Our Multigenerational Vacation 2014: Charleston and The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, S.C. Part III: Kiawah Island, S.C. with Grandchildren

Kiawah Island, S.C. with GrandchildrenAfter our family returned from the Sanctuary Resort at Kiawah Island, S.C. we heard it is primarily known for its world famous golf courses.  We had heard it was the number one family resort in the U.S.  We agree that it is.

The Sanctuary at Kiawah is all about children.  Although it is one of the most beautiful hotels we have seen, and the public areas are formal, children are welcome everywhere –and those under five years old eat free.  There is an adults only pool, but everywhere else there are babies and toddlers and children.  There is a toddlers water park that is beyond wonderful and keeps a toddler busy for hours.  However, it opens at 10 am.  As one mother said, her toddler is up at six and 10 am is near nap time.  One day they opened the toddler water park early because the mothers revolted.  The water park has slides and fun for older children, even adults.

Kiawah Island is physically beautiful.  Beautiful and without pesky bugs.  We were surprised, having brought lots of insect repellent with our sun screen, but it is surrounded by ocean and salt water rivers which keep insects at bay.  There were dolphins and sharks in the water, but the only place we saw alligators was at the nature center.  The drive from Charleston is through Folly Beach, a honky tonk area, and then through miles of trees laden with Spanish moss, and little else.  It feels like you are going into a remote area – until you arrive at one of the most beautiful islands you will see.

There are many levels of accommodations on Kiawah Island, with houses large enough for a multigenerational family to villas to condos.  Staying at a villa or condo affords cooking in and there is a supermarket on the way to the island.  The rooms in the Sanctuary Hotel are nicer than a Ritz Carlton and most Four Seasons Hotels.  Our family likes the service of a hotel, and the Sanctuary Hotel, the only hotel accommodation on the island, is all about service—everywhere but the Loggerhead Grill which is the pool café.  We found the food and service lacking at the Grill, but were fine everywhere else with the food.  The food on the island is not the main draw and could be improved; however, without children, the drive to Charleston and its fabulous restaurants is a short haul.  The Mingo Point Barbeque is great fun for the whole family.  Even the fancy Ocean Room caters to children and that restaurant has fabulous food.  We would recommend stopping at Fresh Fields Marketplace at the entrance to Kiawah to get peanut butter and snacks for the finicky eaters though.  They had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but, for some reason, could not accommodate a request for just peanut butter. 

Kiawah Island’s beach faces south and has sun all day.  The beach is wide and the sand hard – bike rentals are available and the Kiawah Island beach is a wonderful place for a child to learn to ride a two wheeler – one of our grandchildren learned in the weekend.  The beach attendants are wonderful and there is food service on the beach.  We were going to bring beach toys for the younger grandchildren, but no need.  The Sanctuary rents a large kitchen size garbage bag full of beach shovels, pails, and toys enough for a few children for $5 a day.

The activities are what separate the Sanctuary from other family resorts.  In addition to the water park, there are activities all day long.  The three oldest grandchildren and three adults went on a kayak trip for children and all came back enthralled.  The quality of the activities, including many nature activities, kept the grandchildren busy and happy.  They made sun catchers in arts and crafts.  They played at the nature center with baby alligators and baby turtles.  They took tennis lessons and played tennis at the tennis center.  They played football on the beach with the many other child guests.

Without hesitation, all of our generations loved the Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, S.C.  It not only lives up to its reputation as the number one family resort in the U.S., it deserves it.  When your family is looking for a vacation location that will make everyone happy, think South Carolina, and Charleston, and Kiawah Island, just a thirty minute drive away.





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