Auto MechanicNear Kiawah Island, SC

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When was the last time you walked into a mechanic's shop and thought to yourself, "Wow, everyone here is so friendly! Their waiting room is nice too. I think I'll stay while they work on my car." The truth is, too many autobody shops in Kiawah Island are dark, dingy, and dirty. To make matters worse, their staff are aloof and often don't know a thing about customer service.

At A+ Auto, our goal is to change the way people view Automotive Shops. When you visit our shop, we want you to walk in and feel like you are a part of our family. When you become our customer, we will work hard to ensure you never have a reason to look for a different mechanic in Kiawah Island, SC. We want to restore your trust in the automotive business and make certain you never feel cheated or are unsure about your vehicle's repairs.

As a full-service auto mechanic shop in Kiawah Island, we do everything from routine maintenance like oil changes to major repairs involving engines and transmissions. We started off in 2004 as a Major Repair Auto Shop and barely made it through the 2008 recession. However, we persevered and came back strong in 2010 by adding more services and becoming a true full-service auto shop. Today, we have been at our location in North Kiawah Island for more than 16 years, and we have no intention of going anywhere soon.

Unlike some auto repair shops in Kiawah Island, we pride ourselves on A+ customer satisfaction and outstanding workmanship. We are so confident in our abilities that we back up our work with a four-year, 48K mile warranty - unheard of in our industry. When we say we're a one-stop-shop for ALL of your auto repair needs, we mean it!

Auto Service Kiawah Island, SC

Some of the most requested auto repair services we offer include:

  • General Maintenance and Repair
  • Transmission Repair
  • Air Conditioning Repair
  • Engine Repair
  • Electrical Repair
  • Alignment Services
  • Diagnostic Services

SERVICE AREAS

Why Choose A+ for Auto
Repair in Kiawah Island, SC?

Our loyal customers keep coming back to A+ Auto because we genuinely want to provide them with top-notch auto repairs and the most helpful customer service in the Kiawah Island mechanic industry.

Why choose us, you ask?

We provide:

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The Best Warranty in the Biz

Our warranty covers your first 48 Months or 48,000 Miles

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The Best Car Mechanics in Kiawah Island

Our auto body professionals are ASE certified technicians. In addition, our shop is certified as Nationwide Gold and a NAPA Auto Care Center.

The Best Perks

We're talking FREE shuttle rides, same-day service on most repairs, quality work approved by you, and no surprise charges. Our business model is simple: give our customers the highest quality work with the most helpful customer service. No if's, and's, or but's.

As a family-owned and operated auto mechanic shop in Kiawah Island, we are proud to serve the Lowcountry. After all, you're our neighbors, and neighbors have to look out for one another. Swing by our shop to see the A+ Auto difference. We think you will like what you see!

General Automobile
Maintenance and Repair
in Kiawah Island

You have spent thousands of dollars on your vehicle. Doesn't it make sense, then, to take care of your investment? General maintenance and repair services like oil changes and tire rotations are crucial for maintaining the life of your car or truck. Perhaps more importantly, routine service can help ensure your safety systems are fully functional. When your car is up-to-date on maintenance, you have peace of mind knowing your friends and family are safe.

A few reasons you should bring your car or truck in for regular maintenance include:

 Automotive Shop Kiawah Island, SC
Extend Your Vehicle's Life

Extend Your Vehicle's Life

With regular maintenance, you can keep your vehicle in good shape year-round. By keeping a regular maintenance schedule, you can prevent breakdowns and reduce wear and tear that can reduce the life of your vehicle. By giving your car or truck the attention it needs, you can get the most out of your vehicle and keep it in good shape well past the 100k mile mark.

Better Safety

Better Safety

Few situations are as sketchy as your vehicle breaking down on a road or highway, especially at night. Regular maintenance can help reduce the probability of getting stranded. Plus, your car will be in better working condition year-round.

Fewer Repairs Needed

Fewer Repairs Needed

When you have the A+ team perform preventative maintenance on your vehicle, you're staying ahead of the repair game. Wait too long to have your car's oil changed, or its engine checked, and you might need emergency auto repair. These problems often happen at the worst times and cost a lot of money. When you keep your vehicle maintained, you can reduce repairs and their cost.

