Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hilton Head Island: What to Do


Happy Wednesday! Oh my, I am still stuck in vacation recovery mode. The more I look at all these photos the more I want to go back!

I've shared about where we stayed, what restaurants we loved, and today I will share what we did. 
The fun thing about the Sea Pines Plantation on Hilton Head Island is that there is so much available to do! 


THE BEACH
Obviously the biggest attraction for us while we are visiting. I could stay here all. day. long. 
And it looks like our three little ones LOVE the ocean and beach just as much as I do. 

We typically access the beach at the Sea Pines Beach Club. The Beach Club makes it so easy to stay all day. There are several restaurants to order food and drinks from, a store to grab anything you might need - from sunscreen to an outfit for dinner, and the absolute nicest beach bathrooms I've ever seen in my life. 


The tides are pretty drastic here, but The Cutes love boogey boarding and splashing in the waves during high tide, and then lounging in the tide pools at low tide. 


Both Cutes love to play in the sand here. The sand is perfect for building sand castles! LC pretty much rolled herself in it the entire time we were there. 


 The low country coastal areas have no shortage of beach animal life and my two little ones were in heaven. Every few moments they were bringing us some sort of sea creature they had found. 


 At one point they had collected almost 20 crabs! 

And to some of our dismay, they also had no problem putting their new crab friends directly onto you. I still have the shivers. 


L.C. was super excited to find this full star fish, and refused to let it out of her sight for hours. She also made us bring home two teeny tiny hermit crabs that she found on the beach. When she gets older I can't wait to take her on one of the dolphin tours. I know she will just love it!


ALLIGATORS
Speaking of creatures, there are tons of alligators on HHI. The island actually uses the alligator as a mascot of sorts. There is a famous photo of Charles Fraser, the founder of Sea Pines Resort, with "Albert" the alligator, and it's said that the alligators on the island are descendants of Albert. 


During low tide you can usually see an alligator pop his head up in one of the canals on the side of the road, or the ponds that are dotted along the island. If you are a serious golfer, don't be surprised if you see one on the courses as well. 

When Tropical Storm Colin made landfall, he decided to break out of the house and head to the fitness center. On his way home he saw a ton of tiny alligators and thought it would be fun to go on an "alligator hunt" with the kids. 100% of the alligators that we saw ran off at the first little noise that they heard. I would say they were at longest 2-3ft long nose to tail. 


But I'm not gonna lie - we did surprisingly see a huge one a time or two. 
Obviously for these we stayed in the car and just parked to let the kids see it from the safety of our vehicle. 


I would say these topped out at 6ft long. Yikes!

The kids were beyond amazed at seeing at them, and talked about alligators the entire trip. If you have alligator loving little ones, there are alligator tours you can take. We were so close to signing up for one after seeing how excited they were, but we ran out of time trying to squeeze everything in and still staying relaxed. 


PARKS
No worries though, the Cutes were able to get up close and personal with a much tamer alligator - the statue one at Gregg Russell park in Harbour Town. :) 

This park is awesome! It has a ton of fun park structures with nature themes, and low country wild life statues around for the children to climb on. 


The Cutes absolutely loved this park. Because we were so close, we spent a lot more time here than we normally do and it was a great way to burn energy. 



We were there at all hours of the day and it never felt overly crowded due to the size of the park. Part of it is also covered by trees so it never felt super hot - super important when metal playgrounds are involved. 


Gregg Russell is kind of a big deal on the island. He's a musician that has been playing music on the island for over 30 years. He plays under the Liberty Oak in Harbour Town nightly.


The kids absolutely love singing, dancing, and playing games with him. 

When we stayed with Carrie Beth in Shelter Cove a few years ago, there was another famous musician, Shannon Tanner,  that held a similar show a few nights a week for the kids. I remember her girls absolutely loving him!


HARBOUR TOWN LIGHTHOUSE

The Harbour Town Lighthouse is a fun little activity to put on your list if you have the free time. We've done it a few times in the past, but didn't make it to the top this trip. The views up there are phenomenal and our kids love seeing everything below. It isn't a super tall lighthouse, so the stairs on little legs aren't too bad. 


I couldn't get enough of seeing it from our townhouse this trip though. 


I even dragged my little sister across the golf course, through the marsh at low tide, and onto an oyster bed so that we could get a few "frame worthy" shots with my fancy cam. Totally worth it, and will have to share those soon. 

