The second largest barrier island on the Eastern Seaboard, Hilton Head, South Carolina has it all. This stunning resort destination has world-class golf, award-winning dining, superior shopping and endless recreational indulgences for lovers of land and sea. The beauty of this semi-tropical island is unparalleled, but it's that good ol' southern hospitality that makes it really shine. White sandy beaches, warmed year round by the Gulf Stream, stretch for 12 miles of stunning natural beauty.
There are several points of historical interest in Hilton Head. The island consists of several antebellum plantations, most of which are now resort communities. Hilton Head was one of the first ecologically-planned cities; the island strives to maintain its natural feel, blending the structures into the native ecology as much as possible.
Over 2.5 million travelers come annually to take advantage of the scuba diving, water-skiing, fishing charters, island cruises, dolphin watching, and much, much more, making it one of the great tourist magnets of the eastern United States.
Golf is the name of the game here, with 3 championship golf courses, including the Harbour Town Golf Links , home of the Verizon Heritage PGA TOUR Golf Tournament. The Sea Pines Resort is also known for the Harbour Town Marina, with its candy-striped Harbour Town Lighthouse . The Harbor Town district has over 5 miles of beaches, over 100 tennis courts, several swimming facilities and bike trails that weave through the area, including more than 600 acres of forest preserve. The championship Sea Pines and South Beach racquet clubs are located here, as well as a multitude of charming shops. South Beach Marina Village is also an attraction, with dining, shopping and outdoor activities to keep you busy all day.
This is an eight hundred acre gated resort and residential community next to the Forest Beach area. The plantation contains a fresh-water lagoon with large-mouth bass and several other species including alligators and turtles. It's also home to the Shipyard Golf Club, and the Van Der Meer Tennis Center . Bicycling is popular in this area because of the twenty-five miles of bike paths.
Palmetto Dunes / Palmetto Hall
Located near the center of the island, Palmetto Dunes and Palmetto Hall have miles of beaches and an eleven-mile lagoon system. This area is home to the three challenging, championship golf courses designed by George Fazio , Robert Trent Jones and Arthur Hills. Shelter Cove is also located here, and has the largest deep-water marina on Hilton Head.
This private residential community is located on the northwestern tip of the island. The main allure is the inland harbor, which is the largest harbor on the island. Windmill Harbor has pristine views of intracoastal and saltwater marshes, and is home to the South Carolina Yacht Club .
Long Cove Plantation
This private, largely residential community is located on the southern part of the island, just south of Broad Creek. Major features of this area include the Long Cove Yacht Club and the Long Cove Golf Club, designed by Pete Dye.
Hilton Head Plantation
Bounded by the Intracoastal Waterway and Port Royal Sound, Hilton Head Plantation has full-scale amenities with four golf courses, Seabrook Farms for gardening, two miles of beautiful beaches, miles of bike and jogging trails and much more.
Port Royal Village
One of the largest naval battles of the Civil War occurred here. Now, Port Royal is a golf, tennis, and fun-in-the-sun Mecca. Port Royal Village boasts 3 golf courses, a tennis center, restaurants, pools, walking and cycling paths, a beach park playground, and the Westin Resort - Hilton Head Island . Nearby is Adventure Cove, with miniature golf and shopping areas featuring boutiques, antique stores and galleries. While in the area, check out the Coastal Discovery Museum , which conducts tours exploring the area's history, much of which is centered in the Port Royal area.
Hilton Head's dazzling beaches and famous golf courses make an excellent backdrop for the island's diverse menu of restaurants. Although the island is small in size, there are numerous dining possibilities that are sure to whet the appetites that come from far and wide. Many of the restaurants and bars are grouped in the Sea Pines area and the Shipyard Plantation/Palm Dunes area, but there are also some other good choices around the island.
Situated at the base of the Harbour Town Lighthouse , The Waterfront Cafe allows its guests to experience the true beauty of the sea at any time of the day by serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.For those that like to dine with a view, many of Hilton Head's restaurants offer tables with views of the pristine beaches and nightly sunsets. For a more relaxed environment, try Market Street Cafe, just across the street from the beach, where they serve an innovative fusion of American and Mediterranean cuisine.
Shipyard Plantation/ Long Cove Plantation/ Palmetto Dunes
When you're looking for a great meal in the Shipyard Plantation area, head to Crane's Tavern for some prime rib and other great dishes. If Italian food is what you want, try Antonio's , where you can feast on seafood and traditional pasta dishes while you listen to live jazz music. After dinner, you can go to Antonio's bar and lounge for a drink and more live music. Catch 22 faithfully attracts its guests by creating a relaxed and artistic vibe and offering a martini menu with assorted dinner plates. Folks looking to step back in time should stop by Big Bamboo Cafe , which serves traditional American food in a World War II era setting, complete with big band music and old posters. For an informal fisherman's joint in Long Cove, Captain Woody's serves all the typical seafood over cold beers and good conversation that's often about the day's biggest catch.
Hilton Head Plantation
It's hard to beat the Old Fort Pub's historic appeal and seafood and steak plates all while taking in the unmatched scenery of this beautiful area.
Port Royal Village
After spending some time at the Hilton Head Art League , you may want to stop by the Street Meet American Take-out & Tavern , where street food is served in a 1930's-style establishment, and take-out is a specialty.