Common maintenance and repair jobs include:

  • Oil Change
  • Brakes
  • Tune-ups
  • Water pumps
  • Radiators
  • Belts & Hoses
  • Fluid Services
  • Suspension
  • Chassis

All services performed by A+ Auto Service will be backed by our Industry Leading 4 Year/ 48,000 Mile Parts and Labor Warranty.

Electrical Maintenance and
Repair in Kiawah Island

Every day, we hop in our cars, crank the ignition, and make our way to whatever destination we're headed to. Most vehicle owners do this without a second thought, but have you ever taken a moment to think about your car's electrical components?

Your vehicle's electric system not only starts your car - it makes your radio, dashboard, and headlights functional. Today, most cars have complex electrical components that are responsible for on-road safety systems and all-wheel drive mechanics.

At A+ Auto, we perform a variety of electrical maintenance work in Kiawah Island, from simple battery replacements to comprehensive re-wiring. Our team of skilled electrical technicians will dial down to the root cause of your issues and provide you with a detailed explanation of what's going on with your car. Once we understand your car's electrical issues, we get to work on solving the problem at a price you can afford.

Some common automobile electrical problems we solve include:

  • Dead Batteries
  • Bad Alternators
  • Bad Battery Cables
  • Blown Electrical Fuses
  • Bad Starter

Engine Repair in Kiawah Island

When it comes to your car or truck, maintaining your engine is arguably the most important task you can take. That's because the engine is like the heart of your vehicle. Without a properly functioning engine, you can't drive anywhere. One of the most common signs that your engine needs service is an oil leak. If you notice a leak, we advise you to bring your vehicle to our experienced mechanic in Kiawah Island, SC, immediately. Driving a vehicle with a leak can cause more damage, which in the end, could cause engine failure and result in very expensive repairs.

Some common engine maintenance services we offer include:

  • Air and Fuel Filter Replacement
  • Spark Plug Replacement
  • Spark Plug Wiring Inspection
  • Throttle Body Services
  • Much More

At A+ Auto Service, we don't stop with routine engine maintenance. Our highly-skilled engine repair technicians can completely rebuild or replace your faulty engine at a price you can afford. If your "check engine" light comes on, don't ignore it - bring it in to our shop before the problem gets worse.

 Auto Mechanic Kiawah Island, SC

Transmission Repair
in Kiawah Island

If your engine is the heart of your car or truck, consider your transmission its circulatory system. Problems with your vehicle's transmission are just as "mission-critical" as those with your engine. Fortunately, with regular maintenance checks and our transmission repair services, your vehicle is in good hands. However, waiting too long to have your transmission serviced can lead to a domino effect of issues. Those problems will be costly and may render your vehicle inoperable.

A few warning signs you may need transmission repair include:

  • Slipping Gears
  • Burning Smell
  • Leaking Fluid
  • Humming or Clunking Sounds
  • Unresponsive Gear Shifts

From minor maintenance services like transmission fluid changes to full transmission rebuilds, we have the tools and trained technicians to handle the job.

 Repair Auto Shop Kiawah Island, SC

Air Conditioning Repair
in Kiawah Island

There are some things in the south that you must have. When it comes to your automobile, you can include air conditioning on that list. In Kiawah Island, the weather doesn't just get hot - it gets really hot, with a lot of humidity. Keeping your A/C maintained helps prevent serious situations where your A/C goes out when you need it the most. Of course, air conditioning isn't just reserved for hot days in the Lowcountry - your car's A/C plays an important role in the winter as well, like defrosting your windows. If you notice strange smells, leaks, or no air conditioning at all, it's time to bring your vehicle to our A/C mechanic in Kiawah Island, SC.

At A+ Auto, we service a wide variety of A/C issues, including:

  • Damaged or Failed Compressor
  • A/C System Leaks
  • Clutch Issues
  • Low Refrigerant Levels
  • Filter Problems
  • Broken Belts
  • Broken Blower Motor
  • Cross Contamination
  • A/C Control Head Malfunctions
 Auto Maintenance Kiawah Island, SC

Vehicle Wheel Alignment in
Kiawah Island

Do you really need to have your wheels aligned when you bring your vehicle in for service? Yes, absolutely. A proper wheel alignment ensures your tires meet the road at the right angle, point straight when they need to, and remain centered in your wheel wells. When your wheels are out of alignment, your gas mileage and ride comfort suffer.

