Summer is here and the days are ripe for adventure. Visitors and locals alike instinctively head for the water. However, outdoor activities on Hilton Head Island abound by land and by sea.
Topping the list of aquatic adventure is boating — ranging from mellow dinner cruises at sunset to the thrill of a night sharkfishing expedition. Sailing yachts, speedboats and even large pontoon party boats can be chartered through local marinas, including Harbour Town, Broad Creek, Shelter Cove and Palmetto Bay.
Among the most popular boating adventure is the dolphin tour, which almost guarantees a glimpse at Atlantic bottlenose dolphins as they troll the labyrinth of creeks while cutting through vast expanses of tidal marsh. Exceptionally lucky boaters might see dolphins “strand feeding,” a behavior unique to the Lowcountry wherein dolphins herd fish against the shore and beach themselves on slick banks of pluff mud in order to gobble up their prey. You’ll be surprised by the bright pink color of the dolphins’ underbellies.
Freshwater and saltwater fishing adventures can be found around any corner in the Lowcountry, whether you have a boat or not. All you need is your favorite rod and reel.
This area also is a well-known destination for anglers, because fishing trips are often action-packed. Inshore, anglers will find flounder, spotted sea trout, red drum, black drum, sheepshead, whiting and mackerels; offshore, lurk such beasts as marlin, wahoo, tuna, sailfish, amberjack and dolphin fish. Surprisingly, shark fishing is a common activity and not as dangerous as it might sound; it’s fun for the whole family, even while providing the thrill of the hunt.
Crabbing is another way to get your hands on a gourmet meal. Tie a weight and a chicken neck to a piece of sturdy string, grab a bucket and head for any public dock or pier to start scooping up those famous Carolina Blue Crabs.
For those who crave athletic action, there are plenty of water sports to keep you entertained. Parasailing, waterskiing, surfing, tubing and Jet Ski-ing are all popular activities. The necessary apparatus can be rented from a variety of local outfitters. Of course, there’s always the classic and inexpensive option of beachcombing. Hilton Head has 14 miles of public white sand beaches along the Atlantic Ocean and the Calibogue and Port Royal sounds.
Landlubbers, never fear! Not everything on Hilton Head involves getting wet. There are 50 miles of paved bike paths and nature trails that crisscross the island. Bikes can be rented from many local outlets.
Horseback riding also is available through Lawton Stables in Sea Pines Plantation, where guides take visitors on trail rides through the maritime forest and to historic sites around the plantation. Sea Pines is one of the most reliable places to see alligators as they bask on the sunny shores of the resort’s freshwater lagoons.
Perhaps the wildest spot around is Pinckney Island Wildlife Refuge, 4,000 acres of undisturbed woods, salt marsh and tidal creeks that constitute a major stopover for migrating birds. Ibis, ospreys and even the rare painted buntings are liable to be spotted by binocular-toting birders who travel the island’s many trails on foot or by bicycle. Guided tours also are available through local outfitters. Don’t hesitate to venture off the path and down to the shoreline, where huge, moss-draped live oaks dip their limbs toward the incoming tide. Be sure to check yourself for ticks after a brush with the sub-tropical foliage!
No matter how you choose to spend your days, whether chasing a pod of dolphins in your kayak or simply unwinding with a mint julep along the waterfront safe in your folded chair, Hilton Head is the place for unforgettable summer fun.
Hilton Head Monthly’s Guide to Fun this Summer
|Activities for Children|
|On the Water|
Activities for Children:
› Coastal Discovery Museum: Year-round programs, tours and activities involving the Lowcountry’s unique natural setting. (843)-689-6767, coastaldiscovery.org
› Island Playground: Offers open play and private parties. (843) 837-8383, island-playground.com
› Island Recreation Center: Variety of special events and sports activities for all ages, including baseball, volleyball, swimming, tennis, basketball and more. (843) 681-7273, islandreccenter.com
› Little Students’ Cooking Café & Sweet Treats: Cooking classes for kids. (843) 422-1906 or (843) 422-1918
› The Sandbox: An interactive museum with educational opportunities for children. (843) 842-7645, thesandbox.org
Public beach accesses are available at the following locations:
- Alder Lane Beach Access, off South Forest Beach Drive;
- Coligny Beach Park, off Coligny Circle;
- Fish Haul Park, Beach City Road;
- Driessen Beach Park, at the end of Bradley Beach Road;
- Burkes Beach Access, at the end of Burkes Beach Road;
- Folly Field Beach Park, off Folly Field Road; and
- Islanders Beach Park, Folly Field Road.
