Kiawah Island

Car Window tintingin Kiawah Island, SC

Troop-Films-LLC-phone-number 843-732-4325

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Certified paint protection film installation

Troop Films has been installing paint protection film for over 4 years now, and we are always improving our techniques.

Auto Tint Shop Kiawah Island, SC

Trust the Troop Car Window
Tinting Difference

 Paint Protection Kiawah Island, SC

In today's hectic, always-on-the-go world, having a car is essential for transportation around the city. It's hard to imagine life without a car. Without them, you wouldn't be able to make it to work, the grocery store, the laundromat, or important events like your children's sports events. Having a vehicle is a necessity these days because we use them so much, but many car owners don't make strides to protect their investment or what might be inside that investment.

Aside from purchasing an extended warranty for your car, one of the best ways to protect your car is with professional vehicle window tinting in Kiawah Island, SC. What a warranty won't do, however, is boost curb appeal, reduce sun glare, block harmful radiation, protect your valuables, and provide privacy 24-hours a day.

At Troop Films LLC, we specialize in the finest ceramic window tints and certified paint protection films in South Carolina. We have been installing tints and paint protection film for several years and are always improving our techniques. As true window tinting experts, we have had the pleasure of working on so many different types of vehicles - from multi-million-dollar sports cars to junkers barely worth a grand. Doing so has allowed owner and certified installer Stephon Troop to refine his window tinting game and master techniques like clear bra installation. Today, he has a full-service team behind him, ready and waiting to serve loyal customers just like you.

Unlike some of our competitors, we take meticulous steps to ensure we provide the best work possible on your vehicle. We don't believe in taking shortcuts just to save a few cents. Instead, we go the extra mile to ensure all our customers are satisfied, whether it's completing special request projects or simply taking the time to ensure our work is done right. Whether you own a vintage Ferrari or a busted-up Ford, we aim to provide the highest quality car window tinting around.

When we say we're detail-oriented, we mean it. Here are just a few reasons why customers choose Troop Films for their car window tinting in South Carolina:

  • We remove vehicle parts like blinker covers to ensure dirt and grime aren't trapped.
  • We use computers to make sure your tint or coating is installed properly and precisely.
  • We remove emblems and badges so that we can wrap underneath them, giving your car more protection.
  • We wrap all edges of our ceramic window tints, so your job is seamless, and your tint remains effective year-round.

Curious about how we protect so many cars in South Carolina and the metro Kiawah Island area? Expertise, customer service, and affordable prices are just the start. Our excellence starts at the top - here are a few words from Troop Films owner, Stephon Troop.


Meet Your Certified Vehicle Window Tinting Installer

Stephon and his wife, both originally from the chilly state of Pennsylvania, moved to Kiawah Island, SC, for the warm beach weather and friendly Lowcountry residents.

Though Stephon now has many years of car window tinting under his belt, his training was completed under one of the best car window tint installers in the United States. Installing window tints, paint protection films, and ceramic coatings alongside during this time helped Stephon learn all the techniques and tricks needed to succeed. After training up north, Stephon continued to learn in Texas, where he became a certified paint protection and window tint installer. Since that time, Stephon has mastered even more car protection techniques to offer his customers a comprehensive list of services.

 Auto Tint Kiawah Island, SC

Car Window Tinting
in Kiawah Island, SC

Here is a simple truth: not all vehicle window tinting services are equal. Sure, you could spend a few bucks on a DIY window tinting kit, but going this route almost guarantees trouble. From unsightly fading to film bubbles, these offer the bare minimum in protection. With subpar quality, these kits also peel very quickly, causing you to spend more money to re-apply or have your tint professionally installed.

Speaking of window tinting services, few companies in South Carolina combine professional applications with the highest quality window tint film available. That's what sets Troop Films apart from other window tinting businesses - quality film, expert application, meticulous attention to detail, and the best customer service available.

Unlike some of our competitors, we use SunTek ceramic window tinting film, which is among the best in the industry. This technologically advanced product line provides outstanding, top-of-the-line films. With ceramic technology, infrared rejection and solar performance are enhanced, resulting in a non-metal construction that doesn't cause interference with portable or onboard electronic devices.

Our SunTek ceramic tint options come in a range of nine darkness levels. Each shade of tint has an ultra-attractive appearance, is non-reflective, and helps prevent color changes. With this fantastic film, you, your passengers, and your vehicle's interior are protected from 99% of UV rays from the sun. With outstanding infrared and heat rejection properties, your vehicle's interior comfort remains cooler and more comfortable all year long.