Common signs of misalignment include:

  • Car Pulling to Right or Left
  • Rapid Tire Wear
  • Uneven Tire Wear
  • Noisy Steering
  • Squealing Tires

Not only can alignment issues cause driving to be uncomfortable, but it can also cause a lot of damage to your vehicle. To avoid uneven tire wear and costly repairs, we suggest getting your vehicle alignment checked, which is FREE at A+ Auto.

Free Estimates
 Auto Repair Shop Kiawah Island, SC

Tires & Brakes in Kiawah Island

Few situations are scarier than driving when the brakes go out. Your vehicle's brakes are its most vital safety system. They give you the ability to stop or slow down, so you can avoid serious car accidents and pedestrians in the roadway. Having good brakes can mean the difference between life and death, which is why it is so important that you keep them well maintained. If your brakes are getting worse and worse, it might be time to replace them.

The same goes for your tires - another vital part of your vehicle's makeup. When your tires are worn, you're putting yourself and your family at risk when you drive with them. Tires with worn-out tread won't function properly in adverse conditions, like when you drive through deep standing water on the highway.

A+ Auto Service is a Certified Hercules, General & Continental Tire Dealer. A lot goes into finding the right tire, whether you need basic all-season tires or real-deal off-road rubber. If you don't know where to start on your search for new tires, one of our auto mechanics in Kiawah Island, SC would be happy to help.

When you visit our shop for routine maintenance or new tires in Kiawah Island, be sure to have your brakes inspected while you wait. The last thing you want to do is drive off our lot with brakes that won't stop you.

Some common warning signs that you need brake repair includes:

  • Grinding Noises When Stopping
  • Spongy-Feeling Brake Pedals
  • Shaking Steering Column
  • Squealing and Squeaking Sounds When Stopping
  • Wobbling or Vibration at Highway Speeds
 Auto Body Shop Kiawah Island, SC

Welcome to the A+ Auto
Family

When you trust us with your vehicle, know that we take that trust very seriously. Unlike some of our competitors, we like to treat our customers like family. And when you're like family, you can rest easy knowing your car or truck is in capable hands. Whether you need a simple oil change or a new engine install, we're here for you every step of the way.

Free Estimates
 Car Shop Kiawah Island, SC

Latest News in Kiawah Island, SC

Kiawah Island ponders next steps after proposed sale of Captain Sams Spit

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The Town of Kiawah is continuing its fight to protect Captain Sams Spit, a sandy inlet that’s stirred a legal battle over development rights for years.Officials became aware that Kiawah Partners, the owners of the land in question, have now offered to sell the land to the state. An agreement between Kiawah Partners and the town recently expired, prompting the town t...

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - The Town of Kiawah is continuing its fight to protect Captain Sams Spit, a sandy inlet that’s stirred a legal battle over development rights for years.

Officials became aware that Kiawah Partners, the owners of the land in question, have now offered to sell the land to the state. An agreement between Kiawah Partners and the town recently expired, prompting the town to look for options to keep the land untouched.

Kiawah Town Council discussed what action to take in the executive session this week after they got word of the possible sale. Council members authorized their legal counsel to send a note to South Carolina Attorney General Emory Smith regarding Captain Sams Spit.

Executive Director of the South Carolina Environmental Law Project Amy Armstrong explained that it’s unknown what state ownership would mean.

“The state hasn’t said what it would do, who would actually hold it, or what they would do with it,” Armstrong said. “It’s not necessarily assured that just because the state buys it that it’s going to stay exactly how it is today.”

The letter includes three attachments, one of which is the town’s demand letter to Kiawah Development Partners, dated Jan. 8, 2024, and it lays out obligations that were outlined in the contract between the town and developer that recently expired, that the developer did not fulfill.

One concern is that money will be wasted if the state agrees to purchase the land because Kiawah Partners should have already placed a conservation easement on the Spit, recorded a no-development covenant, and conveyed portions of the spit to the island’s Home Owners Association.

“The public doesn’t see why public funds need to be added to the cost of locking down what was supposed to be locked down by an agreement,” Kiawah property owner and land development lawyer Tim Hazel said. “So, in our opinion, it seems that we’re looking at potentially a waste of public funds to get to the point where we should be anyway.”

Kiawah town officials said in part, “The Town of Kiawah Island has a duty to ensure the developer honors its obligations under the development agreement.”

