Hilton Head Island is a beautiful destination, most visited in the summer.
It is known for its amazing beaches, luxurious resorts and golf courses. But did you know that Hilton Head also offers some stunning fall foliage? The colors of autumn are not only limited to New England – they can be seen right here on the Island.
Fall foliage on Hilton Head is not talked about as much as the well-known autumn destinations. But those who have experienced it will tell you that it is just as breathtaking. The warm and temperate climate of Hilton Head makes for a later and longer fall season compared to other areas, allowing visitors to witness the changing colors well into the season.
Most prominent are the vibrant, fire-red and orange hues from the crepe myrtle trees. Their leaves are delicate and oval in shape, allowing them to ebb and flow just like our tides. With the arrival of shorter and cooler fall days, the green chlorophyll in the crepe myrtle’s leaves diminishes, paving the way for the emergence of a stunning array of pigments. Along with reds and oranges, blackgum and sourgum incorporate a little yellow to their displays. Perhaps the most spectacular and unique fall color in Coastal South Carolina is the reddish-purple plumes of Sweetgrass, a.k.a Spartina, a.k.a. marsh grass that thrives on the waterways.
Here’s a list of 5 of our favorite spots for fall foliage:
1. Jarvis Creek Park:
Located off William Hilton Parkway on Jarvis Creek Road, this 53-acre park is quite secluded, despite its proximity to busy Hwy, 278. Jarvis Creek Park includes a large pond, which reflects the trees for double the color! Its open fields allow for a vast 360-degree view. And, the one-mile walking/biking trail allows you to see the display from varying points of view.
2. The Sea Pines Forest Preserve:
Sea Pines Forest Preserve is an impressive 605-acre green space in the heart of the Sea Pines community and is home to thousands of trees and several lakes that reflect them and all of their glory. If you want to visit just to hang out at a picnic table on the lake, the park has that. If you want to see more of the Preserve, you can do so in a very brief hike as well. It is a great place to see all of the fall colors found on Hilton Head in a modestly sized area!
3. Broad Creek:
Hop aboard a boat or kayak and see the leaves of both banks of Broad Creek at the same time. Plus, the river is abundant with the marsh grass, donning its purplish-red and yellow and autumn best.
4. Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge:
Nearly 67% of the Refuge consists of salt marsh and tidal creeks. A wide variety of land types are found on Pinckney Island alone: salt marsh, forestland, brushland, fallow field and freshwater ponds. In combination, these habitats offer amazing autumn leafage and vegetation.
5. The Lagoons of Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort: