If you’ve always wanted to visit the beach but never known where you wanted to go, consider Hilton Head Island in beautiful South Carolina. Not only is it one of the newest vacation destinations in the US (it was only connected to the mainland by bridge in 1956), it’s also one of the fastest growing.
In fact, in addition to seeing its population almost double in the past decade, largely due to an influx of seasonal residents, this unique destination on South Carolina’s Atlantic coast is now experienced by some.
South Carolina’s climate is distinctive: It includes a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cfa) with four distinct seasons, with warm, moist summers and mild winters. It is located in the southernmost part of the continental United States; near its southern border it borders Brazil and Georgia. Climate The area falls under the USDA 10b plant hardiness zone, but there can be considerable variation depending on wind exposure.
Hilton Head Island, SC is perhaps best known for its year-round climate and for the fact that it is the only state in which temperatures have never gone below zero degrees Fahrenheit (−18°C). Rainfall averages a year. Due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream’s warming influence, Hilton Head Island has a very mild climate for its latitude and location far from large bodies of water.
If you like golf, Hilton Head Island is for you. With over 100 golf courses, ranging from championship courses to miniature par-3s, including the famous Harbour Town Golf Links and the Dunes Club, golfers have an incredible choice. For those who prefer the more adventurous life, macadam trails for biking (including the 45-mile cross island Cycling Trail), climbing spots and scuba diving and snorkeling areas are available for underwater fun. Dolphin watching cruises are also a popular getaway during the right months of the year.
Hilton Head Island also features lovely beaches and the glistening Atlantic. Enjoy boardwalks and trails for walking or bicycling, or rent a kayak at one of the many marinas on the island. If you’re looking for more than just a beach vacation, Hilton Head Island has a variety of attractions and entertainment options. Some of the island’s most popular attractions include the Sea Pines Heritage Trail, which includes the Elisabeth Morrow Platt Magnolia Gardens, and the Pineland Farms Nature Center. You can also visit one of the island’s many art galleries or take in a performance at one of the many theaters in South Carolina and Georgia. The Arts Center also includes fun events like pottery demonstrations, poetry readings and concert reviews.
Many residents are employed in business such as hospitality, retail and service industries. The area is popular with retirees who enjoy its fine weather year-round, mild winters and long beaches.
Looking for something to eat? The island features restaurants for every taste from gourmet to fast food and everything in between. The favorites include The Crab Shack, the Oyster Bar at Coligny Plaza, Georges of Georgetown and Cafe L’Europe. The local cuisine features fresh seafood and tropical fruits.
Hilton Head Island features hotels and resorts of all kinds to suit every traveler’s tastes. The resort area is primarily on the southern end of the island, with cottage-style homes and condominium units scattered about the area. The north end, known as Sandestin, is where many of the luxury villas are situated.
If you are wanting to spend a little less time at your resort, while still enjoying many of the same amenities and activities, consider staying in one of the various towns on Hilton Head Island. This area is also ideal for those who are looking for an outdoor lifestyle and quiet beach life away from the crowds.
Hilton Head Island is only an hour south of Orlando, Florida and less than an hour north of Savannah, Georgia. The island is relatively isolated from other areas of the mainland US, which means it is a great home base for those who want to go exploring in different places across the US or for those who have a love for nature.
Events that draw many visitors to the island include the annual Shellfish Festival, held in March and the Rivertown Music Festival, held in June. Both of these events feature a variety of live concerts on multiple stages. The Hilton Head Island Jazz Festival also attracts many jazz aficionados during end of March and early April.
If you’d like to know more about the history and culture of Hilton Head, consider attending one of the many lectures and symposia given by local residents. Some of these events are free and all can be found on the Hilton Head Island Welcome Center’s website.
The Island also hosts a number of “shopping days” during the spring and summer months. These days are meant to be an all around shopping experience for residents and tourists alike. They include special outdoor displays featuring art, crafts and books.
If you’re looking for souvenirs, Hilton Head Island is also a great place to shop. Boutiques vend everything from art and clothing to furniture, jewelry, toys and home decor. The island’s largest mall is Westfield Shopping Town Center. For more upscale shopping, visit the Harbour Town Lighthouse at Harbour Towne Centre with its designer shops and bustling boutiques.
While visiting Hilton Head Island, don’t miss your chance to meet some of its wonderful residents and friendly volunteers who are eager to share their stories with you. The Hilton Head Island Visitor Information Center offers information about events on the island, as well as a daily weather forecast. If you’re retiring to the area, the Visitor Information Center also provides information about real estate and other services available to you.
The Island Packet newspaper is published daily and delivers news from all over the island as well as stories covering local issues and topics of interest.