Best of Hilton Head

As I write this post, I’m simultaneously checking for updates as to how Hilton Head survived the storm.  So far, it doesn’t look too, too bad although there is considerable flooding, particularly in Harbour Town.  The water spilled over from the bay onto all the sidewalks (it looks like a river by the marina) and the beach in Palmetto Dunes where we go was inundated with water.  The water reached all the way back to the path by the dunes where we enter the beach.  I hope everyone there (and everywhere else Irma has affected) remains safe and is with family and friends.  I’m sure everyone will be incredibly grateful once this awful storm finally goes away for good.

It’s hard to believe that not even two weeks ago we were there on that very beach enjoying beautiful weather, warm ocean water, and pretty, pink South Carolina sunsets.  Hilton Head has quickly become our home away from home over the past seven years.  We try to get down there as much as we can because it truly feels like an escape from the daily grind here in New York where everything is faster, louder, splashier, and just in your face (don’t get me wrong…I love New York but frequent breaks are necessary!)

I know I’ve written about and shared a plethora of photos regarding Hilton Head multiple times here on the blog so in an effort to not be redundant and long winded, I’m just going to list the best of Hilton Head (in my opinion) in case you decide to visit and are overwhelmed by all the choices.

  1. Best Plantation: Palmetto Dunes for the lagoons (for fishing, boating and kayaking), several golf courses, bike trails, tennis, and great beaches.  It also has multiple options insofar as lodging whether you are looking for a chain hotel on the ocean (there is a Marriott and an Omni), a condo, or a single family home.
  2. Best Beach: We like the beach in Palmetto Dunes by the Disney beach house.  There are loads of bike racks, a snack bar, and very clean bathrooms (seriously, I’ve never seen a nicer bathroom at the beach….it’s immaculate).
  3. Best Family Friendly Restaurant: Definitely the Salty Dog in Sea Pines Plantation.  There’s an outdoor bar right on the marina where there’s usually live music (and a kids’ park is right across from it) so we can enjoy a cocktail and the kids can play (the perks of having a 15 year old daughter).  For dinner, there’s a choice of outdoor or indoor seating.  We usually sit indoors but this past time, we sat outside on a quiet corner of the deck and watched the sun set and it was probably my favorite time there.
  4. Best Park for Kids: Without a doubt, the park in Harbour Town which is also located in Sea Pines Plantation.  Make a day of going to Sea Pines.  Visit Lawton Stables, walk around Harbour Town and climb up to the top of the light house, go to the park with the kids, and then head over to South Beach Marina where the Salty Dog is located for dinner.
  5. Best Cheap Date Night: The Dunes House in Palmetto Dunes.  It’s directly on the ocean and there’s live music.  It’s super casual so bike over there, order a Corona and some nachos, and watch the sunset.
  6. Best Supermarket: Kroger in Shelter Cove Town Centre.  It’s huge, centrally located, brand new, and it has everything you could want.  There’s a pharmacy in there as well.
  7. Best Activity for Kids and Parents: Shannon Tanner at Shelter Cove Harbour.  He puts on musical shows for kids, then adults (genius) so everyone’s happy!  And the location is picturesque because his outdoor stage overlooks the harbor and the sunset.  Plus, you can grab an ice cream cone afterwards.  A total win win.
  8. Best Rainy Day Activity: Shopping at the outlets in nearby Bluffton (of course) or the Coastal Discovery Museum.
  9. Best Day Trip: Head down to Savannah and book a hop on/hop off trolly tour.  Then head over to the Mirabelle Cafe for their scrumptious liege waffles….sooooo good!
  10. Best Southern Food: Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant.  Another place that has live music, indoor/outdoor seating and a relaxed atmosphere.  Be sure to order the potato chip meat loaf and the key lime pie.

Shop My Favorite Family Beach Vacation Travel Staples: 

*affiliate links used

I especially love this sunscreen for the entire family (it’s not sticky or greasy and it doesn’t smell like chemicals because it’s safe!), these two beach totes listed below…the Apolis tote comes in a variety of cities so look for your favorite or you can customize it and I’ll always love a classic canvas boat tote (I use one for towels and the other for beach toys), this kids’ shampoo/conditioner for ocean and pool hair and this talc free powder to remove sand from your feet (the best trick ever plus it smells so good!).