By Reid Coyle for The Island Connection
Kiawah is a large island with a lot to see, and that’s impossible to do by car alone. The best way to see Kiawah and its entire beauty is by riding on a bicycle. With 30 miles of bike trails and over ten miles of beach to ride on, there is a lot one can discover while enjoying riding a bike around Kiawah Island. Here are the top 10 most popular routes and sites to see on bicycle.
1. A popular ride that gets to see a little of everything is the route around Night Heron Park. Take the bike trails starting at Sea Forest Dr. around East Beach and Night Heron and you will see a great sample of Kiawah wildlife. Animals you might encounter are alligators in the ponds and many beautiful birds. Stop by the park and enjoy lunch at the Night Heron Bar and grill located next to the nature center and the two pools.
2. Driving into Kiawah you may have seen the sign just before the gate for Mingo Point. But by taking a bicycle on the trails that lead into there, you can experience a great spot for a picnic and an awesome place to relax in the chairs of the swings with a beautiful view of the Lowcountry wetlands. On Monday night Mingo Point is host to an oyster roast and cookout that is definitely worth the ride there.
3. You can ride your bike on the beach here in Kiawah and by riding to the very front of the island you will run into a spectacular sight, dolphins strand feeding at Captain Sam’s Inlet. This is where the river meets the ocean and is an extremely popular spot for dolphins to feed in groups chasing fish, often times beaching themselves for a bit.
4. By riding your bike all the way down Kiawah Island Parkway, through the Vanderhorst gate you will run into Rhett’s Bluff. This area is full of beautiful scenery including spectacular marsh views and also the Bass Pond.
5. Though the Osprey Point golf course is temporarily closed, Cherrywood Barbeque is still open in the clubhouse and an excellent place to ride your bikes and grab a bite to eat. From the back porch you will have a view that overlooks a pond home to the highest percentage of alligators in Kiawah. You are virtually guaranteed to see at least one alligator here.
6. Located slightly off the island, Freshfields Village is the main shopping area of both Kiawah and Seabrook. From the island you can take a bike trail the whole way to the village and it is an extremely popular bicycling destination.
7. Scattered throughout the island are hidden watch towers over 30 feet tall which offer views you can’t get anywhere else. By taking the bike trails, you can ride straight to the towers in places where cars are not allowed. They are located on Marsh Hawk lane, near Cougar Point hole #6, and in the Marsh island park.
8. The Straw Market located in West Beach Village is a must do for every visitor to the island. The bike trails will lead you straight to the Market where you must try the ice cream of Inn Side Scoop. Also in the Straw Market are a couple of shops and the restaurant Southern Kitchen.
9. Ride your bikes to the Ocean Course clubhouse and take in some truly beautiful architecture and spectacular nature. When you arrive make sure you take pictures, then head inside and grab lunch at the Ryder cup bar. Relax on the back porch a bit and take in the scenery of the ocean, golf course, and sand dunes before continuing your bike ride.
10. The absolute best way to see the whole island is to just explore on your bicycle. Make sure to take a map with you and turn down paths that you haven’t explored yet and see what waits. The hard packed sand on the beach makes it ideal for bike riding conditions and you can pick a direction then just ride.