 Tint Services Kiawah Island, SC

Most Common Reasons to Tint
Your Vehicle's Windows

Here are just a few of the most common reasons why South Carolina vehicle owners choose Troop Films for window tinting:



When we ask our customers why they want to tint their windows, privacy is often first on their list. When you begin to think about it, it makes sense. Why allow other drivers to invade your privacy when you can keep prying eyes off of your identity and personal belongings? It's not unreasonable to want privacy for you and your family while you're driving. You never know who you will pull up next to at a red light, and with our vehicle window tinting services in Kiawah Island, SC, they don't have to know you either.



There's something inherently cool about having your windows tinted. Even if you're not trying to impress anyone with your car, having your windows tinted helps give it a refined, modern look, which enhances curb appeal. If you're getting tired of the way your car or truck's exterior looks, spice it up a little and bring it into Troop Films for professional window tinting. We think you will be happy with the results.



Have you ever sat down in your vehicle in the middle of summer, after it's been sitting outside all day? It feels like your car has turned into an oven. Sometimes, it can get so hot in your car that it's hard to grip the steering wheel. As you probably already know, summers in South Carolina can be brutal. When the temperatures heat up in the Lowcountry, your vehicle traps most of that heat, causing interior temperatures to reach unsafe levels. But when you have your windows tinted with Troop Films, your car will stay cooler in the spring and summer. With ceramic film, glare from headlights and streetlights is also reduced, meaning you can see easier without having to strain your eyes. More comfort and more safety - what's not to love?

Health and Safety

Health and Safety

When you think about car window tinting, most folks don't think about the health and safety benefits involved. But when it comes to you and your passengers, safety should be top of your list. High temps in your vehicle, usually caused by UV rays, are a safety concern not only for your skin and eyes but for your car's safety mechanisms. This is especially true for your airbags, which can be damaged and left inoperable when interior temperatures are high enough. Obviously, that's a huge safety risk.

Fading Dashboard

Fading Dashboard

Over time, your vehicle's dashboard will take a beating when your car is left out in the sun. The combo of harmful UV rays and high heat can ruin dashboard materials, leaving them cracked, faded, and in need of repair. Fixing your dashboard can be a costly endeavor. However, doing so can be avoided with high-quality ceramic tints from Troop Films.

 Ceramic Window Tint Kiawah Island, SC

Certified Installer

Benefits of Vehicle Window Tinting
in Kiawah Island, SC

If you're still on the fence about ceramic window tinting for your vehicle, consider
the following benefits of our SunTek films:

 Ceramic Coatings Kiawah Island, SC
  • Unrestricted Communications - some window films contain traces of metals, which can cause interference with devices. Our metal-free films won't interfere with your cell phone, GPS, satellite radio, or other electronic devices that you use while driving.
  • Resistant to Color Changes - Our technologically-advanced window films are scientifically created to give you an attractive, non-reflective appearance without color fading.
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty - You read that right - when you buy window tints from Troop Films, your products are covered by the manufacturer against peeling, adhesive failures, changes in color, cracking, and delamination. Some restrictions do apply.
  • Precise Installation - When you work with Troop Films, you can have peace of mind knowing your window tint will be applied seamlessly and accurately. That's because we have access to core pattern-cutting software that trims your window film tightly. With our precise installation, you can rest easy knowing your tint will fit the make, model, and year of your vehicle like a glove.

The Ultimate Protection: Car
Window Tinting and Paint
Protection Film in Kiawah Island, SC

They say the first cut is always the deepest, and that's certainly true when it comes to your vehicle. Few things are as frustrating as getting out of your car, only to realize that a stray rock has dented your favorite car or truck. Dents and scratches from road debris like rocks and even acids from bugs all take their toll on your vehicle's overall appearance and value. Along with UV rays, "road rash" from winter salt, sand, rocks, pebbles, branches, and more will compromise your vehicle's integrity and can mean lower resale value.

If you're looking for total protection from heat and UV rays as well as road debris, we recommend car window tinting in Kiawah Island, SC along with our paint protection film application. Paint protection film, also called your vehicle's clear bra, provides a shield of protection from road rash, preserves your car's paint job, increases its longevity, and can increase its resale value. Paint protection film is very useful for everyday use, especially if you're driving on the highway or simply want to protect your favorite car. Clear bras are also helpful for work vehicles, which often receive dents and scratches due to the nature of their work.

At Troop Film, our SunTek paint protection film is among the highest quality films in the industry. Common application areas include:

  • Vehicle Paint
  • Door Handles
  • Headlights
  • Rear Fenders
  • Front Bumpers
  • Mirrors
  • Hoods
 PPF Kiawah Island, SC

Our paint protection films are completely reinvented products that merge the hydrophobicity of ceramic with premium, self-healing paint protection film. Common benefits of having your vehicle protected with paint film include:



Your car's finish will stay flawless and fresh with our car protection films, which shield against salt, rocks, insects, and other debris.



