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Beaufort, South Carolina

A- Overview:

Some 30 miles north of Hilton Head Island, Beaufort (Low Country pronunciation byoo-fort) is an old seaport with narrow streets shaded by huge moss-draped live oaks and lined with pre-Revolutionary and antebellum homes. It is located on Port Royal Island, one of the large Sea Islands along the southeast Atlantic coast.

A center of luxury homes prior to the Civil War, Beaufort was one of a few southern cities spared from fire in the war’s aftermath, making it an architectural treasure. The oldest house (at Port Republic and New Streets) was built in 1717, before the birth of George Washington. Beaufort is one of the few towns in the United States whose entire downtown has been designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as an historic district. Nearly 200 restored buildings can be seen in the city’s historic district.

More than 50 historic buildings have been identified and include lovely private homes beautifully restored. Start your visit to Beaufort with a walk along the peaceful harbor at Waterfront Park. The park is a pleasant place to linger for a while, and several restaurants are nearby. Boat and horse-drawn carriage tours also start from the park.

The Low country’s salt-marsh ecosystem, one of the world’s most productive and unspoiled, is remarkably easy to explore from a Beaufort base. The A.C.E. Basin is the vast wilderness created at the juncture of the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto Rivers. Guided boat and kayak tours allow visitors to photograph hundreds of species of birds while exploring the coast, and boat rentals enable adventurers to explore on their own. Given the abundance of water, it’s no wonder that fishing, sailing, shrimping and crabbing are popular activities for visitors. Port Royal’s boardwalk and Hunting Island State Park’s pier are among the ideal fishing venues as well as being popular for sightseeing and leisurely strolls.

A five-mile leisure trail winds through Port Royal for jogging and bicycling and includes an observation deck.

Beaufort and Port Royal are proud to host three military bases. The military is an integral part of Beaufort, with the Marine Corps Air Station to the north, Parris Island Recruit Depot on Port Royal Sound, and the Naval Hospital at the heart of the community. The Marines take an active role in community life. They assist in emergencies, entertain at air shows and volunteer at community events.

Art galleries, antique shops and modern boutiques are within the downtown walking area, not to mention fine dining and quick eateries. Museums are a beginning for an educational and interesting look at the history of the area.

The Beaufort Museum includes artifacts from throughout the city’s history, including Native American relics and Revolutionary and Civil War items. The Federal-style John Mark Verdier House was built in 1790, and St. Helena’s Episcopal Church dates to 1724. Of special interest—although it’s not open to the public—is the Milton Maxey House, traditionally claimed as the site where South Carolina’s secession documents were drafted.

Filmmakers have discovered that Beaufort locations make convincing movie settings, whether they’re looking to portray the Old South or the jungles and beaches of Vietnam. Some 20 movies have had scenes shot in the area, but Beaufort’s fondest memories are of Tom Hanks and the film Forrest Gump. For the most part, local residents take film making in stride. They’ve seen a lot of excitement in films such as The Big Chill, The Prince of Tides, Forces of Nature, Rules of Engagement, Jungle Book, White Squall, Something to Talk About, The Legend of Bagger Vance, GI Jane, The Last Dance and the TV series Gullah. Gullah Island was filmed on location in Beaufort. It seems as if almost everyone has at least one, really good, first-hand filmmaking story to share.

In the Low country, a festival or celebration is almost always underway. Locals and visitors regularly take to the streets, parks and waterways to enjoy life with the special varieties of cuisine, entertainment, crafts and activities, which define the friendly communities and their customs. Among Beaufort’s notable annual events are the yearly Plantation Tour and Tour of Historic Homes in March and the Beaufort Water Festival in late July.

B- City Information:
Population: 12,950

Elevation: 11 feet

Land Area: 18.6 square miles

Location: Beaufort is located in southeastern South Carolina along Highway 17 between Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina.

Time Zone: Eastern Time Zone

Weather:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Average temp. (°F)
48.5
50.7
57.3
64.4
72.7
78.5
81.6
80.4
76.0
67.1
58.5
50.8

High temperature (°F)
58.4
61.3
67.8
74.8
81.9
87.0
89.8
88.3
83.8
76.3
68.2
60.4

Low temperature (°F)
38.5
40.1
46.7
54.1
63.4
69.9
73.4
72.5
68.2
57.9
48.7
41.2

Precipitation (in)
4.1
3.1
3.7
3.0
3.1
5.7
5.7
7.5
5.3
3.1
2.6
3.1

Climate:

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Days with precip.
9
8
9
7
8
12
13
13
10
6
7
8

Wind speed (mph)
8.4
8.8
9.3
8.8
7.8
7.6
7.1
6.8
7.3
7.4
7.4
7.8

Morning humidity (%)
83
82
84
84
86
88
89
91
91
89
87
84

Afternoon humidity (%)
55
51
49
47
51
57
59
61
60
54
53
55

Sunshine (%)
54
57
63
71
68
65
65
62
59
63
61
55

Days clear of clouds
9
8
9
11
9
7
6
6
7
12
11
9

Partly cloudy days
6
6
9
9
10
11
14
14
10
8
7
7

Cloudy days
16
14
13
11
12
12
12
12
13
11
12
15

Snowfall (in)
0.1
0.2
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
0.1

Local Seasons: Beaufort winters are moderate and summers are pleasant to hot, with continuous, cooling on-shore breezes. Average annual temperature is 65ºF and annual precipitation is 49.4 inches. Temperatures in August can run into the 90s and lows in winter may reach 20 degrees. And yes, once every few winters there may be a few snowflakes, but the snow rarely sticks. When a winter front passes through, the temperatures usually bounce back to the high 60s or low 70s within a couple of days.

How to Get There

By Air

International airports are located in Charleston (Charleston International Airport) to the north of Beaufort and in Savannah (Savannah International Airport) to the south. Savannah is about a 45-minute drive, and Charleston is 65 miles away, an easy hour and a half drive. Each is about an hour to an hour and a half drive from the City of Beaufort. Major carriers offer scheduled flights from both airports. The Beaufort County Airport and Hilton Head County Airport offer private and corporate service.

By Car

It’s easy to get to beautiful Beaufort, just a short drive from I-95 or US 17 which both run north-south the length of the United States and connect to other interstates and major highways.

Driving south on US 17, exit onto US 21 at Gardens Corner and enjoy the scenic marsh views driving approximately 20 miles east into the downtown Beaufort area.

Driving south on I-95, Exit 33 at Point South and connect to US 21 for a direct route into the center of Beaufort.

Driving north on I-95, exit 8 onto US 278 toward Hilton Head Island and directly into the Bluffton area and the southern part of Beaufort County. This route connects to SC 170 to cross the river into the City of Beaufort in the northern part of the county.

By Train

Train travel via Amtrak (800-usa-rail) is convenient to Beaufort with the Yemassee station only a few miles to the west of downtown. Daily north-south service is available.

By Bus

Greyhound Buses stop at Beaufort’s Boundary Street station. Buses usually stop at Parris Island except during periods of heightened security. Greyhound telephone numbers are (843) 524-4646 for local information and (800) 231-2222 for fare and schedule information.

National Holidays:

New Year’s Day: Jan. 1

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day: 3rd Mon. in Jan.

President’s Day: 3rd Mon. in Feb.

Memorial Day: last Mon. in May

Independence Day: July 4

Labor Day: 1st Mon. in Sept.

Thanksgiving Day: 4th Thurs. in Nov.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: Dec. 24 and 25

New Year’s Eve: Dec. 31

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
The Spirit of Old Beaufort

West Street extension

Tours depart from just behind the John Market Verdier House Museum.

843/525-0459

Tuesday to Saturday at 10am, 11:30am, 1:15, and 3:30pm.

Admission Charged

This tour takes you on a 2 hour journey through the old town, exploring local history, architecture, horticulture, and Low Country life.

St. Helen’s Episcopal Church

501 Church St.

843/522-1722

Monday to Saturday from 10am to 4pm

Admission Free

This church traces its origin back to 1712, and visitors can see its classic interior and visit the graveyard, where tombstones served as operating tables during the Civil War.

North Street Aquarium

608 North Street

843-524-1550
Thursday-Saturday, 10am-6pm

The first public aquarium in South Carolina. Features local marine life.

John Mark Verdier House Museum
(843) 379-6335
801 Bay St.
Mon -Sat, 11am-4pm
Admission Charged

The museum is a restored 1802 house built for a wealthy merchant-planter, partially furnished to depict the life of a merchant planter during the period 1800-25. It is one of the best examples of the Federal period and was once known as the Lafayette Building, because the Marquis de Lafayette is said to have spoken here in 1825.

The Beaufort Museum
713 Craven St.

843-379-3331
Mon-Sat, 10:30 am-4 pm.
Admission Charged
The museum is housed in the 1795 Beaufort Arsenal. Exhibits tell the story of the individual crops that created plantation life and the wars which changed the character of the area along with that of the country.

