WITH 23 GOLF COURSES spread across a 12-mile long and 5-mile wide island, Hilton Head Island is an indisputable golfing paradise. Its pristine beaches, serene waters, and abundant leisure pathways have also kept families returning for generations, not to mention those enchanted by the outdoors. Beyond its well-preserved scenery, the South Carolina island also dishes out some of the country’s finest local seafood, results-driven retreats, colorful crafts, and rich Gullah culture. We designed mini itineraries to help every traveler get the most out of this remarkable destination, from food devotees and wellness fans to culture mavens and history aficionados.
Insider tip: Fly into Savannah/Hilton Head International for a fall getaway — local oysters are in season and the weather is just right.
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Book the award-winning Inn & Club at Harbour Town or your own villa, then feed your culinary fix at six sought-after dining options ranging from iconic seafood towers to locally sourced steaks, delectable bakery treats to house-smoked barbecue, all with ample libations.
The latest eatery from the local Nightingale restaurateurs, Celeste serves up seasonal, elevated Lowcountry fare with regional and international flourishes — think fried green tomatoes with pepper jelly, surf-and-turf empanadas, and seafood scampi.
Sip wine, brush up your skills, and sample the final products. The innovative team behind the island’s renowned Italian fine-dining spot leads weekly demonstrations and hands-on classes in Italian delicacies, cooking for crowds, and more.
Shrimp and grits, deviled crabs, and stewed chicken are a few of the creations you can sample at this October fête, one of many annual Gullah celebrations. February, for instance, brings a vibrant events calendar designed to preserve this living history.
In addition to pints of Side Hustle Brewing Co. (brewed on-site), treat yourself to scrumptious lobster rolls, tacos, ice cream, and more at this recently opened beer garden, which houses eight local eateries, plus lawn games and live music.
Tucked into Hilton Head Health, this luxurious spa customizes your visit to your goals and needs, down to the length of your treatments. Try the signature Soul to Soul Ritual, which nourishes with body exfoliation, hair conditioning, a foot massage, and mini facial.
Join the legendary tennis champion on one of these 18 clay courts. The iconic club is also home to Smith Stearns Tennis Academy, so you can even catch a glimpse of the players of the future.
Also called Salt Therapy, this natural treatment can support your immune system, respiratory tract, skin, and mental health. All you have to do is sit and breathe in a beautiful room lit by the glow of Himalayan salt. It doesn’t get easier than that.
At this picturesque oceanfront property, there are 24 dedicated pickleball courts, all lit for night play. Sign up for a round robin, clinic, or even a private lesson with Major League Pickleball player, Sarah Ansbury.
For true adventure seekers, consider chartering a private boat, so you can get up close to dolphins and other Lowcountry ecosystems. If you’re craving something a little more zen, try your hand at SUP Yoga and become one with the water.
Led by Art League of Hilton Head, a 50-year-old nonprofit visual arts organization that also offers workshops and classes, this space displays and sells artwork in all media created by more than 200 member artists.
Savor a Sazerac, she-crab soup, and a filet as some of the world’s finest jazz and swing artists perform soul-stirring melodies at this award-winning venue and fixture of the community.
Sew one of these cultural treasures during a hands-on workshop led by local Gullah artist Michael Smalls. He also walks through the craft’s layered history as an essential economic and artistic resource among the Gullah people.
A sixth-generation Gullah and native islander, Omolola “Lola” Campbell fills her hidden-gem boutique with Gullah artwork, baskets, books, candles, crafts, and seasonings, as well as her Gone Gullah clothing line. All make thoughtful gifts.
While Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra performances, art classes, and more are on offer year-round, this annual celebration packs in concerts, theater, exhibits, poetry readings, and workshops between October and November, all from local organizations and creatives.
It’s impossible not to be moved on these sacred grounds, the site of the first self-governed town of formerly enslaved people in the U.S. Tours and interactive exhibits capture the spirit of the past, while the park’s lively events celebrate the present and future.
A beloved, preserved cultural asset, this boutique museum houses artifacts, delivers lectures, and conducts tours as part of its commitment to revive, restore, and preserve Gullah customs, traditions, language, stories, and songs.
Hop on a bus and pass through historic Gullah neighborhoods as native guides share firsthand accounts of their traditional foods and recipes, folklore, and distinctive language.
Costumed tour guides share stories from the Colonial era at Zion Cemetery and Baynard Mausoleum before leading you to the gravesites of four Revolutionary War heroes and the island’s oldest structure.
Since 1967, Hudson’s has prided itself on plating local, seasonal shrimp, oysters, soft-shell crabs, stone crab claws, and fish that have been harvested just hours beforehand. Survey it all with Neptune’s Seafood Platter as the sun sets over Port Royal Sound.
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