Winter Escape to Hilton Head

 A Winter Escape to Hilton Head Island

While summer might be the island's prime time, there's plenty to enjoy during the off-season at Hilton Head, South Carolina. At least, that's what Steve & Cyndi (Lyndon's brother and sister-in-law) assured us when they suggested we vacation together in January (2024). We found it to be true!

So we met in the middle - Charlotte, NC, airport - with Lyndon and I arriving from the warmth of Puerto Rico and Steve & Cyndi driving over the mountains from a snowy Tennessee. The temps on the Atlantic Coast were also somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

What is there to do in Hilton Head in the winter? Plenty. If you like beach strolling, then you can walk miles without the crowds. It's a perfect opportunity for shell collecting, seagull watching, picture taking, or simply enjoying a bit of quiet, peace, and solitude.

Put on a light coat and explore the island's extensive network of bike and walking paths. For only $6.00 per car admission, you can enjoy Harbour Town for shopping, touring, walking, cycling, and eating. The views are still great and the crowds are all but absent in the winter months.

We also took a drive to explore Sea Pines Forest Preserve, a protected wildlife habitat. There are some non-manicured walking trails as well as wetland boardwalks in the 600+ acre preserve. We did see signs saying alligators may live here, but thankfully we did not see any on the paths!

Anytime is the right time of year to wine and dine in Hilton Head. Sample fresh, locally caught seafood at waterfront restaurants or cozy up in cafes with a cup of coffee or hot cocoa. We tried a wide variety including Chinese carry out, authentic seafood fare from the Crazy Crab, and even live music food and daiquiri slushies at the Frosty Frog Cafe.

We found Island Winery in a hidden-away storefront featuring their barrel-aged red wines, crisp whites, and unique low country speciality wines. Their staff let you choose which six wines you wanted to taste. The pours were larger than expected for the $10 tasting fee.

You can explore Hilton Head's rich history and culture by visiting its museums, art galleries, and historical sites. We visited Fort Mitchel and the historic village of Mitchelville. Mitchelville holds a unique place in American history as one of the earliest self-governing communities of freed slaves during the Civil War era.

Mitchelville was established in 1862 following the Union Army's capture of the island early in the Civil War. Named after General Ormsby M. Mitchel, a Union general, it was one of the first places in the United States where formerly enslaved people could live freely. The town was also known as having established the first compulsory education laws in South Carolina.

After a relaxing few days at Hilton Head, we drove north and stopped for breakfast at a Waffle House (of course!) and a quick stop at the Old Sheldon Church ruins, a church that had been burnt during the Civil War. Very interesting history, as it was one of the first buildings to use Greek Revival columns archecture.

Later, back in Charlotte, we also took the Journey of Faith tour at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC. The walk-through museum did an incredible job at telling the story of Billy’s life and legacy through interactive displays, with plenty of audio and video experiences. We skipped the grounds and his home as it was a very blustery day, and it was time to get back to the airport for our flight home to PR.

Hilton Head Island offers a variety of activities to enjoy during the winter months. Whether you're seeking outdoor adventures, culinary delights, or cultural exploration, the island has a lot going on any time of year.


Popular Posts