Sunday, March 20, 2011

Things I Love About Hilton Head Island

Ahhh. This last week of vacation was heavenly. Relaxing on a beach in South Carolina with my family was exactly what I needed.

It was our first visit to Hilton Head Island and we enjoyed it so much, I couldn't wait to share with you. Its a great, family-friendly vacation spot.

1. The beaches are beautiful and HUGE! The beaches at HHI are some of the most unique I have ever seen. In the mornings, the tide is far out leaving almost 600 feet of beach and little "islands" surrounded by shallow water where you can find starfish and sand dollars aplenty. I read in some magazine that the tide comes in 6-8 feet every hour, so by the late afternoon the beach is smaller and has lost the hard packed sand leaving just the fluffy white.

2. EVERYONE rides bicycles. Its one of the coolest things I've seen! All along the beach, down the roads, between the resorts, and everywhere in between you will see tons of people riding bicycles. You see bicycle rental shops scattered everywhere. On Wednesday we rented bicycles for the day and rode down the beach for about a mile and back to our resort. It was awesome! (Note to self - make sure your return trip is not into the 10 mph wind, it makes for a strenuous workout)

3. Although highly developed, the city has maintained tall trees and controlled landscaping so you can't see it all. Surrounding all the resorts, hotels, and golf courses are tall trees and lush plant life that disguise the expansive buildings. The result is a beautiful island that looks almost isolated in appearance but peeking through the trees you see signs of city life. As far as we could tell, the city has a building code that requires the restaurants and shops to keep their paint colors muted and natural and if you don't know what you are looking for, you would pass right by your destination and not know its there!

4. The Panera Bread has a drive-thru! This is really exciting to me (I know, I'm weird), but I have always wished our Panera had a drive thru, and then here, at HHI, it did! It was great to send Josh for a quick breakfast and he didn't have to worry about getting out. I know, its the small things in life.

5. Our hotel was the Hilton Oceanside Resort, check out their website here. It is an awesome place to take a family, but at the same time, if you are kid-free, you won't be bothered by screaming children. :) They have two pools, one just for adults and one for families, and the hot tubs are restricted to adults 18 and up. There is a playground, a fire pit, a ping-pong table, an upscale restaurant, and tons of other things we didn't get a chance to visit. Oh, and did I mention the pools are heated? What an added bonus!

6. The weather was great! It was pretty chilly in the mornings, but by noon it was warm enough to be on the beach and then hit the pool.

7. The resorts are grouped into "plantations" or clusters and each section has a guard gate where you have to check in before proceeding to your designated area. This is terrific because the public beaches are FAR away from you and not just anyone can have access to the beaches around you. We were worried there would be a lot of beach traffic because it was the beginning of spring break, but because of the controlled access, there were no problems.

8. I am throwing this one in for my husband - there are golf courses every where. I saw one designed by Trent Jones and a couple other notable people. So, if you or your spouse are into golf, you've hit the jackpot.

9. There is an outlet mall nearby! (soon to be two) There is a Tangier Outlet just down the road from the beaches and they are opening a second branch right next door. So, when you are taking a break from the beach, you can shop your heart out.

10. Last but not least, there are tons of fun things to do. You can play putt putt, go the the family fun center, rent a movie, take a boat tour, go fishing, ride bikes, hike a nature trail, play on the beach, and tons of other things we couldn't even get to.

So, if you are looking for a vacation spot, check out this website to see if Hilton Head Island is for you. We will definitely be going back!

Headed back to the real world,

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