Summer Fun: South End Landmarks

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Tennis

The south end is home to four tennis clubs that are open to the public: Sea Pines Raquet Club and South Beach Raquet Club are located in Sea Pines Resort, while Shipyard Raquet Club and the island’s largest tennis facility, Van Der Meer Tennis Center, are located in Shipyard Plantation. There is a variety of hard surface courts, clay courts and lighted courts available. For the more casual player, there are four public, first-come, first-served tennis courts available at Cordillo Courts.

Golf

thesouthend2There are four public golf courses located on Hilton Head Island’s south end, all beautiful and each offering something a little bit different from the next.  

  • Imagine yourself a part of the PGA Tour by playing a round at Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines Resort, home to the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing. Harbour Town is known for its challenging course with a famous par-4, which is known to be especially interesting on a windy day. Reserving your tee time in advance is highly recommended.
  • Also in Sea Pines, Heron Point by Pete Dye is a great course for a mixed group of players, with seven sets of tees on each hole, including one for juniors. The course was named one of the Top 50 Courses for Women by Golf Digest, and includes a variety of challenges as well as beautiful landscaping.
  • Check out the Ocean Course in Sea Pines Resort, the first golf course built on Hilton Head Island. The Ocean Course features a classic design including lagoons and bunkers and is a great course no matter your level of play. This course boasts one of only two oceanfront holes on Hilton Head Island.
  • Create your own golfing experience at the Shipyard Golf Club, which offers three nine-hole courses which can be played in three 18-hole combinations. Each of the three nine-hole courses offers different challenges and have their own unique flavor.

Lawton Stables

Lawton Stables

One of the best ways to check out the Sea Pines Forest Preserve is on horseback, courtesy of the Western-style trail rides offered by Lawton Stables. No riding experience is necessary to enjoy this one-hour walk through nature. Lawton Stables also offers pony rides for kids 7 and younger, and has an animal farm where the whole family can enjoy feeding and petting the goats, sheep, miniature donkeys and cows, pot-bellied pigs, and alpacas. Make sure you meet Callie the deer and Harley the draft horse while you’re there.

Parks

  • parksLocated at the corner of Pope Avenue and New Orleans Road, Compass Rose Park is a beautiful place to read a book or have a picnic. With its free Wi-Fi, it’s also a great outdoor spot if you’ve just got to get a little work done. Compass Rose Park is equipped with beautiful wooden swings and benches as well as a large rotating compass rose, and a statue of Island icon Charles Fraser and an alligator, which makes a great photo op.
  • If you are interested in gardening, the Xeriscape Garden at the Town of Hilton Head Island government offices off Wexford Drive features many plants native to the Lowcountry and is designed to conserve water and require minimum maintenance. It features many interesting and beautiful plants and flowers like the Hercules’ Club, fetterbush, and the sparkleberry tree.
  • You can find a playground for the kids or a hiking (or biking) trail for the whole family at Crossings Park, off Helmsman Way. Crossings Park is also home to a large multi-purpose meadow where there is plenty of room to run around, as well as a baseball/softball field.
  • Right next door to Crossings Park is Bristol Sports Arena for the hockey or skateboarding fans in the family. Its got a full roller hockey court as well as a skate park with half-pipe and rails.

Beaches

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The south end has lots of beautiful beach to offer, with a little something for everyone.

  • If you’re looking for the best place to surf, check out North Forest Beach, specifically the area at Jacana Street at high tide. North Forest Beach is a local favorite, located in one of the island’s oldest neighborhoods.
  • If you want to be in the middle of it all, Coligny Beach is the one for you. Coligny is definitely Hilton Head’s busiest beach, offering free Wi-Fi, lots of beach rentals available, and free parking. It is also right across the street from Coligny Plaza, which houses lots of restaurants and shopping options.
  • If you want a little more room to spread out, head down to South Forest Beach, which is wide and spacious, making it a great beach to take a bike ride on.
  • If you want to give a new watersport a try, head down to South Beach inside of Sea Pines. The South Beach Marina offers lots to do, and you can try out kayaking, sport fishing, or parasailing. Keep in mind that if you’re not staying in Sea Pines, you’ll have to pay $6 per vehicle to enter.

