Beach Access and Rules

Kiawah Island boasts 10 miles of pristine beach and is comprised of two areas commonly referred to as East Beach and West Beach. Behind the gate, many private beach accesses are available to property owners, their guests, and renters. Beachwalker County Park is the only public beach access on the island and is located on the west end (West Beach) of Kiawah Island. The park is operated by Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission. Lifeguards are on duty seasonally along a beachfront designated swimming area.

Dog Laws

Dogs are allowed on the beach year-round, however, there are rules and regulations regarding four-legged friends.  (*Kiawah is a private gated community with the only public beach access through Beachwalker Park on Beachwalker Drive.) Printable Beach Leash Map here 

Pets must be leashed at all times when they are outside unless they are in an enclosed area (pen, fence, etc.). The only exception to this rule is on the beach where there is a designated year-round dog off leash area and seasonal leash restrictions for the remainder of the beach. Leash ordinances are enforced by Beach Patrol and/or Town Code Enforcement officers who are authorized to ticket offenders including fines up to $465. Anyone experiencing problems regarding noncompliance should notify the Town immediately. Beach incidents should be reported to Beach Patrol at 843-518-2880. Off beach incidents should be reported to Code Enforcement at 843-768-9166.

Areas defined below:Printable Leash Map here 

  • Critical Habitat Area: Dogs are prohibited year-round in critical habitat areas located on each end of the island.
  • Dog Use Area: Between the eastern boundary of the Beach Club and the Ocean Course Clubhouse allows dogs off leash under control year-round from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pets must be leashed in this area from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Electronic leashes are prohibited. Owners must remain with their pet, have the pet under control, and have in their possession a leash in the event that there is a need to leash their pet, or if requested by other beachgoers or by Beach Patrol. Electronic leashes are prohibited.
  • Remainder of the Beach (Seasonal):
    March 16 – October 31 – Pets must be leashed at all times.
    November 1 – March 15 – Pets are allowed to be off leash from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. everywhere on the beach except in the critical habitat area. Pets must be leashed from 7 p.m. – 7 a.m. Owners must remain with their pet, have the pet under control, and have in their possession a leash in the event that there is a need to leash their pet, or if requested by other beachgoers or by Beach Patrol. Electronic leashes are prohibited.
Pet Restraint Map

Beach Rules and Regulations

Click here for the island’s rules and regulations.  Ordinances are enforced by the Town of Kiawah Island Beach Patrol. Contact Beach Patrol at 843-518-2880 or For more information on our Beach Patrol’s COVID-19 procedures visit our COVID-19 resource center.

  • Strong rip currents are common. Swim with caution. Charleston County Parks and Recreation provides lifeguards at Beachwalker County Park.
  • No wading/swimming in Captain Sam’s Inlet (western end of the island).
  • No glass, metal shovels, plastic carryout bags, plastic straws, Styrofoam, balloons, or drones allowed.
  • Stay off the dunes and use public walkovers.
  • No overnight storage of beach equipment (tents, chairs, toys, etc.).
  • No open fires or fireworks are allowed at any time except ones permitted by the Town. Fireworks are subject to confiscation.
  • No littering. Use waste receptacles at beach accesses.
  • No vehicles allowed on the beach except emergency and authorized vehicles.
  • Public nudity is prohibited.
  • No sleeping on beaches after dark
  • No launching, retrieving, and beaching of motorized vessels including jet skis are prohibited except for authorized vessels.
  • Bikes are allowed on the beach but must be walked across boardwalks. Reckless operation is prohibited. Bikes must be stored overnight in an appropriate storage location where the bikes cannot be visible from the street or adjoining property.
  • Never approach sea turtles, hatchlings, or their nests. Sea turtles are an endangered species. Do not interfere with them in any way.
  • May through October – all outdoor lighting visible from the beachfront should be turned off from 9 p.m. to dawn to protect nesting sea turtles. Hatchling turtles are disorientated by artificial light. Fill in holes dug in the sand before you leave the beach. If you see any adult sea turtles or hatchings call 843-768-9166 to report your sighting
  • Sand Hole Ordinance: Changing the contour of the beach and the use of metal shovels is prohibited.  Plastic shovels are allowed but can be no longer than 14” in length.
  • Commercial business is prohibited on the beach except under license from the Town.
  • Fishing – A saltwater fishing license is required for all recreational fishing. Licenses can be obtained at Seacoast Sports and Outfitters 843-768-8486 (Freshfields Village), Bohicket Marina 843-768-1280, or online at the Department of Natural Resources website 843-762-5000