If you want to find anything on the island with ease I suggest you go to the visitors center and museum first to get maps and free coupons for discounts all over the island. You can get a free packet called Celebration visitors card at the museum or
This is a no clip coupon card, you can get 10% to 20% off and phone numbers of many store and points of interest.
The first time we visited Hilton Head we stayed in condominums at Sea Pines. The complex had a community pool that was definitely a highlight for the children. Someone bought the kids this giant tyrannosaurus rex for the pool--it was a big hit!!
The next several years our family shared a house on the beach. The beach area was private and pristine--we spent evenings on the deck watching the sunset, sampling a glass of wine and listening to the children quietly engage in cousin-play.
Our days were spent on the beach, shopping, playing board games, bicycling the paths and restaurant hopping. Of course, we always had days when the cooking was shared at the house, too. The memory of those wonderful family-centered vacations still bring a warm feeling to my heart!
Bicycling was a joy at Hilton Head. The flat paths wound throughout the area--it was great exercise and a regular evening routine. If I rose early in the day, I would venture out before the heat baked the pavement and me!!
The children in our family each received a bike for the week. They looked forward to rambling around on their wheels--the adults took turns taking them out and about. Not only was it a constructive pastime, it was a tremendous amount of fun!
the hilton head welcome center is a good first stop on a visit to hilton head island. the welcome center is home to the coastal discovery museum which has displays on the history and ecology of the island. the welcome center is also a good place to get information on hotels, restaurants, and the attractions of the island.
at the hilton head welcome center you can arrange a trolley tour of the island. the tour covers the historical and natural attractions of the island. traffic on hilton head island can be heavy and the trolley tour is a very relaxing way to see the island.
When most people go on vacation to Hilton Head Island their activities usually center on visiting the beach, playing golf or tennis, and dining out at restaurants. Here's our Top 10 List of other things to do on your Hilton Head Vacation:
10. Explore Nature. Visit the Coastal Discovery Museum, take a guided nature tour, or walk one of the many nature preserves on the Island.
9. Rent a watercraft. Don't worry if you don't know how to navigate the craft - lessons and instructions are available.
8. Go deep sea fishing. Both private charters and public day trips are available.
7. Rent a kayak or canoe. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon of paddling through miles of lagoons and marshland. Guided tours are available.
6. Ride a bike. Not only can you ride your bike on the beach, but there are also over 100 miles of bike paths on HIlton Head Island along Highway 278 and through the resort communities.
5. Take a boat tour. There are daily cruises around the Island, to Daufuskie Island, and down to Savannah, Georgia. Among the different cruises available are dinner cruises, sunset cruises, dolphin watch cruises, nature cruises, and more.
4. Spend a day at the spa. Both Hilton Head and Daufuskie Island have world class day spas where you can be poked, massaged, and pampered for the afternoon.
3. Take in a polo match. Just off the sland in the town of Bluffton, Rose Hill Plantation features seasonal polo matches and the best tailgate party you will ever attend.
2. Go to the top of the Harbour Town Lighthouse. Be sure to take your camera to get some spectacular shots of the boats in the marina, the famed 18th hole at the Harbour Town Golf Links, and the Atlantic Ocean.
1. RELAX. Just because you're on vacation doesn't mean you have to cram every minute of the day with events and activities. Spend a few hours outside at the beach, by the pool, on your balcony, or at a cafe table simply taking in the sites and relaxing.
the stoney-baynard ruins are located on the braddocks point plantation near the modern day area of harbour town. james stoney built this ruined plantation home some time between 1793 and 1820. the stoney home was built out of tabby which is a type of concrete made from lime, sand, and oyster shells. in 1861 union forces invaded hilton head island and the stoney house was occupied by union troops. after the civil war the home was destroyed by fire in 1867. the stoney-baynard ruins are listed on the national register of historic places. the stoney-baynard ruins is a very interesting place to visit for those interested in southern history.
pictured is a foundation of a slave quarters on the grounds of braddocks point plantation. the original plantation covered over 1,000 acres of hilton head island and was named after captain david braddock. these foundations can be found near the stoney-baynard ruins.
Beaufort is not very far from Hilton Head. It makes a good day trip off the island.
First we went to the official visitor's center, and I got the official SC map. They had numerous tours available - little buses, little trolleys and walking tours. We didn't buy a tour, but we got the historic area map, and I took over 40 pictures of the buildings in town.
After lunch, we went back out via the National Cemetery, and then drove down to Port Royal because I had heard it was a nice little town. There was a sign saying that the speed limit in town was 21 1/2 mph, and another one saying that it was 15 mph for trucks. There is very little in Port Royal although there is a port which is off limits except to official visitors, a dry stack storage facility. and a boardwalk along the water with a tower at one end. Probably the museum tour of Port Royal would be the way to visit this town.
