Beach, Bikes, & Summer Nights. How to Have a Safe & Fun Vacation in Hilton Head During a Pandemic.
Cue the fireworks! Happy Fourth of July Week!
It is America’s birthday the day we arrived in South Carolina for a Hilton Head Vacation. No sooner had I settled in my room did I hear the distant pop of fireworks on the beach. (Yes, we bought matching Fourth of July Old Navy t-shirts.) Although this vacation is all fun and games, I take virus-safety precautions and social distancing seriously. Thankfully this slice of paradise has plenty of activities you can enjoy while staying healthy and virus-free.
Get tested before you go
Before you venture off to Hilton Head Island quarantine yourself. The vacation group is just family and a few friends, but we didn’t want to take any chances.Those in the group who had been traveling before the vacation got tested to ensure they didn’t have the virus.
Stay at Black Duck in Sea Pines
All the neighborhoods in Sea Pines have pristine houses worthy of a stay. We stayed 9 Black Duck in Sea Pines. The house is gorgeous offers panoramic beach views and 6 bedrooms. My favorite room is the breakfast room overlooking the pool and ocean.The best part about the house is the pool out back and private beach access. Sea Pines is so big you won’t have to go far for fun in the sun activities.
Social Distanced Activities
Rent bikes for the week
Sea pines is a bike-friendly area. There are trails and pathways just about everywhere you need to go. You can bike to local restaurants, horse stables, and other locations around the island. The bike trails are easy to navigate and as long as you know where you are and where you want to go you will have no trouble getting around. We rented bikes from Pelican Cruiser for the week. Most of them came with adorable little baskets on the front.
Take a boat ride and get thrown off a tube
H20 Watersports offers two-hour boat ride around the waterway. The boat takes you around the island and offers water skiing and tubing. Our driver was friendly but when it came to driving the boat he showed no mercy while we tubed. I fell off three times. The next day my arms and shoulders were sore from holding on so tight, but I enjoyed every minute of it.
Relax by the pool
Having a pool at the beach might seem silly, but it’s not. There are lots of jellyfish, sting rays, and baby sharks in the water at Sea Pines. I only got in the water briefly until I hear a cry of pain from my cousin. She got stung by a jellyfish, that was the third sting of the day. It is swim at your own risk.
Take a jet ski tour
If you are looking for a bit of an adrenaline rush take a jet ski tour with Sea Monkey’s water-sports. The jet skis are fast. Within minutes both my brother and I are flying off the jet ski. I guess you could say my driving is a little crazy. The rental time is an hour and fifteen minutes and you will be escorted with a Certified Jet Ski Instructor. While we were out on the water we saw dolphins, got thrown off the jet ski a couple of times, and everyone had a blast.
Cool off with ice cream at South Beach
Summer days in Hilton Head are hot. Cool off in the afternoon with ice cream treat. The ice cream stand is about a five-minute bike ride away from Black Duck. They have several flavors to choose from and of course, you have to add rainbow sprinkles.
Bike or drive to Sea Pines Forest Preserve
If you want to escape the beach crowds the Sea Pines Forest Preserve is the place to find peace and quiet in nature. When you do you have to stop by the butterfly fields filled with flowers. Be sure not to hang out at the water’s edge, because if you look closely you might see an alligator or two.
Feed horses at the stables or go horseback riding
Ten years ago I went horseback riding in Hilton Head, when I see the stables I instantly recognize them. Even if you don’t want to go horseback riding you can buy carrots or apples and feed the horses.
Shop with your mask on
Every store in Hilton Head requires a mask, so come prepared. Several stores have a limit to how many people can enter each store at a time so be prepared to linger a while outside before going into a store.
Harbor Town– There are several shops at Harbor Town to pick up a new outfit, souvenirs, or take a tour of the lighthouse. While a few restaurants are closed due to Covid, several are open for outdoor seating.
South Beach– You can’t miss South Beach because it is the hot spot location of the Salty Dog. There are shops for you to purchase an iconic Salty Dog T-Shirt or if you stay long enough you can hear live music in the evenings.
Stay 6 feet away at the beach
Laying on the beach with a cold La Croix and new James Patterson book in hand, what could be better. Social-distancing is made easy when you have your private beach access. The sweet summer sun feels so refreshing on my skin. I could lay here forever.
Cook dinner at home
Since many restaurants do not have indoor seating cooking dinner at home was a great choice. Each night someone else was in charge of the dinner. When on vacation keep the cooking simple. We had breakfast for dinner, vegetable lasagna, and of course Fourth of July hot dogs and hamburgers (veggie burger for me).
The early bird sees the sunrise
At 5 am my alarm goes off and as much as I want to snooze it I want to see the sunrise more. It is early with a capital E. Still a little groggy I walk down to the beach with my camera and tripod in hand. Once I find the perfect spot I set up my camera and get everything in place for the sun’s arrival.
Sunsets & night walks
You can’t have a Hilton Head vacation without seeing the beach at night. Night walks at the beach feel like I am walking in a planetarium. The night sky is covered with stars. I captured this photo during a lightning storm on the last night of our summer vacation.
Early morning nature walks
Around 7am the island is still waking up. It is the best time to see wildlife. I saw baby sharks, starfish, dolphins, and crabs galore. Each morning we walked to the rocks and back.
Hilton Head is the perfect place a for a family-friendly vacation. It was nice to spend time together at the beach and gather around the table over food and card games.
In lieu of a global pandemic escaping to Hilton Head for a vacation is the perfect summer getaway. At the end of the week I felt like I properly celebrated America’s birthday and had a vacation well spent.