Our HydroResist top-coat protection boosts your vehicle's stain resistance by limiting dirt and water accumulation on your protection film's surface.



It sounds too good to be true, but our films really do heal themselves by using the heat from the sun or your vehicle's engine.


Look Great

Our paint protection films are available in high gloss and matte finishes, leaving your car with outstanding optics and clarity.

Have Questions? We've Got Answers!

In addition to the highest-quality car window tinting products, our customer service team excels at answering any questions you may have. We're here to help in any way and can even help determine which kind of protection is best for your vehicle. Call, text, or fill out the inquiry form on our website. Before you know it, your car will be super-stylish and even safer to drive with the help of Troop Films LLC.

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Latest News in Kiawah Island, SC

6 Charming Hotels In The Carolinas

All products featured on TravelAwaits are independently selected by our writers and editors. We may earn commission when you click on or make a purchase via our links.The South is known for its legendary hospitality, and these charming places, all warm and inviting, are no exception. Whether you’re just passing through or are planning a romantic getaway or multigenerational trip, you — and your travel companions — will be drawn to the lure of mountain hiking as well as ocean breezes and beach time fun offered in both...

All products featured on TravelAwaits are independently selected by our writers and editors. We may earn commission when you click on or make a purchase via our links.

The South is known for its legendary hospitality, and these charming places, all warm and inviting, are no exception. Whether you’re just passing through or are planning a romantic getaway or multigenerational trip, you — and your travel companions — will be drawn to the lure of mountain hiking as well as ocean breezes and beach time fun offered in both North and South Carolina.

At these charming hotels, personnel, especially concierges, do their best to spend time with guests to make them feel welcome.

1. The Sanctuary At Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Located along 10 miles of pristine beach, The Sanctuary is part of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort 21 miles from Charleston. The massive complex includes 500 private villas and homes, five championship golf courses, and 17 restaurants. For the past 15 years, the resort has ranked as the number one tennis resort in the world by

The Sanctuary is a Forbes Travel Guide 5-star, AAA 5-Diamond luxury hotel with 255 rooms and suites and a luxury spa.

In the lobby, a sweep of floor-to-ceiling windows frames expansive views of the grand lawn and Atlantic Ocean. The lobby is decorated with warm gold tones accented with floral design. Numerous seating areas and adjoining spaces are appointed with prized antiques and original decorative arts, sculptures, and paintings.

Both east and west wings are framed by two dramatic open staircases lined with massive murals depicting natural scenes and wildlife native to the Lowcountry.

“The Sanctuary was designed to evoke the spirit and feel of a gracious Edwardian-era seaside manor,” Bryan Hunter, public relations director, told me.

There are four restaurants in house. Jasmine Porch specializes in local and regional cuisine. Kids like Beaches and Cream, which serves locally made Wholly Cow all-natural ice cream.

Blessed by a subtropical climate, Kiawah Island offers plenty to do year-round. Breathtaking landscapes and abundant outdoor recreation and nature activities attract families during the holidays and school vacations. Biking on 30 miles of paved bike trails between a tunnel of twisting live oak branches and whispering palms enable visitors to commune with the island’s remarkable preserved environment.

The Christmas holidays are heralded by a Santa Parade and tree lighting ceremony in late November. The entire resort is festooned in Christmas décor. Children love the annual unveiling of a giant sculpture crafted entirely of chocolate in the lobby. Exquisite culinary offerings include the traditional Italian Festa dei Sette Pesci (Feast of Seven Fishes) on Christmas Eve.

2. Emeline

Emeline, a glamorous boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Charleston, is ideal for a girls’ getaway. The 212-room property is steps away from the aquarium and shopping at the popular city market and walking tours.

The expansive courtyard and greenhouse are a welcome retreat. The social garden is filled with layers of storied charm with couches and chairs to relax. Emeline offers house bikes for getting around town as well as city travel guides.

Located at 181 Church Street in the historic district, Emeline brings families together for weddings and reunions in a pet-friendly environment. For many multi-gen travelers, pets-in-travel are an important part of their lives. Weight limit for dogs is 75 pounds.

A Pawsome Package (Bone Appetit) offers a custom-made dog treat by the house pastry chef, plus a dog mat, bowl, and comfy bed.

Emeline is ahead of the arts-in-residence trend. Most of the artwork displayed in the public areas is from Charleston artists such as Whitney Stoddard. Next to the restaurant, Frannie & The Fox, is the Fox Hole — a wall filled with maps, photos, and paintings.

Fun Fact: Guestroom walls are adorned with posters from the city’s famed Spoleto Festival USA arts fest.

