Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Savvy visitors can find a relaxed spirit any time of year on Hilton Head Island, where the natural setting helps ease the stresses of modern living

By: Nancy Purcell

Appeared in April 2007 LINKS

The Verizon Heritage is a favorite among PGA Tour players, who can kick back amid the event’s cocktail-party atmosphere following a week of intense pressure at the Masters. But savvy visitors can find this relaxed spirit any time of year on Hilton Head Island, where the natural setting helps ease the stresses of modern living.

The jewel of the island is Harbour Town Golf Links, co-designed by Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus. This shotmaker’s delight helped usher in the modern era of golf course architecture. The highlight of the Robert Trent Jones course at Palmetto Dunes is the 10th, with a gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean. Golden Bear Golf Club at Indigo Run Plantation meanders through moss-draped oaks and pines. The Arthur Hills course at Palmetto Hall Plantation finishes strong—pars are hard earned.

On Hilton Head, it’s all about how close you can stay to the water; the Westin Resort and the renovated Marriott Beach and Golf Resort both overlook the ocean. While not on the water, the Inn at Harbour Town has a boutique atmosphere with just 60 rooms and private butler and concierge services. But most visitors opt for renting homes or condos, of which there is a large supply.

For gorgeous sunsets, “new Southern” cuisine with a twist and superb wine list, try Old Fort Pub. With delicious steaks and seafood, Stripes is a favorite of the CBS folks during the Heritage. Hinoki of Kurama has the island’s best sushi. A local hangout is Palmetto Bay Sun Rise Cafe; the she crab soup is a favorite.

Spend a day in Sea Pines Plantation, where you can shop, horseback ride, take a cruise or climb the iconic red-and-white striped lighthouse for the best views of Calibogue Sound and Daufuskie Island. Miles of bike paths throughout Hilton Head are perfect for two-wheeled exploring. Nature lovers should visit Fish Haul Creek Park’s pier, which juts into the tidal marsh. The Coastal Discovery Museum provides a close look at the Lowcountry’s history, wildlife and culture. 


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