Yes, Hilton Head Island is known for its 12 miles of sandy, blissful beaches. But you’re missing out if that’s all your seeing this summer.
It’s been written on countless tacky T-shirts and risqué bumper stickers that “Life’s a Beach.” And that might be true for some folks. But not everyone.
Some of you might have done the beach thing to death at this point and are looking for your next adventure. Some of you just might not be all that jazzed about fighting for blanket space to bake yourself lobster red before fishing sand out of your bathing suit for the rest of the day.
Whatever your motivation, if you’re looking to have an amazing summer without setting foot on the beach, Hilton Head Island has you covered. Consider this your playbook for a summer of beach-free bliss.
If you’ve never ridden a Segway before, you may as well start in style along Hilton Head Island’s beautiful award-winning pathways. ProSegway of Hilton Head tours run from $69-$100 and take you all over, from relaxed eco-adventure around Honey Horn to an extended two-hour tour that takes you along the length and breadth of the island at a slightly faster clip. Strap on your helmet and take in the island standing tall – call 800-800-0424 for details.
You haven’t seen Hilton Head Island until you’ve seen it from the air. And Hilton Head Helicopter Tours offers one of the best ways to do exactly that, with experienced pilots who take you up into the wild blue yonder for smooth, air-conditioned ride through the heavens. “On most tours, you only get to see the island from one perspective,” said pilot Isiah Birch. “I get people on almost every tour saying, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that was there.’ It’s really the only way to experience 100 percent of the island.” He added that from those heights he’s spotted sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, even the occasional right whale. Think a heli tour is a little rich for your blood? Think again. The ocean view tour, an eight-mile loop of the island’s heel, starts at $39 a person. Or you can go all out and experience the Lighthouse Tour, taking you from Hilton Head to Tybee and all the amazing scenery in between for $295 a person.
Zipline Hilton Head / Aerial Adventure
Set among the treetops of Broad Creek, this thrilling high-altitude adventure offers two distinctly different experiences. At Zipline Hilton Head, you strap in and soar from tower to tower on a two-hour tour starting at $89 over the breathtaking marshland and river views along the creek. Or you can take to Aerial Adventure’s “playground in the sky” with six different ropes courses to challenge even the least acrophobic among you starting at $49. Of course afterwards, you’ll want to settle your nerves, so it’s off to Up the Creek Pub for a cool drink. Being one of the only places in our region to offer an experience like this, Zipline Hilton Head Head and Aerial Adventure have proven extremely popular since opening a few years ago. “We get a lot of returning faces and new faces who soon return,” said J.C. Safford, zipline instructor and manager.
You have 60 minutes. Can you help the FBI crack the case of a Wall Street tycoon’s possible involvement in a diamond smuggling ring? The Escape Room craze that blew up in cities across America has found a home on Hilton Head Island, with an inspired pair of scenarios that test your mental mettle while giving you a great chance to get out of the heat. “We want the scenario to be realistic and immersive as possible,” said owner George Buckman, “to get the participants to step into the role of the hero ready to save the day.” In the scenario we mentioned, “Wall Street Revenge” you and your group have an hour to piece together clues, find out the truth and use what you’ve discovered to – as the name implies – escape the room. If you’re shorter on time, a 30-minute scenario, “The Basement Lab” is also available, pitting you against the clock to stop a mysterious outbreak and escape quarantine using your wits to assemble clues. It’s an immersive mind-freak, and at $29 a person it will have you coming back for more.
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of summer and enjoy a little bit of life on the farm at Lawton Stables. Located inside The Sea Pines Resort, you’ll find a bevy of animals awaiting you in a tranquil trail-side barnyard. Have you been looking for that perfect vacation selfie with an alpaca? What a silly question – of course you have. You’ll find it here along with free-roaming chickens, plus donkeys and goats that let you get up close. Of course, this being a working stable, you’ll also have plenty of opportunities to saddle up for leisurely trail rides through the Sea Pines Forest Preserve or Shetland Pony rides for younger riders. It’s free to get in to check out the animals (with the $6 gate fee, of course), and trail rides run $65.
(Lawton Stable Images Courtesy of The Sea Pines Resort / Rob Tipton)