Among Emeline’s creative menu choices is the popular drink the Closing Argument, a gin concoction with Midori, genepy, and lime. The peach-infused Panzanella salad is also a crowd favorite.

These vacation hideaways are emblematic of gracious Southern hospitality. They capture the region’s deeply-rooted heritage combined with a cosmopolitan and diverse culture.

3. The Westin Poinsett

The AAA 4-Diamond Westin Poinsett Hotel in Greenville 3 hours northwest of Charleston is a fine establishment. Situated on Main Street downtown, guests can leave their car and walk to Falls Park and the bridge over the Reedy River.

The Poinsett is steps away from the excitement and buzz of downtown Greenville, a cityscape filled with chic restaurants and the Peace Center, a stellar performing arts venue.

This elegant 12-story landmark dates to 1925 and is named after Joel Poinsett, U.S. ambassador to Mexico. He brought the bright red flowering plant, the poinsettia, back to South Carolina. The hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Pro Tip: My friends and I like to meet up at the classic piano bar in the lobby lounge or go for Sunday brunch at the Spoonbread Restaurant, named after the Southern cornmeal dish.

4. The Omni Grove Park Inn

The rustic but elegant Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville, is a gorgeous resort and getaway in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Built in 1913, the 513-room resort is on the National Register of Historic Places. Upon entering, the Great Hall measures 120 feet across and features 24-foot ceilings and two gigantic 36-foot stone fireplaces.

My favorite activity at The Omni Grove Park is the Annual National Gingerbread House Competition, the nation’s largest. The competition is held at the resort in November. The winning entries, including the Grand Prize Winner, are left display from late November through early January. Prizes are in adult, teen, youth, and children’s categories. People of all skill levels are invited to build whimsical creations of candy, gumdrop-adorned castles, and sugar-spun landscapes to compete for cash prizes.

My grandchildren and I watched the “ginger-magic” in wonder as workmen set up the houses one November. As many as 250 culinary masterpieces stretch around the spacious decorated lobby and granite hallways, filling the air with the aromas and spirit of Christmas.

This year, there will bere specialty awards for best use of sprinkles, unique ingredient, and a Pop Culture Star. The competition attracts the highest quality of design, artistry, and pastry expertise across the country. Judges include Celebrity Chef Carla Hall, Nadine Ornstein from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and James Beard Award-winning Cheryl Forberg.

The competition was started in 1992 by a small number of local residents. Last season, the hotel supported 15 community charities through its Holiday Parking Program, according to Susan Rotante, director of marketing and communications. “Gingerbread is always a dynamic season at the hotel. It is in our DNA — a very special community.”

Omni Grove Park Health And Wellness

The Omni Grove Park Inn is also known as a health and wellness destination for city dwellers looking for rest and rejuvenation in the pure mountain air. The $50 million, 43,000-square-foot subterranean spa features cavernous rock walls, arches and turrets, and small waterfalls. Treatments are enhanced as the sun sets and fireplaces, starlight, candles, and moonlight add a warm glow to the stone facility.

Pro Tip: The Omni Grove Park Inn is also featured in fellow traveler Melody Pittman’s 10 Favorite Historic Hotels To Experience In The U.S.

5. The Ballantyne

The Ballantyne, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Charlotte, is a four-star lavish urban getaway minutes from uptown Charlotte. On weekends, the hotel’s delightful afternoon tea service is a treat for all ages. Reminiscent of the English custom of afternoon tea, chef-inspired pastries and candied delicacies are elegantly presented on three tiered cake plates.

Pastry chef Christine Clancy includes a variety of tea sandwiches, homemade pastries, cakes and scones, and an assortment of beautiful teas from the Rare Tea Company of London, the official tea of the Royal Family. Champagne can also be added.

The Ballantyne Hotel is a chic American classic with 208 rooms in the main building, a lodge with 35 rooms, and a cottage with four rooms. It showcases the works of local and regional artists in its carefully curated art collection on display in the Gallery Restaurant. The pink rose painting over the lobby fireplace is a favorite of guests and staff alike.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in the Gallery Restaurant. Executive Chef Charles Gardiner captures the essence of Southern traditions and flavors in his innovative menu. New items this year include lemon pistachio olive oil cake and chicken and black truffles. Guests also enjoy lunch on the spacious veranda.

Pro Tip: The resort has a newly refreshed outdoor pool and two indoor resistance pools, plus a fitness center.

6. Hotel Cashiers

Time moves slowly along North Carolina’s winding back roads. Heading toward the Nantahala National forest, I found the Hotel Cashiers a welcome respite in the southwest part of the state. This affordable 18-room hotel — a 2.5-hour drive from Atlanta — is charming and hospitable in a relaxed mountain setting. Pets are welcome and can run around outside where ample seating and the fireplace are surrounded by a canopy of trees.

