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Connect with Nature on Hilton Head Island

People visit Hilton Head Island for a variety of reasons. Some come to relax on the beach, while others prefer to hit the waves each day of their stay. Our golf courses draw in thousands of visitors, and the many other attractions on the island make the area even more inviting.

All that said, there is one fabulous reason to visit Hilton Head Island that is deserves attention: nature. This gorgeous island is filled with incredible flora and fauna. The preserves, beaches, and other natural areas are just waiting to be explored, and the interesting discoveries and spectacular views found there make them well worth exploring.

If you enjoy spending time with plants and animals, feel the need to reconnect with Mother Nature, or simply want to see some of the natural beauty that South Carolina has to offer, Hilton Head is the place for you.

In this article we will discuss the many options for connecting with nature on Hilton Head Island.

Spend Time at the Beach

First, there are the beaches. Beaches are often thought of as places to sunbathe and swim, but many people forget that they also offer some really cool opportunities for nature exploration. The beaches of Hilton Head Island are no different.

Set aside a morning or afternoon just for natural exploration on the beach. Go on a walk and see what kinds of birds, crabs, and other animals you come across. Check out the plants along your path. You can even find a app to identify interesting ones. Look out over the water to see if you can spot a dolphin or some fish.

You might be surprised just how many plants and animals you find when you’re really paying attention.

Have a Boating Adventure

Curious about what lives beyond the beach? Want to know what kinds of creatures are housed in the miles of ocean surrounding Hilton Head Island?

There are great local options for boat tours and adventures. Many even offer a guarantee that you will see a dolphin or two on your trip. Additionally, you’ll likely spot a number of other animals along the way. Birding tours and even sunset cruises over even more options for nature centered fun.

Check Out a Museum

The Coastal Discovery Museum is a great way to learn all about the low country. You will get a taste of the region’s history, culture, and art, but will also learn about the ecosystem of the area.

The 68-acre property features miles of trails, allowing you to really enjoy the plants and animals living there. Educational tours are perfect for gaining a better understanding of what you’re seeing, and the exhibits give visitors an opportunity to learn even more at their own pace and in the comfort of the indoors.

Take a Hike

Hoping for more excellent hiking opportunities? Hilton Head has them! There are incredible trails through the wilderness of the island.

Check out the wetlands while walking over boardwalks, hike the forests on well-marked trails, go on a geocaching adventure, and observe alligators, birds, and other local wildlife. There are even guided horseback riding and wagon tours, meaning you can have fun in nature in a variety of ways.

Go Birding

Birds are plentiful on Hilton Head Island, making birding an ideal activity for anyone looking to spend some time in nature during their stay here.

Bring your binoculars and a birdwatching book or app, and see how many different species you can spot.

Bonus: Visit a Wildlife Refuge

Technically, these next suggestions aren’t on Hilton Head Island proper. That said, they are very nearby, and excellent places to go if you wish to spend time surrounded by nature. Therefore, we felt they all deserved a place in our article.

Each of the attractions mentioned is a National Wildlife Refuge. This means the parks are protected, leading huge numbers of animals and many local plants to make their homes there. Obviously, this is wonderful for the flora and fauna, as they can live in peace. However it’s also great for us because it means we can observe native creatures in their natural habitats and learn what nature does when left undisturbed.

Wondering what refuges are nearest Hilton Head? The three below are all easy day trips:

  • Tybee National Wildlife Refuge — This park is the farthest of the bunch, and will require a drive of a little over an hour. That said, it is well worth the drive.
  • Savannah National Wildlife Refuge — Located a little over half an hour away from Hilton Head, this refuge is also a beautiful place to explore the natural world.

Clearly, Hilton Head is an excellent place to experience all that South Carolina has to offer in terms of plants, animals, weather, and views. From beaches and wetlands to forests, there are multiple ecosystems found in the area, and each one boasts plenty of interesting sights and sounds to keep you busy exploring for hours.