Kiawah Island is located approximately 25 miles south of Charleston, and that distance makes a world of difference. You won’t find a boardwalk, and there is far less focus on the day-to-day hustle and bustle. An avenue of oaks greets you as you head down a picturesque Southern backroad that offer ten miles of wide, flat beach, and even a maritime forest filled with unique flora. When you’re ready to relax and get out of the city, Kiawah offers the natural choice.
Compared to Charleston’s growing urban city-life, Kiawah Island is an oasis of untouched natural beauty and an easy three-hour drive from Charlotte. In the early 90’s, an awareness and enhanced focus on conservation efforts became vastly important throughout the island.
In response, the Kiawah Conservancy was established by property owners who saw a need to protect and preserve the natural environment from future or overdevelopment. Since that time, The Kiawah Conservancy has preserved over 2,270 acres of barrier island habitat with their 50 donated properties, as well as their various local studies, educational programs, and volunteer efforts. The Conservancy has upheld its mission to provide the vision, leadership, and resources necessary to preserve and enhance Kiawah Island’s unique balance of nature and development, which is quite the accomplishment.
Property owner and real estate expert Pam Harrington of Pam Harrington Exclusives supports the Conservancy through her wide-ranging vacation rentals on Kiawah (and Seabrook Island). She also represents a number of listings for sale, many of which reside on near-protected and conserved lands that will never be developed. “With so much expansion on the West and East end of the island, those properties adjacent to protected areas offer even more value in privacy, nature and peace, whether clients are renting or buying,” explains Harrington.
Kiawah is a rare habitat where property owners, visitors, and wildlife co-exist; Harrington encourages guests and owners to become involved in the nature that brings one back to Kiawah. She offers a variety of rental and real estate properties with diverse sizes and styles among nature areas with hundreds of acres of maritime-forests, meandering tidal creeks, black lagoons, rivers and marsh savannas. The areas are perfect for kayaking and a number of eco sports. It’s also a natural habitat for many bird species and wildlife, which is one of the most special and appealing things about Kiawah Island.
One popular summer rental is the award-winning 97 Bass Creek, which sits on nearly seven acres of the Bass Creek Nature Area and offers vacationers a rare glimpse of protected tidal salt marsh and salt shrub thicket habitats in their own backyard. These habitats are home to a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and crustaceans. And, if you look hard enough, bobcats tend to rest under the daytime cover provided by the salt shrub thicket—some tagged and GPS monitored by naturalists wildlife biologists.
“I cannot recommend enough to guests and property owners to download the conservancy’s TravelStorys app, Naturally Kiawah Pathways, for fun and educating self-guided tours among Kiawah’s 30 miles of paved trails, wooden bridges, and lookout Towers,” Harrington says. “Who could ask for a better nature experience – for free!”
Kiawah Island is the first of its kind to be not only a natural retreat, but also home to animal habitat conservation efforts. From the gorgeous scenery to the unique wildlife, this island exemplifies all of the reasons why the Carolinas are so special. Whether you are looking to head out of the city for a weekend or for a new place to live, make sure to head over to this exclusive island.
For a comprehensive list of properties in the protected Kiawah Island areas from Pam Harrington Exclusives, click here.
To learn more about the Kiawah Conservancy, visit their website at kiawahconservancy.org