After our all too brief one night stay at the Inn at Middleton Place, we headed further southeast to Seabrook Island for the rest of the week where we had rented a cute one bedroom condo with beachfront access. This was the amazing view from our back deck!
1391 Pelican Watch Villa is a 1 bedroom, 2 bath condo on Seabrook right on the beach and it was clean and comfortable. The unit is well decorated and bright, in a great location with easy beach access right by the boardwalk to Pelican Beach. It was well stocked with nearly everything we needed – a beach cart would have been handy since we didn’t bring one – including luxury linens and better than hotel towels (I don’t know about you, but I hate those cardboard towels in hotel bathrooms). The furnishings were nice and well coordinated with the bright colors BUT they were not really meant for lounging at the beach.
Seabrook is incredible pet friendly granting your furry four legged friends beach access on most of the island with one entire beach along the northern part of the island dedicated to dogs. This is one of the reasons we chose to stay on Seabrook. Whenever possible, we like to travel with our Corgis and they are beach loving fools. We were glad to find a well appointed, yet dog friendly condo right on the beach for our stay.
If you are looking to stay on Seabrook, I HIGHLY recommend Coastal Getaways for assistance in booking a rental property. Their customer service was stellar and they provide additional free amenities for your stay, including one bike rental for every day of your trip. When Hurricane Irma pushed threatened to ruin our trip, they reached out to us so that we could get a refund or reschedule our rental and worked with us to find a rental for the following week! Look for a rental with Amenity cards included so that you have access to the Clubhouse, Lakehouse, and restaurants on the island. We enjoyed being able to use the pool a couple days during our week stay!
Pelican Beach was a quick 5 minute walk out our back deck, so even with a 9 month old we were able to spend a good deal of time soaking up the sand and sea. There are very few rentals directly on the beach because there is so much protected wildlife on Seabrook. The Pelican Watch villas are some of the few rentals that are beachfront meaning you have a direct view of the ocean and direct access via the boardwalks out to the sand.
How did we prepare for a beach trip with an infant? We were prepared! Every day we left the house loaded down with everything we needed, including this awesome beach blanket from MIU COLOR.
Some essentials that you will need when heading to the beach (affiliate links):
- Beach Umbrella (We have this Sportbrella)
- Sand stake for umbrella (We have this one)
- Beach chairs (We have these Tommy Bahama ones)
- Beach blanket (We have this one)
- Beach cart (this is a MUST if your rental doesn’t have one)
- Cooler with water and snacks or Insulated Water Bottles to keep it cold (We have this cooler and I love this water bottle) Don’t forget water for baby!
- Hat and sunglasses
- Bug Spray (Recommend these wipes for baby) – in Seabrook we had to be cautious of mosquitos, but also sand gnats and black flies!
- Sand toys
- Baby carrier (GREAT for walks on the beach – recommend the Lillebaby Complete Airflow)
Pelican Beach was not crowded AT ALL. We loved that there were days when we practically had the beach to ourselves! There was a bit of debris on the shore from Hurricane Irma the week before and you could see where the storm surge cut into the dunes dramatically changing the landscape, but other than that it seemed that Seabrook came out pretty unscathed. We were disappointed to find that the beach front pool at the Club was closed though. We are not sure if that was related to damage from the Hurricane or other improvements. We managed to have great pool time at the Lakehouse pool, which is a short drive back towards the entrance to the island and is free to anyone with an amenity card.
We enjoyed taking daily walks on the beach with the dogs since hanging out on the sand with corgis all day is difficult. They get hot and their coats loaded with sand. So taking them on walks in the evening when the weather was cooler was more enjoyable for everyone. That baby carrier came in super handy for our walks. The few times I ended up carrying him on one hip back to the villa was miserable…somehow a 9 month old of dead weight turns into a lead bag.
Sunsets were just plain gorgeous too! It was pretty incredible to walk along the beach and see dolphins just swimming close to shore and other wildlife wandering around the island. We saw a pair of deer and tons of birds! Plus it was butterfly season. There’s just not quite anything like a ton of butterflies fluttering along on the beach.