Island property owner and land development lawyer Tim Hazel said while this back-and-forth battle is extremely frustrating, he’s glad that the town is on the same side of this as residents.

Hazel said while this back-and-forth battle is extremely frustrating, he’s glad that the town is on the same side of this as residents.

“It’s funny because we’re not aligned on some of the issues involving development on Kiawah Island but this issue in particular, I think to the credit of the town council and the mayor, there is an effort to enforce what the town had negotiated in 2013,” Hazel said.

Armstrong said it’s encouraging that permanent protection for Sams Spit is potentially closer, but she’s keeping a cautious eye out for what comes next.

“If the community association owns part of the land and then there’s a conservation easement on the other part that the Kiawah conservancy holds, then that assurance that there’s not going to development out there and that would be a favorable outcome,” Armstrong said.

Kiawah councilmember Brad Belt said he could not comment on pending legal issues, but that “As has been noted at public meetings, the Town’s goal is to both preserve the access the public currently has to Beachwalker Park and the beach areas of the Spit and to protect the highlands area of the Spit, which is critical habitat for bobcats, nesting sea turtles and migrating shorebirds, from any development.”

Kiawah Partners declined a request for comment.

Copyright 2024 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Resident concerns push beach boardwalk changes on Kiawah Island

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A new concern surrounding development being built on Kiawah Island has recently come to light by residents and change is now in the works.The questions revolve around two boardwalks that were built for “The Cape,” beachfront condominium complexes, to give the people that will be staying there beach access.The boardwalks stick out too far onto the beach, and it raised a red flag for Jim Gidcumb, who bikes on the beach daily.“At high tide, all of a sudden there’s this bo...

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - A new concern surrounding development being built on Kiawah Island has recently come to light by residents and change is now in the works.

The questions revolve around two boardwalks that were built for “The Cape,” beachfront condominium complexes, to give the people that will be staying there beach access.

The boardwalks stick out too far onto the beach, and it raised a red flag for Jim Gidcumb, who bikes on the beach daily.

“At high tide, all of a sudden there’s this boardwalk that runs right into the ocean,” Gidcumb said. “I could not pass it and neither could pedestrians or emergency vehicles, and so I said something isn’t right here.”

After he and others expressed concerns, staff with DHEC’s Ocean and Coastal Resource Management came on-site to assess if the builds were compliant. They determined that recent beach erosion caused the boardwalks to be on the active beach, and the developer is working to shorten the structures.

“It’s a real safety hazard if you can’t traverse this beach at all hours,” Gidcumb said.

The Town of Kiawah said they are assessing to ensure that the boardwalks are compliant and respond to needs of accessibility for emergency and code enforcement vehicles.

“The next step will be to figure out how far back these boardwalks need to be to be in compliance,” Gidcumb said.

DHEC said as long as the boardwalks are shortened properly, they will meet the requirements of the applicable state regulation.

“It would be better to be proactive than reactive, as we’re kind of in a reactive mode now, but that’s fine,” Gidcumb said. “Catching it before it was completed means it can now be addressed and remediated.”

Gidcumb said at the end of the day he just wants to ride his bike on the beach safely and he appreciates the town and developer’s response on this issue.

For more information about this from the Town of Kiawah, click here.

Copyright 2024 WCSC. All rights reserved.

8 Things To Do In Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Follow winding, oak-shaded roads 25 miles southwest of downtown Charleston's cobblestone streets and celebrated restaurant scene, and you'll find yourself on Kiawah Island. Carved by the Kiawah River on one side and fronting the Atlantic Ocean on the other, the barrier ...

Follow winding, oak-shaded roads 25 miles southwest of downtown Charleston's cobblestone streets and celebrated restaurant scene, and you'll find yourself on Kiawah Island. Carved by the Kiawah River on one side and fronting the Atlantic Ocean on the other, the barrier island is a true escape. Here, nature reigns supreme: 10 miles of beaches roll out along the Atlantic; cicadas form their own sort of soundtrack; and lights-out is often determined by the sea turtles' nesting season. Even so, there's plenty to do for travelers who like their time in nature punctuated with good food, luxurious creature comforts, and a frozen drink in hand. Here are eight things to do in Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