‘Barmuda’ Triangle

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Made up of Hilton Head Brewing Company, The Lodge, One Hot Mama’s, and Reilley’s, there is always fun to be had at the “Barmuda” Triangle off Greenwood Drive. You can bar-hop between the four establishments via the connected patio that joins them, enjoy live music, DJs, or just hang out and have a beer or cocktail.

Baynard Plantation Ruins

Located on six acres, the Baynard house was built around 1793 by Capt. Jack Stoney. The Stoney family lived in the house for several decades until it was acquired by William Edings Baynard (according to some, in a late-night poker game) in 1840. The house was taken during the Civil War and used as Union forces headquarters. It burned down shortly after the Civil War. The ruins are now listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.

Coligny Plaza

thesouthend14Hilton Head’s “downtown,” Coligny Plaza houses more than 60 stores, 15 restaurants and a movie theater, and it’s right across the street from the beach. Grab dinner, get some ice cream (or fudge, or a cupcake, or vintage candy), and check out the apparel, souvenir and specialty shops that Coligny has to offer. Coligny also has you covered for your grocery and hardware needs.

Coligny Theatre

Coligny Theatre is an art house theatre mostly showing independent films. It is a single-screen theater originally built in 1972 as The Island Theater and was the only theater on Hilton Head for many years. The schedule is updated each week, and there are three showings per day.

Park Plaza Cinemas

Park Plaza Cinemas is an independent family-owned theater in Park Plaza off Arrow Road. It’s a great, cozy theater to check out the latest movie you’ve been dying to see. In addition to candy and popcorn, you can have a beer or a glass of wine while you watch the show. You might even be greeted by the cinema’s four-legged employees, Annabelle and Antoinette. Be sure to check out the gift shop while you’re there.

thesouthend7Harbour Town & Harbour Town Yacht Basin

It’s hard to imagine Hilton Head without picturing the classic red and white lighthouse. You can visit that lighthouse for yourself in Harbour Town, inside of Sea Pines Resort. While you’re there, you’ll have plenty of stores to check out and lots of restaurants to choose from. Be sure to check out a Gregg Russell show in the evening- great for the kids! There are lots of boat cruises and tours available in the Yacht Basin, as well as kayaks, parasailing, stand up paddleboards and other fun watersports. There’s also a great playground- the kids will be begging to check out the tree houses!

thesouthend5Legendary Golf

Legendary Golf has two locations on the south end. The Pope Avenue location is a family-friendly course that makes for a fun way to spend an afternoon. It’s got lots of lagoons, making it fun and challenging. The second location, on William Hilton Parkway, has two courses, both a bit more challenging than the Pope Ave location. They’ve got waterfalls galore.

The Sandbox: An Interactive Children’s Museum

Need a break from the beach or something to do on a rainy day? Take the kids over to Hilton Head’s interactive childrens’ museum, The Sandbox, on Pope Ave. It’s got great exhibits and activities for infants up to 8 year olds. Featuring an infant and toddler play area, an aquarium, climbing wall and much more, your kids will definitely be entertained!

Palmetto Bay Marina

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At the end of Helmsman Way, Palmetto Bay Marina houses apartment homes, several restaurants and bars, and lots of water activities. You can visit Palmetto Bay Marina to charter fishing boats, sailing trips, or dolphin tours. If you hang out by the docks, you’ll see dolphins following the fishing boats into port.

South Beach Marina

The South Beach Marina, in Sea Pines Resort, is home to the famous Salty Dog Café, as well as lots of cute shops you’ll be dying to check out. There is also access to boat rentals, deep-sea fishing, nature tours and fun watersport activities. And it’s just a short walk to the beach!

Sea Pines Forest Preserve

thesouthend9You should definitely make plans to check out the Sea Pines Forest Preserve while you’re on Hilton Head Island. The preserve is made up of 605 acres of fields, marsh, and walking trails so that you can enjoy it all. Be sure to visit the Indian Shell Ring, the site of a 4,000-year-old Indian village. You won’t find a much prettier view than the Wildflower Field by Lake Thomas. Pack a picnic and enjoy it on Fish Island. And if you head to the observation desks at Old Lawton Rice Field, you might spot a gator!

The Village at Wexford

The Village at Wexford is home to 30 retail shops, restaurants, and services. It is made up of many upscale shops, and considers themselves “the heart of shopping local” on Hilton Head with many locally owned small businesses. Consider stopping by on Wednesdays for a “W@W” (Wednesdays at Wexford) event, which might include live music, or a demonstration by one or more shops.

