The Coastal Discovery Museum should be your first stop for all things Hilton Head. This is place to go to gain a better understanding of the Lowcountry’s cultural heritage and history, its ecology, and its residents, both past and present.
When the Sea Pines Resort founder Charles Fraser built the Harbour Town Lighthouse in 1970, the skeptical public nicknamed it “Fraser’s Folly.” Fraser’s folly soon became Fraser’s foresight. His red-and-white-striped lighthouse soon became the symbol of Hilton Head Island.
Hilton Head’s mild climate, appealing natural surroundings, and careful development predetermined that this area would become one of this country’s most popular golf destinations.
Hilton Head Island is perfect for bike riding. Not only is it beautiful, it’s flat. When you first arrive here, you can’t help but notice all the bike riders. They are all over the place, meandering the miles and miles of designated bike trails, riding on the beach, exploring the Island’s beautiful treasures.
Explore Daufuskie Island by golf cart, an experience that is completely different and that you’ll remember for a long time. Great for all ages.
Every year over two million visitors flock here to enjoy the warm sunshine and more than 12 miles of beaches that encircle Hilton Head. Beachcombing is a natural activity for all ages. Have fun searching for crabs, shells, sand dollars, starfish, driftwood, and other treasures.
Hilton Head dolphins are as friendly as the people here. They show up in all the populated places – the Atlantic beaches, the sounds, and the creeks. Their graceful, silvery bodies never fail to catch attention as they arc through the waters or pop up to grin at you with their smiling faces.
A “must do” for visitors to Hilton Head Island is a boat cruise to Savannah. Skip the hassles of driving and arrive at Savannah’s River Street in style.
With miles of picturesque waterways Hilton Head Island offers many ways to explore. If you are adventurous and feel the call of the wild, try renting a powerboat and be your own captain.
There are plenty of beaches and golf courses on Hilton Head Island, but there’s only one zipline, perfect for those seeking an adrenaline rush.
On an island noted for its extensive tree canopy, in-the-trees aerial challenge courses are not only a likely fit, but also a thrilling way to experience Hilton Head’s natural beauty.
New to Hilton Head is this treetop adventure that consists of six courses with 50 different challenges, ranging from easy to very difficult. Through [...]
Winged, feathered, scaled or furred, Hilton Head’s natural inhabitants are all impressive and enjoyable to observe, but require the utmost respect as you come upon their terrain.
If you want to see one of the Hilton Head’s most intriguing inhabitants, the American alligator, you probably need to go only as far as the nearest fresh water or brackish lagoon.
In the Lowcountry, “photo ops” can be found at every turn. Join a guided photographic tour along Hilton Head’s waterways or the Savannah River.
Both the amateur and the avid birdwatcher quickly recognize Hilton Head as a prime place for birding. Birding is so popular and such an essential part of the Lowcountry experience that most guided ecotours include bird watching as part of their excursions.
Hilton Head Island’s distinctive scenery, combined with its mysterious light, makes sunset viewing an enduring Lowcountry pastime. Any place on the western side of the Island will give you a good sunset.
The Lowcountry’s estuarial ecosystem has led to the preservation of three national wildlife refuges that are open for exploration: Pinckney Island, ACE Basin, and the Savannah Wildlife Refuges.
Your visit to Hilton Head Island would be not complete without a trail ride on horseback through the Sea Pines Forest Preserve. Pretend you are back in time, in an era before cars, exploring unspoiled forests just as the Spanish did.
If golf and tennis are the official sports of the Lowcountry, bridge is the official card game. Hundreds of visitors flock to Hilton Head to set up a table or two for a weekend – or week – of bridge.
In fact, Hilton Head is one of the country’s most popular bridge destinations. In [...]
The giant bronze statue of Neptune, Shelter Cove Harbour’s most famous landmark, furnishes an ideal family photo, but it is not the only thing that draws people to Shelter Cove Harbour.
Coligny Circle and the Forest Beach area is easy to find; it is freely accessible by foot, car and bike; it’s right on the most popular public beach; and there are numerous hotels, shops and restaurants within walking distance.
Before there was Sea Pines, there was Palmetto Bay Marina, opened in 1959. The marina’s free-spirited Key West ambiance makes it a popular all-day destination. Water activities, restaurants, and shops will keep folks of all ages and interests busy from morning to night.
Hilton Head Island’s Harbour Town Yacht Basin is “must do” – a great place for the whole family to spend a whole day. It is the center of activity within The Sea Pines Resort.
Located at in the Sea Pines Resort, South Beach Marina Village is modeled after a New England-style fishing village. It is a great place to congregate, people watch, and spend the day – shopping, dining, and plenty of things to do.
