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Why Hilton Head Island Is the Perfect Weekend Trip From Savannah

Travel + Leisure logo Travel + Leisure 11/1/2020 Patricia Doherty
a wooden bench overlooking a body of water: Getty Images © Provided by Travel + Leisure Getty Images

Savannah’s citizens are surrounded daily by the beauty and atmosphere of their quintessentially Southern city with its landscaped squares, gardens, historic homes, and cobblestone streets. They walk past stately live oaks draped in feathery Spanish moss, many more than 100 years old. As much as they appreciate their city, there are times when a weekend getaway is in order, and locals know that Hilton Head Island is just a short ride away. By car, it’s under an hour to the island off South Carolina’s coast that Travel + Leisure readers have voted one of their favorite islands year after year.

a wooden bench overlooking a body of water: Locals love Hilton Head Island getaways, but first-timers might not know how easy it is to add a visit to their Savannah vacation. © Getty Images Locals love Hilton Head Island getaways, but first-timers might not know how easy it is to add a visit to their Savannah vacation.

Hilton Head Island’s fresh ocean breezes make outdoor activities almost everyone’s first choice. Nearly 60 miles of pathways and nature trails wind throughout the island for bike riding, with plenty of rentals available. Visitors looking for the perfect place to hike will find it on Hilton Head Island. For a relaxing hike, the dog-friendly Audubon-Newhall Preserve offers a pond, benches, and oak-shaded trails. Choose a trail at Sea Pines Forest Preserve to hike among marshes and forest or explore a 4,000-year-old "Indian Shell Ring," both fascinating and mysterious.

Golfers never tire of Hilton Head Island, and they can choose from more than 33 championship courses. For others, there’s tennis, pickleball, and more than 12 miles of sandy beaches. Whether for swimming, surfing, or strolling along the shore, the sea is the highlight for most visitors. Sunset cruises, family dolphin adventures, fishing excursions, and sailboat rentals are favorites. Others want to be even closer to the water in kayaks, stand up paddleboards, or jet skis. Kids love The Sandbox, an interactive children’s museum for both fun and learning.

While Savannah’s locals enjoy their Hilton Head Island getaways, visitors to the city from out of town may not realize they can add a few days and a change of scenery to their southern vacation. Accommodations are plentiful on Hilton Head Island, ranging from luxurious resorts to casual beach houses. The drive from Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport to Hilton Head Island is under an hour, making it convenient for travelers to experience two Southern destinations in one trip.

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