Stay Like A Local

For access to all of Kiawah's amenities, from bike rentals to pools, you'll have to stay on the island. For an experience that's luxurious but unpretentious, book a room at The Sanctuary, an oceanfront hotel known for its five-star service and elevated onsite dining. For families who want a little room to spread out (or a kitchen), villa and home rentals are a smart choice; reserve through the resort directly, or book through a site like VRBO or Airbnb.

kiawahresort.com; One Sanctuary Beach Drive, Kiawah Island, SC 29455; 888-601-4904

Spend A Day On The Sand

On the west end of the island, Beachwalker Park, Kiawah's only public beach access, feels like a hidden gem thanks to its wide, unspoiled expanses of sand. It offers the best of both worlds: In addition to the ocean frontage, you can also score views of the Kiawah River here.

Hit The Links

Five state-of-the-art golf courses are open to the public. For avid fans of the sport, the Ocean Course alone makes Kiawah worth the trip. Host to two PGA Championships, the 18-hole course is not for the faint of heart. Raised above the dunes to capitalize on the expansive shore views, golfers are also subjected to ocean breezes (which don't make for an easy or predictable trip around the green). Try Cougar Point for marsh views and a slightly less technical experience.

Go For A Cruise

One of the best ways to explore the island is to leave the car in park and take a beach cruiser for a spin (you can reserve them through the resort or bring your own). Between 30 miles of paved trails and 10 miles of hard-packed beach, there's no shortage of routes to explore. Ask for directions to the Marsh View Tower, an observation deck primed for birdwatching and soaking in the marsh and river scenery.

Visit Heron Park Nature Center

The naturalists here will school you in many of the species who call the island home, from bobcats and white-tailed deer to loggerhead sea turtles and American alligators. Sign up for a guided tour, like "Back Island Birding", "Marsh Kayaking," or "Ocean Seining and Beach Combing," or ask for their recommendations for the best nature-spotting places in the area.

Explore Freshfields Village

Built around a lush lawn, Freshfields Village has plenty of restaurants and shops to explore, plus a boutique stay, the Andell Inn. Pick up a beach read at Indigo Books; snag treats for your four-legged friends at Dolittle's; and gear up for island adventures SeaCoast Sports and Outfitters. Start the morning with coffee and a breakfast sandwich from Java Java; settle in for grilled cheese and a milkshake at retro Vincent's Drugstore & Soda Fountain; or cap off the day with a glass of wine at FortyEight Wine Bar and Kitchen. Check their calendar for seasonal events, like summertime's "Music on the Green" concert series and farmer's market.

freshfieldsvillage.com; 165 Village Green Ln, Kiawah Island, SC 29455

Venture To Bohicket Marina & Market

Make the short drive to neighboring Seabrook Island for a taste of the area's salty maritime culture. Snag a umbrella-shaded table on the upper deck at Salty Dog Café for fresh catch, a cold beer, and riverfront views of the boats coming and going from the marina.

Attend An Oyster Roast

If the Palmetto State had to choose a favorite meal, it'd undoubtedly be oysters and barbecue. Experience the time-honored tradition of a proper oyster roast and pig pickin at Kiawah Resort's Mingo Point Oyster Roast and BBQ. The family-friendly event is held on major holidays and on Monday nights throughout the summer. Chow down on fresh oysters roasted over an open fire, a classic Lowcountry boil, and barbecue meats ranging from smoked chicken to ribs.

The Best Islands In South Carolina, According To Our Readers

From celebrated golf courses to unspoiled beaches, these destinations have it all.South Carolina is often referred to as the Palmetto State, so named for the abundance of the trees in the area, but it could just as easily be dubbed the Barrier Island State. With 34 barrier and tidal islands peppering its shoreline (more than any other state ...

From celebrated golf courses to unspoiled beaches, these destinations have it all.

South Carolina is often referred to as the Palmetto State, so named for the abundance of the trees in the area, but it could just as easily be dubbed the Barrier Island State. With 34 barrier and tidal islands peppering its shoreline (more than any other state except for Florida), South Carolina spills over with natural wonders, beautiful beaches, and unique destinations to explore. In our 2024 South's Best awards, readers voted on some of the very best of them. Here are the best islands in South Carolina, according to our readers.