From there we crossed the high fixed bridge to Catt Island/Ladies Island. There was an airport on Ladies Island with all kinds of old planes. Then we turned south and went across the bridge to Dataw Island/St. Helena Island (one side of these islands has one name and the other side has another name - I presume that at one point they may have been separate islands).
Then we crossed the Harbor River to Hunting Island. This is a state park and the fee was $4 each. We went to the Visitor's Center (saw an alligator in the pond there, and saw the movie about the history and looked at the exhibits. Then we went and looked at the Hunting Island lighthouse and took some pictures.
We drove to Savannah and took the Old Savannah Tours tour. We got a really good and entertaining driver. They gave us a map with the stops on it but it did not have the route taken, but I think we saw all the main attractions of Savannah and he also told us which movies were filmed at various locations (which didn't mean a thing to me as I don't watch movies).
We got off at the City Market where the horse and carriages were and had lunch. Then we got back on the next trolley that came by and from here we went down to the waterfront down a steep cobbled street, and by Factor's Row. We saw the waving girl statue, and the little Olympic flame statue (they did some of the sailing events from the Atlanta Olympics here). But mostly this section of the tour went by various hotels. I did see a big powerboat at the docks here like we often see on the ICW.
Then we got into the car and drove out to Fort Pulaski. We saw the film about the fort history. A cold front went through and a dense fog rolled in. We could hardly see the other side of the fort. I had seen a small lighthouse outside the fort when we came in, and we could also see the Tybee Island light in the distance, but we couldn't see any of that now. We walked around the fort a bit . Then we got back in the car and tried to drive back to Savannah. We drove by the 6 mile Rails to Trails section again, and then we came to an intersection and turned left and ended up going over the fixed bridge in Thunderbolt where we often stayed when we were here by boat. On the way home, we went through Bluffton again but it was too early to stop for dinner.
The museum gives several tours, and even in the winter we could do the trolley tour. It is one way to get onto the Harbour Town without paying the entrance fee, and we could see the toll road without paying for that. They also took us into several of the limited access "plantation" areas and showed us where the shopping areas were. These had been hidden from us previously by lack of signs.
Cost: $30.00 per adult / $15.00 per child (ages 3-12)
They now also have a Port Royal Tour as well as some walking and nature tours.
This is what I wrote about our tour. The driver said he was a retired principal from Alaska who retired down there, and that he worked for tips.
He told us about the covenanted communities which certainly appeared true. There are restrictions on what colors you can paint your house (only 5-10 colors possible and no white window frames). After dark the buildings are supposed to disappear into the landscape and return to like natural and they do. After dark you can't see anything - no neon signs except inside - only floodlights on the little signs. No golden arches. And in the residential areas no trucks, no gardens, no clotheslines, no fences etc., but you could rent a plot to raise a garden on.
We saw the Neptune statue sundial and went into Sea Pines (which has 60 miles of bike trails, but you can't ride your bike into Sea Pines - have to bring it in on your car or rent it there) to the Harbour Town Marina. We also passed the stables, and a lot of golf courses and tennis courts.
By the time we got to Harbourtown it was quite cold and very windy. So the driver put the plastic windows down and I couldn't take anymore pictures. We went back to the museum via the Cross County toll road.
Take a walk around the harbour and check out all the beautiful boats at the dock. I really liked the woodwork on this boat. Some are worth millions, you just have to take it all in and grab your camera.
Go to Harbor Town, Shelter Cove, and Daufuskie Island. Daufuskie Island is nice because there is no bridge to the island and the Gullah Culture of the old African Slaves is still present on the Island.
Golf, HHI's number one attraction.
There are a lot of marsh areas around the island. This is a preserved nature area right in the middle of Hilton Head Plantation. I have gone back here many times and it is peaceful. The developer really did want to preserve some of the area before his daddy timbered off most of the trees in the prior decades. The Frasier family had 3,000 acres of timber land at one time, and then along came development for retail selling to tourists/visitors. The whole concept crashed and now another pursues that dream.
At approximately mid March, there is a local on-island Wine Fest. The cost is around $25 which includes a commemorative wine glass inscibed with that year and all the wine sipping you can stand! In past years they've included a nice collection of beer vendors as well. The fest starts at around 11am and goes until 4 or 5pm. Local bands are featured for entertainment and dancing is encouraged!
The Wing fest is the weekend following the Wine Fest and instead of a general fee, batches of tickets are bought for beer and wings. Fares other than wings are featured by a wonderful spread of local restaurants and vendors. Local entertainment is provided for this as well and the entire time is a huge enjoyment for all !
This is one of those hotels which is on a "Plantation" which means that you have to go through a...more
I've stayed in this hotel three times and loved it every time. Bike rentals are easy at the resort...more
We had breakfast both mornings here. Because it was early December they did not have their breakfast...more