This South Carolina barrier island attracts visitors for its laid-back atmosphere and activities, including beachcombing, golf, nature hikes and fine dining.
Hilton Head, or Hilton Head Island, is a barrier island resort on the Atlantic coast of the USA. The island’s sandy beaches cover over 12 miles (19 kilometers). Many say these are among the most attractive resort beaches in the country. Sports are a big part of life in Hilton Head and there is wildlife to be seen too, including dolphins and alligators.
Rent a bike and travel between the beaches and other attractions by making use of the 50 miles (80 kilometers) of bicycle trails.
Golfers will appreciate the resort’s large number of courses. George Fazio Course at Palmetto Dunes Resort is a championship course open to the public. You’ll find numerous tennis clubs, as well. The Sea Pines Racquet Club at the Sea Pines Resort is managed by former U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion Stan Smith.
Go to Audubon Newhall Preserve to see snowy egrets, ospreys and other birdlife. Cross over to Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge between the north shore and the mainland. While here, look for the white-tailed deer and alligators. Go horseback riding through the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, or join a bottlenose dolphin cruise from the marina.
Hilton Head has an interesting cultural history, which you can explore at the Coastal Discovery Museum. This site has some of the island’s oldest buildings and a Southern red cedar tree dated from 1595. Find work by local artists and photographers in the Greer Gallery at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina.
Don’t miss out on a night of live music. Hear the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra at the First Presbyterian Church, or head to the Jazz Corner, a venue that has hosted well-known musicians, including Freddy Cole and the George Shearing Quintet.
Locally caught seafood is a specialty of Hilton Head’s culinary scene, which includes more than 250 dining establishments. Sample traditional dishes, including shrimp gumbo and sweet creek shrimp cooked in beer. The love of food and drink is celebrated at the Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival and annual Chili Cookoff.