Hilton Head Island Activities & Fun In Off-Season
Thousands of visitors come to Hilton Head Island each summer for pristine beaches, a high-class small town atmosphere, and resort vacationing. But this place is fun in other seasons, too! Because of Hilton Head’s prime location at the southernmost tip of South Carolina’s coastline, temperatures here are pleasant-rarely does Hilton Head Island see snow flurries, even in the middle of winter. Not only is the weather nice all year long, but there’s so much to do!
Hilton Head Island in the wintertime is devoid of the summer’s hustle and bustle, allowing for a more relaxing, laid-back environment. Off-season visitors will find more reasonable prices for their vacations and accommodations, than they would have paid during the extremely busy summer months, but can also indulge in any of the dozens of family-centered activities. For example, the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina has scheduled photography and contemporary art exhibits, as well as appearances by various entertainers including the likes of Groucho Marx (played by actor Frank Ferrante)! The Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra will present a handful of music-filled evenings including the 2007 BrahmsFest, in response to the overwhelming reception of 2006’s BeethovenFest.
Other annual celebrations planned for this fall/winter/spring include the Festival of Trees in November, the Community Festival in October, the Trolley Tours of Hilton Head showing the island’s best Christmas decorations in mid-December, and the Christmas Tour of Homes by the Hilton Head Choral Society highlighting six gorgeous estates dripping with extravagant décor. Islanders also enjoy taking a slow drive through North Forest Beach to view the community’s festive holiday displays-no admission fee is required, though contributions to the town’s Deep Well Fund are encouraged. And Harbourtown’s popular musician, Gregg Russell, performs his Christmas Concert right before the holiday.
Islanders and visitors without other Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day plans are issued an open invitation to come sit elbow-to-elbow with their neighbors at the holidays’ now-traditional community dinners. Members at St. Andrew-by-the-Sea United Methodist Church first hosted a free Thanksgiving Dinner at Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks in 1999, and this continuing meal has grown into such a beloved ritual that it spawned a similar annual feast at Sticky Fingers Rib House on Christmas Day.
Summer is a fabulous time for a beach vacation here, but dozens of sporting events are scheduled for wintertime. The Thanksgiving Turkey Tennis Tournament, the Candy Cane Classic Hilton Head golf tournament, the South Carolina Chef Classic golf tournament, the MCI Junior Heritage in February followed by the MCI Heritage of Golf in April, and the U.S. Open Qualifier golf tournament in May are among the best of and athletic offerings. Hilton Head Celebrity Golf is another annual tournament in September.
Additional events, like the Taste of the Season cuisine extravaganza at the Sea Pines Country Club or the Jazz Lover’s Club Concert, happen all the time during Hilton Head Island’s off-season. For nature enthusiasts, bird-watching tours and daytime dolphin cruises are available every month of the year. Regular, everyday activities like bowling (Main Street Lanes) and movie theaters (Hilton Head has three; two regular, multi-screen complexes and one independent film theater at Coligny Plaza) provide a low-key evening out. And do not forget the island’s salons and spa experiences for both couples and individuals-schedule a massage or entire spa day package for vacation de-stressing.
Hilton Head Island has a fabulous reputation for summer vacationing and romantic getaways, but that does not mean visitors should ignore it during off-season months. Hilton Head has a multitude of fun activities, romantic settings, relaxing concerts, loud sporting events, and fresh family-oriented entertainment for winter vacationers that will keep thoughts of the beach far away.
The annual Concours d’Elegance is a celebration of automotive history that convenes in early November at the Honey Horn Plantation grounds. Proud owners drive their rare, classic, and antique cars all over the Island’s roads, often dressed in period finery. A wave to those drivers will likely earn a happy “Ahh-Oo-Gah!” toot in response, along with big smiles all around!
When the weather gets crisp and the waters chill, the oyster roasts commence! These fat, salty-sweet mollusks are pulled from local waters by the bushel and steamed over open fires under wraps of wet burlap. Hissing with steam, the cooked oysters are drenched in lemon butter and hot sauce and devoured by knife-wielding diners, then rinsed down with lots of sweet tea or icy beer! Many clubs and civic groups use oyster roasts to fund their projects. Of course, islanders understand that oysters may not appeal to all tastes; other feasts include chili cook-offs, wine fests, soup challenges, and “Low Country boils” featuring shrimp, corn, onions, potatoes, & sausage all cooked together in spicy broth.
Investing in local Hilton Head real estate is another exciting and advantageous “to-do” between summers. Potential homebuyers might find the home of their dreams with a lower price tag during the winter months. During the vacation-season lull, when rental revenues are lower, owners often consider selling or “trading up” investment property. Opportunities to “purchase a piece of Paradise” make the fall and winter months an ideal time to become acquainted with Hilton Head Island.
The best thing about Hilton Head Island is that it’s a year-round hotspot. World-class beaches during the summer, golf tournaments and concerts when it’s cooler, and scores of spas, first-class restaurants, and resorts open throughout the year expose Hilton Head’s true character-the perfect vacation getaway for any season.