The early bird gets to park it at the beach

      Parking lot at Beachwalker Park (Lia Sestric/WCIV)

      By Lia

      KIAWAH, S.C. (WCIV) -- If you are planning to head to Beachwalker Park -- get there early.

      The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission says there is a new policy issued by the Town of Kiawah to curb traffic leading into the county park, which could mean some travelers being asked to turn around.

      "Pretty much by late morning, we are full, and we still have a lot of people coming out to the park," park manager, Tif Miller said.

      The county park is the only public access to Kiawah's beaches. There has been an increase in visitors and an overflow of vehicles on weekends and holidays. Miller said the traffic has spilled out onto Beachwalker Drive, and that is where the concern lies with the town and the park.

      "The town has worked with us on staffing and helped us out with a lot of assistance with their code enforcement agents out at the beach," he said. "We worked together to come up with a plan to alleviate any safety issues or any traffic that will cause any problems on the island."

      Visitor Todd Robinson said he has seen first-hand the traffic at its worse.

      "I guess the issue is you need more parking here, because Fourth of July, spring break or whatever it is, it gets packed out there," he said. "Cars are backed up trying to get in, and cars are parked on the side of the road out there."

      The 150-space parking lot is expected to fill up fast for the Independence Day celebration. Robinson said a lot of drivers will be blind sided if expecting parking to be a breeze.

      "If you come a long ways, you're going to be disappointed," Robinson said.

      Before visitors are turned away, Miller said there are two options first for them. Town hall has offered spots in its lot, and there are some spaces along Beachwalker Drive.

      "We don't want the cars to wait in a line in the roadway to idle," he said. "If we get to that point, we will encourage people to come out later or earlier in the morning."