There is so much fun to be had at this mid-island hub that the owners have decided to call this marina “Broad Creek Marina Adventures.” You can spend the whole day in this one spot.
In the midst of over 200 wonderful restaurants on Hilton Head Island, there is one unique dining experience offering the ultimate in beauty and romance – a sunset dinner cruise.
Set sail and venture out on the pristine waters that surround beautiful Hilton Head Island. Slicing through the sparkling water aboard a sail boat, with the warm sun shining above and the fresh wind blowing through your hair, invigorates the senses and relaxes the mind.
Feeling a little crabby? An easy and relaxing Hilton Head family activity, perhaps easier than fishing, is an outing to go crabbing. If you would like to learn more about crabbing, there are a number of companies in the area who can show you the ropes.
For a tranquil experience on the water, take a sail on a sailing catamaran. You’ll feel totally relaxed as you take in the serene Hilton Head Island waters.
Don’t miss out on taking a cruise on Hilton Head’s only trimaran, berthed at the Harbour Town Yacht Basin in the Sea Pines Resort.
Parasailing is your ticket to a peaceful yet thrilling experience. Soar over Hilton Head Island and you’ll see the Lowcountry for miles in every direction. Go solo or fly tandem. Choose how high you soar, from 400 to 800 feet in the air. Get wet or stay dry.
For an action-packed outing on the water, take a banana boat ride.
A popular sport on Hilton Head is jet skiing, or waverunning. Our waters are safe and uncrowded so you can go “fast and bouncy” or “slow and cruise.”
How about an extreme day. Experience the thrill of speeding behind a powerboat on nothing more than a pair of water skis or a bouncy rubber tube.
Kayaking is a Hilton Head “must do.” It is one of the best ways to enjoy the natural gifts the Lowcountry has to offer.
Anthropologists guess that around 400 A.D. a form of belly boarding on wood planks was introduced in ancient Hawaii. Over the centuries, the art, sport and culture of surfing has evolved.
For an exhilarating guided water tour with plenty of photo opportunities, be sure to consider the thrill of riding in a hard bottom inflatable zodiac-type raft.
Stand up paddle boarding is one of today’s fastest growing water activities, great for all ages. World-class surfers, fitness gurus and watermen alike have embraced this latest exercise trend.
For a unique way to tour the Island’s tidal creeks and marshes, rent the “Paddy Wagon,” a four-passenger paddleboat. As Hilton Head ‘s newest form of family fun, this is a “green” way to get out on the water.
The Stars and Stripes is an original 12-meter America’s Cup boat skippered by Dennis Conner. Offers a 90-minute afternoon sail and a two-hour sunset sail.
The waters of Hilton Head Island and the Lowcountry are an angler’s paradise. Just choose your fishing adventure – we have it all.
What’s a vacation without some leisurely time to kick back and drop a fishing pole into the water? If you aren’t a heavy-duty angler, you have kids in tow, or you just don’t want to spend the time or money for a charter boat, then try fishing in one of the Island’s many lagoons and ponds.
Hilton Head Island has become the fly fishing mecca for the Palmetto state. Whether backcountry, inshore or offshore, most all South Atlantic game fish can be successfully targeted depending on the time of year.
Arrive home with the ultimate fish story – “I caught JAWS!” Perhaps this is why shark fishing is one of the most popular excursions for both family fun and serious sports fishermen alike.
Shrimping has always played a large role in the life of the people on Hilton Head Island and throughout the Lowcountry. Learn the secrets of catching fresh shrimp during shrimping season, which runs from June 1 to late December or early January.
Ditch the car and take a boat to a restaurant. Enjoy a relaxing scenic cruise and dine on true Lowcountry cuisine in Savannah and on Daufuskie Island .
There are few experiences as typical to the Lowcountry lifestyle as a picnic on one of our many sandbars. Locals love to head out to the sandbars to picnic and party at low tide, particularly to the May River Sandbar.
The Gullah culture has woven its way into the fabric of the Lowcountry. Hilton Head Island offers visitors the chance to learn more about this unique and complex culture through guided historical tours.
Thanks to the ingenious masonry methods used by 18th century Lowcountry builders, you can walk the ruins of a grand antebellum tabby mansion. The Stoney-Baynard Ruins tells the colorful story of Hilton Head Island and of the Stoney and Baynard families.
For a quick history lesson, be sure to drive or bike by any one of the area’s historic churches. Most of these churches served as places of worship for abandoned or freed slaves during and after the Civil War, and are still open every Sunday for services.
