Hilton Head, SC

We had big plans for Hilton Head, but we weren’t really prepared for Hilton Head.  Debi asked me the night before we left what the forecast was for Hilton Head.  I swear the website I checked said it was going to be in the 40s the entire time we were going to be there.  So, Debi packed warmer clothes for her and Toren.  When we woke up on the 19th, it was in the upper 70s.  Debi did have a light shirt and a pair of jeans that she could wear hiking, so we decided to go hiking and try biking on the beach (that’s the big thing to do there, apparently), the next day, after purchasing some shorts for her and Toren.  Thanks to a concierge at the hotel, we learned of a Nature Preserve in the Forest Pines Plantation.  (FYI, Hilton Head is divided up into plantations, some of which are more exclusive than others – meaning very limited access.  It’s a pretty posh place.)  It cost $5.00 to access the Plantation, but it was a fun hike.  Here’s the route we took, courtesy of My Tracks on my Android Phone:

It’s pretty amazing how similar the plants and trees are to Florida. Having hiked a lot of trails in Florida, everything looked about the same.  They even have alligators there (I snapped photos of some small ones, but you’ve seen them before).  We hiked for about an hour and a half and covered about 2.7 miles.  Along the way we hiked through a former rice field, walked past a Boy Scout Troop, found a large, dead alligator (probably 6 feet long) in the lake, and saw a shell circle created and used by Native Americans.  We also saw turtles and lots of birds.  It was quite picturesque:

After the hike, we headed to the famous Hilton Head lighthouse where we had lunch. It was time for Toren to take a nap at that point, so we headed back to the hotel. He napped for a bit, then we went swimming in the pool (we did think to bring swimsuits), which was heated to the temperature of a nice warm bath! That pretty much took up the rest of the afternoon. We then went shopping for some shorts for Toren and Debi (for the next day), grabbed dinner, and called it a night.

Turns out, the next day was blustery and cold – in the lower 50s with wind gusts above 30 mph. That killed our plans for biking on the beach. So we ended up going to the Coastal Discovery Museum (the Children’s Museum is closed on Sunday).  After the museum, we grabbed lunch and then checked into Debi’s conference hotel, The Westin, which was much nicer than our Days Inn.  I took Toren swimming in the heated pool, but it was still too cold and his lips turned blue after about 30 minutes.  I took him into the room, dried him off, and got everything packed up for our drive home.  I had class the next day, so the plan was for me to drive Toren home, driving into the night so he would sleep.  We said goodbye to Debi around 5:00 and drove for about and hour and a half (Toren watching videos on my phone most of that time).  We stopped for dinner, then hit the road again.  Toren fell asleep around 7:20, but woke up around 9:20 when I stopped for gas.  He watched videos for almost another 2 hours (the kid was in heaven!), before falling asleep again just before we got home.  We made it home around 11:30 and, luckily, Toren was so tired he simply wanted to be put in his crib.  I was a little worried that driving 400 miles alone with Toren would be a disaster, but 30+ episodes of Dinosaur Train later, he was fine.  He ended up missing Debi, a lot, over the next 3 days, but it worked out fine.

If you haven’t been to Hilton Head, it’s probably worth visiting.  It’s very different.  All of the stores and houses are removed from the main roads and are hidden by trees.  It makes the island feel like a small town, even though it’s quite large.  It’s also immaculately maintained.  It’s probably too exclusive for us to want to visit repeatedly, but it’s definitely worth a visit.  But be prepared for the weather and get accurate forecasts!!!

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