Parris Island Museum

Marine Corps Recruit Depot
843-228-2951
Call for hours of operation.
Admission Free
Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day and Easter.
The Parris Island Museum in the War Memorial Building depicts the history of Parris Island since the French Huguenots landed in 1562. The museum is full of exhibits about historic Beaufort, including 127 different types of weapons, depicting all the wars the Marine Corps has been involved in. Civil War buffs and kids will enjoy the big Civil War display with its miniature battle scenes. Visitors also may thrill to the color and precision of graduation ceremonies, which are conducted almost every Friday year-round.

Penn Center
York W. Bailey Museum
St. Helena Island
843-838-2432

Monday-Saturday, 11m-4pm

Admission Charged
The site of the country’s first school for freed slaves and one of the most significant African American historical and cultural institutions in existence today.

Old Sheldon Church Ruins
U.S. 21, Beaufort

Admission Free
Remains of Prince William’s Parish Church, 1745-55. It was burned by the British during the Revolutionary War, reconstructed in 1825 and burned by Sherman’s troops in 1865.

Cole-Heyward House
Bluffton
843-757-6293

Tuesday-Friday, 10am-3pm; Saturday,11am-2pm

Admission Charged
Museum typical of the West Indies style home, partially restored and managed by the Bluffton Historical Preservation Society. Seven additional homes are in Bluffton’s national historic district.

Low country Estuarium – A Coastal Learning Center

Corner of 14th St. and Paris Ave., Port Royal

843-524-6600

Friday-Saturday, 10am-5pm, other days by appointment

Admission Charged

The Lowcountry Estuarium is a learning center designed to provide hands-on learning about the coastal environments of our beautiful area, such as salt marshes, beaches, coastal waters, and estuaries with creature feeding twice daily.

Prehistoric Gift Shop and Shark Museum
1628 Paris Ave.
Port Royal, SC 29935
843-525-1961

Call for hours.

Admission Charged.
Prehistoric museum displaying the largest collection of giant sharks teeth in the world.

Hunting Island State Park

Highway 21

843-838-2011

Admission Charged

16 miles east of Beaufort, is South Carolina’s most visited state park. It has three miles of clean, safe beach along the Atlantic Ocean, picnic tables and camp sites with an ocean view, plus an 1873 lighthouse that offers a bird’s eye view of the pristine island and coastal waters that embrace it.
Hiking trails pierce the subtropical forest of palmettos, pine and moss-draped oak and offer glimpses of the abundant bird and wildlife residents.
A pier offers a venue for fishing and crabbing and a spot to watch dolphins do their own fishing. An ambling marsh walk reveals secrets of the tidal marsh and presents an opportunity to watch millions of scurrying crabs. A large lagoon is a perfect staging area for launching kayaks. A Visitors Center and a Nature Center provide a wealth of information about the coastal ecology.

An annual South Carolina Park Passport lets you access this state park — and dozens of other parks throughout the state — for a modest annual fee.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Beaufort Fun Park
591 Robert Smalls Parkway
Beaufort, SC 29906
843-524-2267

Tues-Thursday, noon-9pm; Fridays, noot-11pm, Saturdays, 10am-11pm; Sundays, noon-8pm

Admission Charged
Beaufort’s only entertainment center offering: Go Karts for ages 4-104, 18 challenging holes of miniature golf, 50 game arcades, jump castle, water wars, batting cages, party planning and much more. Fun for the entire family.

Hunting Island State Park

Highway 21

843-838-2011

Admission Charged

16 miles east of Beaufort, is South Carolina’s most visited state park. It has three miles of clean, safe beach along the Atlantic Ocean, picnic tables and camp sites with an ocean view, plus an 1873 lighthouse that offers a bird’s eye view of the pristine island and coastal waters that embrace it.
Hiking trails pierce the subtropical forest of palmettos, pine and moss-draped oak and offer glimpses of the abundant bird and wildlife residents.
A pier offers a venue for fishing and crabbing and a spot to watch dolphins do their own fishing. An ambling marsh walk reveals secrets of the tidal marsh and presents an opportunity to watch millions of scurrying crabs. A large lagoon is a perfect staging area for launching kayaks. A Visitors Center and a Nature Center provide a wealth of information about the coastal ecology.
An annual South Carolina Park Passport lets you access this state park — and dozens of other parks throughout the state — for a modest annual fee.

Parris Island Museum
War Memorial Building

843-228-2951

Monday-Sunday, 10am-4:30pm

Admission Charged
The Parris Island Museum in the War Memorial Building depicts the history of Parris Island since the French Huguenots landed in 1562. The museum is chock-full of exhibits about historic Beaufort – including 127 different types of weapons – depicting all the wars the Marine Corps has been involved in. Civil War buffs and kids will enjoy the big Civil War display with its miniature battle scenes. Be sure to inquire about bus tours and self-guided driving tours of the island at the visitor’s center.

The Beaufort Museum and Arsenal

713 Craven Street
Monday through Saturday,11am-4pm

Admission Charged
The Beaufort museum is a unique and funky museum, full of Indian and Civil War artifacts and Beaufort memorabilia, including a spinning wheel from the Colonial era and the desk Robert Smalls used as a congressman. Before or after your trip through the museum, children will enjoy the cannons in the museum’s courtyard. Ask for a scavenger hunt sheet for your family to use when going through the museum to make your experience interactive and educational.

Penn Center
York W. Bailey Museum
St. Helena Island
843-838-2432

Monday-Saturday, 11m-4pm

Admission Charged
The site of the country’s first school for freed slaves and one of the most significant African American historical and cultural institutions in existence today.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events

February

Black History Month

943-986-5400
Call for information

Lectures, films and special events arranged at Penn Center.

Great Chefs of the South

843-986-5400

Call for information

This event is celebrated the last weekend in February with visiting chefs, wine and food seminars and a GALA tasting event showcasing the best of the local cuisine and wines from around the world.

March

41st Annual Spring Art Exhibit

Greene Street Art and Activities Center

Greene Street at Hamar Street

843-525-7067

Call for date/time/admission information
Spring art exhibit featuring local artwork in the fields of painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and fiber.

Chili Cook-Off

Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club

843-521-4145

Call for date/time/ticket information

Admission Charged
Taste your way to Beaufort’s next Chili King!

Country Day Tour of Homes (Bluffton)

Bluffton

843-757-MAYE or 843-816-2737

Call for date/time/ticket information

Admission Charged
Tour 5 riverfront homes that are rarely open to the public, the Bluffton Oyster Factory (the last one operating in South Carolina) and an artist’s studio. This tour will be offered at a reduced rate to Beaufort and Jasper County residents who choose not to take the bus transportation from Savannah. An optional lunch at Pepper’s Porch will be offered out back in the pavilions (around a fire, if it’s cold): oyster stew, country ham sandwiches, dessert and iced tea or lemonade will give these visitors from around the world a taste of Bluffton’s finest.

April

Soft Shell Crab Fest

Town of Port Royal

843-986-5400

Call for date/time/location

Admission Free

Lowcountry Blues Festival

843-986-5400

Call for date/time/location

Admission Free

Features a free concert and the Navy’s Blue Angels every other year.

May

A Taste of Beaufort

843-986-5400

Call for date/time/location

Admission Free

Food, wine, art and music create a day-long event in downtown Beaufort.

Gullah Festival

843-986-5400

Call for dates/times/location

Memorial Day weekend

Admission Charged

A celebration of African American heritage with folkways and foods, enjoyable and educational for all.

July

Kites Over Beaufort

843-986-5400

Call for date/time/location

Admission Free
A celebration o f magnificent kites heralded by ocean breezes that typify the South Carolina Lowcountry and the Beaufort area. Kite flying experts fly unique, patriotic & customized flags from beach and the water. A great family event including kite-making & flying, festival dinner and kite auction, vendors, games and more!

Flying Pig Kite Festival

Beaufort

843-986-5400

Call for date and time

Admission Free

Professional kite flyers and kite-making for kids highlight the event, while food, drink, entertainment and fireworks sparkle from the sky to the sand of the public beach.

Water Festival

Beaufort

843-986-5400

Call for dates, times and location

10 days of celebration with a variety of concerts, water skiing, talent contests, air shows, at races and parades. Tournaments include golf, tennis, boating and bed races. Water lovers can also enjoy decorated boats and the traditional Blessing of the Fleet.

October

Shrimp Festival

843-986-5400
Call for date and time

Admission Free

Enjoy local recipes and tastings or buy fresh from the boat to cook your own! Shop for arts and crafts and enjoy the Blessing of the Fleet. Free evening entertainment, children’s activities and plenty of shrimp make this annual event unforgettable. The festival also includes a 5K Run/Walk, a kids’ Popcorn Shrimp Run, and a golf tournament.