Pro Tip: Guests can easily walk along the Ramble Trail to the center of town.

The hotel has no restaurant, but it does have a lobby boutique and wine shop. Dining options include four restaurants 5 minutes away.

The village community of Cashiers beckons visitors to stroll downtown and visit the antique shops, boutiques, and restaurants and chat with the shopkeepers.

Not to be missed among nearby attractions are the Whitewater Falls, the highest waterfalls east of the Rockies, and Gorges State Park. Further west, the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of America’s favorite scenic drives.

Phil Mickelson, other LIV golfers file antitrust lawsuit against PGA Tour: report

The ongoing battle between the long-established PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league has finally gone beyond words.Six-time majors champion Phil Mickelson has joined 11 other golfers in filing an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour over its indefinite ...

The ongoing battle between the long-established PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league has finally gone beyond words.

Six-time majors champion Phil Mickelson has joined 11 other golfers in filing an antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour over its indefinite suspension of members that have defected to the rival circuit over the past few months, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

In addition to the complaint, three other golfers – Talor Gooch, Hudson Swafford and Matt Jones – have all filed for a temporary restraining order to compete in next week’s FedEx Cup playoffs, arguing that they qualified before joining LIV Golf.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan issued a memo in June informing members that anyone competing in LIV Golf events would be ineligible to compete in Tour-sponsored events and the Presidents Cup.

"These players have made their choice for their own financial-based reasons. But they can’t demand the same PGA Tour membership benefits, considerations, opportunities and platform as you. That expectation disrespects you, our fans and our partners. You have made a different choice, which is to abide by the Tournament Regulations you agreed to when you accomplished the dream of earning a PGA Tour card and – more importantly – to compete as part of the preeminent organization in the world of professional golf," the memo read.

The Tour issued another memo last month clarifying the release of an eligibility points list for the FedEx Cup that removed those players suspended by the Tour – not those that resigned their membership.


"In a June memo to the Tour’s membership, Commissioner Jay Monahan affirmed that players who are suspended for competing in unauthorized events will not negatively impact members’ eligibility for tournaments or their status on the Tout. Consistent with that statement, the Policy Board approved the creation of the FedEx Cup Playoffs and Eligibility Points List, which does not include the suspended players," the memo read.

The secondary list will not replace the official FedEx Cup standings.

According to the report, the lawsuit filed in ??the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California argues that through its disciplinary measures, the PGA Tour is harming those players' careers.

"The Tour’s conduct serves no purpose other than to cause harm to players and foreclose the entry of the first meaningful competitive threat the Tour has faced in decades."

An earlier report from the Wall Street Journal revealed last month that the Justice Department has already launched an investigation into the Tour’s actions.

The top things to do in South Carolina for a true taste of the Palmetto State

Beautiful shorelines and dreamy marshes dot South Carolina’s idyllic Atlantic coast. But there’s much more to experience in the Palmetto State, named for the trees that became a symbol of liberty because of their ability to absorb the force of British cannonballs during the 1776 battle at Fort Moultrie.Look beyond showstopping destinations such as ...

Beautiful shorelines and dreamy marshes dot South Carolina’s idyllic Atlantic coast. But there’s much more to experience in the Palmetto State, named for the trees that became a symbol of liberty because of their ability to absorb the force of British cannonballs during the 1776 battle at Fort Moultrie.

Look beyond showstopping destinations such as Charleston and Myrtle Beach and you can enjoy dozens of hidden gems and nature escapes in the state. From iconic gardens to jaw-dropping sunsets and action-packed thrill rides, here are the best activities to add to your itinerary the next time you visit South Carolina.

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Snap a photo in front of the giant peach

More than 30 types of peaches are grown across South Carolina, and the peach is the state's official fruit. Peaches became such a staple that in 1981, a massive 135ft water tower beside I-85 South in the town of Gaffney – just 45-minutes south of Charlotte, NC – was transformed to look like a giant peach.

It's become a tradition to snap a photo of the iconic Peachoid; you can get closest to the peach via exits 90 to 92, along the Cherokee Hills Scenic Highway.

Take the entire family fruit picking

People from near and far travel to York County, South Carolina – just across the border from the southern end of Charlotte – to spend an entire day picking fresh fruit on some of the county’s long-established family-owned farms.

Bush-N-Vine has been growing a fine assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables since 1979, and members of the public are invited to pick their own produce.

The most popular picking crops are strawberries (from fall until early July) and blueberries (starting in mid-May). While you're there, pop into the farm's country store for a freshly made strawberry soft serve ice cream or a raspberry blendie (a mix of ice cream and raspberry-flavored iced slushy).

Also look out for stalls and stores selling freshly picked peaches across the state from June to September.