For the perfect day trip, you don’t have to look any farther than over the bridge from Hilton Head Island to find the quaint, historical town of Bluffton. It features a thriving art district, historical tours of antebellum homes and churches, and great antique shops.
Built around 1840 as a summer residence for plantation owner John James Cole, the Heyward House was one of 15 houses and two churches to escape demolition by Union troops during the Civil War. It is open for tours Monday through Friday.
When you first pull up in front of Rose Hill Mansion, you can’t help but experience a rush of vivid images of pre-Civil War plantation life.
A visit to the Lowcountry is not complete until you’ve experienced the “haints” of the South: Boo Hags and root doctors; Voodoo and grave robbers; pirates and Civil War soldiers. This is the stuff of Lowcountry legends, creepy tales, and goose bumps, both on land and at sea.
You may want a new good “beach read,” or you might need a good way to entertain your youngsters. Whatever your need, take time to visit one of the Island’s popular libraries.
Hilton Head Island has the remnants of four Civil War forts. If you are interested in historic forts, don’t miss two of Savannah’s most significant forts: Fort Pulaski and Fort Jackson. And in the Charleston area, historic Fort Sumter.
Mitchelville was the first freed slave village in the United States. When the Union troops invaded and occupied Hilton Head Island in 1861 after the Battle of Port Royal, African-Americans officially began their road towards freedom.
The Sandbox on Hilton Head Island is a hands-on interactive museum for children with exhibits that are designed to help children learn while having fun.
Check out The Art Cafe in Coligny Plaza to create your own Hilton Head souvenir. It offers a variety of unfinished ceramics, from coffee mugs to wall hangings, for you to paint and add your creative talent.
Lawton Stables has Hilton Head’s only small animal farm where your youngsters can meet and pet a beautiful and friendly collection of animals.
Did you come to the Island with some kids and a dog that really need to run free? People and pets can find plenty of freedom at family-friendly parks all around the Island.
While adults are typically the ones who enjoy the world-class golf on Hilton Head Island, the entire family can enjoy our fun and unique miniature golf courses.
When the tourist season swings into high gear, the night skies of Hilton Head sizzle with fireworks. Running from mid-June through to mid-August, beginning around 9:00 p.m. (weather permitting, of course), Shelter Cove Marina hosts a pyrotechnic display visible all along Broad Creek.
Whether it’s Blackbeard or Jack Sparrow, pirates always seem to excite and fascinate us. Now your youngsters have a chance to experience what it must have been like to be a pirate along the South Carolina coast with Pirates of Hilton Head, which offers pirate sails daily during the summer.
Named one of the “100 Best Small Art Towns in America,” Hilton Head Island is nationally renowned for its vibrant arts community, encompassing everything from first-class art galleries to Broadway-style theatre to dance and musical performances.
Hilton Head Island has an abundance of high caliber local musical fare at reasonable prices, and some totally free. Venues range from large auditoriums and tennis stadiums, to churches and intimate clubs.
Owing to our distinctive scenery, our marvelous climate, and our community’s energetic support, Hilton Head Island has become a Mecca for visual artists. Painters, sculptors and photographers take advantage our magical backdrops and year-around explosion of colors and textures.
Just a short distance across the water from Hilton Head Island is Daufuskie Island, a century removed from the upscale stores, vacation villas, and power yachts of Hilton Head’s busiest tourist destination.
If you are curious about Daufuskie Island but want more flexibility than a guided tour, design your own day trip. Visiting Daufuskie can be a completely impromptu adventure, requiring nothing more than a few dollars, lots of curiosity, and time to spend.
Over 300 courts and 19 tennis clubs dot Hilton Head Island. Internationally recognized tennis programs for every age and ability level are offered year around, and there are always tournaments and round robins.
You’ve been on the go all day, and now you’re ravenous. Lucky for you, the Hilton Head area is as loaded with great restaurants as it is with activities that work up an appetite.
Shopping for local produce and products in the laid-back ambiance of one of a Lowcountry’s farmers market is not only economical, but it is very entertaining. There are a number of Hilton Head area farmers markets open seasonally year around.
The Hilton Head area offers “foody” tours to show-off our unique and authentic cuisine. Hilton Head’s and Lowcountry’s wonderful restaurants and festivals cater to food and drink aficionados of varied interests from all over the world.
If golfing is the number one pursuit on Hilton Head, then the number two activity is the “golf widow’s revenge” – SHOPPING.
The prospect of buying a home in the Hilton Head area may seem overwhelming – there are so many choices, where do you even begin? Actually, there is a basic order to the decision-making.