The South's Best 2024

01 of 10

Hilton Head Island

With 12 miles of public beaches, more than 24 championship golf courses, and around 250 restaurants, Hilton Head's numerical stats alone prove why it's one of the state's most beloved islands. But the real magic, of course, belongs to its community—a mix of transplants and born-and-breds who are sure to make you feel right at home, whether you're sampling local oysters at Hudson's on the Docks or watching the boats come in at Shelter Cove Marina.

Explore Hilton Head

02 of 10

Isle of Palms

There’s nothing sleepy about this mile-wide destination just a short drive from downtown Charleston, where the activity and restaurant offerings belie its small size. Catch a concert at beachfront venue The Windjammer, play golf or tennis at nearby resort Wild Dunes (where you can book a stay in one of the property’s two inns or numerous vacation rentals), or shake out your towel on a sliver of the island’s six miles of sandy beaches for a leisurely day in the sun.

Explore Isle of Palms

03 of 10

Kiawah Island

While much of this tree-shaded barrier island is accessible only to those staying at Kiawah Island Golf Resort (either at The Sanctuary hotel or in one of their many rental properties), Beachwalker Park on the island’s west end is home to one of the state’s most beautiful beaches. Here, you’ll find both ocean-fronting shoreline and river views and can rent chairs and umbrellas for a no-fuss beach day. On your way, pick up deli sandwiches from The Station, an old-school convenience store in Freshfields Village, for an easy picnic.

Explore Kiawah Island

04 of 10

Edisto Island

This sea island about an hour’s drive from Charleston feels like a throwback in all the best ways. You won’t find high-rise hotels here, and the wildest nights are Tuesdays and Thursdays from the end of May through the beginning of August when the Edisto Island Lions Club hosts bingo (no booze allowed). For seasonally driven fare made with locally sourced ingredients, settle in for a meal at Ella and Ollie's (pictured above). The area’s crowning jewel is Botany Bay, a 4,600-acre nature preserve with nearly three miles of unspoiled shoreline, where erosion has left dead trees in its wake, resulting in a beautiful, otherworldly span referred to as the “boneyard beach.”

Explore Edisto Island

05 of 10

Sullivan’s Island

Just two-and-a-half miles long, Sullivan’s is a secret that Charleston locals are keen to keep. First settled in the late 17th century, the island can claim an embarrassment of riches when it comes to both historical significance and natural beauty. The wide beaches are pristine, and there’s nary a trace of touristy kitsch on Middle Street, the town’s main drag—just a handful of memorable eateries (we’re partial to The Obstinate Daughter’s house-made pastas) and well-curated shops (visit Sandpiper Gallery to peruse the work of local artists). The bitty beach town is big on curb appeal too: thoughtfully maintained historic homes and storybook cottages with flower-swamped trellises line the streets that crawl toward the beach.

06 of 10

Folly Island

About a dozen miles from downtown Charleston, this 12-square-mile barrier island is best known for being home to Folly Beach, a laid-back surf town that departs from the Holy City’s tucked-in approach in favor of flip-flop casual. With the Folly River on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, there’s no shortage of opportunities for waterfront fun: Paddle through tidal creeks with a local outfitter, stretch out on the sand (there are six miles of beachfront here), or cast a line from the historic Folly Beach Pier, which recently reopened after extensive renovations.

Explore Folly Beach

07 of 10

Hunting Island

Just a 25-minute drive from downtown Beaufort, explore the seaside charmer's wilder side at Hunting Island State Park (South Carolina's most popular state park). Here, five miles of unspoiled beaches unfurl along the Atlantic and sandy trails wind through dense maritime forest.

08 of 10

Daufuskie Island

As the crow flies, the southernmost of South Carolina’s barrier islands is just miles from Savannah and Hilton Head, but it might as well be worlds away. Daufuskie is accessible only by boat (the official ferry offers four shuttles from Bluffton a day, five on Fridays), which is likely one of the reasons its 500 or so residents have been able to so carefully preserve its natural environment and its rich Gullah history. And while the island remains untouched in many ways, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see or do here: Tour the island with sixth-generation Daufuskie native Sallie Ann Robinson for an education in Gullah culture; go for a horseback ride on the beach; shop indigo-dyed goods at Daufuskie Blues; and cap off the day with a plate of deviled crab at Old Daufuskie Crab Company.