Fall Festival

Summit Place

843-770-0105

Call for dates and times

Admission Free

Hayrides, pumpkin decorating contest, food (including festival favorites such as popcorn and cotton candy), raffle, bloodmobile and much more!

Fall Festival of Houses & Gardens
800-638-3525 or 843-524-3163

Call for dates/times and location

Admission Charged

Fall Festival of Houses & History is an annual October highlight of the Historic Beaufort Foundation when tours of various historic homes are offered along with accompanying entertainment.

Oktoberfest

Old Village, Port Royal

843-522-9867 or 843-470-0699

Call for dates and times

Admission Free

The festival typically includes live entertainment, traditional Oktoberfest music, food and drinks, along with fun activities and games for children of all ages. Local artists work is showcased.

Trick or Treat in Downtown Beaufort
Throughout Historic Downtown Beaufort

843-525-6644
4:30 PM

Admission Free

Wear your costume and trick or treat downtown!

November

Heritage Days

Penn Center

St. Helena Island
843-838-2432

Call for dates and times

Craft demonstrations, museum tours, gospel singing, storytelling, art exhibits and much more are an exhilarating and educational mix.

November-December

Homes for the Holidays

Dataw Island

843-522-9555

Call for dates and times

Admission Charged
Tour eight private homes, professionally decorated for the holidays by local florists and interior designers.

Light Up the Night Lighted Holiday Boat Parade

Downtown Beaufort

843-525-6644

Admission Free

Call for date and time

A Night on the Town — Beaufort’s Holiday Celebration & Open House

843-525-6644
Admission Free
Throughout Historic Downtown Beaufort

Call for date and time

Shopping, singing and holiday comraderie.

Annual Beaufort Christmas Parade

Bladen to Boundary to Carteret to Bay Streets

843-525-6644

Call for dates and time

Admission Free

Charleston /North Charleston, South Carolina

A- Overview:
Elegant and refined, Charleston mixes European charm with new world energy and excitement. The cityscape is one of beautiful buildings, winding streets and a touch of old world luxury, Charleston is the smaller, more comfortable New Orleans of the Upper South. The city was founded in 1670 and boomed as a center for rice and indigo trading. Since then, Charleston has occupied a prominent place in American history, and its beauty is recognized throughout the world.
The streets of Charleston are lined with historic houses and narrow apartment buildings with stucco walls and wrought iron balconies (make sure to visit Calhoun Mansion). There is something of a Caribbean flavor to Charleston, with its palm trees and welcoming feel. After strolling through the historic district, most visitors head to Waterfront Park. There they explore the landscaped square and boardwalks projecting into the river. White Point Gardens afford a view of the water with its gentle breezes that are cool in the heat of the day. The Charleston Museum is the oldest in the nation, dating from 1773. The market area has old-fashioned, open stalls from which vendors sell all sorts of fascinating items.

Charleston is located on the end of a small peninsula that points into the famous Charleston Harbor, from which traders and immigrants have disembarked for centuries. In the middle of the harbor sits Fort Sumter, the site of the battle that ignited the Civil War. A museum within the Fort tells the full story.

The city was home to members of many Protestant denominations whose heritage survives in the wide variety of church buildings they constructed. Many of these stately and beautifully appointed edifices were the first of their kind in America. Charleston Harbor was the point of entry over the years for persons of many cultures. Their influence has enriched the city.

There are numerous points of interest just outside Charleston. The fabulous beaches draw visitors for water sports and relaxation. Just beyond Charleston is Magnolia Plantation and Audubon Swamp Garden. The ornamental gardens are stunning in the summer when the flowers are in bloom. Visitors tour the grounds, the magnificent main house, and the out buildings, and then enjoy an ecological tour of the fascinating marshes and waterways from the comfort of a scenic tram ride.

Charleston is known for its beauty and its easygoing pace, as well as for its priceless historic treasures. Travel & Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, and Family Fun have rated the city a Top Destination in the United States for value, #1 in friendliness, and #2 in the South for families.

Looking to experience old world charm and elegance in a friendly enjoyable atmosphere? From the Harbor to the plantation, Charleston has so much to offer travelers looking for a thoroughly enjoyable destination.

B- City Information:
Population: 96,650

Elevation: 118 feet

County: Charleston

Land area: 97.0 square miles

Time Zone: Charleston is in the Eastern Standard Time Zone. When it is 12:00 noon in New York City; it is also 12:00 noon in Charleston. Daylight saving time is observed from the end of April through the end of October.

National Holidays:

New Year’s Day Jan. 1

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day 3rd Mon. in Jan.

President’s Day 3rd Mon. in Feb.

Memorial Day last Mon. in May

Independence Day July 4

Labor Day 1st Mon. in Sept.

Thanksgiving Day 4th Thurs. in Nov.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dec. 24 and 25

New Year’s Eve Dec. 31

Getting There:

By Air

Charleston International Airport is in North Charleston on I-26, about 12 miles west of the city. Taxis and the airport shuttle provide transportation from the airport. All major car-rental facilities are available at the airport. If you are driving, follow the airport-access road to I-26 into the heart of Charleston.

By Car

The main north-south coastal route, U.S. 17, passes through Charleston; I-26 runs northwest to southeast, ending in Charleston. Charleston is 120 miles southeast of Columbia via I-26 and 98 miles south of Myrtle Beach via U.S. 17.

Getting Around

By Bus: City bus fares service is available from 5:35am to 10pm (until 1am to North Charleston). Between 9:30am and 3:30pm, senior citizens and the handicapped pay less. Exact change is required. For route and schedule information, call 843/724-7420.

The Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH) is a quick and efficient way to get around the main downtown area daily. A day pass is available. For hours and routes, call 843/724-7420.

Charleston is laid out in an easy-to-follow grid pattern. The main north-south streets are King, Meeting, and East Bay streets. Tradd, Broad, Queen, and Calhoun streets cross the city from east to west. South of Broad Street, East Bay becomes East Battery.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Public Beaches
A renourished beach lures vacationers to Folly Beach. There are good seafood restaurants and colorful bars. All in all, Folly is a beachcomber’s delight. Directions to Folly Beach: If you cross the Ashley River Bridges and follow Folly Road to the end, you will soon come to Folly Beach, located south of Charleston.

Another popular beach is found on Isle of Palms, a barrier island on the South Carolina coast less than 20 minutes from Charleston. It is home to the world-famous Wild Dunes Resort.

Old Charleston Market
North and South Market Streets between Meeting and East Bay streets
A narrow line of low-roofed nineteenth-century sheds, packed with ‘basket ladies’ selling crafts, jewelry, spices, T-shirts and trinkets.

Charleston Museum
360 Meeting St
803-722-2996
A vast collection of city memorabilia conveniently located across from the town visitor center.The Charleston Museum Summer Family Calendar annually features everything from Submarines and Museum Magic with Harry Potter to Crazy Quilts and Crawling Crustaceans, plus much more. Extended hours begin July 5th. Every Thursday night during the summer, the exhibits remain open until 7:30 p.m. Kidstory offers younger history buffs a chance to have a more interactive museum experience.

Fort Sumter
City Marina, off Lockwood Blvd
803-722-1691
Fort Sumter is the site of the first battle that started the Civil War. A pleasant boat trip docks at this island which features a good Civil War museum inside the fort.

Magnolia Plantation & Audubon Swamp Garden
Hwy-61 (River Road), twelve miles west of Charleston
803-571-1266
Stunning ornamental gardens (best in spring and early summer) with tram rides through the swamp, complete with wildlife and lush flowers.

Splash Zone
James Island County Park
871 Riverland Drive
843-795-7275
Admission charged. Children under 2 free When the temperatures start rising, visitors of all ages will enjoy this favorite summer playground located within the James Island County Park. The park features two 200-foot tube slides, a Caribbean play structure with slides, a 500-foot lazy river, and a recreational pool.

Nathaniel Russel House
51 Meeting Street
843-723-1623
This national historic landmark is one of the most important neoclassical homes in America. Features include art and furnishings from the late 18th century and early 19th century.

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
122 East Bay Street
843-727-2165
Often called the “Independence Hall of South Carolina,” the Old Exchange was built in the late 1700’s. Today, this impressive building is filled with historical items of the state and region.

Gibbes Museum of Art
135 Meeting Street
843-722-2706
This museum features an outstanding collection of more than 7,000 American paintings, prints and drawings from the 18th century to the present.

Aiken-Rhett House
48 Elizabeth St.
843-723-1159.
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10-5, Sun. 2-5.
Admission charged.
Dating from 1819, this mansion was once the headquarters of Confederate general Beauregard. Of special note are the original wallpaper, paint colors and some of its furnishings. The house, kitchen, slave quarters and work yard are maintained much as they were when the original occupants lived here.