ON THE BEACH
BEFORE YOU HIT THE BEACH, KNOW THE TOWN’S LAWS
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department patrols the beaches and enforces all beach regulations. Violators of beach regulations are subject to fines up to $500 per each offense.
The following are prohibited on all beaches: Alcoholic liquor, beer, wine glass (bottles, containers, etc.), Littering, Indecent exposure (nudity), Disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, unauthorized vehicles, fires and fireworks, shark fishing, removal, harming or harassment of any live beach fauna (sea turtles, sand dollars, conchs, starfish, etc.), removal, alteration, or damage to dunes, sea oats or other dune flora, Operation, launching, or landing of unauthorized motorized watercraft, unauthorized commercial activity and sleeping on the beach between midnight and 6 a.m.
Other prohibited activities: unauthorized wearing of lifeguard symbols, solicitation or distribution of handouts, kites not under manual control, stunt kites from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. April 1 through September 30, sand-sailing.
For the added protection of sunbathers and swimmers, the following activities are prohibited in Designated Swimming Areas between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. April 1 through September 30:
- Fishing or surfcasting, surfboards, boogie boards, etc.
- Frisbees or other team sports involving a ball
- Games with metal components
Animals on the beach are not permitted between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day Must be on a leash:
- From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 1 through Thursday before Memorial Day
- From 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday after Labor Day through September 30
Animals must be on leash or under positive voice control at all other times. Persons in control of animals on the beach are required to remove and properly dispose of the animal’s excrement.
INFORMATION TAKEN FROM THE TOWN OF HILTON HEAD ISLAND.
› Island Girl: Offers beach bags, accessories, clothing and footwear for women and children. (843) 686-6000, islandgirlhhi.com
› Mall at Shelter Cove: Offers a variety of shopping for beachwear, toys, accessories and more. (843) 686-3090, mallatsheltercove.com
› Piggly Wiggly: Offers variety of foodstuff, such as domestic and imported wines and beer, party trays, fresh produce and more; also stocks basic beachcombing accoutrements, including sunglasses, towels and sun block. (843) 842-4090, thepig.net.
› Lawton Stables: Full-service equestrian center located on 24 acres in Sea Pines Plantation. (843) 671-2586, lawtonstableshhi.com
› Moss Creek Equestrian Center: Riding programs for all ages with lessons for beginning riders learning fundamentals of horsemanship, as well as training for the competitive circuit at the regional/national level. (843) 837-6117, mosscreekequestrianctr.com
› Country Club of Hilton Head: 18-hole Rees Jones Golf Club with practice driving and putting ranges, as well as a chipping and bunker green. (843) 681-2582,
› Crescent Pointe: Arnold Palmer Signature Course: (843) 706-2600, crescentpointegolf.com
› Dolphin Head Golf Club: Gary Player-designed course with PGA and LPGA pros on staff. (843) 681-5550, dolphinheadgc.com
› Eagle’s Pointe: David Love IIIdesigned course. (843) 757-5900, eaglespointegolf.com
› Heron Point: Sea Pines’ newest golf course designed by Pete Dye. (843) 842-8484, seapines.com
› Harbour Town Golf Links: Home of the PGA Tour’s Verizon Heritage tournament held every April. Pete Dye course features the famous 18th hole aimed at the Harbour Town lighthouse along Calibogue Sound. (843) 363-4485, seapines.com
› Hilton Head National: Offers three 9-hole golf courses. (843) 842-5900, golfhiltonheadnational.com
› Old South Golf Links: Clyde Johnstondesigned course. (843) 785-5353, oldsouthgolf.com
› Palmetto Bluff: Luxury golf vacation packages with Jack Nicklaus Signature Course and world-class practice facility. (843) 706-6500, (843) 342-2582, palmetto-bluff.com
› Palmetto Dunes: Offers the Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront, George Fazio and Arthur Hills courses. (843) 785-1138, palmettodunes.com
› Palmetto Hall: Arthur Hills and Robert Cupp courses. (843) (843) 342-2582, palmettohallgolf.com
› Golf Outfitters: Offers full-swing golf simulators, custom club fitting, full-service club repair and custom rentals. (843) 785-GOLF or (843) 706-0755.
