Tucked away deep in the interior of Hilton Head Island is the 605-acre Sea Pines Forest Preserve.
Viewing it on a horse from Lawton Stables is the best way to see it. This natural habitat is one of the best ways to experience the native vegetation of the Sea Islands. It is home to Pine Woods, Live Oak Forest, Fresh Water Marshes and a wide variety of grasses. See the 200+ species of birds that live in what the National Audubon Society has designated an “Important Bird Area”.
Observe an Island alligator or catch a glimpse of one of the Island’s prolific but elusive white-tailed deer population. Other landmarks include a shell ring listed on the National Register of Historic Places and created around the same time as the Pyramids at Giza (4,000 years ago!) and the beautiful Mary, Thomas and Joe Lakes.
“Hilton Head on horseback is the way to go.”
“There’s no better way to fully connect with nature than on the back of a horse!” says Haley Zimmerman, General Manager of Lawton Stables. On these one-hour, guided western-style rides, visitors travel at a leisurely pace and get to know their well-trained companions, while listening to some of the Island’s earliest stories.
Lawton Stables started off as a small horse farm, coming into existence around the same time as the Sea Pines Preserve. In 2010, it was renovated to include a brand-new boarding barn, a hay barn and an office. Now, Lawton Stables offers first-class boarding facilities, pony rides for children, tours of the Preserve on horseback and a small animal farm with goats, alpacas, pot-bellied pigs, ponies, chickens and donkeys! “There is something for everyone in the family to do at Lawton. It’s so fun to see the younger kids graduate from the pony rides to the trail rides, and we have a lot of families that return every year!” enthuses Zimmerman.
Indeed, Lawton has been recognized with the Traveler’s Choice badge from TripAdvisor for its exceptional reviews.
Visitors assign high marks to the “tremendously professional,” knowledgable and friendly staff, and note that it’s clear this is a group who love the Island and make the welfare of the animals in their care a top priority.
To keep staff and patrons safe, Lawton Stables is doing its best to adhere to CDC guidelines. As such, staff are frequently sanitizing all the gear and asking that guests wear masks and social distance. Current availability is limited, so reservations are required.
Lawton Stables is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Mondays during the off season. Venture out with us and see the Lowcountry up close!
By Dani Ray
190 Greenwood Drive
Hilton Head, SC