Six Reasons to Love Hilton Head Island
While Hilton Head Island is a popular vacation destination, there's so much more to this island paradise than meets the eye.
Take a look at the reasons why we just love to live in Hilton Head!
1. The Beaches
Hilton Head Island is the second largest barrier island on the Eastern Seaboard, and features 12 miles of beachfront and five major beaches to choose from. Whether you're looking to hit the waves and surf, or just want to lie around and soak up a little sun, there's a place for you on Hilton Head. Want to find out more? Head on over to our Quick Guide to Hilton Head Beaches!
2. History and Culture
From Gullah culture to the Civil War, Hilton Head is steeped in history, and the island features several ways to learn and appreciate it. Gullah heritage tours allow you to learn and understand how the enslaved people preserved their rich culture and impacted life today, and Mitchelville allows you to take a look at the first freedmen’s town in America. Hilton Head Island had tremendous significance in the Civil War and became an important base of operations for the Union blockade of the Southern ports, with the Union building a military hospital on Hilton Head Island. Tour forts were built during the Civil War., and the remains of two earthen embankment forts, Fort Mitchel and Fort Howell, will be sure to fascinate Civil War buffs. Fort Walker was one of the targets of the largest naval battle ever in U.S. waters, the Battle of Port Royal.
3. The Wildlife
The Hilton Head Island area is home to a vast array of wildlife, including alligators, deer, loggerhead sea turtles, manatees, hundreds of species of birds . It also features several facilities which help preserve these wildlife, so if routine run-ins with wildlife aren’t enough, you can head out to these. Pinckney National Wildlife Refuge attracts thousands of migratory birds annually and provides a nesting habitat for birds like ibis, egrets, and herons, and there is also a chance you may spot a bobcat. Ride a horse through the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, which features 605 acres for exploration, including a fishing spot and picnic areas. The Coastal Discovery Museum is also a great place to learn more about native wildlife, featuring learning programs and walks on 68 coastal acres with ancient buildings and trees. And of course, dolphin-watching is a favorite pastime among visitors and locals alike.
4. The Active Life
If you're into activities, you will never be at a loss for fun at Hilton Head. It’s all here: water sports, golf, tennis, sport fishing. You can golf two of the finest courses in the world from the Sea Pines Resort, and the Van DerMeer Tennis Center features an indoor and outdoor court and teaching professionals available year-around. Fishing enthusiasts love the variety of opportunities from drop line, deep sea, sport fishing, surf fishing on the beach and even fly fishing in the marshes. If watersports is more your thing, you can explore the waterways and inlets around Hilton Head in a kayak, take to the sky in a parasail, rent a jet ski to skim across the sound, paddle board, surf or swim. More of a landlubber? Cut throughout the island are walking and biking trails connecting beaches to the island center, through woods, marshland and housing plantations, and you can rent bicycles or inline and roller skates.
5. Fresh Seafood
Being an island certainly has its perks when it comes to harvesting the bounties of the sea. Seafood doesn't come any fresher than it does in Hilton Head, and islanders enjoy a variety of these delectable treasures. Oysters are number one in the menu, and the island even plays host to a variety of oyster festivals and eat-all-you-can roasts. For an extensive selection of oysters try the Old Oyster Factory, but just about every restaurant in the area also features these briny delicacies in any way you can imagine: raw, streamed, broiled, smoked, roasted, fried!
6. The Art
Hilton Head is full of museums and theaters and even has a popular jazz bar. Learn about the natural history and cultural heritage of the Lowcountry at the Coastal Discovery Museum, or watch a professional show at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. Drop by South Carolina’s oldest professional gallery of fine art and find representational drawings, paintings and sculpture by the nation’s leading artists at the Red Piano Art Gallery.