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5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Hilton Head Island

Picture of Samantha Connors
Updated: 1 March 2018
One of the most beautiful towns in South Carolina, Hilton Head Island is renowned for its pristine beaches and championship-grade golf courses. Nestled between Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, this 12-mile barrier island offers a less crowded atmosphere than these two more popular destinations. Hilton Head has been voted #10 on the list of Best Golf Resorts in the World by readers of Golf Digest and was named America’s Best Island by Travel Pulse, making it the ideal place for a weekend of relaxation and recreation.

Coligny Beach

With soft, white sand and gorgeous coastal surroundings, Coligny Beach is one of the main draws to visiting Hilton Head Island. Though there are a total of seven beaches on the island, Coligny is a favorite for locals and visitors alike. Before hitting the beach, you can peruse the shopping area with surf stores, bars, and restaurants. Once on the sand, beachgoers can sip a cool drink from the beachside bars or partake in a lively game of volleyball. To explore the entire stretch of sand, rent bikes for the day and ride along the shore. Find out more about the other beaches on Hilton Head Island and explore the less populated areas.

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Coligny Beach Hilton Head Island l | © Ron Cogswell/Flickr

Golf Courses

If you’re not visiting Hilton Head for the beaches, you’ll certainly want to visit for the golf courses. The island is repeatedly named a top golf destination in the state and throughout the U.S. with more than two dozen courses and 400 holes. Hilton Head facilities are perfectly manicured and encompassed by majestic Lowcountry scenery. Tee off amongst palmetto trees, surrounded by marshland and scenic ocean views. With a moderate year-round climate, Hilton Head courses are easily accessible in the winter when many resorts in the country shut down for the season.

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Heron Point Golf Course l | © Dan Perry/Flickr

Wine & Food Festival

For more than 30 years, Hilton Head Island has hosted the Wine & Food Festival every March. This culinary celebration spans six days and incorporates winemakers, chefs, and local food traditions. Anyone visiting Hilton Head in the spring will not want to miss this must-do festival. With events taking place across the island, guests can choose to attend food-centric lectures, join several different wine tastings, and indulge in one (or more!) of the wine dinners. Throughout the festival, there are also a number of culinary competitions, including the much-anticipated International Wine Competition.

Wildlife Preserves

The natural conditions of the Lowcountry breed a particularly unique ecosystem teeming with wonderful wildlife. The beauty of the landscape is one of the most rewarding aspects of visiting Hilton Head Island. While in town, travelers should consider a trip to one or more of the island’s wildlife preserves.

Sea Pines Forest Preserve

The Sea Pines Forest Preserve is home to many outdoor attractions like walking trails, fishing docks, boardwalks through the wetlands, and even guided excursions. The Shell Ring, a 4,000-year-old shell deposit composed of oysters, mussels, and clams, is the oldest archeological finding on Hilton Head, and it lives right in the forest preserve. Visit this rare natural formation before embarking on a guided boat tour or exploring an area known as the Vanishing Swamp.

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Sea Pines Forest Preserve Hilton Head Island l | © Ron Cogswell/Flickr

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

This wildlife refuge spans across four islands and covers more than 4,000 acres, but Pinckney Island is the only section open to the public. Dozens of wildlife species, particularly native birds, rely on this land to survive. Bring along binoculars if you wish to do some bird watching, and you may just spot a Painted Bunting or White Ibis, two of the more common birds in the area. Armadillos and alligators are also known to wander through the refuge.

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Pinckney Island National Refuge l | © Jeff Gunn/Flickr