How to spend a few days on Hilton Head Island

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hilton-head-islandSpend a few days on Hilton Head Island, a tranquil South Carolina spot famed for golf, tennis, beaches and culture.

Sometimes travel can be as much about pausing in one perfect place as taking a journey. Holidaymakers on Hilton Head Island tend to decide that they have found such a location.

A coastal fragment just 12 miles long and five miles wide, it is a jewel on the south-eastern seaboard of South Carolina just an hour’s drive from the charming city of Savannah, Georgia.Put down roots here for a few days and discover the pleasures of this splendid outcrop on the lip of the Atlantic.

Here is a destination that, in some ways, is little different from how it was when British captain William Hilton spotted it in 1663 – sand, seagrass and tranquillity.In other ways it has changed, becoming as oasis where visitors relax in such wonderful hotels as the oceanfront Hilton Head Marriott & Spa and the Inn & Club at Harbour Town in the sophisticated Sea Pines Resort.

The instinct is to switch off when you arrive. But gentle exploration will bring its rewards.There are greens and fairways – more than 20 championship golf courses – and over 350 tennis courts.And there are long beaches for slow strolls and cycle trails for afternoons of unhurried pedalling, with more than 60 miles of paved pathways criss-crossing the island.

Food and culture are big draws too. South Beach is home to some excellent seafood eateries, while the Coastal Discovery Museum on the former Honey Horn plantation showcases the island’s wildlife.Hilton Head Island is quiet in its charm but bold in its claim that visitors should get to know it.

A glimpse of South Carolina’s heritage

Hilton Head Island is home to one of South Carolina’s most fascinating cultures – the Gullah, who are descendants of West African slaves who have lived on the coastal islands of South Carolina and Georgia for almost two centuries.

The food, history, culture, music, language and art of the Gullah are cherished in the South Carolina Lowcountry and are saluted in festivals, museums and exhibits on Hilton Head Island.

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