American Military Museum
40 Pinckney St.
843-723-9620
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10-6, Sun. 1-6.
Admission charged.
The museum has on display hundreds of uniforms and artifacts from all branches of service, dating from the Revolutionary War to the present. Its collections also include antique toy soldiers, war toys, miniatures and weaponry.

Calhoun Mansion
16 Meeting St.
843-722-8205
Hours: Feb.-Dec., Wed.-Sun. 10-4
Admission charged.
This lavish mansion is an interesting example of Victorian architecture. Built in 1876, it’s notable for ornate plasterwork, fine wood moldings and a 75-foot domed ceiling.

Charleston Place
130 Market St.
843-722-4900
The city’s only world-class hotel, this Orient Express property is flanked by a four-story complex of upscale boutiques and specialty shops. The hotel is so beautiful that visitors find it’s worth visiting as an attraction, even if they’re not staying there.

Circular Congregational Church
150 Meeting St.
843-577-6400
Hours: Call for tour schedule
Simple yet attractive, this church has a beamed, vaulted ceiling and is an splendid example of Romanesque architecture.

City Hall
80 Broad St.
843-577-6970
Hours: Weekdays 10-5
Admission: Free
The intersection of Meeting and Broad streets is known as the “Four Corners of Law”, representing the laws of nation, state, city, and church. On the northeast corner is graceful City Hall, dating from 1801. The second-floor Council Chamber has numerous interesting historical displays and portraits.

Dock Street Theatre
135 Church St.
843-720-3968
Hours: Weekdays 10-4
Admission: Free tours; call ahead for ticket prices and performance times.
Built on the site of one of the nation’s first playhouses, the building combines the reconstructed early Georgian playhouse and the preserved Old Planter’s Hotel (circa 1809). The theater, which offers fascinating backstage views, welcomes tours.

Edmondston-Alston House
21 E. Battery
843-722-7171
Hours: Tues.-Sat. 10-4:30, Sun.-Mon. 1:30-4:30
Admission charged.
Featuring spectacular views of Charleston Harbor, this imposing home was built in 1825 in late-Federal style and was transformed into a Greek Revival structure during the 1840s. It is tastefully furnished with antiques, portraits, prints, silver and fine china.

French Protestant (Huguenot) Church
110 Church St.
843-722-4385
Hours: Weekdays 10-12:30 and 2-4
Admission: Donations welcome
This church is the only one in the country still using the original French Huguenot liturgy.

Heyward-Washington House
87 Church St.
843-722-0354
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10-5, Sun. 1-5
Admission charged.
Built in 1772, this home was the backdrop for DuBose Heyward’s book Porgy, which was the basis for the beloved folk opera “Porgy and Bess”. The neighborhood, known as Cabbage Row, is central to Charleston’s African-American history. President George Washington stayed in the house during his 1791 visit. It is filled with fine period furnishings and its restored 18th-century kitchen is the only one in Charleston open to visitors.

Joseph Manigault Mansion
350 Meeting St.
843-723-2926
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10-5, Sun. 1-5
Admission charged.
A National Historic Landmark and an outstanding example of neoclassical architecture, this home was designed in 1803 and is noted for its carved-wood mantels and elaborate plaster work. Some furnishings are British and French but most are Charleston antiques.

Market Hall
88 Meeting St.
843-723-1541
Saturday noon-4, Sunday 1-4
Admission charged.
Built in 1841 and modeled after the Temple of Nike in Athens, this imposing landmark building includes the Confederate Museum, where the Daughters of the Confederacy preserve and display flags, uniforms, swords and other Civil War memorabilia.

Old Powder Magazine
79 Cumberland St.
843-805-6730
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10-5, Sun. 2-5
Admission charged.
This structure was built in 1713 and used during the Revolutionary War. It is now a museum with costumes, armor, and other artifacts from 18th-century Charleston, all described during an interesting audiovisual tour.

Boone Hall Plantation
1235 Long Point Rd., off U.S. 17N
843-884-4371
Hours: Apr.-Labor Day, Mon.-Sat. 8:30-6:30, Sun. 1-5; Labor Day-Mar., Mon.-Sat. 9-5, Sun. 1-4 Admission charged. This working plantation is found at the end of one of the South’s most majestic avenues of oaks, and was the model for the grounds of Tara in “Gone With the Wind.” You can tour the first floor of the classic columned mansion, which was built in 1935 incorporating woodwork and flooring from the original house; however, the primary attraction is the grounds featuring formal azalea and camellia gardens.
With the opening of a downtown retail shop, Boone Hall on Wentworth provides the only plantation tour available from downtown Charleston. Shuttles to Boone Hall Plantation & Gardens leave daily from a convenient location: Intersection of King & Wentworth Streets.

Live Theater is also available at Boone Hall. “Exploring the Gullah Culture” and “Life in the South” are available twice a day, Monday – Saturday at no additional charge.

Local produce and Lowcountry products abound at Boone Hall Farms, a local roadside market located on Highway 17, across from Boone Hall Plantation. U-Pick fields with in-season produce are open to the public throughout the year. Late May/June – Cucumbers, Squash, Broccoli, Cabbage & Lettuce. June – Corn, Watermelon, Tomatoes, Peppers, Blackberries. Late September – Tomatoes, Broccoli, Cabbage, Collards.

Fort Moultrie
W. Middle St., Sullivan’s Island
843-883-3123
Hours: Daily 9-5
Admission: Free
At this site Colonel William Moultrie’s South Carolinians repelled a British assault in one of the first Patriot victories of the Revolutionary War. A 20-minute film tells the history of the fort.

Museum on the Common
217 Lucas St.
843-849-9000
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11-4
Admission: Free
This small museum has an outdoor maritime museum and a Hurricane Hugo exhibit that documents the 1989 storm damage through video and photos.

Patriots Point
Foot of Cooper River Bridges
843-884-2727
Hours: Labor Day-Mar., daily 9-6:30; Apr.-Labor Day, daily 9-7:30
Admission charged.
Tours are offered on all of the vessels located here at the world’s largest naval and maritime museum. Visitors may tour the aircraft carrier Yorktown, the World War II submarine Clamagore, the destroyer Laffey, the nuclear merchant ship Savannah, and the cutter Ingham.

Palmetto Islands County Park
U.S. 17N, 1/2 mile past Snee Farm, turn left onto Long Point Rd.
843-884-0832
Hours: Apr. and Sept.-Oct., daily 9-6; May-Aug., daily 9-7; Nov.-Feb., daily 10-5; Mar., daily 10-6 Located across from Boone Hall Plantation, the park features a Big Toy playground, 2-acre pond, paved trails, an observation tower, marsh boardwalks and a “water island.”

Beachwater Park
Kiawah Island
843-762-2172
Admission charged per car (up to 8 passengers)
June-Aug., daily 10-7; May and Sept., daily 10-6; April and Oct., weekends 10-6.
This beach features 300 ft of beach frontage, seasonal lifeguard service, rest rooms, outdoor showers, a picnic area, snack bar and a 150-car parking lot.

Folly Beach County Park
Folly Island
843-588-2426
Admission charged per car (up to 8 passengers)
May-Aug., daily 9-7; Apr., Sept., Oct., 10-6; Nov.-Mar., daily 10-5
This large beach has 4,000 ft of ocean frontage and 2,000 ft of river frontage. The beach facilities include dressing areas, outdoor showers, rest rooms, and picnicking areas; beach chairs, raft, and umbrella rentals; and a 400-vehicle parking lot. Pelican Watch shelter is available year-round for group picnics and day or night oyster roasts.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Old Charleston Market
North and South Market Streets between Meeting and East Bay streets
A narrow line of low-roofed nineteenth-century sheds, packed with ‘basket ladies’ selling crafts, jewelry, spices, T-shirts and trinkets.

Magnolia Plantation & Audubon Swamp Garden
Hwy-61 (River Road), twelve miles west of Charleston
803-571-1266
Stunning ornamental gardens (best in spring and early summer) with tram rides through the swamp, complete with alligators and lush flowers.

Splash Zone
James Island County Park
871 Riverland Drive
843-795-7275
Admission charged. Children under 2 free.
When the temperatures start rising, visitors of all ages will enjoy this favorite summer playground located within the James Island County Park. The park features two 200-foot tube slides, a Caribbean play structure with slides, a 500-foot lazy river, and a recreational pool.

Fort Sumter
City Marina, off Lockwood Blvd
803-722-1691
Fort Sumter is the site of the first battle that started the Civil War. A pleasant boat trip docks at this island which features a good Civil War museum inside the fort.

Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
122 East Bay Street
843-727-2165
Often called the “Independence Hall of South Carolina,” the Old Exchange was built in the late 1700’s. Today, this impressive building is filled with historical items of the state and region.

