Hilton Head, which is the second largest island on the East Coast, is located between Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. Its history dates back to the late 1700s, when it flourished as an agricultural community with crops of cotton, indigo, sugar cane, and rice. Later, the Island’s economy was based primarily on hunting and fishing. Today, Hilton Head’s 42 square miles of semi-tropical terrain is a premiere resort and retirement community.
You won’t see bright lights or billboards in Hilton Head. The restaurants and shops have been tucked away, to blend with the surrounding landscape. It may be a little disconcerting, at first, since the lighting and building facades are quite different from what you’re accustomed to seeing. However, it won’t be long before you appreciate the beauty and charm of the town’s design, and realize that you wouldn’t want it any other way.
Getting Around Hilton Head
The road leading to Hilton Head is congested in the mornings and evenings, but after you’ve crossed the bridge to the Island, the pace slows down considerably. You’ll find traffic circles at the major intersections and at many of the gated resorts. The South Beach Marina Village and Harbour Town, home of Hilton Head’s trademark red and white striped lighthouse, are both within Sea Pines. This resort, within a resort is an unforgettable getaway, with its palm trees, fragrant magnolias, and Spanish moss-draped oak trees.
The bike rental shops primarily rent “beach cruisers,” which are great for a leisurely pace when touring Hilton Head. However, mountain bikes and bicycles-built-for-two are also available. Some shops rent by the hour, but all rent daily or longer. Since I usually stay in Sea Pines, I rent my bikes at South Beach Cycles, located at 230 South Sea Pines Drive. Another excellent bike rental shop is Mike’s Bikes, located at 136 Beach City Road Unit B. They deliver to Palmetto Dunes, Port Royal area, Folly Field, Hilton Head Plantation, Sea Pines, Shipyard, North and South Forest Beach and MOST areas in between.
With more than 50 miles of wide, flat bike paths, and 12 miles of beach, biking is an excellent way to see the Island. If you’re riding on the beach, choose the three or four hours before and after low tide. Otherwise, the sand will be too soft to support your bike for easy peddling. Whether you choose to bike 5 miles or 50 miles, you’ll certainly have fun exploring the many unique and beautiful sights of this southern retreat.
So Much to Do and So Little Time
There are over 250 restaurants in Hilton Head, so you won’t have a problem finding a restaurant that you’ll enjoy. We continue to discover new favorites, so we’ve compiled a list of some of our best picks. Click here for restaurants to try first.
Tennis, golf, kayaking, deep-sea fishing, and dinner cruises are just a few of the many activities on Hilton Head Island. With so much to do and see, what’s not to like about this vacation utopia. And, if you can’t work it into your visit this time, you can always plan for your next visit.
Here are some of the sights on Hilton Head. It’s not hard to understand why many describe this vacation spot as their “Happy Place
For more photos of Hilton Head, click here.