Low Country, including Cypress Gardens. Grab your significant other and row across the same lake where Noah took Allie during their emotional reunion.

Located in the town of Moncks Corner, the gardens are home to cypress and Tupelo trees that line a dark but beautiful swamp. There are guided and self-guided boat tours across the swamplands; keep an eye out for the birds, turtles and alligators that live in the waters.

Live like a star for a day on Kiawah Island – South Carolina's best-kept secret

One of South Carolina’s wealthiest and most exclusive zip codes, Kiawah Island is a paradisaical escape, just 40-minutes southwest of Charleston's busy neighborhoods.

While outsiders can't freely drive around the island – there's a guard station at the main entrance checking renters' and residents' passes – the public are welcome to visit the sandy shore at Beachwalker Park. Bring your beach chairs or blanket, and pack a picnic-style lunch for a day-long island getaway. There’s a lifeguard on duty daily and pets are welcome.

Get your adrenaline pumping at South Carolina's largest theme park

While it technically straddles the border between North Carolina and South Carolina, Carowinds is a must for the entire family. Located off exit 90 on I-77, this 407-acre theme park provides hours of thrills for all ages, from coasters to water slides.

Come for over-the-top, funfair-inspired bites like funnel cakes loaded with whipped cream, strawberries and ice cream, and more than 55 adrenaline-pumping rides, including the Fury 325 coaster and an entire set of rides and experiences specifically geared toward younger children.

The park is also home to Carolina Harbor, the largest water park in North and South Carolina. When you've had enough of adrenaline-pumping thrills, sit down for a themed show or come back for Halloween when the park transforms into "Scarowinds" with a selection of harvest-themed and haunted attractions.

Tour one of Martin Luther King Jr’s favorite stops

The historical Penn Center on St Helena Island is one of many places that inspired Dr Martin Luther King Jr to write his famous I Have a Dream speech. The civil rights leader is said to have visited the Penn Center at least five times.

Dotted with more than 25 buildings and structures, this 50-acre property offers an in-depth look at the triumphs and struggles faced by the area's Gullah people on the journey from enslavement to freedom. It's the site of Penn School – one of the first educational centers in the American South to provide formal schooling to formerly enslaved people.

Located an hour and a half southwest of Charleston in Beaufort, the center offers guided tours and an on-site museum and visitor center.

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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Kiawah Island Addresses Construction Concerns At The Cape

By Theresa Stratford for The Island ConnectionMayor John Labriola seized an opportunity to set the record straight at the recent Kiawah Island Town Council meeting on July 5. The issue that he addressed was in relation to the development of The Cape on Kiawah, which will be located on West Beach and is being developed by East West Partners. The Kiawah Island Architecture Review Board presented at the Town Council meeting in April in relation to the clear cutting of 50 trees that many Kiawah residents had questioned at that time. After...

By Theresa Stratford for The Island Connection

Mayor John Labriola seized an opportunity to set the record straight at the recent Kiawah Island Town Council meeting on July 5. The issue that he addressed was in relation to the development of The Cape on Kiawah, which will be located on West Beach and is being developed by East West Partners. The Kiawah Island Architecture Review Board presented at the Town Council meeting in April in relation to the clear cutting of 50 trees that many Kiawah residents had questioned at that time. After the presentation, members of the Kiawah community sent questions, which the Town prepared responses to at the beginning of June. “What started out as questions has elevated to some pretty serious accusations,” Labriola stated. “In terms of the Kiawah Partners’ ability to misuse the role and control of the ARB to manipulate calculations.”

The Kiawah Island Town Attorney Joe Wilson consulted with the Town and released an opinion on behalf of Council. Labriola said that even after that opinion was released, “the accusations continued.” Labriola announced that they then received a second legal opinion in relation to this issue and how East West Partners had “not violated any standards related to the development agreement at The Cape.” “We have legal opinions that have supported the Town’s position, which is what we stated back in June that the ARB acted appropriately,” Labriola said.

Labriola said that the calculations are not in question by a core group of concerned Kiawah Island residents, but rather how the lot coverage is measured.