American Military Museum
40 Pinckney St.
843-723-9620
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10-6, Sun. 1-6.
Admission charged.
The museum has on display hundreds of uniforms and artifacts from all branches of service, dating from the Revolutionary War to the present. Its collections also include antique toy soldiers, war toys, miniatures and weaponry.

Market Hall
88 Meeting St.
843-723-1541
Saturday noon-4, Sunday 1-4
Admission charged.
Built in 1841 and modeled after the Temple of Nike in Athens, this imposing landmark building includes the Confederate Museum, where the Daughters of the Confederacy preserve and display flags, uniforms, swords and other Civil War memorabilia.

Old Powder Magazine
79 Cumberland St.
843-805-6730
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10-5, Sun. 2-5
Admission charged.
This structure was built in 1713 and used during the Revolutionary War. It is now a museum with costumes, armor, and other artifacts from 18th-century Charleston, all described during an interesting audiovisual tour.

Boone Hall Plantation
1235 Long Point Rd., off U.S. 17N
843-884-4371
Hours: Apr.-Labor Day, Mon.-Sat. 8:30-6:30, Sun. 1-5; Labor Day-Mar., Mon.-Sat. 9-5, Sun. 1-4 Admission charged. This working plantation is found at the end of one of the South’s most majestic avenues of oaks, and was the model for the grounds of Tara in “Gone With the Wind.” You can tour the first floor of the classic columned mansion, which was built in 1935 incorporating woodwork and flooring from the original house; however, the primary attraction is the grounds featuring formal azalea and camellia gardens.

Fort Moultrie
W. Middle St., Sullivan’s Island
843-883-3123
Hours: Daily 9-5
Admission: Free
At this site Colonel William Moultrie’s South Carolinians repelled a British assault in one of the first Patriot victories of the Revolutionary War. A 20-minute film tells the history of the fort.

Patriots Point
Foot of Cooper River Bridges
843-884-2727
Hours: Labor Day-Mar., daily 9-6:30; Apr.-Labor Day, daily 9-7:30
Admission charged.Tours are offered on all of the vessels located here at the world’s largest naval and maritime museum. Visitors may tour the aircraft carrier Yorktown, the World War II submarine Clamagore, the destroyer Laffey, the nuclear merchant ship Savannah, and the cutter Ingham.

Palmetto Islands County Park
U.S. 17N, 1/2 mile past Snee Farm, turn left onto Long Point Rd.
843-884-0832
Hours: Apr. and Sept.-Oct., daily 9-6; May-Aug., daily 9-7; Nov.-Feb., daily 10-5; Mar., daily 10-6 Admission charged. Located across from Boone Hall Plantation, the park features a Big Toy playground, 2-acre pond, paved trails, an observation tower, marsh boardwalks and a “water island.”

Beachwater Park
Kiawah Island
843-762-2172
Admission charged per car (up to 8 passengers)
June-Aug., daily 10-7; May and Sept., daily 10-6; April and Oct., weekends 10-6.
This beach features 300 ft of beach frontage, seasonal lifeguard service, rest rooms, outdoor showers, a picnic area, snack bar and a 150-car parking lot.

Folly Beach County Park
Folly Island
843-588-2426
Admission charged per car (up to 8 passengers)
May-Aug., daily 9-7; Apr., Sept., Oct., 10-6; Nov.-Mar., daily 10-5
This large beach has 4,000 ft of ocean frontage and 2,000 ft of river frontage. The beach facilities include dressing areas, outdoor showers, rest rooms, and picnicking areas; beach chairs, raft, and umbrella rentals; and a 400-vehicle parking lot. Pelican Watch shelter is available year-round for group picnics and day or night oyster roasts.

South Carolina Aquarium
100 Aquarium Wharf
843-720-1990

The Great Hall is the impressive introduction to the South Carolina Aquarium. Two-story windows offer one of the best views in town of Charleston Harbor. A large wall map of South Carolina allows visitors to see the regions of South Carolina represented in the Aquarium. The floor is an artistic representation of the entire coast of South Carolina from the North Carolina to the Georgia border. The 15,000 gallon Carolina Seas exhibit that is the centerpiece of the Great Hall allows guests to see some of the colorful fish found around the reef habitats off the coast of South Carolina.

The SC Aquarium’s summertime detective theme allows children and adults alike to use their detective skills to uncover mysteries throughout each of the South Carolina regions represented at the Aquarium, from the mountains to the ocean. Guests have the opportunity to use clues, a scavenger map, a Dorsal Decoder, and the help of the five Something’s Fishy animal characters to learn more about the wonders of the natural world. Discover new facts while exploring with Ollie the Otter, Olivia the Octopus, Dr. Ali Gator, Carlos the Shark and Harrison the Heron. Turtles of all colors and creative whim have taken up residence around Charleston for the South Carolina Aquarium exhibit, Turtles on the Town. Fiberglass loggerhead sea turtles, transformed by South Carolina artists, are displayed at locations throughout the community. Modeled after successful community art projects such as Cows on Parade in Chicago, Turtles on the Town will raise funds and awareness for the conservation programs of the South Carolina Aquarium. Call 843-720-1990

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events

The Charleston Boat Show
Late January
Charleston Area Coliseum & Convention Center
(843) 762-3997

Lowcountry Oyster Festival
Late January
Boone Hall Plantation
(843) 577-4030

February

Lowcountry Coin Club Show
Early Februry
(843) 225-8456, (843) 200-7416, (843) 744-2072

Budwiser Lowcountry Blues Bash
Early-Mid February

Southeastern Wildlife Exposition
Mid-February
(843) 723-1748

March

French Quarter Art Walk
Early March
Downtown Charleston, SC
(843) 577-7100

Festival of Houses and Gardens
Mid-March 17- Mid-April
Downtown Charleston, SC
(843) 723-1623

The Garden Club of Charleston Annual

House and Garden Tours
Mid-late March
Downtown Charleston, SC
(843) 762-0091

South Carolina In-Water Boat Show

Late March – Early April
Brittlebank Park
(843) 579-0065

April

Flowertown Festival

Early April
Summerville, SC
(843) 871-9622

Cooper River Bridge Run
Early April
(843) 792-6611

Family Circle Cup
Mid-April
(800) 677-2293

World Grits Festival
Mid-April
St. George, SC
(843) 563-7943

Charleston’s Peak Blooming Season
March thru End of April

Blessing of the Fleet
Late April
Mt. Pleasant, SC
(843) 849-2061

French Quarter Art Walk
Early April
Downtown Charleston, SC
(843) 577-7100

May

Air Expo

Mid-May
Charleston Air Force Base
(843) 963-6341

Boone Hall Outdoor Pops Concert
Late May
Boone Hall Plantation
(843) 723-7528

Spoleto Arts Festival
Late May-mid-May 27 through Mid-June
(843) 722-2764

June

Charleston Greek Festival
Early June
Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity
(843) 577-2063

Charleston Maritime Festival
Mid-June
Maritime Center Complex, Downtown Charleston
(843) 722-1030

Annual 4th of July Celebrations
July 4

Charleston: Patriots Point
(843) 884-2727

Brittlebank Park

(843) 577-3647

Summerville

(843) 821-7260

September

Moja Festival
Late September – Early October
(843) 724-7305

Annual Fall Candlelight Tour of Homes and Gardens
Mid-September 16 –Late October
The Preservation Society
(843) 722-4630

Scottish Games and Highland Gathering
Mid-September
(843) 224-7867

October

Charleston Corn Maize

Throughout October
Johns Island, SC
(843) 559-0788

A Taste of the Town
1st Weekend in October
Summerville, SC
(843) 873-2931

The Taste of Charleston
2nd weekend in October
(843) 577-4030

Touring the Tombstones
Mid-October
(843) 766-2080

Carolina Coastal Fair
Late October – Early November
Ladson, SC

November

Civil War Reenactment of the Battle of Secessionville
Boone Hall Plantation
November 20 & 21, 2004

December

5K Reindeer Walk/Run
Early December
161 East Bay Street at Cumberland St.
(843) 345-6906

Charleston Tree Lighting Ceremony

Early December
Marion Square
(800) 774-0006

Annual Charleston Parade of Boats
Early December
Charleston Harbor
(800) 774-0006

First Night – New Year’s Eve
December 31
(843) 853-6423

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

A- Overview:
The intriguing Sea Islands, separated from the mainland by expanses of estuaries and salt marshes, make up more than half of South Carolina’s coastline. Among these islands lies tasteful, low-key Hilton Head, offering glorious white sand beaches and superb golf courses. Biking, tennis, fishing, and sailing are popular as well

Hilton Head Island is located at the extreme southern tip of South Carolina, about 30 miles north of Savannah and 100 miles south of Charleston. At seven miles in width and fourteen miles in length, it is the second largest Atlantic coast barrier island. A toll expressway expedites traffic from the mainland to the island’s resort areas.

