By Roger Cox, Editor
This 2,200-acre barrier island, 23 miles from Charleston, has quietly been undergoing a transformation. Over the last several years, millions of dollars have been invested to enhance the vacation experience. Traditionally, activity has centered around the beachclub, restaurants, and clubhouse at the core of the village, and that area remains a focal point. Now, however, there is a second hub: at Palmetto Lake where the racquet club, fitness center, and equestrian center cluster together near the entrance to the resort.
Though upstaged by Kiawah Island, its larger neighbor just to the east, Seabrook has its own undeniable charms. Secluded and tastefully developed, it affords a tranquil retreat, busier near the beach club and tennis center, but quieter as you move away from there into a Lowcountry island of forest and tidal marshes where green space has been conscientiously preserved. Two golf courses trail through the forests, both of them members of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. Not to be outdone, tennis snagged a spacious layout bordered by trees for its 15 clay courts, one of them a stadium, and a handsome clubhouse with broad verandas overlooking the action.
Kiawah Island Golf Resort, South Carolina. Directed by Hall of Fame Tennis Pro Roy Barth, Kiawah's programs receive the highest accolades. Custom packages include unlimited court time, accommodations and daily breakfast. Enjoy Kiawah's beach, spa, and dining. Call 888.856.7107 or visit www.kiawahresort.com/tennis
Pro Shop: 843-768-7543
Tennis director Mike Kiser came to Seabrook in 1997. A former University of South Carolina player, he went on to rank in the top 10 in singles and top 5 in doubles in South Carolina. At Seabrook, the courts attract a mix of club members and vacationers and his roster addresses the needs of both with stroke clinics, workouts, men's and ladies days, spring, summer, and holiday junior programs from Quickstart to teens, a mix of monthly tournaments or socials, tailor-made programs for groups or teams, and private lessons.
Court Fees. $12-$15/person/visit.
Spa & Fitness
Beach. There are two beaches on the island: Pelican Beach, the busier of the two given its location at the village core adjacent to the beach club, and wilder North Beach, away from the main activity and distinguished by its breadth.
Golf Courses. There are two golf courses on the island:
Crooked Oaks: Robert Trent Jones, Sr. designed it to wind through marshes, maritime forest, and stands of live oaks. Par: 72. Length: 6,780 yards.
Ocean Winds: A William Byrd design, laid out along tidal marshes and sand dunes bordering the Atlantic. Par: 72. Length: 6,765 yards.
Fitness Center. The sprawling single-story Palmetto Lake House does double duty as a community center and fitness complex. Among its features are an indoor lap pool, a vast outdoor swimming pool, a cardio and weight room with windows on the lawn and lake, and a full suite of fitness classes.
And ... Seabrook also has an Equestrian Center offering instruction (both English and Western), pony rides, and guided trail rides on some three miles of trails and the beach. There are also bike lanes throughout the resort and continuing beyond the entrance to the shops and restaurants at Freshfields Village just outside.
Operating during the summer, Camp Seabrook takes kids ages 4 to 11 from 9 a.m. to noon, Monday to Friday, for sessions of organized activities.
Options range from one-to-three bedroom villas and cottages up to multi-bedroom homes.
If you like the sound of Seabrook Island, check out:
For something similar but in the mountains rather than on the beach, check out:
Lodging consists of 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom villas variously located near the beach, golf course or racquet club. Tennis packages (which include unlimited court time) are also available. Check the web site for the latest rates.
Visit the website for current rates
Travel Instructions. By Air: Seabrook Island is 35 miles from Charleston International Airport. Rental cars and limousine service are available from there to the resort. By car: From the north, follow I-95 South or I-26 East to I-526 West. Stay on I-526 to 17 South until you reach Main Road (about 5 miles). Turn left onto Main Road and follow the signs to the resort. From the south, take I-95 North to 17 North (Charleston Exit 33). Once I-17 turns into a four-lane highway, continue another 9 miles and then turn right onto Main Road and follow the signs to the club.
General Tourist Information. For general information about Charleston and the surrounding area visit the Charleston Visitor Reception and Transportation Center website or contact them at 375 Meeting St., Charleston, SC 29403. Phone: 800-774-0006.