Another fascinating fact about Seabrook Island? It’s one of the few places where you can witness the phenomenonal behavior called strand feeding. Unique to this area – actually a 100-mile stretch of Atlantic coastline from Charleston to Jacksonville – it is only here, in the Lowcountry, where dolphin strand feed. No other place in the world! A behavior passed from generation to generation of resident dolphin (the ones that stay here year-round), the pod will isolate a school of fish between their bodies and the muddy or sandy shoreline. With a glorious burst of energy, the dolphin force the fish, then their own bodies up onto the shore… water splashing… fish flailing… opportunist herons and gulls flocking in… then, while laying on their right sides, the dolphin enjoy their buffet. Shortly thereafter, the stranded dolphin will shimmy, tail first, back into the creek. Or, they will squirm around on the mud and return to the water head-first. Sometimes they strand numerous times before moving on.
There are two spots on Seabrook to see this amazing phenomenon by the bottlenose – Privateer Point at the end of Pelican Beach and Capt. Sams Inlet where the Kiawah River feeds into the ocean and you can see Kiawah Island on the opposite shore. To increase your chances to witness strand feeding, the best time of day to head out to either spot is during low tide. Privateer Point is supposedly a bit farther and harder to get to and less likely to have strand feeding than Capt. Sams. To get there, you take the last public boardwalk to North Beach and walk and walk and walk. You will need to walk passed the dog beach where dogs are allowed off leash at all times and just keep walking. You will get there and see people standing across the shore on Kiawah Island’s Beachwalker Park waiting for the dolphins to arrive. Expect to just sit and wait a while to see if they come, so bring a chair or a beach towel and watch for pelicans. Large wading birds like pelicans are a good indicator that the dolphins will come in to feed. They watch the dolphin activity and set up perch where they believe the dolphins will strand in hopes they too will catch a bite to eat. On the particular day we hiked out to Captain Sams Inlet, we got lucky and the dolphins showed up! We enjoyed seeing the swim just a few feet from us off shore. Unfortunately, the strand feeding they did was further up the inlet where we couldn’t quite see it. They circled like they might feed a second time, but we are afraid we scared them off by being too close to the part of shoreline they were angling to use. The moral of the story is to give the dolphins their space and watch in amazement from a distance. We tried to do this, but got unlucky in where we were standing. It was still worth the 45 minute walk out to the inlet though.
Captain Sam’s Inlet was a really beautiful and peaceful part of the island. Very undisturbed. We met a couple who had set up a fishing spot at the tip of the inlet and had the entire beach to themselves. Now that’s a vacation!
If you are looking for other family friendly activities when you need a break from the sun, check out Freshfields Village. This is where you’ll find the nearest grocery store, a Harris Teeter market. They stock just about everything you might need, but beware the prices are representative of this being the only local grocer. The next closest is a Food Lion on St. Johns about 20 minutes away. Freshfields has lots of other shopping options with high end clothing stores, a toy store, book store, pet store, island mercantile, outdoor gear, and several local restaurants, including a coffee shop and juice bar. It’s a fancy little shopping center to kill an hour or two and the Island Mercantile is the best place to find Seabrook or Kiawah branded souvenirs.
You can also rent bikes for the family. If you book through Coastal Getaways, you get one bike free for each day of your stay. You can rent the rest through one of the several bike and gear rental companies on the island. They will deliver it to your condo so that the bikes are waiting for your use. We recommend Seaside Cycles. They had the best price on the bike trailer we rented for our son (who really enjoyed his first bike ride!!) His face was a big grin ear to ear.
A stay on Seabrook would not be complete without a trip to Bohicket Marina at sunset! Whether you want to go to enjoy a meal in the open air at one of the few restaurants (we recommend Fischer’s Sports Pub & Grill) or just walk along the marina boardwalk admiring the boats, it’s a lively scene in the evenings and a view not to be missed! Just don’t forget the bug spray!
We had a GREAT trip to Seabrook and will definitely return. The island is a private, secluded oasis from the hustle and bustle of nearby Charleston. Be prepared to drive a good 15-20 minutes anytime you leave the island no matter your plans because there isn’t a lot other than residences on the island itself, but that’s part of the beautify of this place. It’s not commercialized and so it’s not over crowded. The nature has been preserved and protected so animals and other wildlife can roam free making this a unique and stunning place to visit. If you go, please respect the island so that others can enjoy it too!
The other thing about Seabrook that is so great? Just how dog friendly it is! We’ve struggled to find beaches where we can take our Corgis and let them be on the beach with us. Seabrook offers quite a few dog friendly rentals, the beaches allow dogs in almost all areas on the leash and they even have an entire beach for dogs where they can run off leash! They have pet waste stations throughout the island too! If you are looking for a wonderful family vacation spot where you can take Fido too, we cannot recommend Seabrook enough.