We recently visited Hilton Head Island. If you haven’t been there, it’s what you probably imagine … beautiful homes, manicured lawns, golf, tennis, beaches, boating, shopping, and very pet friendly. Did I mention golf?!
HHI has a rich history that started with seasonal occupation by native Americans thousands of years ago, and continued with European exploration and the cotton trade. The 12 mile by 5 mile island is strategically located between Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA, but packs everything you need for a nice getaway with more than 250 restaurants, 24 signature golf courses, over 200 stores and outlets, 50 miles of public bike and nature trails, and accommodations that fit every budget. The public beaches are pet friendly, and dogs can be off leash during certain times of the day, during certain times of the year.
We were in HHI for a little more than a day. The mall at Shelter Cove Harbour and the surrounding grounds were recommended to us because they are pet friendly. So we went – not understanding that the inside of the mall was pet friendly! Because of the heat, the mall would rather have you come inside with your pet, rather than leave him/her in the car. Woof!
We then drove a little ways to Coligny Plaza, a quaint shopping and eating square within walking distance of a public beach. All of the restaurants with outdoor seating were pet friendly; we enjoyed appetizers and drinks at the Frosty Frog. We visited Tail Waggers, a gourmet pet bakery and boutique, and the owner recommended our last stop.
We checked out the Palmetto Bay Marina, home to Captain Woody’s and The Black Marlin – two very dog friendly restaurants. These spots are popular with some island residents and working folk who come to hang out and boat watch on Calibogue Sound.
We stayed at the Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort and Marina on Jenkins Road just off Route 278 … the nicest “campground” we stayed in thus far and no pet fee to boot. Many of the sites are privately owned and improved upon to the point of resembling a back yard. Ours had a banked seating area complete with hardscaping, an outdoor fireplace, a swing, and a water feature – all surrounded by palmetto trees. The park featured a swimming pool, tennis courts, a marina on the intercoastal waterway, and a fine dining restaurant. The little-traveled road that accesses the park was perfect for walking the dogs and taking care of business.
The next time we visit we’ll be sure to see Daufuskie Island, a rustic retreat away from the typical tourist fare. You get there via a Colibogue Cruises ferry (leaving from Broad Creek Marina) that happens to allow well-behaved, leashed pets. You may see some dolphins during the 50 minute trip, and once ashore, much of Daufuskie’s 6,000 acres is free to explore with your dog off leash.
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