Only one facility for the general public exists on beautiful Kiawah Island, the Kiawah Island Beachwalker Park (843/768-2395, www.ccprc.com , weekends only 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mar.–Apr. and Oct., 9 a.m.–7 p.m. during summer, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sept., closed Nov.–Feb., $7 per vehicle, free for pedestrians and cyclists).
Kiawah Island’s other main attraction is the Kiawah Island Golf Resort (12 Kiawah Beach Dr., 800/654-2924, www.kiawahgolf.com ), which is a key location for PGA tournaments. Several smaller private, family-friendly resorts exist on Kiawah, with fully furnished homes and villas and every amenity you could ask for and then some, giving you full access to the island’s 10 miles of beautiful beach. Go to www.explorekiawah.com  for a full range of options or call 800/877-0837.
Through the efforts of the Kiawah Island Conservancy (23 Beachwalker Dr., 843/768-2029, www.kiawahconservancy.org ), over 300 acres of the island have been kept as undeveloped nature preserve. Kiawah Island’s famous bobcat population has made quite a comeback, with somewhere between 24 and 36 animals currently active. The bobcats are vital to the island ecosystem, since as top predator they help cull what would otherwise become untenably large populations of deer and rabbit.
As a side note, while you’re enjoying the beautiful scenery of the islands on the Carolina coast, it’s always important to remember that most, including Kiawah Island, were logged and/or farmed extensively in the past. While they’re certainly gorgeous now, it would be incorrect to call them “pristine.”
Get to Kiawah Island from downtown Charleston  by taking Lockwood Avenue onto the Highway 30 Connector bridge over the Ashley River. Turn right onto Folly Road, then a left onto Maybank Highway. After about 20 minutes you’ll take a left onto Bohicket Road, which leads you to Kiawah in 14 miles.
Turn left from Bohicket onto the Kiawah Island Parkway. Just before the security gate, turn right on Beachwalker Drive and follow the signs to the park.