There’s a reason that Hilton Head is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. A lot of them, really! But the current climate doesn’t mean we can’t have our summer adventures—it just means that a trip right now requires careful planning and clever timing. Here are 5 ideas to help inspire your thinking about summertime on one of our country’s most amazing islands.
1. Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge
With 1,200 acres, great nature trails and teeming with wildlife, Pinckney Island is the ideal place to get off the beaten path. Take water, wear good walking shoes and repellant, and hike in the cooler part of the day to discover gators, armadillos, turtles, butterflies, ducks, fiddler crabs, and a wide variety of birds like ibis, wrens, herons, egrets and anhinga. Or, to cover more ground, make it a biking tour!
2. Shelter Cove Community Park
For many hours of fun, plan an afternoon/evening at Shelter Cove. This beautifully landscaped park has places to picnic, swings and slides to play on, a boardwalk to explore, and much more. There are also family-friendly blockbusters like Hook, Shrek, and The Lion King in the park every Thursday night at 8:30 pm through mid-August. Bring the kids and the pets and some munchies for the atmosphere, a sense of community, and good old-fashioned fun.
3. Mitchelville Freedom Park
This gorgeous, rustic beach park has far more wildlife than people! Take a self-guided tour to learn about Mitchelville, the first self-governed settlement of freed Africans in the United States. Bring a picnic, watch the sky for eagles, osprey, sandpipers and whimbrel from the observation deck, or just lounge in the shade while the kids play! Where Fish Haul Creek empties into Port Royal Sound, vast mudflats emerge at low-tide. Wade barefoot among the endless conch shells and hermit crabs, dig for treasures, and watch the ceaseless activity of the many birds.
4. Sea Pines Forest Preserve
Make a day of Sea Pines! This preserve features wonderful hiking trails that weave through historic plantations, picnic areas, archaeological sites, marshes, wildflower fields and lakes, all under the serene watch and welcome shade of massive live oaks. When you’ve worked up an appetite, head over to Harbor Town, where outdoor dining was always the name of the game, and enhanced safety protocols have made the patio an even better place to be. On top of the usual to-go and delivery options, there are now opportunities for curbside pickup, and even a special “Taste of Sea Pines” to-go menu.
5. The Trails of Hilton Head
Keep your distance and spend a day exploring the 60 miles of Hilton Head’s public pathways and nature trails. Whether by bike or on foot, you will find parks, memorials, gardens, piers and scenic views along the way, with public restrooms and informational kiosks located throughout. Take your day al fresco, and make the time to completely traverse one of the most picturesque islands in the world!