Traditional Trips to Hilton Head, South Carolina

Hilton Head South Carolina

Tucked away on the coast of South Carolina is Hilton Head Island. It is located off the southern point of South Carolina and is the second largest barrier island on the eastern coast of the United States, behind Long Island in New York.

It is a quiet island with mostly resorts along the beach. Few people actually reside in Hilton Head

I have been traveling to Hilton Head as long as I can remember, taking at least one trip a year to the beautiful island, sometimes multiple trips.

The area has many trees covered in Spanish moss and sea turtles, dolphins, alligators and hundreds of bird species. Every time my family and I visit, there are landmarks and restaurants we go to as tradition, and we try to do something new.

The island offers many opportunities, and each resort has unique attractions that make Hilton Head so special. The Harbor Town area of the Sea Pines resort includes shops, docks for yachts and little restaurants along the harbor, one of the favorites for my family.

Since I was a young child, my brothers and I have loved going to Liberty Oak, a 300-year-old tree that stands in the middle of Harbor Town. Singer and songwriter Gregg Russell preforms there multiple nights a week in the spring and summer months. He is a family- and kid-friendly performer who has become one of our favorite parts of our trips to Hilton Head.

The lighthouse stands in the background, built in 1970 and visible from the 18th hole of Harbor Town Golf Links. The Harbor Town Lighthouse is 90 feet tall and you can climb to the top.

On your way, there are plaques and information where one can read about the history of Hilton Head. There are artifacts, stories and personal insight that one can obtain by reading on the way to the top where there is a gift shop, view of Harbor Town, and the harbor surrounding the area. 

Harbor Town Bakery and Cafe is also located at the Sea Pines resort. It looks like a small house, but inside is a sweet smelling cafe with baked goods and coffee. Many visitors park their bikes outside the bakery and enjoy a morning with the view of the harbor, spending time with friends and family or relaxing in the quiet area. 

Another sight that has become one of my family’s favorite locations is the hidden ruins of one of the oldest plantations in Hilton Head. The Stoney-Baynard Plantation was destroyed in a fire during the Civil War after it was raided by Union soldiers and used as a headquarters during the war. The home was built with oyster shells and sand, and the shells still remain at the site of the plantation home.

The home was over 1,500 square feet, and although the ruins are hardly there, it is intriguing to see the history of Hilton Head and the set up of how the plantation would have looked in 1790 when it was built. It’s tucked away on the island and not typically busy. 

South Beach Marina is another area on the island that many tourists visit. The Salty Dog Cafe is a chain now at many beaches. There is a legendary story behind the cafe.

John was a fisherman, and had a dog named Jake that accompanied him on his trips to sea. Once, while out to sea, there was a storm that destroyed the ship and threw Jake and John into the ocean.

Jake the dog helped carry John after three days safely to shore at South Beach in Hilton Head. The location is famous for some of its restaurants, a couple being Jake’s Pizza and the Salty Dog Cafe. There is live music, ice cream, dolphin spotting boat rides, and boutiques. 

Of course, being on an island means one must go to the beach. There are many beach resorts and quiet and more reserved locations.

The Atlantic Ocean stays fairly warm on the island year round. During spring and summer nights, riding the trolley that goes around the island or biking is one of the best ways to get around.

Bike trails stretch all across the island, making it easier to get to and from places than a car. Hundreds of residents and tourists are always biking around the island during the day or in the evening. 


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