This semitropical barrier island resembles an artistic masterpiece with its oak and pine woodlands and meandering lagoons. It is part of the Low Country, the picturesque region of flat plains and tidal salt marshes that stretches across the eastern expanse of South Carolina and Georgia. Hilton Head Island is almost bisected by Broad Creek, which is navigable for most of its length and is home to several upscale marinas.

Hilton Head is shaped roughly like a tennis shoe, with the ”toe” known as the south end, the ”ball” of the foot as Forest Beach, and the ”top” as the north end. There is no ”downtown” on Hilton Head. Shopping and other activities are spread throughout, although more heavily concentrated on the south end of the island. Located in the heart of Hilton Head Island, the Self Family Arts Center is a remarkable showcase for the visual and performing arts.

Hilton Head Island is separated from the mainland by the Calibogue sound and the Intracoastal Waterway. Between Hilton Head and the mainland are two other islands. Daufuskie Island is accessible only by water. Part of this island remains in its natural state as a large wildlife preserve; and part has been developed to a limited extent for tourism.

Pinckney Island is accessible from the bridge linking Hilton Head to the mainland, and is a National Wildlife Refuge popular among bird watchers. At the Penn Center on St. Helena Island, freed slaves first found schooling. Neighboring Edisto Island remains low-key, scenic, and a relaxing place to visit.

Hilton Head Island has 8 marinas, more than twenty- five golf courses, 300 tennis courts and miles of bicycle and walking paths. The island also features two stables and ample areas for horseback riding, including forest preserve and waterfront. Fishing, parasailing, skiing, horseback riding, miniature golf and, of course, dolphin watching and beach walking are also popular with vacationers and residents alike. There are over two hundred restaurants, eight art galleries, three movie theaters and many shops, boutiques, and outlets.

Hilton Head welcomes families with children. There are no “arcades” or amusement parks, but there is a wealth of outdoor activity, in an ideal climate, for family members to enjoy together. Whether you explore the woods and beaches on horse back, take a dolphin-watching cruise, fish, sail, cycle or relax in the peaceful surroundings, there are always just enough things to do every day on this lovely island. Visit South Carolina’s Treasured Coast for the vacation of a lifetime.

B- City Information:
Population: 26,700 and over 2.5 million visitors annually

Time Zone Hilton Head is in the eastern time zone. When it is noon in New York City; it is also noon at Hilton Head.

Weather:

Hilton Head enjoys a semi-tropical climate, with an average temperature of 71 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius) making it a perfect location for year-round enjoyment. Average daily temperatures climb to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius) in the hottest months, and fall to a not unpleasant 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) in the cool season. The area enjoys over 200 sunny days each year, with April the sunniest month.

Hurricane season is June through November, with the highest probability starting mid August and ending late September. Hilton Head was last hit by a hurricane in the year 1896.

Average Temperatures:

Month
High
Low

January
59F
44F

February
60F
44F

March
65F
50F

April
73F
58F

May
81F
66F

June
86F
73F

July
88F
75F

August
88F
75F

September
83F
70F

October
75F
61F

November
66F
50F

December
59F
44F

Local Seasons

Spring is one of the most attractive seasons in South Carolina. Throughout the region, cherry blossoms are followed by azaleas, dogwood, and camellias from April into May, and by apple blossoms in May. Summer can occasionally be hot and humid, but temperatures are cooled by gentle breezes in this coastal area. Folk, craft, art, and music festivals take place in summer, as do sports events. Fall brings spectacular foliage. In winter, temperatures average in the 60s. Summer temperatures range from the high 70s to the mid-80s.

What to Pack

Weather in Hilton Head is semi-tropical. In winter temperatures rarely drop below freezing. In the summer it can get quite warm, with July and August highs reaching 100 degrees. On hot summer days, tropical afternoon thundershowers are common, though not long lasting. Be sure to pack sun block for protection while on the beach.

Hilton Head Island is very informal. Shorts and shirts are the usual attire in summer.

In winter a sweater or sweatshirts will usually do. If you plan to walk the beach in winter, bring a windbreaker. Jeans are appropriate for everything except golf.

Business Hours

Banks are usually open weekdays 9 to 3 and some Saturday mornings; the post office from 8 to 5 weekdays and often on Saturday mornings. Shops in urban and suburban areas, particularly in indoor and strip malls, typically open at 9 or 10 daily and stay open until anywhere from 6 to 10 PM on weekdays and Saturdays, and until 5 or 6 on Sundays.

Holidays

New Year’s Day Jan. 1.

Washington’s Birthday: 3rd Mon. in Feb.

Memorial Day last Mon. in May;

Independence Day July 4

Labor Day 1st Mon. in Sept.

Election Day: 2nd Tues. in Nov. in even years

Veterans Day: November 11

Thanksgiving Day 4th Thurs. in Nov. and day after

Christmas Dec. 25 and 26

New Year’s Eve Dec. 31.

Electricity

The U.S. electrical standard is 110 volts/60 cycles AC. Visitors from other countries, traveling with dual-voltage appliances will not need a converter, but they will need a plug adapter. The standard U.S. electrical outlet takes a plug of two flat pins set parallel to one another.

Emergencies

Ambulance, Fire , Police (Phone: 911).

Taxes

The sales tax in South Carolina is 5%.

Local tax, lodgings and meal taxes are added in addition to this.

Tipping

At restaurants, a 15% tip is standard for waiters; up to 20% may be expected at more expensive establishments.

Telephones

The country code for the United States is 1. The area code for Hilton Head is 803.

All U.S. telephone numbers consist of 10 digits – the three-digit area code, followed by a seven-digit local number. If you’re calling a number from another area-code region, dial “1” then all 10 digits. For calls within the same local calling area, just dial the seven-digit number.

Getting There

By Plane

Hilton Head Island Airport (HHH) (120 Beach City Rd., 843/689-5400) is served by one airline, US Airways Express.

Either fly straight to the Island or fly to the new Savannah Airport. It is exactly 1 hour driving time from Savannah Airport to the center of the Island. You can get a rental car, taxi, or limo at the Airport.

If you have a private aircraft, there are parking and tie-down facilities at the airport.

Savannah International Airport

Most travelers to Hilton Head use the Savannah International Airport (SAV) (400 Airways Ave., I-95, exit 104, 912/964-0514), in metro Savannah, 15 minutes from downtown Savannah and about a 45-minute drive to Hilton Head.

Rental cars are available.

By Train

Amtrak train service is available into Savannah.

By Car

Visitors traveling to Hilton Head Island by car should exit I-95 at Exit 8 and take Hwy 278 direct to the Island. Resorts on Hilton Head Island’s south-end are best reached via the Cross Island Parkway; which has a moderate toll for 2-axle vehicles. It is about 30 minutes from the I-95 turnoff to the bridge onto the Island.

If you are driving from the South, you’ll be on I-95 heading North. Get off I-95 at Exit 8 and take Route 278 straight to the Island.

U. S. Route 278 is the only highway coming to Hilton Head Island. 278 extends all the way to I-95 ( Exit #8 ). After you cross the large bridge ( which spans the Intercoastal Waterway ), you are on the Island. After driving 2 miles onto the Island, you’ll see signs for the New Cross Island Parkway, ( stay in the left lanes ) or Business 278 ( stay in the right lanes ). Until 1998, Business 278 was the only road traversing the Island, and ended at Sea Pines Circle.

The speed limit is 45 mph, and there are many stoplights along the way. It used to take between 25 & 30 minutes to get to the Sea Pines Circle on Business 278. With the new Cross Island Parkway ( speed limit 55 mph and no lights ), it takes only 5-6 minutes to get to Sea Pines Circle. The new Parkway is about 6 miles long, and there is a modest toll.

Bicycles are for rent with helmet and chain lock. These are beach bikes with no gears – fine for a place as flat as Hilton Head

By Boat

If you have a boat, you can access Hilton Head Island either from the Ocean or the Inter-Coastal Waterway. There are numerous Marinas for boaters.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Coastal Discovery Museum

100 William Hilton Parkway (US 278).

(843) 689-6767

The Coastal Discovery Museum (at the foot of the Bridge, next to Crazy Crab)

Open year round, call for special tours & schedules.

Hands-on exploring of the history, wildlife and heritage of Hilton Head Island.

The Lowcountry’s cultural and environmental heritage is interpreted through interactive exhibits, tours, walks, cruises, programs and a unique Museum gift shop.

Self Family Arts Center

15 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

843 686 3945

Includes an art gallery and theater for the Hilton Head Playhouse

Shelter Cove Harbour and Palmetto Dunes

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

The following is a description of one of the “plantations” on Hilton Head Island :

Palmetto Dunes Plantation is set on a three mile stretch of white sandy beaches. This makes it ideal for a variety of watersports, including wind-surfing, sailing and beach cruising. It features three championship golf courses. The Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center has 25 courts. Convenient bicycle paths wind through beautiful Palmetto Dunes and Shelter Cove Marina. At Shelter Cove you will enjoy many boutiques, excellent dining and spectacular views.