› Beach City Health and Fitness: Full-service gym with personal trainers on staff. (843) 681-6161, beachcityfitness.com
› Breakthrough Fitness Center: Offers full-service gym with pilates, yoga and spinning classes on Hilton Head and in Bluffton. (843) 341-2166,
› Palmetto Athletic Club: Weight lifting, cardiovascular, balance and resistance training. (843) 842-3225 or (843) 681-5321, palmettoathleticclub.com
On the Water:
› Harbour Town Yacht Basin: Offers monthly docking rates; powerboat rentals, sailing, sport fishing and watersport charters; (843) 671-2704, harbourtownyachtbasin.com
› Hampton Lake: This water-based community offers state-of-the-art amenities, including boating, fishing, swimming and camping at The Outpost. (866) 875-LAKE, hamptonlake.com
› Pau Hana: Offers dolphin watch and nature cruises on a 53-foot catamaran sailboat; sailing lessons and sunset sales. (843) 686-2582 hiltonheadisland.com/sailing.
› Outside Hilton Head:
TOURS FOR NATURE AND HISTORY LOVERS ABOUND ON HILTON HEAD
The area’s premiere outfitter center offers Daufuskie Island and Palmetto Bluff tours and excursions; sailing charters; charter and kayak fishing; private boat and beachcombing cruises; water skiing; boat and kayak rentals; stand-up paddleboarding; and camps for kids, too. (843) 686-6996, OutsideHiltonHead.com
› Broad Creek Marina: Offers wet slip docking, vessel services, marina store, picnic areas and more. (843) 681-3625, broadcreekmarinahh.com
› Freeport Marina: This is the place to catch the boat to Daufuskie Island. Other offerings include gazebo with hammock, dining and general store. (843) 342-8687, daufuskiefreeport.com
› Harbour Town Marina: Docking, dining, entertainment, shopping and lighthouse offered at Sea Pines’ premiere attraction. (843) 671-2704
› Hilton Head Boat House: Rack storage and vessel services. (843) 681-2628, hhboathouse.com
› Palmetto Bay Marina: Offers charters, equipment rentals, docks, restaurants and more. (843) 785-7131 or (843) 686-3061, palmettobaymarinahhi.com
› South Beach Marina: Provides a launch facility and dining opportunities within Sea Pines Plantation. (843) 671-6699.
› Skull Creek Marina: Offers yard, repair and service work, as well as slip rental and ownership. (843) 681-8436, theskullcreekmarina.com
› Windmill Harbour: Houses a 250-slip marina and lock system, and offers boat charters and nature tours. (843) 842-1133, windmillharbour.org
› Barker Field: Park is located off Beach City Road on Mitchellville Road, and provides three multipurpose fields, play ground, concession stand and a boardwalk with a free scope to view the Port Royal Sound.
› Chaplin Park: Located between Singleton and Burkes Beach road. Offers three multipurpose fields, two basketball courts, four lighted tennis courts, two dog run parks, walking trails, playground, beach access, outdoor showers, concession stand, rest room facilities and beach access.
› Crossings Park and Bristol Sports Arena: Located on Helmsman Way off Palmetto Bay and Arrow Roads, this area is chock-full of open outdoors. Includes skate park, roller hockey rink, basketball court, three baseball fields, soccer field, playground, open meadows, rest rooms and concession stand.
› Fish Haul Creek: This park at the end of Beach City Road provides beach access, restrooms, picnic area, observation gazebo and walking trails.
› Greens Shell Community Park: Passive on Squire Pope Road offers playground, picnic area, basketball court, observation deck and rest rooms.
› Hilton Head Park: Park includes multipurpose field, basketball court and two tennis courts. Located off William Hilton Parkway in the north island area.
› Honey Horn Plantation: Coastal Discovery Museum Honey Horn is located off the Cross Island Expressway and William Hilton Parkway with 68 acres of open space and some historic buildings.
› Jarvis Creek Park: Located in the north island area, off William Hilton Parkway, this passive park provides open fields, walking trails, catch and release fishing.
› Sea Pines Forest Preserve: With a $5 fee through Sea Pines’ gate, this forest preserve includes 600 acres of woodlands, three lakes and numerous walking trails.
› Shelter Cove Community Park: This is the site where several community events are held throughout the year.
› Sea Turtle Getaways: Privately owned homes and villas in Sea Pines Plantation, North and South Forest Beach, Shipyard Plantation, Palmetto Dunes and Singleton and Bradley beaches. (866) 386-6644, seaturtlegetaways.com
› Beach Properties of Hilton Head: One- to seven-bedroom vacation rentals on Hilton head Island. (800) 671-5155, beach-property.com
› Island Getaway: Vacation home and villa rentals. (843) 842-4644, islandgetaway.com
› Palmetto Dunes: Offers vacation rentals and activities for the entire family. (843) 785-1138, palmettodunes.com
› Resort Rentals of Hilton Head Island: Offers home, condo and villa rentals. (800) 845-7017, hhivacations.com
SUMMER FUN GUIDE
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