Explore Daufuskie

09 of 10

Fripp Island

About 20 miles from Beaufort, Fripp Island is a 3,000-acre designated wildlife sanctuary, home to more than 175 species of birds, plus endangered loggerhead turtles who use its beach as a nesting ground. The private island is accessible only to homeowners and those staying in vacation rentals, but once you're here, there's plenty to do, from guided kayak eco-tours to pickleball and golf.

10 of 10

Seabrook Island

Right next door to Kiawah Island, Seabrook has stunning saltmarsh vistas and celebrated golf courses, along with a full-service equestrian center that offers guided horseback rides. Its nearly four miles of beaches are private, accessible only to residents and those renting, though Bohicket Marina (just before the property’s gates) welcomes anyone and everyone to enjoy its river views. Snag a table on the upper deck of Salty Dog Cafe to tuck into fresh seafood with one of the area’s most memorable sunsets.

Private company offers to sell Captain Sams Spit to the state for 'a bargain sale price'

KIAWAH ISLAND — Kiawah Partners, the owner of Captain Sams Spit, has an offered to sell the disputed property to the state of South Carolina for $40 million.The offer, which was made in December, includes the transfer of Beachwalker Park, which is leased to Charleston County. Kiawah Partners would drop a lawsuit filed against the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the state in 2009, which alleges that the repeated denial of permits to build homes and infrastructure on the spit has resulted in financial loss ...

KIAWAH ISLAND — Kiawah Partners, the owner of Captain Sams Spit, has an offered to sell the disputed property to the state of South Carolina for $40 million.

The offer, which was made in December, includes the transfer of Beachwalker Park, which is leased to Charleston County. Kiawah Partners would drop a lawsuit filed against the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and the state in 2009, which alleges that the repeated denial of permits to build homes and infrastructure on the spit has resulted in financial loss for the developer.

If the state refuses the offer, the lawsuit would proceed, extending a legal battle that’s been going on for more than 15 years over development rights on the land.

“It has become very clear ... just how important (Captain Sams Spit) is to so many different people,” said Chris Randolph of Kiawah Partners.

Because of legal interventions, building homes and infrastructure on the land no longer is an option. The offer would be a win for the state, a win for Kiawah Partners and its investors, and a win for those who want the spit to remain undeveloped, Randolph said.

“If we’re able to find this mutually beneficial solution with a bargain sale price to the state and putting to bed all of the potential liability, ... we think that is a deal that’s good for the state and really is a legacy for us and the island,” he said.

The “takings” case

Captain Sams Spit is a delicate, teardrop-shaped piece of sandy land on the southern tip of Kiawah Island.

From 2008 to 2022, Kiawah Partners (before 2013, it was called Kiawah Development Partners) attempted to secure permits to build 50 luxury homes on the property and the infrastructure needed to protect the area from flooding and erosion.

The S.C. Supreme Court eventually ruled to deny all permits and confirmed the spit’s value as a public, natural resource.

The lawsuit — Kiawah Development Partners II, LLC v. DHEC and the state — asks this question: How much is the developer losing by not being able to build homes on Captain Sams Spit as planned?

In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled on a similar question posed in David H. Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council. In that case, developer Lucas bought two lots on the Isle of Palms in 1986 to build homes on them. The Beachfront Management Act, passed by the state in 1988, prevented him from doing so.

Because he could no longer build homes on the property, Lucas filed a lawsuit claiming that this left the land essentially “valueless” and constituted a “taking” by the state. Lucas asked for compensation to make up for what was lost, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor.

Kiawah Partners is using the Supreme Court decision as the basis for its case against DHEC and the state: Because Kiawah Partners cannot build homes and infrastructure on the spit, it is unable to make the money it counted on and this constitutes a “taking,” the suit claims.

To determine how much money has been lost, Kiawah Partners considered both the land’s depleted market value and vast resource value.

Putting a price on land like Sams Spit is not straightforward; value doesn’t always translate easily to dollars and cents, said Trenholm Walker, the attorney representing Kiawah Partners.

A 2020 appraisal by a third-party company, Valbridge Property Advisors, valued Sams Spit at $113 million. This appraisal assumed the proposed 50 single-family homes and infrastructure were to be built, which didn’t happen.

This value might be higher if these hypothetical houses had been erected then sold in the current housing market. Nearby, some homesites on Flyway Drive sell for around $11 million, Randolph noted. Using this as a reference, the 50 proposed homes on Sams Spit could have been worth around $500 million, he said.

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