Hilton Head Island Travel Tips
Hilton Head Island is a popular vacation spot on South Carolina’s southern coast. Whether you’re traveling with kids or as a couple, there’s something for everyone here.
What to Do
There’s plenty to do in and around Hilton Head for travelers of all ages:
- Hit the links! Hilton Head is famous worldwide for its excellent golf courses. Two of the most popular are Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines and Arthur Hills Course at Palmetto Dunes. Both are very busy, so reserve your tee time well in advance. If you want to walk in the legends’ footsteps, play at Harbour Town, which hosts the PGA RBC Heritage tournament each year and was ranked number two in the state by the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel. Other notable courses are Long Cove Club and Haig Point Club on nearby Daufauskie Island.
- Relax at one of the island’s famous spas. One of the best is Ahh Green Spa near Coligny Circle, which uses only organic ingredients in facials, massages and body treatments. Another is The Art of Massage, directly across from The Village at Wexford shopping center. Come here for a relaxing massage to work out your knots from a day filled with tennis or kayaking.
- Take the kids somewhere fun! Some of the best activities for kids include taking a cruise from Pirates of Hilton Head, renting bikes or kayaks from Hilton Head Outfitters, visiting Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf and going horseback riding at Lawton Stables.
- Hit the beaches. Hilton Head offers 12 miles of perfect shoreline. Some of the best are Coligny Beach, which has excellent facilities, and Singleton Beach, where you’ll find sand dollars, few waves and plenty of peace and quiet.
What to See
Hilton Head Island also has some great nature preserves and museums that are perfect for families:
- Take a walk on elevated boardwalks in the swampy 400-acre Sea Pines Forest Preserve to see turtles, birds and other wildlife.
- Take a peaceful stroll through the 50-acre Audubon Newhall Preserve, which has many walking trails and a pretty pond.
- Visit the one-of-a-kind Coastal Discovery Museum, located off of Honey Horn Drive on the inner island, to see and learn about the Loggerhead Turtles, visit many sophisticated exhibits and check out the cute interactive Kidz’ Zone in Discovery House.
- Catch a show at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, which features various Broadway shows by an expert cast.
Hilton Head Island has an excellent variety of festivals and events for all visitors.
- The Hilton Head Island Art Festival is held during one weekend each May at Shelter Cove Harbour. Visit the booths in which more than 150 artists from across the country sell their original work, including paintings, sculptures, pottery, jewelry and more. There’s also live music to keep you entertained.
- Buy tickets in advance and head to the Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival, one of the most popular events in the South. Sip on local coastal wines at the public tasting, participate in a grape stomping competition a la “I Love Lucy,” which includes a Lucy look-alike contest, and enjoy Lowcountry foods at the Great Chefs of the South wine dinners. The festival is held in early March.
- If you want to see golf pros up close and personal, come to Hilton Head in mid-February for the annual RBC Heritage golf tournament, which has hosted big names like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Nick Price. Spectator tickets can be pricy, but golf lovers ages 15 and under can attend the event free of charge with an adult.
- If you’re a classic car fanatic, you won’t want to miss the Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance, which is held on one weekend in early November. The idyllic natural beauty of Hilton Head serves as a spectacular backdrop for the shiny Rolls-Royce Driving Tour. See everything from well-preserved early 20th century vehicles to modern English sports cars during a walk through the Port Royal Golf Club.
- If you are in Hilton Head at the end of February through the beginning of March the Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration, a festival that celebrates and honors the area’s Gullah culture and history, is a must-do event. The Gullah are descendants of slaves along the southeastern coast who have preserved their heritage. Celebrate by dining with a traditional oyster roast and Lowcountry boil, viewing Gullah art at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina and learning the process of indigo-dyeing.