See every species of swan at the state’s longest-running festival

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the state's Iris Festival in the town of Sumter, located 45 miles from Columbia, SC. This three-day event, typically held over the Memorial Day weekend, features over 120 species of Japanese iris growing along the banks of the Swan Lake Iris Gardens.

The park is also the only place in the United States where you can see all eight of the known species of swans. Local vendors and artisans set up throughout the garden, but since the park is considered a bird sanctuary, pets are not allowed on the grounds.

Enjoy unique views of South Carolina from above at the Aiken Hot Air Balloon Fest

Just under 20 miles from the city of Augusta, Georgia, Aiken is the fourth-largest county in the state, and every year in late April, locals head out to the Western Carolina Fairgrounds to participate in the area’s two-day hot air balloon festival.

This family-friendly day of fun features live music, a kid’s zone with rides and games, local food vendors, and the opportunity to tick off a bucket-list-worthy experience – riding in a tethered hot air balloon. The showstopper is the night show, where dozens of larger-than-life balloons take to the skies for a spectacle unlike any other.

Enjoy a romantic couples' boat ride at Cypress Gardens

Head about an hour north of Charleston to check out backdrops from one of the most romantic movies of recent years – The Notebook, starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams.

The cult movie, based on the novel by Nicholas Parks, was filmed at several locations in the state’s Low Country, including Cypress Gardens. Grab your significant other and row across the same lake where Noah took Allie during their emotional reunion.

Located in the town of Moncks Corner, the gardens are home to cypress and Tupelo trees that line a dark but beautiful swamp. There are guided and self-guided boat tours across the swamplands; keep an eye out for the birds, turtles and alligators that live in the waters.

Live like a star for a day on Kiawah Island – South Carolina's best-kept secret

One of South Carolina’s wealthiest and most exclusive zip codes, Kiawah Island is a paradisaical escape, just 40-minutes southwest of Charleston's busy neighborhoods.

While outsiders can't freely drive around the island – there's a guard station at the main entrance checking renters' and residents' passes – the public are welcome to visit the sandy shore at Beachwalker Park. Bring your beach chairs or blanket, and pack a picnic-style lunch for a day-long island getaway. There’s a lifeguard on duty daily and pets are welcome.

Get your adrenaline pumping at South Carolina's largest theme park

While it technically straddles the border between North Carolina and South Carolina, Carowinds is a must for the entire family. Located off exit 90 on I-77, this 407-acre theme park provides hours of thrills for all ages, from coasters to water slides.

Come for over-the-top, funfair-inspired bites like funnel cakes loaded with whipped cream, strawberries and ice cream, and more than 55 adrenaline-pumping rides, including the Fury 325 coaster and an entire set of rides and experiences specifically geared toward younger children.

The park is also home to Carolina Harbor, the largest water park in North and South Carolina. When you've had enough of adrenaline-pumping thrills, sit down for a themed show or come back for Halloween when the park transforms into "Scarowinds" with a selection of harvest-themed and haunted attractions.

Tour one of Martin Luther King Jr’s favorite stops

The historical Penn Center on St Helena Island is one of many places that inspired Dr Martin Luther King Jr to write his famous I Have a Dream speech. The civil rights leader is said to have visited the Penn Center at least five times.

Dotted with more than 25 buildings and structures, this 50-acre property offers an in-depth look at the triumphs and struggles faced by the area's Gullah people on the journey from enslavement to freedom. It's the site of Penn School – one of the first educational centers in the American South to provide formal schooling to formerly enslaved people.

Located an hour and a half southwest of Charleston in Beaufort, the center offers guided tours and an on-site museum and visitor center.

Kiawah Island Addresses Construction Concerns At The Cape

By Theresa Stratford for The Island ConnectionMayor John Labriola seized an opportunity to set the record straight at the recent Kiawah Island Town Council meeting on July 5. The issue that he addressed was in relation to the development of The Cape on Kiawah, which will be located on West Beach and is being developed by East West Partners. The Kiawah Island Architecture Review Board presented at the Town Council meeting in April in relation to the clear cutting of 50 trees that many Kiawah residents had questioned at that time. After...

By Theresa Stratford for The Island Connection

Mayor John Labriola seized an opportunity to set the record straight at the recent Kiawah Island Town Council meeting on July 5. The issue that he addressed was in relation to the development of The Cape on Kiawah, which will be located on West Beach and is being developed by East West Partners. The Kiawah Island Architecture Review Board presented at the Town Council meeting in April in relation to the clear cutting of 50 trees that many Kiawah residents had questioned at that time. After the presentation, members of the Kiawah community sent questions, which the Town prepared responses to at the beginning of June. “What started out as questions has elevated to some pretty serious accusations,” Labriola stated. “In terms of the Kiawah Partners’ ability to misuse the role and control of the ARB to manipulate calculations.”

