Hilton Head Island is home to many great attractions such as golf, shopping and, of course, the beach but what do you do when you’d like to explore a little more of the Lowcountry and what it has to offer? Full of history and nature, the Lowcountry and Coastal Empire have all kinds of adventures waiting, so make sure to take a peek at what lies around Hilton Head. Discover these top five places to take to the road for—and return just in time for an incredible Hilton Head Island sunset!
Daufuskie Island, SC
Distance from HHI: 2.75 miles offshore | 60-minute ferry ride
Daufuskie Island is just a short boat ride away from Hilton Head—you can even see the island sitting just out of reach from South Island! Catch the ferry that leaves twice a day from Broad Creek Marina and head to the island of no cars. As a well-known secret, this island is best by foot, bike and golf cart, as the dirt roads lead you on an adventure of the past. Daufuskie Island houses the Haig Point Golf Club, a handful of restaurants and plenty of history to discover. Take your time while on Daufuskie and rest easy as you escape from the normalcy of life!
Distance from HHI: 8 miles west | 15-minute drive
Head inland for a small town treasure: Bluffton! Tour the quaint historic downtown located on Calhoun Street, take a stroll around the Bluffton Promenade, full of restaurants and small town flair, or sit and relax by the May River, where Bluffton’s celebrities are created: the May River Oysters! In Bluffton, be sure to check out the small boutiques, such as Gigi’s Boutique, and the many art galleries. Don’t forget to walk through town to find that “Bluffton State of Mind” (the town’s motto) and before leaving, visit the Church of the Cross, which sits just above the May River and watch a fantastic sunset from the river’s edge.
Distance from HHI: 33 miles southwest | 45-minute drive
Take a ride to the other side—of the border, that is. Passing over the Talmadge Bridge brings you a bird’s eye view of the small city that sits on the river and gives a glimpse of what’s in store! Savannah has everything you could need: shopping on Broughton Street, bars on River Street, green shaded squares on nearly every corner and culture throughout. With its sunny hues and historical markings, Savannah is best for slow walking (many would say with a to-go cup in hand thanks to the open-container policy downtown). Take in the well-kept mansions in the Historic District or walk the famed River Street for the feel of the city. Don’t forget a trip to Forsyth Park where the live oaks, green grasses and Forsyth Fountain are sure to leave a lasting impression!
Beaufort & The Sea Islands, SC
Distance from HHI: 35 miles north | 45-minute drive
Take a tour of the neighboring sleepy town of Beaufort, home to Civil War relics and stories. Stroll through the quaint town where most food and shopping can be found just off the Beaufort River. Look at the local Lowcountry art found in the shops along Bay Street or take a sip at Common Grounds, a local coffee spot. Relax on the porch swings found on the riverfront and take in the quite beauty Beaufort has to offer or walk along the streets to view grand homes with war stories to share. To make even more of this road trip, head to The Sea Islands: Hunting, Fripp, St. Helena, Lady’s and Port Royal, to name a few. Each island has its own unique story and feel but make sure to check online to see if the island you’d like to explore is open to the public!
Distance from HHI: 10o miles north | two-hour drive
Though it may be the farthest trek on the list, Charleston sure doesn’t disappoint! World-famous and highly esteemed, Charleston, South Carolina holds the charm and beauty of the Lowcountry at every turn. From walking about City Market to exploring the plantations, such as Boone Hall, the city never disappoints. Take in the College of Charleston situated in the middle of the city, walk around the Battery where beautiful grand homes overlook the bay or take photos in front of Rainbow Row! Don’t forget to prepare yourself for a wonderful array of food spots and shopping experiences along King Street.