The Beach

Five beach accesses include Alder Lane, Coligny Beach Park, Driessen Beach Park, Folly Field Beach Park and Islanders Beach Park.

Sea Pines Forest Preserve

Sea Pines Plantation,

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Gullah ‘n’ Geechie Mahn Tours

847 Sea Island Pkwy.

843/838-7516

tours are at 9:45 and 1:45.

has tours of Beaufort and sea islands such as St. Helena that focus on the traditions of African-American culture.

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

On US 278, 1/2 mile west of Hilton Head.

Open daily dawn to dusk.

7.9 mile round trip.

Contains over 4000 acres of salt marsh and small islands. 14 miles of trails for walking or biking; no cars allowed past the parking lot.

Waddell Mariculture Research and Development Center

On Sawmill Creek Road about 3 miles west of Hilton Head.

Near the intersection of 278 and SC46.

The center researches the cultivation of marketable marine life. Tours of the facility and ponds by appointment only.

Grove Plantation.

Grove Plantation, Jebossee Island Rd., Edisto Island

843/889-3084.

Free.

Daily 7:30-4.

This 850,000-acre area, named for the rivers that bound it (the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto), is one of the largest, most pristine estuarine ecosystems in North America. More than 100 bird species, sea turtles, otters, and other wildlife live here, 17 of which are endangered or threatened, including the wood stork and loggerhead sea turtle.

Harbour Town Lighthouse

The lighthouse was constructed by developer Charles Fraser in 1970 and is internationally recognized as the symbol of Hilton Head.

Audubon-Newhall Preserve.

Palmetto Bay Rd., Hilton Head Island,

843/785-5775.

Free.

Daily dawn-dusk.

Located in the south of the island, the preserve is 50 acres of pristine forest, where you’ll find native plant life identified and tagged. There are trails, a self-guided tour, and seasonal plant walks

Edisto Beach State Park.

843/869-3396

This park has 3 miles of beach with excellent shelling, housekeeping cabins by the marsh, and campsites by the ocean (though severe erosion limits availability). Luxury resort development has begun to encroach around the edges of the park

Edisto Island Presbyterian Church.

2164 U.S. 174, Edisto Island

843/869-2326.

Free.

Grounds and cemetery, daily 9-5; church usually locked except during services.

Though founded in 1685, the present church dates from 1830. The pink Legare mausoleum at the back of the cemetery is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young girl who was inadvertently buried alive in it.

Edisto Museum.

2343 U.S. 174, Edisto Island,

843/869-1954.

Admission charged.

Tues., Thurs., Sat. 1-4.

This tiny museum houses artifacts and historical items about the history of Edisto.

Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

This park, off Bay Street, is a great place to survey the scene. Barbra Streisand filmed Prince of Tides here. Its 7 landscaped acres along the Beaufort River, part of the Intracoastal Waterway, include a seawall promenade, a crafts market, gardens, and a marina. Some events of the popular mid-July Beaufort Water Festival, as well as a seasonal farmers’ and crafts market, take place here.

Hilton Head Beaches.

Hilton Head Island has 12 miles of ocean beach, and although the resort beaches are reserved for guests and residents, there are four public entrances to the beach. Two main parking and changing areas are at Coligny Circle, near the Holiday Inn, and on Folly Field Road, off U.S. 278. Signs along U.S. 278 point the way to Bradley and Singleton beaches, where parking space is limited.

Sea Pines Forest Preserve.

Hilton Head Island, accessible via U.S. 278,

843/785-3333.

Sea Pines Plantation

Cost per car for nonguests, includes access to preserve.

Daily dawn-dusk; closed during Heritage Golf Classic in Apr.

Sea Pines is a 605-acre public wilderness tract with walking trails, a fishing pond, a waterfowl pond, and a 3,400-year-old Indian shell ring. Both guided and self-guided tours are available.

York W. Bailey Museum.

Land’s End Rd., St. Helena Island,

843/838-2432.

Donation suggested.

Tues.-Fri. 11-4 and by appointment.

The museum was named after a Penn School graduate, the first African-American doctor to serve the Sea Islands. The collection includes photographs, arts, and crafts of the Gullah people, as well as oral histories.

Animal Life on Hilton Head Island

Wildlife abounds on land, in lagoons and in the ocean of Hilton Head Island

Birds: Sanderlings and Sandpipers. Egrets are found more often in lagoons and marshes than on the beach. These are the large, pure white, long legged birds with a very long thin neck. The Great White Egret is the larger one, distinguished by a yellow beak. The smaller Snowy Egret has a black beak. During nesting season both these birds display beautiful, long, delicate plumes. The huge grayish blue birds similar to Egrets are Great Blue Herons. They can be seen in lagoons and marshes, but they do come to the beach at dusk and often remain until nightfall.

The Ibis, often found on golf courses is identified by a long, curved beak. The Ibis is white when mature, but the young are mostly brown.

The Wood Stork is becoming more common on Hilton Head as they lose their habitat in Florida , due to wetlands drainage. This bird looks all white when walking, but reveals half black wings (underside) when flying. The Wood Stork is endangered, with a declining population.

Brown Pelicans glide gracefully through the air, skimming above the water

The dark colored birds standing with their wings outstretched are either Anhingas or Cormorants. Cormorants are more common and can be identified by a hooked beak, whereas the Anhinga has a straight, pointed beak. They feed by swimming under water.

The most common bird on the beach is the Sea Gull. They are scavengers, usually eating dead things that wash up on the beach.

Hilton Head’s inland birds include songbirds such as the Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse, Mocking Bird , Sparrow, Chickadee, Woodpecker and Wren. Grackles, a type of blackbird, are very common and very noisy. The males are an iridescent black and the females are brown. Ring-necked Turtle Doves are becoming increasingly common. They are a smoky beige in color, with a black band at the back of their necks. Finches, Warblers, Hummingbirds various Ducks and Vireos, among others, are migratory visitors.

Other than the beach, the best places for bird watching on Hilton Head are the Sea Pines Forest Preserve and the Audubon Newhall preserve on Palmetto Bay road.

Alligators: Alligators in Hilton Head can grow to about 12 feet in length.

Turtles: The turtles sunning themselves on the banks of lagoons are Diamondback Terrapins. Count the rings on the “diamonds” on it’s shell, to tell its age in years.

The sea turtle you might see will likely be a Loggerhead. These turtles can grow up to four feet in length, weighing 400 pounds. Only one Loggerhead egg in 1,000 will result in a hatchling becoming an adult. Loggerhead hatchlings are guided to the ocean by the reflection of starlight on the water. The laws that protect Loggerheads provide extremely severe penalties for anyone who disturbs a nest or interferes with the hatchlings rush to the sea and also requires lights visible from the beach to be extinguished or shielded.

Dolphins: Dolphins are mammals, not fish. Technically, they are “toothed whales” , with only one blowhole (nostril). Mothers take care of their young during their first year. They can grow up to 12 feet in length and 800 Lbs. in weight and can swim at speed up to 45 mph. Since Dolphins are air breathing they are easily spotted when they surface for air.

Dolphins abound in the waters around Hilton Head. You can see them from the beach or from a boat. About 200 of the dolphin population is permanent, but many more are migratory. Many dolphins are friendly to humans and will come up to a boat out of curiosity.

Zodiac boats hold six people plus the captain and can go almost anywhere. You are almost certain to see dolphin when traveling in a zodiac boat.

Crustaceans: Common crustaceans on Hilton Head are crabs and shrimp. The only edible crab here is the Blue Crab, which is actually mostly green, except for the legs. Other crabs are:

Ghost crabs, which live in holes in the sand above the tide line.

Fiddler crabs are abundant in the mud flats at low tide, They are smaller than a dime and live in holes they dig in the mud.

Hermit crabs live in discarded shells .

Stone crabs are less common. They can grow up to five inches in width, and are reddish brown in color.

Horseshoe crabs are not crabs at all – they are related to spiders. Their large shells, up to 8 inches across and sometimes including legs and their spiny tail, are common on the beaches. Horseshoe crabs are fierce looking but completely harmless to humans.

The shrimp caught in the waters off Hilton Head are Brown shrimp, Pink shrimp, and White shrimp.

Side Trips

There are four main places of interest to visitors to Hilton Head:

Daufuskie Island is accessible only by boat, is across Calibogue Sound from Hilton Head. There are golf courses, condominiums, and gated residential communities, but the charm lies in the sparsely inhabited areas. Much like Hilton Head was before the bridge, the roads are unpaved and motor vehicles are rare. Travel is by foot or by golf cart, except for a few tour buses.

