Seabrook Island and Kiawah Island are two of South Carolina's most desirable barrier islands, offering residents a peaceful and luxurious lifestyle by the sea. Both islands are known for their stunning natural beauty, world-class amenities, and relaxed way of life, making them popular choices for retirees, families, and anyone seeking a change of pace.
While both Seabrook Island and Kiawah Island share many similarities, they also have unique features and offerings. Seabrook is a private gated community with resort-like amenities, whereas Kiawah is a semi-private gated resort with residential properties. Geographically, Seabrook Island is southwest of Kiawah Island. The two share a border on the Kiawah River, which flows towards Charleston into the Stono River.
Whether you're considering a move to one of these islands or simply curious about the differences between the two, it’s essential to explore the key differences between Seabrook Island and Kiawah Island and decide which island is right for you.
1. Real estate on the islands
Seabrook Island and Kiawah Island are both known for their high-end real estate offerings, with properties ranging from cozy cottages to luxurious oceanfront homes. Both islands offer a range of housing options, including single-family homes, townhouses, cottages, and condos. With the help of a local agent, you will undoubtedly find something that suits your tastes.
Regarding home prices, both Seabrook Island and Kiawah Island are considered premium markets. Homes range from the high six figures to several million dollars. However, compared to Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island tends to have a slightly more modest real estate market, with lower average single-family home prices and a lower range of housing prices for those looking to purchase a condo, cottage, or townhome.
In a recent search, Michelle Almeyda-Wiedemuth
found that Seabrook Island's median list price was trending around $1,125,000, while Kiawah Island's median home price came in around $1,595,000.
Various architectural styles are available on Seabrook Island and Kiawah Island, from traditional Lowcountry to contemporary coastal. Additionally, both islands have strict design guidelines to maintain their natural beauty and preserve the character of the community. That security enhances property values and ensures residents enjoy a stable long-term quality of life.
Overall, the real estate markets on Seabrook Island and Kiawah Island offer various options for those looking to live in a luxurious and peaceful coastal community. Whether you're looking for a condo, a cozy beach cottage, or a sprawling oceanfront estate, both islands have something to offer, making them excellent options for those seeking a high-end coastal lifestyle.
2. Island lifestyles
Seabrook Island is a small residential community with a population of 2,048
, 47- 52% being full-time residents. It’s a place where you can get to know your neighbors, enjoy resort-like amenities, and explore the outdoors. The island boasts a significant amount of green space and almost four miles of private beach, allowing residents to enjoy a peaceful and harmonious lifestyle surrounded by nature.
This private island is a popular destination for beachgoers looking for a quiet, family-friendly vacation experience with resort-style amenities. The island features two community swimming pools and two oceanfront pools at the Seabrook Island Club. Other amenities include a racquet club with 15 Har-Tru clay courts, two (soon to be six) pickleball courts, two 18-hole golf courses, and an equestrian center.
Kiawah Island is more well-known than its neighboring island due to The Ocean Course
golf course, designed by architect Pete Dye. The island spans over 11 square miles and is recognized as a luxurious, nature-focused resort destination. Kiawah is a gated, semi-private community home to around 1,964 residents
As a rule of thumb, Seabrook Island is generally best suited for those seeking a community experience. You can meet new friends almost anywhere on the island — from the beach to the sports facilities. On the other hand, Kiawah tends to attract those looking to own property on a semi-private resort. Activities like golf can be social here, but Kiawah Island properties are more secluded, occupying miles of coastline.
3. Community clubs
Visitors and residents of Seabrook Island are drawn to the recreational amenities provided by The Seabrook Island Club and the Seabrook Island Property Owners Association (SIPOA). Both SIPOA and the Club underwent significant renovations in 2009–2010, resulting in the addition of the Lake House, a 27,000 square-foot facility emphasizing fitness and wellness and featuring an indoor lap pool, cardio area, weight room, fitness classes, library, and an outdoor pool. The Seabrook Island Club offers three levels of membership to all property owners, ranging in price from $25,000 to $70,000. Guests can access the Club's resort-style amenities with an amenity card issued by a property owner with a club membership.
The Horizon Plan resulted in the creation of a luxurious clubhouse with three restaurants, a cafe, a golf pro shop, a racquet club pro shop, an equestrian center, the Seabrook Island Beach Club with a saltwater pool, oceanfront dining, and a poolside grill. Members and guests of the Seabrook Island Club can enjoy golfing on two championship courses, playing tennis on 15 Har-Tru Clay courts, horseback riding on the beach, and participating in a full calendar of social events.
Kiawah Island offers memberships to the Governors Club and the Private Kiawah Island Club. Property owners can join the Governor's Club for preferred golf and tennis rates, dining discounts, and pool access. The Sandcastle Clubhouse, which provides oceanfront pools, dining, workout facilities, and meeting rooms, is accessible to all Kiawah property owners through their annual HOA dues. The tiers of membership are as follows:
Golf membership ($3,010 to $7,630)
Tennis membership ($1,195 to $3,115)
Combined golf and tennis membership ($4,080 to $10,160)
Social membership ($1,700)
Pool-only membership ($950)
With its luxury amenities, the Private Kiawah Island Club is attached to a limited number of Kiawah residential properties. It can only be acquired through purchasing property with specific club membership-level opportunities. The three categories of membership, with monthly dues in parentheses, are:
Golf ($1,750 family, $1,535 individual)
Sports ($1,350 family, $1,155 individual)
Buy and sell Kiawah and Seabrook Island luxury real estate
Both Kiawah and Seabrook Islands offer a variety of amenities to their residents and visitors, making either one an excellent choice for those who are looking for a luxurious and relaxing coastal lifestyle. Freshfields Village and Bohicket Marina, which serve both islands, provide additional shopping and dining options and opportunities for recreational activities like kayaking and sailing.
If you're considering purchasing or selling a property on either island, connect with Kiawah and Seabrook Island realtor Michelle Almeyda Wiedemuth
to help you navigate the journey. Michelle has extensive knowledge of the area and can help you find the perfect property to fit your needs and lifestyle or sell your home for the most competitive price.
*Header photo courtesy of seabrookisland.com