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.

Showing visitors the importance of area waterways

For the most part, the world paid no mind to Beaufort County during the first half of the 20th Century. The little bit of industry that was here arose from nature: logging, farming and fishing.

Then the German behemoth BASF came along in the 1960s and proposed a chemical plant on Victoria Bluff on the Colleton River. That changed everything. It rallied the residents, fishermen and a development in its infancy called Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island. The coalition, called Friends of the Rivers, stopped the plant. Residents and businesses have remained vigilant ever since.

It is an act of faith to run into the ocean, not knowing what mysteries await in its depth. Walking the dog after sundown can quickly become an adventure if the right creature crosses your path in the dark. Even the benign-looking world of the salt marsh hides its secrets in billowing green cord grass; you have to get eye level to the marsh in a kayak to find the clues. In short, there is much we do not know, and much to discover.

A NEW CAREER AT THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA

On the fast track to success in the corporate world, Bill Eberlein earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics from Penn State University, worked as an accountant and later moved into the field of information technology.

In1999, he came to Savannah for a job at Gulfstream Aerospace — and found a new interest in some of his new home’s local residents. “I met a group of divers at Gulfstream who talked about shark teeth and I remember thinking, that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life. Why would anybody dive for those tiny teeth?” Eberlein said. But his co-worker brought in a megalodon tooth and he was hooked right away. “I just wanted to find one,” he said.

Photography by Mark & Lisa Staff // Hair & Makeup by Southern Belle by Maria Noel // Location Beach House - Hilton Head Island Hotel & Resort // Styled by Roxanne Gilleland

Models Hadije Aliu • Abby Rae • Alex Braden • Ned E. Gilleland • Mackenzie Hilton • Ketina Gomez

From the Harbour Town Lighthouse to Bluffton, and everything in between.

Hilton Head Island and Bluffton have a lot to offer beyond the crowds and resorts. This driving tour captures the essence of our cherished Lowcountry. At the break of dawn, savor a bite for breakfast and then pack the car to make a day of it. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time left for napping in the afternoon. This trip involves only about an hour of driving, but has miles of fun.

With summer in full swing, swimmers are flocking to Hilton Head Island’s beaches. And while the ocean is the perfect spot to cool down after a hot day in the sun, it can be a dangerous place for people who don't know how to swim or who aren’t aware of basic beach safety. Here are a few tips from the Town of Hilton Head Island for staying safe around water:

The open road beckons during the summer months, when long days and school vacations make car travel a summer essential for many families. But prolonging the life of a vehicle isn’t always easy. There are a lot of moving parts, and ensuring their functionality can be a daunting task.

Gas mileage, performance, and aesthetics can all suffer when a car is neglected. However, it doesn’t take a master mechanic and a team of scientists to vehicle maintenance simple.

Americans are a mobile people. Families are far-flung, turning “over the hills and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go” into “let’s use our frequent flyer miles.”

We are no longer tied to the family homestead. We can live anywhere we want, and we do. Most of us limit that wanderlust to our countries of birth, but not always. (Just listen to the accents at the Pineland Station Starbucks.)