“That is core issue.” Labriola addressed the definition of highland and stated that the ARB has exclusive jurisdiction to determine those standards and the definition of highland as used in those standards. According to the Kiawah ARB, Labriola stated that the definition of highland is all the area above mean high water. “Under this interpretation, the development was in the 33% standard adopted by the ARB.” Labriola continued by saying that their interpretation of highland is a reasonable one and the S.C. attorney general has adopted it. He said that this definition is used frequently in other contexts including in the Town’s ordinance. The other definition of highland has been claimed by some as the land above the Ocean & Coastal Resource Management baseline.

OCRM is under the umbrella of SCDHEC. Neither the Kiawah ARB nor the Town of Kiawah adopts the OCRM baseline. However, the Kiawah ARB and the Town do adopt the OCRM critical line that is marsh frontline for marsh front property, but the OCRM baseline only applies to beachfront property, as explained by Labriola. Labriola added that the town’s own density standards for multi-unit development allows for 60% of coverage based on the entire lot and that there is no reference to highland in the town’s density standard. “So even under the Town’s standards, this development would have been approved because it is under 60% of the entire lot.”

Labriola concluded by reiterating that the ARB has exclusive jurisdiction over lot coverage standards put forth by the ARB guidelines. “It is to the Town’s position that the ARB interpreted the language and calculations the lot coverage consistently with previous beachfront projects and in a manner that is reasonable and commonly used.” The Town will be adding a Development Resources page to their website where a full text of the development agreement will be shared, in addition to FAQ’s that will be updated regularly. “We encourage residents to view the page for accurate information,” Labriola said. Labriola also noted that he didn’t think this would stop the accusations, but that he wanted to be transparent. “We will provide the community with the information as we see it, as we understand it and as we know it. I don’t know what else we can do except to say those words and put them in print to send out to everyone.” Additional groups within the community have recently come to fruition, including a new nonprofit organization called Preserve Kiawah, which is comprised of hundreds of concerned Kiawah residents who want to preserve the way of life they have come to love by living on Kiawah Island. In response to the newly formed groups, including Preserve Kiawah, the Town of Kiawah Island has commissioned Lou Hammonds Group to act as a liaison in communication with the Town, the residents and Kiawah Partners. On the agenda at the July meeting was approving their contract to begin working on the communication initiative. Maura F. McIlvain, a resident of Kiawah Island, commented that she thought a communication consultant was a great idea. “A level of suspicion is there. Whether it is warranted or not. A level of suspicion is there in regards to a relationship that the Town shows to the developer. Some say communication coming from the Town has been poor, defensive, mangled – however you want to say it.” McIlvain’s suggestion on the contract with Lou Hammonds was to take out the part about them being a liaison between the Town and the Partners. “You shouldn’t want that in there given the current environment. When the Town has been accused of coordinating with the partners – that is not where you want to be right now. I would take that out.”

Lou Hammonds Group has a history of working with East West Partners, but Kiawah Island Town Administrator Stephanie Tillerson said they were chosen, without an official RFP, because they came “highly recommended” from several entities in the Charleston area, including from Helen Hill, the CEO of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “They are well respected in the community,” Tillerson explained in the Town Council meeting. Finally, Brad Belt of the Preserve Kiawah group, spoke at the meeting as well in response to the mayor’s comments on accusations being made toward the Town in response to the handlings of The Cape development.

“I welcome the commitment to transparency and I thank the mayor for that,” Belt commented.

“But I am disappointed by the term ‘accusations.’ We are a community that is trying to understand the governing documents and we are systematically working through those in a fact-based way. We are simply outlying issues that warrant attention. If we are wrong, I would be the first one to welcome being corrected.” He went on to note definitions in the Town’s own ordinances in regards to critical areas and highlands. “Critical area in regard to the Town’s definition is the area from the mean high water mark to the setback line. The critical line means the jurisdiction boundary of the critical area as determined by the OCRM staff. Highlands is the area above the OCRM critical line which has just been defined by the Town’s own ordinances as including the area from the high water mark to OCRM setback line.” Belt went on to say that the definitions are clear and straightforward within the Town’s own ordinances. “This is contradictory to the positioning interpretation that the ARB has taken.” Preserve Kiawah has retained counsel for the newly established nonprofit. The Lou Hammonds Group contract was unanimously approved by Town Council and the intention is that it would begin working very soon.

The Cape on Kiawah will span 14 acres and 1,000 feet of beachfront property – the largest of any development on the island. Construction is set to complete in 2023 with 78 residences in six buildings. There will also be a clubhouse. The development completely sold out in Phase II for a total of $248 million.


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