Hilton Head, SC
At 12 miles long and 5 miles wide, Hilton Head could easily be regarded simply as a golfer’s exclusive paradise but there’s more to this seaside locale. Considered to be one of the top family vacation spots, the beaches at Hilton Head are recognized as some of the most beautiful in the U.S. Take a day trip to the neighboring cities of Savannah or Beaufort or dine at a seaside restaurant and enjoy a spectacular sunset. The casual vibes of the island will put you at ease as any vacation should and with 50 miles of bike and hiking trails to traipse through, you’re sure to find some peace and quiet among the oaks. Much of the island is accessible by interconnected bike trails and two-wheels make for a great way to see the sights. Just keep an eye out for the alligators that lurk in the many ponds on the island!
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The Harbour Town Lighthouse is the best known and most beloved landmark on the island. The more than 40-year-old lighthouse is one of the only female lighthouse keepers in North America. Check out the museum and Lighthouse Legends tour for an educational and fun experience. The Coligny Beach Park includes fancy fountains with synchronized jets along with a gazebo and swings to keep kids entertained and Adirondack chairs for adults to sit back and enjoy the ocean breeze. The beach stretches for 12 miles and low tides reveal tidal pools with starfish and sand dollars. There are 25 golf courses on the island and standouts include the Hilton Head National Golf Club and the equally picturesque Golden Bear Golf Club.
Things To Do
What better place to golf than at one of the most distinguished golf courses in the U.S? The Harbour Town Golf Links is a perennial favorite among PGA Tour Players and was designed by the famed Pete Dye making it a true golfer’s green dream. For aquatic fun there’s the usual including water skiing and kayaking in the creeks where you might get a peek at the marine life including dolphins. Tours include dolphin sight-seeing, sea turtles, historic sites and a range of cultural tours. Explore the flora and fauna of the area at the Coastal Discovery Museum on 68 acres of fields and interactive exhibits. Check out the salt marshes, butterfly habitat and some of the oldest buildings on the island. The Sea Pines Forest Preserve is almost 10 times larger at 600 acres including the Shell Ring Trail that goes through a pine flatwood forest to a 4,000-year-old shell ring. Coligny Plaza is the business center in the area with a cluster of shops and restaurants including cabanas with kitschy souvenirs or the Tanger Outlets for more thorough selections of items.
Food & Culture
There is a plethora of waterfront restaurants serving up fresh seafood including Skull Creek Boathouse with outdoor seating to enjoy the sunset while you dine. Other standouts include Food Network star Robert Irvine’s Eat! Restaurant with menu items such as fried green tomatoes and blackened snapper and grits. The cuisine is as laid-back as the island with a nod to their southern ties and the delicious offerings of the sea.
The island’s storied past is represented in the Gullah art of basket weaving at the Sweetgrass Basket Gallery and their music, showcased throughout the island. The Art Café provides a fun and creative outlet where guests can paint their own pottery so make sure to commemorate the trip with the colors of the blue ocean and sunny skies. The Idea Studio offers drawing, painting and stained-glass classes for children and adults. There are quite a few art galleries including the Art League of Hilton Head and there’s the epicenter of entertainment, the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. For the musically inclined there’s the 200-member Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and for those who want to enjoy an indie film there’s the Coligny Theater.