The Kiawah Island Town Attorney Joe Wilson consulted with the Town and released an opinion on behalf of Council. Labriola said that even after that opinion was released, “the accusations continued.” Labriola announced that they then received a second legal opinion in relation to this issue and how East West Partners had “not violated any standards related to the development agreement at The Cape.” “We have legal opinions that have supported the Town’s position, which is what we stated back in June that the ARB acted appropriately,” Labriola said.

Labriola said that the calculations are not in question by a core group of concerned Kiawah Island residents, but rather how the lot coverage is measured.

“That is core issue.” Labriola addressed the definition of highland and stated that the ARB has exclusive jurisdiction to determine those standards and the definition of highland as used in those standards. According to the Kiawah ARB, Labriola stated that the definition of highland is all the area above mean high water. “Under this interpretation, the development was in the 33% standard adopted by the ARB.” Labriola continued by saying that their interpretation of highland is a reasonable one and the S.C. attorney general has adopted it. He said that this definition is used frequently in other contexts including in the Town’s ordinance. The other definition of highland has been claimed by some as the land above the Ocean & Coastal Resource Management baseline.

OCRM is under the umbrella of SCDHEC. Neither the Kiawah ARB nor the Town of Kiawah adopts the OCRM baseline. However, the Kiawah ARB and the Town do adopt the OCRM critical line that is marsh frontline for marsh front property, but the OCRM baseline only applies to beachfront property, as explained by Labriola. Labriola added that the town’s own density standards for multi-unit development allows for 60% of coverage based on the entire lot and that there is no reference to highland in the town’s density standard. “So even under the Town’s standards, this development would have been approved because it is under 60% of the entire lot.”

Labriola concluded by reiterating that the ARB has exclusive jurisdiction over lot coverage standards put forth by the ARB guidelines. “It is to the Town’s position that the ARB interpreted the language and calculations the lot coverage consistently with previous beachfront projects and in a manner that is reasonable and commonly used.” The Town will be adding a Development Resources page to their website where a full text of the development agreement will be shared, in addition to FAQ’s that will be updated regularly. “We encourage residents to view the page for accurate information,” Labriola said. Labriola also noted that he didn’t think this would stop the accusations, but that he wanted to be transparent. “We will provide the community with the information as we see it, as we understand it and as we know it. I don’t know what else we can do except to say those words and put them in print to send out to everyone.” Additional groups within the community have recently come to fruition, including a new nonprofit organization called Preserve Kiawah, which is comprised of hundreds of concerned Kiawah residents who want to preserve the way of life they have come to love by living on Kiawah Island. In response to the newly formed groups, including Preserve Kiawah, the Town of Kiawah Island has commissioned Lou Hammonds Group to act as a liaison in communication with the Town, the residents and Kiawah Partners. On the agenda at the July meeting was approving their contract to begin working on the communication initiative. Maura F. McIlvain, a resident of Kiawah Island, commented that she thought a communication consultant was a great idea. “A level of suspicion is there. Whether it is warranted or not. A level of suspicion is there in regards to a relationship that the Town shows to the developer. Some say communication coming from the Town has been poor, defensive, mangled – however you want to say it.” McIlvain’s suggestion on the contract with Lou Hammonds was to take out the part about them being a liaison between the Town and the Partners. “You shouldn’t want that in there given the current environment. When the Town has been accused of coordinating with the partners – that is not where you want to be right now. I would take that out.”

Lou Hammonds Group has a history of working with East West Partners, but Kiawah Island Town Administrator Stephanie Tillerson said they were chosen, without an official RFP, because they came “highly recommended” from several entities in the Charleston area, including from Helen Hill, the CEO of the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “They are well respected in the community,” Tillerson explained in the Town Council meeting. Finally, Brad Belt of the Preserve Kiawah group, spoke at the meeting as well in response to the mayor’s comments on accusations being made toward the Town in response to the handlings of The Cape development.

“I welcome the commitment to transparency and I thank the mayor for that,” Belt commented.

“But I am disappointed by the term ‘accusations.’ We are a community that is trying to understand the governing documents and we are systematically working through those in a fact-based way. We are simply outlying issues that warrant attention. If we are wrong, I would be the first one to welcome being corrected.” He went on to note definitions in the Town’s own ordinances in regards to critical areas and highlands. “Critical area in regard to the Town’s definition is the area from the mean high water mark to the setback line. The critical line means the jurisdiction boundary of the critical area as determined by the OCRM staff. Highlands is the area above the OCRM critical line which has just been defined by the Town’s own ordinances as including the area from the high water mark to OCRM setback line.” Belt went on to say that the definitions are clear and straightforward within the Town’s own ordinances. “This is contradictory to the positioning interpretation that the ARB has taken.” Preserve Kiawah has retained counsel for the newly established nonprofit. The Lou Hammonds Group contract was unanimously approved by Town Council and the intention is that it would begin working very soon.

