Hilton Head, South Carolina
The Enduring Appeal of Hilton Head!
Half a century ago, Hilton Head Island had only 300 residents, mostly native Gullah islanders—descendants of slaves who lived off the land. Some still reside on the island and happily share their culture with visitors. Today, Hilton Head is “the island that golf built” and has 34,000 full-time residents and 23 golf courses, plus another 22 in neighboring Bluffton—of all distinctions and levels—that combine to draw nearly two million visitors a year. While it may exude golf, there are many people who embrace the great outdoors and languish among the island’s many treasures—the tranquility, beautiful shores, unique shops, Spanish-moss-draped bicycle paths, more than 300 tennis courts, and ferry rides across the glittering Calibogue Sound. Outdoor seating at some of the cafés, seafood restaurants and wine bars also makes it easy to linger over scenic views. With an understated elegance—despite its mega yachts and millionaires—there are no neon lights, few aggressive street-side vendors or bustling commuters. In fact, the 12-mile (19 km) long and 5-mile (8 km) wide island was the first eco-planned destination in the United States, and this Southern icon is still keeping it green. The kind of feeling and inspiration one gets from Hilton Head is well sought after for those memorable, and often traditional, family beach getaways.
Exploring Hilton Head
Marinas and boating are the lifeblood of this community—there are actually more boats than cars. Large yachts moor behind newly expanded seawalls and water sports are plentiful. Hilton Head Island offers 12 miles (19 km) of beaches with public access and metered parking available at Coligny Beach, Alder Lane, Folly Field Road, Dreissen’s Beach Park, Islanders Beach Park, and Collier Beach Park. Hilton Head has become the land of good ole American R&R. On land, there are salt marshes, networks of lagoons and creeks, forests with moss-draped oaks, magnolias, pines, palmettos and 12 miles (19 km) of sandy beaches are interspersed with championship golf courses, tennis courts and fine restaurants. Throughout the years, preservation has been just as important as the cultivated tradition and values: Families that come year after year, generation after generation. Hilton Head offers a softer side of adventure and entertainment for all ages: Biking, kayaking, sailing, surfing, scuba diving, parasailing, windsurfing, waterskiing, fishing, crabbing, horseback riding, nature-based tours/nature preserves, miniature golf, playgrounds, swimming pools, dolphin-watching cruises, historic and Gullah heritage tours, hayrides, arts and cultural activities, shopping, fine dining, sightseeing, discreet people watching, and evenings filled with constellations, twinkling lights and nightlife. The candy-striped, red-and-white lighthouse at the Harbour Town Marina is easily the most frequented waterfront on Hilton Head. For a family getaway filled with relaxation, beauty and outdoor adventures, Hilton Head is a can’t-miss destination and may become a yearly tradition of your own!