Kiawah Island is a short 25-mile drive to Downtown Charleston from the entrance security gate, which is about 35 to 45 minutes away! You’ll find two routes to take; both are approximately the same distance — but there is almost a 10 minute time difference between the two.
For a scenic drive through Johns Island, West Ashley, and James Island — take Betsy Kerrison Road / Bohicket Road to Maybank Highway! This is our recommended way to get downtown. You’ll avoid the congestion on US-17 and will be able to take in more of the local scenery that the Lowcountry is known for. For detailed directions, please see the Google Map included below.
The second option takes you down the entire stretch of State Road S-10-20 to US-17, a more commercialized area of West Ashley with plenty of shopping and dining selections to enjoy. Directions can also be found for this route below.
The Perfect Day Trip from Kiawah to Charleston
A getaway to Kiawah is never complete without a day trip “into town”, whether it’s during the early morning hours, in the mid-afternoon, or after dusk to take advantage of the nightlife! Meander through the charming cobblestone streets, take a photo at the infamous pineapple fountain in Joe Riley Waterfront Park, and discover the extensive coastal history that dates back to the 1600s.
There are so many fun activities and attractions to enjoy! Check out our curated list of some of our favorite Charleston area attractions including museums, boat tours, horse-drawn carriage tours, plantations, and shopping.
Places to Eat Between Kiawah and Downtown
Looking for popular lunch and dinner spots between the island and downtown? No matter what you’re in the mood for, you’ll find the perfect place to eat! Here are some of our recommendations, and don’t forget about all the wonderful dining selections downtown.
Johns Island dining, if you go the scenic route…
- Fat Hen
- Wild Olive
- The Royal Tern
- Tattooed Moose
- Low Tide Brewery
If you go down US-17…
- Stono Market & Tomato Shed Cafe on Johns Island
- Angel Oak Restaurant in West Ashley, off US-17
- Swig & Swine in West Ashley, off US-17
How far is Charleston Airport from Kiawah Island?
This is another question we are frequently asked by our guests. Like to Downtown Charleston, it’s approximately 45 minutes or 30 miles from Charleston International Airport (CHS) to Kiawah Island! From the airport, you’ll travel down I-526 W towards Savannah until it essentially dead-ends into US-17. About 4.5 miles later, it will be a left turn at Main Road (S-10-20), and you’re almost there! The drive down Main Road, which turns into Betsy Kerrison Parkway, is gorgeous — the road is lined with cascading trees draped in Spanish moss. You’ll reach a traffic circle, where Freshfields Village is located… take the 3rd exit, and you’re now on Kiawah Island Parkway. You’ll find another map below that will give you more specific directions:
For those who will not be renting a car during their stay and need a ride between the airport and the island, there are many options to choose from! While you may find an Uber or Lyft to the island, we recommend Island Transportation. Mike Gorski and his team offer a wide range of car services from both Charleston International Airport and Charleston Executive Airport.
Ready to Experience Kiawah Island and Charleston?
Our luxurious vacation homes, cottages, and villas include everything you need for a fantastic Lowcountry getaway to take advantage of both areas! And, as you’ve seen, it’s an easy drive from Kiawah Island to Charleston. Browse through our vacation rental properties to check availability or contact us directly for more information. We can’t wait to help you plan your stay with us!