Audubon Newhall Preserve

The Audubon Newhall Preserve is a 50-acre nature preserve off of Palmetto Bay Road. It features a two-mile easy walking trail with benches along the way. All along the trail are signs pointing out the various Lowcountry plants. At the end of the trail, near the center of the preserve is a pond and wetland.

Pirates of Hilton Head

thesouthend11A 1 ½-hour pirate boat cruise recommended for ages 2 to 10. There’s face-paint, tattoos and a pirate sash to wear for the trip. Everyone gets a pirate name and learns how to talk like a pirate before the treasure hunt begins.

Art Galleries

With the beautiful views and a relaxed pace, it’s no wonder that island life inspires many works of art. There are lots of galleries on Hilton Head where you can see and/or purchase the work of local artists and artisans as well as national or international artists. Just on the south end, you have plenty to choose from, no matter your artistic taste:

  • Karis Art Gallery, located in the Village at Wexford, features works by more than 25 artists from the US and Canada, many of whom are from South Carolina. There you’ll find paintings and photography as well as handmade jewelry.
  • The work of over 300 artists and craftsmen is represented at Smith Galleries, also located in the Village at Wexford. Smith Galleries houses lots of eclectic works including doorknockers and kaleidoscopes, in addition to paintings, pottery, and more.
  • Muse Gallery, on Arrow Road, houses contemporary artwork by 20 painters and sculptors from across the US. The installations at Muse all have a common feeling and thread between the various pieces.
  • The Red Piano Gallery is located in the historic Red Piano building on Cordillo Parkway. The Red Piano features pieces by many talented painters and sculptors.

Grocery Stores

Everyone has their favorite grocery store at home that they are committed to, so sometimes its hard to find one you love for your vacation. The south end has four major grocery stores to choose from.

  • Publix offers excellent variety and amazing customer service and is sure to make you feel at home. If you want an easy meal, pick up their fried chicken. It’s the best!
  • For a huge selection of products, stop by Harris Teeter, particularly for their sprawling wine selection. As an added bonus, you can use their online ordering service to choose your groceries, and have them packaged and waiting for you when you arrive to pick them up.
  • You can’t beat the prices at Bi-Lo and they’ve also got a variety of beach products so you can grab anything you forgot to bring from home.
  • For a more small-town grocery feel, stop by Piggly Wiggly in Coligny Plaza. Piggly Wiggly T-shirts make great souvenirs for friends back home, too!

Spas

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The south end is a world-class destination for indulgence. Unwind in private treatment rooms, steam rooms, tubs, tanning stations and be pampered with massage treatments, facials and makeovers. There are a ton of places to choose from, highlighted by LE SPA at Sea Pines Center and FACES DaySpa at the Village at Wexford.

 

The Shops at Sea Pines Center

Located in the heart of Sea Pines Plantation, this popular shopping center plays host to an interesting variety of customized retail shops and boutiques with a mix of top-quality jewelry, resort casual men’s and women’s clothing, decorative accessories and antiques. Truffles Café and LE SPA are also located there.

Where to stay

There are a variety of accommodation types on the south end. From intimate boutique inns to sprawling timeshare resorts, oceanfront rental homes and four and five-star hotels, accommodations on the south end have enough variety to please every travel style and budget. Sonesta in Shipyard Plantation, the Beach House, a Holiday Inn Resort, by Coligny circle, Marriott’s Monarch at Sea Pines and Marriott’s Grande Ocean are the most popular hotels that are walking distance to the beach. The south end is also home to The Inn at Harbour Town, a highly rated luxury hotel.

Restaurants

thesouthend10With 127 restaurants on the south end, you won’t have trouble finding a good place to eat. The Salty Dog Cafe is the most famous spot, closly followed by The Sea Shack. We could go on and on about the high quality of restaurants the south end has to offer. The most comprehensive information can be found in a publication called “Fork & Fun: Hilton Head Island & Bluffton’s Favorite Restaurants.” Copies can be found in magazine racks and most grocery stores.

Watersport Rentals/Fishing Charters/Boat Tours

Harbour Town Yacht Basin and South Beach Marina are the hottest spot on the south end for watersport rentals, fishing charters and boat tours. Dolphin tours are the most popular. Rent a banana boat, kayak, stand-up paddleboard or waverunner. You can also go parasailing for a unique view of the island.