When I was preparing for my trip to Kiawah Island, the biggest question I had was about what to pack. I’d stayed at luxury resorts before, but this was the first time that one of the restaurants had a strict dress code.
This packing guide will help you decide what to wear to Kiawah Island and other resorts like Sea Island, Montage Palmetto Bluff, Blackberry Farm, Greyfield Inn, Barnsley Resort, and the Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee.
What to Wear During the Day
For most resorts, it’s totally appropriate to dress casually during the day, depending on what activities you’ll be participating in. For example, it’s typically fine to walk around in shorts and t-shirts on your way to the pool or a kayaking excursion.
Swimwear should be appropriate to be around families and cover-ups are usually required for when you’re walking around inside the hotel. There are also separate dress codes for golf courses but usually are outlined by the clubhouse in advance.
For this trip, I wore shorts and tank tops to the beach and pool or a casual dress and top/skirt combination for poolside lunch. Don’t forget a hat to protect you from the Southern heat.
What to Wear for Informal Meals
The majority of the restaurants at Kiawah Island and these other Southern resorts are on the casual end, but I typically dress up more for dinner.
What to Wear for Formal Meals
When it came to dinner at the Ocean Room, one of the most awarded restaurants in the region, I was told about the resort formal dress code. But it was one I wasn’t familiar with, so I found more information on their website.
For ladies, they encourage dresses or blouses with skirts or pants. For men, they prefer jackets with collared shirts, dress slacks, and closed-toe shoes.
No denim, sandals, shorts, or hats are allowed. With that said, there were men at the next table with logo-style golf shirts instead of traditional collared shirts. Err on the side of caution and dress nicer than you think you need to.
I ended up wearing a Banana Republic dress with heels, pictured above, but brought a few backup options like a Show Me Your Mumu jumpsuit.
Other Essentials to Pack
Depending on the season, there are additional things you might want to pack. For example, at Kiawah, I went kayaking, so I brought a waterproof bag, a sun shirt, sunscreen, and mosquito spray. I also had three masks to rotate as needed.
Anything else you’d pack for Kiawah Island or another resort?