Though the lure of championship golf courses, world-class tennis facilities, and miles of beaches may make it hard to leave the island, there’s even more adventure just a short road trip away. Plan a day trip and explore the surrounding area, where many popular destinations including Charleston, Savannah, Daufuskie Island and Bluffton are located nearby. Armed with your spirit of exploration, see what historic and beautiful things you’ll uncover in the Lowcountry.
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Daufuskie Island is a popular retreat, located away from the typical tourist route and is favored by visitors who prefer a local island lifestyle. This lifestyle draws music lovers and southern bands considered to be down-home style on an island that has a full-time population of around 400. There are no bridges that connect Daufuskie with mainland South Carolina, therefore all island access must come by boat. A ferry from Hilton Head Island runs daily.
Calibogue Cruises offers unique guided tours and has several round trip ferries a day that transport residents and tourists. The Haig Point Club has its own private ferry service. Additionally, the Daufuskie Island Club runs its own ferry service, which is also contracted by the county to provide public ferry services between Hilton Head (Salty Fare Embarkation Center) and the Melrose Landing on Daufuskie. Residents of the clubs, as well as some of the other residents on the island, use golf carts and bicycles to travel around the island, although there are a handful of cars and trucks, too.
Savannah has more than 300 years of history to explore. Discover all the charm, beauty and history this city has to offer whether you take one of the many walking, carriage, trolley, or bus tours. Tours not only cover the history of Savannah – they also point out locations where over 30 movies have been filmed including Forest Gump, General’s Daughter, and most famously known for John Berendt’s bestseller Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (known to locals as “The Book”). Take a trolley tour to check out the scenic sites and to learn about this city, including ghost tours on haunted trolleys at night.
If you aren’t up for the hour drive to Savannah, you can hop on Hilton Head’s Vagabond Cruises, leaving from Harbour Town on Hilton Head directly to Savannah’s River Street, where you can enjoy four hours to shop, dine and sightsee on one of Savannah’s many tours. Savannah is ‘Old South’ with its moss draped live oaks, cobble stones streets, beautiful squares and stately mansion. Step back in time as you wander these historic streets.
Charleston, known as one of the most charming and romantic cities in the United States, is only about a two-hour drive from Hilton Head. Charleston’s rich history dates back to 1670 when settlers established Charles Town Landing. Today, more than 300 years later, the city features a rich history and culture that hardly could have been imagined 3 centuries ago. Go on walking tours to experience the beautiful Historic District of Charleston or take a carriage tour around the city. With over 500 restaurants, there’s no shortage of options for every meal.
Located just across the bridge from Hilton Head Island, Bluffton is a picturesque and charming town. Character homes, historic churches and unique shops line the streets of Bluffton’s downtown historic district, with true Lowcountry style. Bluffton, a town whose name refers to its location atop a scenic bluff along the May River, is home to numerous renowned restaurants, accommodations and popular shopping centers developed along U.S. Route 278, which connects Bluffton and Hilton Head Island. Bluffton is also home to a very popular Farmers Market on Thursdays. With the Atlantic Ocean nearby and an abundance of entertainment and recreational activities, it is easy to see why Bluffton is a growing South Carolina destination.
Beaufort, located about an hour drive from Hilton Head, is a romantic and popular tourist destination known for its history. The Beaufort and the nearby Port Royal and Sea Islands area are full of the heritage and Southern hospitality the area is known for. Live oaks are part of the beautiful environment in this place nestled next to the ocean. History buffs will want to stop by the Beaufort HIstory Museum and other historical homes that are open to the public. Also, learn about the local Gullah culture at the Penn Center. Being close to the ocean, there’s no better way to explore the area than out on the water with a kayak tour or a dolphin cruise.