Location Just 26 miles south of Charleston, Kiawah Island features 30 miles of paved trails and 10 miles of beach.
History The island’s past reaches back to a Native American Kiawah chief who helped English colonists settle at Charlestowne Landing. The island later became an outpost for Union troops in the Civil War. Fast-forward to 1974, when the original developers created a master plan that ensured the natural environment would be preserved.
Price range Single-family homes currently start at $649,000 but can climb as high as $24 million. Villas, which start at one bedroom and one bathroom, are priced from $207,500. Cottages begin at $495,000.
Activities The private Kiawah Island Club includes a beach club, a sports complex (tennis, squash, fitness facilities), a day spa, and two golf courses. Governor’s Club members enjoy discounted fees at Kiawah Island Resort’s five championship golf courses. This includes the Ocean Course, which hosted the 2012 PGA Championship and boasts the most seaside holes in the Western Hemisphere.
What’s unique Home to 300 species of birds, Kiawah is committed to both nature and luxury. Despite an environmental study that approved 12,000 residential units, the master plan allows for fewer than half of them to be built. The Sanctuary resort and spa opened in 2004. Raised 21 feet from the ground, the building allows unobstructed views of the ocean from even the first floor. The world’s largest mechanical spade was used to plant hundreds of 50-foot-tall live oaks on the property.
Awards Kiawah was named the second-best island in the world by Condé Nast Traveler readers in 2014. Forbes Travel Guide has awarded the Sanctuary its Five Star Award every year since 2008.
This article originally appeared in our Summer 2016 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.