This is a guest post from our friend Sandra of Southern-Traveller.
Geographically, South Carolina’s Lowcountry is in the southern corner of the state, bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Savannah River on the other. But the Lowcounty is identified as much by its character as it is by a precise spot on the map. It’s a place of wild marshlands, live oaks, palmettos, Spanish moss and miles of white pristine beaches. It’s a collection of small towns rich with history, Antebellum architecture, Southern culture and food. And above all, South Carolina’s Lowcounty is known for its welcoming Southern hospitality.
From quaint towns like Beaufort, to the natural beauty of the Sea Islands and the world-class destination of Hilton Head, visitors will discover a one-of-kind getaway.
This trip was hosted by Visit Beaufort and by Hilton Head Island CVB.
Founded in 1711, Beaufort is the second oldest city in South Carolina. Its walkable three-block historic downtown area is filled with unique local shops and art galleries. Take a carriage tour of the town or rent a bike to explore the Spanish Moss Trail. This 10-mile paved path leads through wetlands and neighborhoods shaded by oaks laden with Spanish moss.
As an option, explore Beaufort by water with Beaufort Kayak Tours. Or, head to Coastal Expeditions for a Dolphin & History Boat Cruise. When you’ve worked up an appetite, the Lowcountry Produce Market & Café is the place to chow down on a Southern-style toasted bacon-and-pimento cheese sandwich. In the afternoon, tour the Kazaooble Kazoo Factory, the only kazoo factory still operating within the United States.
Where to Eat and Stay in Beaufort
Beaufort’s waterfront is one of its top attractions, so make dinner reservations at Saltus River Grill and sit outside on the patio to enjoy the Beaufort waterfront. Order the Char-grilled oysters to start with, then chow down on Sea Island Shrimp & Stone Ground Grits or a variety of sushi. After dinner take a stroll along the waterfront and watch the sunset from a relaxing swing at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.
Have lunch or dinner from Fishcamp on 11th Street in Port Royal on their screened porch. Enjoy the chill-bar oysters and shrimp, seafood tower, or their Lowcountry boil.
The Beaufort Inn is a 48-room boutique hotel with a blend of historic charm and modern amenities. It’s lush gardens, inviting verandas and porches lined with rocking chairs offer a relaxing vibe. Guests have a choice of three favorite breakfast options nearby, afternoon sweets and refreshments and private off-street parking in the heart of the historic district.
The Sea Islands
The outer Sea Islands around Beaufort—Fripp, Harbor and Hunting Islands—offer plenty of family-friendly activities. Hunting Island State Park is South Carolina’s most popular state park, offering five miles of pristine beaches, thousands of acres of marsh and maritime forest, a saltwater lagoon, an 8-mile hiking trail and the only public accessible lighthouse in South Carolina. There’s also an Activity and Nature Center that offers a close up and hands-on look at some of the island’s natural inhabitants.
Hilton Head Island
Hilton Head’s 12 miles of beaches are among the top family-friendly beaches in the country. Add to that 23 championship golf courses, 60 miles of bike trails and every type of water sport you can image and voila—the perfect vacation for the entire family. Hilton Head has no billboards, neon signs or buildings taller than the trees. What it does have is lots of wildlife including deer, osprey, pelicans, alligators, herons and near-shore dolphins and a relaxed downhome vibe.
With its seasonally warm temps, Hilton Head is perfect for year-round outdoor activities. The “League of American Bicyclists” has given the island its “Gold Award,” placing it on their top 25 list of bike-friendly communities. In fact, you can actually bike through a system of trails from one end of the Island to the other. There’s also a plethora of watersports from kayak adventures, parasailing, stand up paddling, rafting, deep sea fishing and exhilarating wave runner adventures. And, of course, Hilton Head’s golf courses are continually rated by Golf Digest and Golf magazines high on their “Best Of” lists.
Family Friendly Fun
Check out Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina, a Mediterranean-style village with its famous landmark—a giant bronze statue of Neptune, which is actually one of the world’s largest working sundials. Grab some coffee and an authentic French pastry at Hilton Head Social Bakery, then peruse a variety of shops. Be sure to save time for a dolphin watching tour with Outside Hilton Head Dolphin Tour.
Spend a day at Harbor Town which is modeled after a New England-style fishing village. It is located in the Sea Pines Resort. Head to the iconic red-and-white lighthouse and climb the 114-steps to the top to catch the view. Then explore the Maritime Museum on the ground floor. Kids will also enjoy visiting the Nature Center at Harbor Town with its live animal exhibits, hands-on displays and nature-related merchandise.
The Shops at Sea Pines offer a wide array of stores and restaurants. After your shopping spree, take a break to enjoy an ice cream cone and relax in a rocking chair with calming water views.
Where to Eat at Hilton Head
Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks is a family-owned business and restaurant that farms and harvests their own oysters, fresh soft-shell crabs and local white shrimp. Enjoy lunch or dinner on their dock overlooking picturesque shrimp boats. Hudson’s offers a huge menu of appetizers, an oyster bar, fresh seafood items, salads, and desserts that every member of the family is sure to enjoy.
Enjoy sweeping views of Skull Creek while dining on seafood specials at Skull Creek Dockside Restaurant. Their Dockside collection features seared scallops, a crab cake, stuffed shrimp casino, whipped potatoes, and seasonal vegetables.
If you love barbeque, One Hot Mamas is your spot! One Hot Mama’s is part of the South Carolina BBQ Trail and features delicious baby-back ribs, authentic pit-to-plate BBQ, hand-cut steaks, char-grilled chicken and the world’s best wings. And save room for their award-winning Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie With Bacon Graham Cracker Crust.
Where to Stay
Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort is the perfect spot for exploring the Island or just unwinding and relaxing. This luxury resort offers an 11-mile lagoon system ideal for kayaking and canoeing, bike trails, 25 tennis and pickleball courts and three championship golf courses. The entire family will enjoy the 3,600-square-foot zero entry pool which is heated seasonally.
In addition, there is kid’s splash zone and an adult only pool and hot tub. Stay in shape at their state-of-the-art fitness center, or relax and rejuvenate at the Ocean Tides Spa.
BIO: Sandra Chambers is a regular freelance travel writer for Allegiant Airlines in-flight magazine as well as a contributor to AA Go Magazine, Dreamscapes, WestJet Airlines and more. In addition to travel writing, Sandra has written hundreds of feature stories, profiles and news stories for 20+ publications. She is also the author of a nonfiction book and is currently working on several children’s books. She resides in coastal NC with her husband where she enjoys walks on the beach, seafood, back porch sitting and a good mystery book. Check out Sandra’s author website.
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