Hilton Head Winter Vacation
Hilton Head SC Winter Vacation
Where would you like to go for an extended winter vacation? That was our question last year, and we picked Hilton Head, South Carolina, as our holiday destination. We had a wonderful time, and will be going back soon for another holiday.
Here are our top reasons for picking this location:
- It's a reasonable driving distance from our home (about 16 hours)
- The Island has affordable accommodations in a safe area
- Several public golf courses
- Close to the ocean -- just a short walk to the sandy beaches
In the map below, you can see Hilton Head Island, with a marker on the neighborhood where we stayed.
Hilton Head Island
Have You Visited Hilton Head
Have you ever visited Hilton Head Island?See results without voting
Arriving in Hilton Head
Before our vacation, we had never visited Hilton Head, but spent a week just north of there, in Charleston, South Carolina. It was a lovely city, and the December weather was mild -- much better than we had left in Canada.
So, we looked online, and found a condo complex in Hilton Head, and booked a spot for our vacation. The place we picked was in Fiddler's Cove, and the price was very reasonable. There is a security gate, so that added to our sense of safety at this complex.
When we arrived, the condo looked exactly as it did in the online pictures, and it had been left very clean and neat -- ready for us to move in.
You can see the dining area and living room in the photo below. There was also a small kitchen, two bedrooms, and two full bathrooms. The condo even had a washer and dryer, so we had everything that we needed for a relaxing holiday.
Our Hilton Head vacation was off to a good start!
Our rental condo
Shopping for Supplies
After we unpacked at the Hilton Head condo, we headed out to get a few supplies. There was a mall nearby, with a Publix grocery store and a Walmart, so that's where we went.
The Walmart was being renovated, and there were signs that a SuperCenter will be added soon. In the meantime, it was drab and dreary, with a limited grocery selection.
At the Publix, things were better, but the prices weren't as low as I hoped. I guess the resort area increases the prices.
The parking lot looked nice though, with big trees and plenty of green space. It felt more like a campground than a parking lot!
To help keep the food costs as low as possible, I've found a grocery circular website. It will give us a free list of what is on sale at each of the local grocery stores. You can find the store with the best price for a specific item, or see which chain has the best weekly sales. That website should help us save some money!
Publix Grocery Store
Hilton Head Beach
The beach was only a couple blocks from our Hilton Head condo, so we headed there each morning, for a walk. You can walk for miles along this beach, and get your daily exercise while you enjoy the beautiful view of the ocean.
The sand was hard packed, and easy to walk on. and it was never too crowded. I'm sure it's busier in the summer, but perfect for a leisurely stroll in the winter months.
In the picture below, the tide was quite high, and close to the sand dunes. Other mornings, it was low tide, and there was much more exposed sand to walk on.
Hilton Head beach
Hilton Head Ocean Sounds
Hilton Head Beach Sights
We brought the camera along on our beach walks, and there was always something interesting to see. Some days, the waves were small and soothing. Other days, the waves were taller, and crashed onto the beach.
Rocks, shells and even trees were pushed up onto the shore, and added to the scenery. Here is one of the large trees that we passed on our morning walks.
Hilton Head Beach Tree
Hilton Head Beach Debris
There are smaller items along the shore too, if you slow down to look for them. Tiny rocks and shells are scattered across the sand.
This pretty shell was just one of the thousands that we saw. It would be tempting to bring them all home, to help remember the vacation feeling!
Hilton Head Shells
It's always interesting to walk along the Hilton Head beach, and see what the waves have washed onto the shore. One day I saw the strange item that you can see in the photo below. Was it a seaweed? Could it be the skeleton of an unknown sea creature?
I did some hunting in Google when we got back to the condo, and learned that this is the egg container for a large snail -- the Knobbed Whelk. Have you ever seen one of these?
Hilton Head Day Trip to Beaufort
From Hilton Head, it's a short trip to the town of Beaufort. We spent a day there, exploring the waterfront. There is a boardwalk along the harbor front, with plenty of benches and swinging seats, where you can relax and enjoy the view.
Several movies have been filmed in Beaufort, such as The Big Chill and Forrest Gump. If you have seen those movies, you will recognize some of the locations that were used in the films. In fact, every tree-lined street in Beaufort makes me want to shout, "Run Forrest, run!"
The main street has a good variety of shops and restaurants, including Luther's where we had lunch on the patio. The patio, behind the restaurant, looks onto the harbor, and is a great place for lunch on a sunny day.
If you're looking for a lovely spot to spend the day, while you're vacationing in Hilton Head, take a drive to Beaufort.
Hilton Head Wildlife
There is plenty of wildlife away from the beach too, like this bird that we saw. It wouldn't let us get too close, but we managed to get a few pictures before it flew away.
Below, you can see one of our crane pictures, as it stood in the bright green swamp water.
Then, below the picture, is a video that I took a few days later. It shows the crane walking through the water, then flying away. I guess we were bothering it!
Hilton Island Bird
Crane Flies Away
Hilton Head Vacation Summary
We really enjoyed the Hilton Head location, and found plenty to do, without spending a ton of money for entertainment. The Island prices are on the high side, because it's a tourist area, so bring food along with you, if possible, to save some money!
Read more about our Hilton Head vacation on my journal blog.