Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Family Vacation to Hilton Head Island: Part 1

We just returned from one of my favorite trips of the year - our family vacation to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. We've been visiting the island since I was a child and since Cute was a little baby we've spent a week there each summer with our kids.  

Hilton Head is such a fun place, and the perfect spot if you have an active, outdoorsy family who loves the beach. It has grown so much since I was a little girl, but I love that it's kept to its small town seaside feel without any commercial restaurants or large high rises. I have nothing but love for Coastal Carolina and hope that one day that we visit we decide to stay forever (a girl can dream!). 

This year was a repeat of our trips in the past (sleep, beach, have fun, repeat), but we mixed things up a bit here and there. I'll give you some of the highlights over the next few days, but make sure you take a peek at our past Hilton Head trips as well to get a great over view of the island and what we do, eat, and see.

Where we stay

We have stayed in various parts of the island, but our favorite section is the Sea Pines Resort. We typically rent a condo or home, and this year we chose to vacation in the home we selected last year

It's a large town home that sleeps 14 people. It's located right on the 18th green of the Heritage Course, and with in walking distance from Harbour Town. 

And if it ever happens to come up for sale (and we win the lottery), I know a few people who want to purchase it. 

If not for it's perfect location, gorgeous decor, fun backyard pool, and all around amazing details...

Then for it's spectacular views...

It's located right on the water and each night you are rewarded with amazing sunsets. 

Each night, once the golf course shuts down for the evening, everyone heads outside on their porches, or on a blanket on the course, and watches the views. This alone would make me want to scoop it up and make it mine forever. 

And if they aren't willing to sell ever, I have a my eye on one or ten more in the neighborhood...

The Beach

Obviously the main reason for the trip is going to the beach. The vacation home is located on the water but doesn't have beach access, so we head over to the Sea Pines Beach club. It's a quick drive, bike ride, or trolley ride to there and it's such an easy set up. 

Our first night, after a poolside pizza dinner we decided we just couldn't wait and headed to the beach. We were just going to take a quick walk on it at sunset, but my kids are total beach babies and couldn't stand not to run straight for the water. 

Clothes and all. Between the water and rolling in the sand, it was obvious I should have just kept them in their swimsuits. But the fact they were in their "real clothes" I think just added to the fun. 

We make our way to the Beach Club at least once a day. We roll in, find a spot (it's usually not crowded), set up our tent and let the kids go. Because it is such a family friendly vacation spot, most often they find a friend or two to play with, and have a blast sun up to sun down. 

Harbour Town

Harbour Town is one of most popular spots on the island. It's filled with great restaurants, great shopping and great activities. Our second night after we did a full day of beach fun we made our way to this favorite spot. 

We were quite humbled as we strolled through the harbor this year. We knew that there was a hurricane that hit the Golden Isles and Carolina Coast last Fall, but due to family issues going on at the time we largely were unaware of anything outside of our little bubble and thus somehow missed how grand the devastation was in this area. 

After speaking with some locals while eating dinner we learned that for months Hilton Head had to do a massive clean-up. Entire marinas were destroyed beyond repair (or no longer exist), and Harbour Town's was one of the ones that suffered the most damage. The pier was ripped apart and swept away. Most of the yachts and boats in the basin were damaged or destroyed as they were pushed up onto land from the storm surge. Googling photos of what it looked like right after was shocking. 

The island has done a great job rebuilding and getting things back open. Currently there is a lot of work going on in Harbour Town to rebuild the pier, fix any building that had damage from the storm, and updating things to make it safe. Even with all of that though going on, the rest of the basin is still in working order. 

We dined on a little surf and turf (Mr. Cute the surf and me the turf) at one of our favorite restaurants - The Quarterdeck.

We always choose to sit outside and take in the view and atmosphere. The kids love this spot too since there is usually room for them to dance and sing along with the musician playing each night. 

This night they were excited because the musician gave The Cutes a playlist they could look through and turn in requests. 

Cute took this job quite seriously. He wanted to make sure he picked just the right music to make the whole restaurant get up and dance. 

After we ate we noticed there was a new guy hanging around Harbour Town. 

Albert the Alligator is a new friend, and he visits Harbour Town every Sunday evening with games and activities to play with the kids. 

Kids loved this section and Albert would join in and take photos the entire time. I noticed a lot of older kids liked this activity. The playground is located just behind this spot, but if you have a child who is in those pre-teen years this might be a fun activity to put on your radar since the games were suitable for their ages too. 

Off Shore Fishing

Each year the boys typically take a day to play golf. This year they decided to switch things up. Mr. Cute came up with the idea to take everyone off shore fishing now that he thought Cute was old enough. He, Cute, and my dad charted a trip out of Shelter Cove marina. (If interested I can get you specific information.)

They did a half day trip and saw tons of action. They caught tons of fish, but the highlight of the trip was that Cute caught six sharks! 

To say he was excited was an understatement. 

Mr. Cute is an avid fisher, and said that he will be planning another trip the next time we visit. All the boys said it was a blast, and they wish they could have stayed out longer. Mr. Cute felt like the half day was perfect for this age group though. If your crew likes fishing he highly recommends it. 

That wraps up the highlights from the first half of our trip. Tomorrow I will share some more adventures from the back half. And now to day dream about going back... 

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