Savannah, GA was recently made famous by the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. You can drive (about 50 minutes to downtown) or you can go by boat (The Spirit of Harbour Town) – the time is about the same. Savannah has much history and charm. One of the best ways to tour is to take one of the ”trolley” tours.

The Riverfront is one of the most recent additions to Savannah. All of the old factories have been turned into restaurants, boutiques, antique shops, and art galleries. What was once the least desirable area has become one of the most popular. The complex can be entered at the river level. Above this are four levels of shops, etc. At street level one emerges onto Factors Walk, a cobblestone street with markers at intervals telling the name of the city and county in which the cobblestones originated in that section of the walkway.

There are many excellent narrated tours of the city which describe its architecture and history.

Beaufort, SC is about the same distance in the opposite direction. It has much beauty and fascinating history. In more modern times it has been the site of several movies. It is best to tour Beaufort by horse drawn carriage. Highlights are the lovely antebellum mansions.

Charleston, SC is about a two hour + drive north There is so much to see and do in Charleston, and the distance is such that it is probably best to make that a separate trip in itself rather than trying to append it to a visit to Hilton Head.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Pirate’s Island

681-4001.

located at mile marker 8.5 on highway; open every day of the year.

During the summer, the crew works 9am until 11pm.

Golf Courses and fun for the entire family.

Captain Kidd’s Challenge

A more difficult course, Captain Kidd’s Challenge (par 56) presents more hazards and requires a steady hand. This course can accommodate the physically handicapped and baby strollers due to lack of steps and barriers. But beware as you pass under the waterfall through the cave; it’s a known Pirate hideout. A treasure and dungeon have been sighted there!

Coastal Discovery Museum

689-6767

Offers nature walks, kayaking, and bird watching tours.

Enjoying nature on the water.

Zodiac boats are inflatable boats with rigid hulls. They hold up to six people plus the captain (a few might hold more if the captain is licensed for more). They are low in the water, so provide a good platform for observing dolphins. Going out on a zodiac, you will also have an expert guide and will be in a small group. Zodiacs have a greater range than kayaks, so they can go farther to find dolphins. Also, you don’t have to paddle them. Here are some places that provide eco tours on zodiacs.

2nd Nature Outdoor Center in Palmetto Bay Marina. 843-341-5590.

Commander Zodiac at the South Beach Marina in Sea Pines plantation. 843-671-3344.

Dolphin Discoveries in Shelter Cove. 843-290-2802.

Enviro Tours in Harbourtown Marina in Sea Pine plantation. 843-671-4386.

H2O Water Sports in Harbourtown Marina. 843-671-4386.

Island Explorer at The Old Oyster Factory restaurant on Marshland Rd. 843-785-2108.

Island Water Sports at Skull Creek, behind Charlie’s Crab restaurant. 843-689-6800.

If there are more than six people in your party and you want to be together, there are enviro tour boats that can hold more passengers but are still small enough to provide a close-up view.

E- Events & Entertainment:
January

3rd week: Winter Roast Annual Oyster Roast with Lowcountry favorites, live entertainment and children games. Sponsored by Island Recreation Center, 4-8pm Palmetto Bay Marina 681-7273

February

De Arts Ob We People: A Gullah Celebration (through 3rd weekend in February) The Self Family Arts Center – 842-ARTS

March

SpringFest (Month of March) During Hilton Head’s Springfest (Hilton Head Island, 843/686-4944 or 800/424-3387), throughout the month of March, you can enjoy concerts, plays, films, art shows, theater, sporting events, food fairs, and mini- tournaments.

Early March

Daily Sea Pines Forest Preserve Wagon Tour The preserve is home to numerous animals & was home to Native Americans hundreds of years ago. 3:30-5pm, 363-4530

Daily Sea Pines Historic Stoney Baynard Ruins Tour Explore this historic tabby ruin & archeological dig site, which was built around 1793. Learn how a cotton plantation was operated. 10-11:30am– 363-4530

Daily: The Spirit of Harbour Town Historic Savannah Cruise Cruise in heated or air-conditioned comfort to the heart of Savannah’s historic district. Spend over 4 hours shopping, sightseeing and dining. 9:30am – 4:30pm, 842-7179

Daily Vagabond Daufuskie Island Adventure includes land tour. call 842-4155 for times and reservations

Daily Beachwalks with the Coastal Discovery Museum This tour is a long time favorite of Island visitors and residents. call 689-6767 for times and reservations

Mid-March:

Annual Chocolate Fair sponsored by the Jr. Sailing Program. Coligny Plaza – 842-6050

2nd weekend: Annual Wine Fest largest outdoor tented wine tasting on the East Coast! includes souvenir tasting glass, 1-4pm, Shelter Cove Harbour – 800-424-3387

2nd weekend: Jazz Fest entertainment provided by the Hilton Head Jazz Society. Free, Hilton Head Factory Stores 1 & 2 – 837-4339

2nd weekend in March

St. Patrick’s Day Parade largest free spectator event on the Island. Free, 2pm, Pope Avenue – 842-4319

Last weekend in March

SpringFest Open House/International Food Tasting Free, 4-6pm, USCB at Hilton Head – 785-3995

Late March

Architects Selected Preview of Homes a 1-day tour of selected homes designed by local architects. 10am-5pm, 836-2929

St. Helena’s Episcopal Church Spring Tours (Church St. and North St., St. Helena, 843/524-0363) offers festive tours of Beaufort’s Colonial homes and lovely Lowcountry plantations in March and April.

April

Worldcom Classic-The Heritage Of Golf (11 Lighthouse La., Hilton Head Island, 800/234-1107), when more than 100 top golfers play at the Harbour Town Golf Links for a $3.5 million purse.

May

Beaufort’s Gullah Festival in May highlights the fine arts, customs, language, and dress of Lowcountry African-Americans.

July

In July during the Beaufort County Water Festival (Beaufort, 843/524-0600), boats galore turn up for water sports and entertainment. It’s held in the Waterfront Park on Bay Street.

September

Over Labor Day weekend, Hilton Head hosts the Hilton Head Island Celebrity Golf Tournament (Hilton Head Island, 843/842-7711), during which celebrities and amateurs play for three days on three different courses to raise money for children’s charities.

Annual FoodFest – Best of the Lowcountry

Mid-September: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

The popular event now covers 2 days and is held at Shelter Cove Harbour, starting at 11:00 am. 32 Island Restaurants, (16 different ones each day), showcase samples of a few of their most popular menu items. Contests, prizes, family-style entertainment

For further information for day of event activities please contact the Hilton Head Hospitality Association at 843-686-4944 or 1-800-424-3387.

October

St. Luke’s Tour Of Homes (Hilton Head Island, 843/785-4099), take self-guided tours through beautiful homes and plantations.

Beaufort Fall Festival Of Homes And Gardens (208 Scott St., Beaufort, 843/524-6334), private homes and gardens are open to the public, and you can tour historic sites and attend lectures and special events.

Plantation Tour (Edisto Island, 843/869-1954) of the 18th- and 19th-century former plantations and old churches on the island. Docents at every location give historical background on all the sites.

Call for tickets.

Daniel Island Park Day Saturday, last weekend in October

Daniel Island offers hundreds of acres of parkland. this event is an opportunity to showcase both these new and existing island parks. Each park will have a variety of different activities for all ages. There is no entry fee to attend this event, and most of the day’s activities will be free of charge. Bicycles will be available for rent to allow visitors to tour the island’s parks and neighborhoods and take part in all of the exciting activities. Visitors can also take old-fashioned hay rides around the island in traveling to each destination.

At Children’s Park:

great activities for children and adults alike including the following: “Gullah” story telling for children, local music, fly fishing demonstrations on the dock, sweetgrass basket weaving, and more.

November

1st weekend: Hilton Head Oyster Festival. Shelter Cove Community Commons, 11 AM to 4 PM. All you can eat oysters, plus chili, chowder, burgers and hot dogs. Games and live entertainment. 843-681-7273

2nd weekend: “Taste of the Seasons”. Holiday season specialties from various restaurants. 6 PM to 8 PM, Port Royal Clubhouse. 843-785-2600 ext. 377, M. C. Strong.

2nd weekend: “14th Annual Merrie Christmas Shoppe Arts and Crafts Show”. At the Boardwalk on Folly Field Road. Free admission. 11/8, 6 PM to 9 PM; 11/9, 10 AM to 7 PM; 11/10, 10 AM to 4 PM. 843-681-5092.

3rd week: Hayrides in the Sea Pines Forest Preserve. 3PM to 4PM or 4PM to 5PM. 843-363-4530.

Thanksgiving weekend: Santa arrives at Coligny Plaza, with Yostie’s puppets and Rick Hubbard’s Kazoo band. Noon. 843-842-6050.

Thanksgiving weekend Christmas tree lighting, caroling, crafts, refreshments, Santa and other entertainment. Self Family Arts Center. 843-842-2787.