BIKE RIDING


I love the small town feel of Hilton Head Island, and one of my favorite things is that everyone bike rides everywhere. There are so many paths along the island that you can leave your car parked the entire trip if you want to. 

There are several places to rent bikes along the island, and most will deliver you bikes and any accessories that you might request without a fee directly to your rental. Such a convenience, and they can be ready to go for when you arrive. 


SOUTH BEACH MARINA
Yesterday I mentioned that South Beach Marina and the Salty Dog Cafe were a must see when visiting the island. 


The Salty Dog is not only famous for having Jake frequent its grounds, but it is also famous for having a parrot inhabit its tee shirt shop. 

We love grabbing a new tee shirt each year, getting a few treats, and seeing the parrots. 


This cracks the kids up and they love when the parrots talk to them. 

Just outside the tee shirt shop they usually have tons of events going on each evening, and lots of activities for the kids. Musicians, magicians, face painting and more - the kids will love this area of the island. 


GOLF
Hilton Head Island golf is huge, and there are a ton of beautiful courses to play. 


This trip Mr. Cute couldn't resist the lure of the lush courses he was looking at each day, and scheduled a tee time for himself on the Harbour Town Golf Links course - a course made famous for hosting the RBC Heritage Tournament. 

We were so excited to cheer him on as he played through the infamous 18th hole. It was so hard to keep the kids quiet during his back swing. They could barely contain their excitement!


After Mr. Cute finished his round, he showered and we had a quick one hour date to tour the club house. 


It was so fun seeing the history behind the tournament, as well as some of the memorabilia hung around the property. It was also fun seeing a few younger children playing during the twilight hours. I know The Cutes can't wait to play there soon with daddy. 


Mr. Cute wanted to grab the kids a few souvenirs from the pro shop and as we were walking around I spotted a few of our favorite southern flower sprinkled throughout the store. 
Hi Magnolia! ;)

SHOPPING
Shopping on the island is fabulous. There are a ton of fun, quaint little shops sprinkled throughout the island that I love to visit. This time around I opted for more beach time and less shopping time, and wouldn't have changed a thing. 


However, I did sneak in a quick visit to a few of my favorite shops in Harbour Town. S.M. Bradford Co. carries my favorite Lilly Pulitzer so I just had to stop in. 

And I just had to buy a little something. Or a few little somethings. ;) 


Currents is also another favorite store of mine located in Harbour Town. They have a ton of fun coastal inspired brands and always have great gift ideas. 

I've been eyeing the maps collection from Spartina for awhile now, and on this trip finally grabbed this adorable little wristlet for my collection. I did have a hard time not buying the tote or this anchor themed one


PIRATES CRUISE
Last year I took Cute on the Pirates of Hilton Head adventure, and it was the first thing he asked about when he heard we were vacationing on Hilton Head again. It was so much fun, I knew he would enjoy doing it again, and didn't hesitate to sign us up for another adventure. 


I booked us at the beginning of the week, and already it was tough finding a spot for the four of us (we left Baby Cute behind with my family). 


Luckily, on our last day I managed to book us the 5:00p.m. cruise. I love this time slot because it isn't quite as hot, and we are able to go straight dinner in Harbour Town once the cruise is complete. 


I shared a ton of details about the cruise last year, and this year it was fairly the same. Even some of the characters were the same, which Cute loved. 


L.C. was probably one of the younger participants, and had a tough time realizing that the pirates at times were just pretending, but overall she had a blast. 

The highlight of the trip is when they embark on the pirate "Stinky Pete". The children get to shoot Pete with the water canons for a good ten minutes and they LOVE it! 


L.C. also loved the pirate "grog" that they found in the ocean. She asked for fourths when they were circling around. It smelled yummy and we think it is peach tea. She wasn't about to let us have a taste. 


The crew does a great job of getting everyone involved in the adventure - even the parents! 
It has quickly become one of my favorite activities to do the with the kids, and I can't wait to take all three next year. 


There are a ton of other activities and water sports available on the island, and over time we look forward to exploring more as the kids get a little bit older. 


As always, we absolutely loved our time on Hilton Head Island, and I already can't wait to go back! Each year it gets a little more fun (if that's even possible), and we love seeing our kids grow to enjoy one of our favorite places as much as we do. 

Do you have a favorite vacation spot you love to visit with your family? 
What are some of your favorite activities to do? 

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