A narrated open-air trolley tour of the Historic District is a popular way to get a comprehensive introduction to Savannah’s significant history that began almost 300 years ago.
You’ve already taken a trolley tour, which gave you an overview of Savannah’s Historic District. Now it’s time to focus on the details. Take a specialty guided walking or driving tour.
Since its publication in 1994, John Berendt’s book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, or “The Book” as locals refer to it, has made a big impact on Savannah. Learn about this non-fiction depiction of the story’s places and players by joining a guided tour.
The history, scenery and ambiance of Georgia’s First City attract filmmakers from around the world. Savannah has been the location for over 87 movies. There are over 110 movie locations in the Historic District alone.
The River Street Riverboat Company offers a variety of cruises aboard the Savannah River Queen and the Georgia Queen, replicas of the river boats that cruised America’s rivers in days gone by.
Savannah is regarded as an international destination offering world-class art galleries, fine antique shops, and high-end boutiques. The Historic District has managed to preserve Savannah’s old world southern charm while blending in contemporary shopping.
From the cemeteries to bordellos to haunted mansions, Savannah has a reputation for having more than its fair share of ghosts and goose bumps, many of which have a basis in historical fact.
Always proud of its heritage and beauty, Savannah has a long track record of historic preservation. Visitors to Savannah may tour some of these magnificent historic homes.
When you think of Savannah, do you think of bamboo groves? If you do, you’re right. Bamboo has thrived here for over 100 years at what locals affectionately call “The Bamboo Farm.”
Experience the excitement of a World War II combat mission or enjoy the quiet solitude of an authentic English countryside chapel at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum.
Savannah’s Roundhouse Railroad Museum is a “must do” for railroad buffs. There are exhibits of antique machinery, locomotives, passenger cars other rolling stock and a truly splendid model railroad set.
Savannah was founded as a Church of England settlement, but many other beliefs soon followed. There are many historic churches. Here are a few significant colonial congregations.
There are a number of interesting nightlife tours in Savannah, including walking and van tours that specialize in brewpub crawls and martini barhopping.
As one of the key areas fought over during both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, Savannah offers you a glimpse of America’s earliest turmoil. It historic fort sites inspire awe and bring tears to those who visit.
As long as you’re visiting Georgia’s First City, why not tour her in a style in harmony with her history – a horse drawn carriage.
Not everything in Savannah’s Historic District has come to us from the 17th or 18th century. Visit the Telfair Museum and the Jepson Center for an artistic taste of Savannah.
Tybee Island is “Savannah’s Beach”. Located 18 miles east of Savannah, this small barrier island boasts a wide, three-mile long beach that’s backed by sea oat-covered sand dunes. It is perfect for sunbathing, people watching and frolicking in the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
Once you drive through the iron gates, a 1-1/2 mile avenue, sheltered by live oaks and Spanish moss, leads you to the fortified tabby ruins of Wormsloe, the 18th century colonial estate of Noble Jones.
When visiting Beaufort, founded 300 years ago, you can’t help but be curious about its history. Why are all these beautiful antebellum homes still here? Who were the people who built them, what did they do, and what was it like to live that lifestyle?
Parris Island is the training ground for some of America’s greatest heroes. The Island is open to the general public. The Parris Island Museum houses over 8,000 exhibits and photographs covering this US military training center since its beginning.
Hunting Island State Park is a truly spectacular place. Located on a 5,000-acre barrier island just 16 miles east of Beaufort on Hwy. 21, the park teems with wildlife and lush vegetation, and offers a delightful day for anyone interested in nature or history.
The Penn Center on St. Helena Island, southeast of Beaufort, was one of the country’s first schools for freed slaves and is considered one of this country’s most significant African-American historic institutions. It is a National Historic Landmark.
For a special albeit out-of-the-way experience, visit the stately Old Sheldon Church Ruins. Moss-draped trees surround towering brick and tabby columns that comprise the remains of what was once one of the South’s most beautiful churches.
The city of Charleston is one of this country’s most popular destinations, having received “Condé Nast Traveler’s” Award as “Top U.S. City.” Visitors can choose from a number of guided tours year around.
Tour some of the south’s most iconic plantations: Boone Hall, Drayton Hall, Hampton Plantation State Historic Site, Magnolia Plantation, and Middleton Plantation.
Learn About Our Other “101″ Publications
In addition to Hilton Head, we also publish visitor magazines other regions of the country, including California, Hawaii, Oregon, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. To view these magazines, visit our website at www.101things.com.
Hilton Head Airport, SC
Last Updated on Apr 24 2014, 10:50 am EDT
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