You guys are probably tired of me posting about Hilton Head so after today, I’ll dial it way back! Promise! But, I just had to share these photos I took because the sunsets are pretty spectacular, the lush vegetation is so inviting, and this island is such a special place for our family. I think this past trip was probably my favorite experience down there because as the kids are getting older, my husband and I have more flexibility and a built-in babysitter with our fifteen year old daughter! So, we took full advantage by walking on the beach every morning and enjoying a cocktail on the ocean front deck each evening. Those moments that we got to spend together as a couple really balanced out the trip so we didn’t feel like we were constantly on the go with the kids.
I think the other factor that made this trip different than our other trips is that this time we stayed directly on the ocean. Usually, we stay a ten minute bike ride away and rent a condo overlooking the golf course. While I prefer the bigger rental space, the location was worth the smaller accommodations because we had a view of the ocean from our living room and two balconies where we could watch the sunrise and listen to the waves. The quick walk to the beach was so convenient particularly when my youngest son had a mini meltdown after getting sand in his eye. We were able to head back to the condo within minutes rather than riding our bikes several blocks away. The other aspect that I loved about this condo community was the indoor pool. This makes a huge difference with kids especially during the winter. While the temperature was in the seventies, the ocean and outdoor pools are still too cold. This way, rain or shine, they were able to swim everyday. There are a plethora of choices as to where to stay on the island but we narrowed it down by first choosing to stay in the plantation known as Palmetto Dunes and then opting for Villamare because of its’ ocean views and its’ central location.
We ate out four times this trip which was out of the ordinary for us. Typically, we eat out once and cook the rest of the trip. But, as the kids are maturing, it’s actually relaxing to enjoy a meal out and not have to clean the dishes afterwards! Here are a few kid friendly recommendations on the island:
- Fat Baby’s Pizza: We went here on our first night because we hadn’t gone shopping yet and we were starving! The pizza was delicious (and this is coming from a New Yorker where we have the best pizza #sorrynotsorry). But the best part was that the kids were given coloring pages to fill in and then they hang them on the walls. The walls were covered by these drawings and I loved the fact that every child signed it with their name, age and where they’re from. My kids got a kick out of looking at all the drawings and seeing the variety of cities that were represented.
- Low Country HHI: Oh my goodness! This was the highlight of our week! We stumbled upon this place on our way home from Savannah. The kids were a bit tired and cranky and we spontaneously decided to give it a try. It was perfect for kids! There’s the cutest outdoor seating area with heaters and string lights. But since it’s a “backyard” the kids were free to roam around and play while my husband and I enjoyed a drink. I highly recommend the sweet tea with vodka (sooo good) and the potato chip meatloaf with a side of baked mac ‘n cheese. And if you have room, order a slice of key lime pie!
- The Salty Dog Cafe: This is an island staple and everyone who frequents HHI knows about it. It’s located in beautiful Sea Pines in the South Beach Marina so there’s plenty of people watching, usually live outdoor music and an outdoor fire pit. We like to enjoy a cocktail pre-dinner and listen to music while the kids run around at the adjacent park. And after dinner, we like to head next door for ice cream cones and take a stroll on the boardwalk.
- Aunt Chiladas: This kid-friendly Mexican restaurant hit the spot on our last night. We had intended on going to the SkullCreek Boathouse but the wait was astronomical (next time we know to make reservations) so we decided on this option and the kids loved it. It’s located right near Coligny Circle in South Forest Beach so be sure to head over to Hilton Head Ice Cream afterwards where they have every flavor under the sun. I especially loved the espresso chocolate chip!
- Rent Bikes and kayaks! There are bike trails everywhere on the island so this is a no-brainer. You can even bike on the beach as you saw in yesterday’s post. This time, my husband also rented a kayak to take the boys out in the lagoon. I was a big baby about it and chickened out because I’m petrified of alligators but both my boys loved it and more importantly, they enjoyed some quality one on one time with their dad. We rented through Hilton Head Outfitters in Palmetto Dunes.
- Coastal Discovery Museum: Home to the Honey Horn Plantation, this museum is perfect for an overcast day. There’s marshes, boardwalks, a butterfly garden, an indoor exhibit, and trails for exploring. Pack a lunch and enjoy it at one of the picnic tables and be sure to check out the horses before your leave.
- Lawton Stables: Located in Sea Pines, these stables are meticulously manicured and maintained. There are also other animals living there as well such as rabbits, pigs, goats, deer and llamas. And the best part is that they offer pony rides which my boys loved when they were younger.
- Harbor Town: Also located in Sea Pines Plantation, Harbor Town is oozing with charm and has beautiful views of the harbor. There is a big park in the center of town which is a main attraction for kids and after that, be sure to climb to the top of the lighthouse where you’ll be able to take in sweeping views of the Calibogue Sound.
Feel free to email me with any questions or recommendations. Also, if you’re sans children and would like some adult places to stay, eat and play, I have several suggestions for you! Book a room at the Omni in Palmetto Dunes. It was a few doors down from us on the beach and the grounds and pool area look amazing! I’ve heard rave reviews about the extensive drink menu at the Frosty Frog Cafe so next time, we’ll have to sample some of their frozen cocktails. Bike over to Shelter Cove Harbor and try out their new bakery, Hilton Head Social Bakery. The croissants were the best I’ve ever had and the coffee was pretty impressive as well! You can sit outside, savor your breakfast and watch the boats in the harbor. And if you’re looking for a fun day trip, I would definitely recommend grabbing lunch in Old Town Bluffton (there are so many charming antique shops there) or heading into Savannah and touring the beautiful historic district (more on that here).
I hope you have a great weekend! It’s supposed to snow today so I plan on baking a banana bread, catching up on laundry and working on my post about Beautycounter which I’ll be sharing with you next week!