Hilton Head is the perfect home base for anyone wanting to stay active and busy. You have the pleasure of being near water with amazing beaches and an island loaded with trails, world class golf courses and opportunities to explore backwaters and the open ocean by boat. There are a wide variety of day trip activities available locally and a few off island destinations worth exploring as well.
Local Day Trips
The local area is obviously loaded with out the back door recreational opportunities situated right alongside world class dining and entertainment. This reality actually makes it difficult to explore even an hour of travel away from Hilton Head because there are so many ways to have fun right at here. Long term visitors should however look at some different areas to really absorb everything possible in the region. Even a 30-minute drive opens a ton of different options.
For those new to Hilton Head, start with the amazing golf courses and that will easily keep you entertained for a few weeks. Add in the natural beauty and take a sunset yacht cruise, fishing trip or a dolphin tour between trips to lounge on the public beaches. When you want a down day, the Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort is a beautiful place to enjoy with exceptional amenities on-site.
The island is also full of great restaurants, walking trails and nature parks that are worth exploring. You don’t have to look far for at least a dozen ways to spend a day on Hilton Head. If you want to venture a little farther however, there are some really great areas to play within an hour or two of Hilton Head.
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge
Only a 30-minute drive from Hilton Head Island, this wildlife refuge is very large. It sits on the North Carolina and Georgia border and is home to a ton of wildlife. You can drive through and experience the refuge from a vehicle or stop to walk around and view the abundance of birds, alligators and deer. It’s a 4-mile drive to cover the road system but the refuge is also open to deer hunting with a special permit. Stop at the visitor center before entering the park to grab a trail map and some tips from the local rangers.
Adding a trip into Savannah after visiting the refuge is also a great way to extend the day. Savannah is a charming city with great restaurants and shopping. It’s only a 45 minute drive back to Hilton Head, making this combo trip the perfect way to spend a day.
This island is just south of Hilton Head and visiting is like taking a step back in time. It has plenty of pristine, white sand beaches and room to explore. Traffic is very low here and walking through the towering oak trees covered in moss is inspiring. There is no bridge to the mainland and that keeps the traffic down, making this a quiet paradise with a small population of residents and a vibrant art community. Visitors can learn about the rich island history, visit art galleries or dine at a local restaurant. Although no road system connects to the island, the ferry from Buckingham Landing will carry you over. Residing on Hilton Head makes this a convenient day trip or you can rent a place and spend the night for a relaxing getaway.
Located on Saint Helena Island immediately north of Hilton Head, Fort Fremont is a historical preserve from the Spanish American War era. The fort is one of only two preserved coastal military complexes and it shows the architecture and military style in a large 170-acre land area. The visitors center offers a look into the times with different displays and details from the Fort Operations. It’s a really interesting place to spend a few hours for history buffs and anyone interested in regional development.
Fripp island is a great place to spend a day or two exploring. It’s similar to Hilton Head in many ways but is especially known as a wildlife sanctuary. Naturalists wanting to hike new beaches and trails while watching birds, deer and alligators will really enjoy the island. You can rent a kayak to explore or stop to golf on the local course. It’s a nice, mellow feel on Fripp Island and a great way to spend a day without straying far from your home base on Hilton Head.