The Cape on Kiawah will span 14 acres and 1,000 feet of beachfront property – the largest of any development on the island. Construction is set to complete in 2023 with 78 residences in six buildings. There will also be a clubhouse. The development completely sold out in Phase II for a total of $248 million.

Island Hop At These Top-Rated Idyllic Paradises (No Passport Required!)

Who hasn’t dreamed of a tropical island getaway? Soft, white sand beaches; clear, azure waters; unique, Eden-like settings—not to mention some of the coolest outdoor recreation around and exciting, adventurous local cuisine. But it’s not always possible to globe-trot at a moment’s (or even a month’s!) notice without a ton of planning—especially during peak travel times (and an ongoing pandemic)....

Who hasn’t dreamed of a tropical island getaway? Soft, white sand beaches; clear, azure waters; unique, Eden-like settings—not to mention some of the coolest outdoor recreation around and exciting, adventurous local cuisine. But it’s not always possible to globe-trot at a moment’s (or even a month’s!) notice without a ton of planning—especially during peak travel times (and an ongoing pandemic).

The good news is that there is a veritable treasure trove of islands in the Continental U.S.that combine all the allure of an island getaway with the convenience of (relatively) easy access. Just a domestic flight (and maybe a ferry ride) away, these idyllic gems are the perfect way to live the island life—laid-back, beachy vibes definitely included.


Maine’s Mount Desert Island Calls A National Park Home

The largest island off the coast of Maine and the second largest on the eastern seaboard, Mount Desert Island is home to one of the state’s most popular tourist towns—Bar Harbor— in addition to a parade of other equally charming small towns and villages. However, Mount Desert is not just beachy burgs: in addition to its famed seaside communities, Mount Desert is well-known for its idyllic surrounding scenery, including the imposing Cadillac Mountain and nearby forests—all a large part of Acadia National Park, as is the island itself.

Block Island Has Rhode Island’s Best Beach Adventures

Just a short ferry ride away from the mainland, Block Island is undoubtedly The Ocean State’s prettiest seaside gem. With miles of pristine white beaches; stunning seaside cliffs; and a plethora of quaint streets filled with fab food and fun shops, this picturesque isle is an ocean overlook with all the charm of small town the USA; the perfect retreat amid some of RI’s most beautiful natural scenery.

The San Juan Islands Is Washington’s Offshore Retreat

Mellow, laid-back vibes and temperate climes set Washington State’s the San Juan Islands apart. A series of over 170(!) named islands and reefs make up beautiful San Juan County, but the namesake San Juan Island—in addition to Orcas Island and Lopez Island—is by far the most populous and offers visitors a plethora of fun things to see and do. The islands’ are also home to a number of small towns and historic hamlets that are big on the seaside charm, from the vibrant, bustling Friday Harbor to the quaint and cozy Lopez Village—and everything in between.

An Unexpected South Carolina Island Gem

There’s no doubt that when it comes to SC islands, Hilton Head is the spot that inevitably tops every list. However, the unspoiled beauty of Kiawah Island has its own under-the-radar seaside charm: full of beautifully preserved forests, marshlands, and sand dunes; a charming yet upbeat village; and approximately ten miles of stunning sandy beaches make Kiawah a true island escape that’s high on both relaxation and recreation. Note: Kiawah Island is a private community with limited access to property owners and guests of local lodgings; however, there are many public areas, such as Beachwalker County Park, that are open to the public

An Escape From Florida’s Busier Beaches

The Sunshine State has a seemingly endless parade of spectacular beaches, but those looking for a truly tranquil escape may want to search out one of FL’s quieter spots—such as the secret paradise of Amelia Island. Situated along Florida’s northeast coast, this hidden gem feels like it’s a world away from the busier (and bigger) tourist destinations. And with plenty of historic charm, luxe hotels and cozy lodgings, and outdoor recreation (on and off the beach), this peaceful getaway is perfect for those looking for an off-the-beaten-track beautiful beach town.

Tropical island getaways are some of the most popular vacation destinations—and with good reason. Pristine white sand beaches, epic outdoor adventures, luxe lodgings, and stunning scenery are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exotic island retreats; but there is something to be said for the smaller, more off-the-beaten-track isles that are situated closer to home. With all the perks of their larger island cousins—beaches, nature, history, and delicious cuisine definitely included—these small Continental U.S. islands are genuine diamonds in the rough; offering vacationers a chance to take the road less traveled; no passport required.


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