The Differences Between Kiawah Island and Seabrook Island

Kiawah and Seabrook are both barrier islands in Charleston County, South Carolina. They are about 9 miles apart from each other. Seabrook lies southwest of Kiawah, and both are connected via Seabrook Island Road and Kiawah Island Parkway.

Kiawah Island

Located 21 miles from downtown Charleston, Kiawah Island is a private gated community that is home to a full-time residential population and also functions as a highly-ranked golf and tennis resort. Its landscape features a maritime forest, 10 miles of beachfront and 30 miles of paved trails. At 10 miles long and with a width of 1.5 miles at its broadest point, Kiawah Island encompasses 10,000 acres of land. Its local government strives to attract tourists to enhance the town’s economic energy while balancing the needs of its residential community.

The main tourist attractions of Kiawah Island are the five championship golf courses which dominate the layout of the land. These offer amenities like pools, restaurants and beach access. Night Heron Park is another main attraction where visitors can take nature tours, enjoy bird watching, travel miles of bike trails, and go kayaking.

Seabrook Island

Seabrook Island is located about 25 miles from Charleston. It’s a private gated community with special access procedures. Visitors are required to call Seabrook Island Real Estate ahead of time to arrange for a time and date. Upon arrival, the reception center officials need to grant access to visitors first, before they get to enjoy the amenities and views of the island.

Seabrook Island features a heavily forested landscape with a combination of oaks, pines, magnolias, palm trees and hickories. It has 2.5 miles of beaches that are home to birds and turtles. While visitors can enjoy them and even bring their dogs, Seabrook Island has beach rules in place that everyone needs to follow.


Kiawah is the larger of the two islands and caters to tourism, while Seabrook is strictly residential with no hotels and very few dining options. Authorities protect their residents by closely monitoring the 25 mph speed limit on Seabrook. This makes the island ideal for visitors who enjoy biking in safety. Seabrook does have a clubhouse that includes restaurants, but visitors will need to acquire an access pass and are required to make reservations beforehand so they can pass the security checkpoint.

About the Author: James is a guest contributor from Pam Harrington Exclusives, offering vacation rentals on Seabrook Island and Kiawah Island.

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