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Hilton Head Island: Walk, Bike, Paddle and Find Your Perfect Island Getaway
Enjoy the unique view of the island’s salt marsh land on a leisurely boardwalk stroll
There are over 80 miles of tree-covered public and private pathways along the Island’s interior that
weave through various scenic routes, providing peaceful marsh and lagoon views
Hilton Head Island is one of the best family biking destinations in the country; the beaches are
wide and flat at low tide, perfect for cruising on a beach bike
Kayaking with a local guide is a great way to get to know the geological and ecological features
of the tidal creeks and salt marshes that surround the Island
Hilton Head Island, a coastal barrier Island located off the southeast Atlantic Coast, nestled geographically between Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, was the first eco-planned resort community in the nation. Initially founded by Charles E. Fraser with The Sea Pines Resort, the concept of preserving the environment while providing a wonderful recreational and residential community was a novel concept in 1956, but has become the foundation for the entire Island’s development pattern today.
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and wide coastal marshes, the island has bountiful marine-oriented opportunities, such as guided nature tours, bird-watching, kayaking, and paddle boarding. In addition, both the Island’s beaches and tree canopies have been carefully preserved. There are 12 miles of naturally beautiful, unspoiled beaches and 80 miles of lush, tree-lined walking and biking paths that crisscross the Island. From the beaches to the outdoor adventures, the arts and cultural activities, the Island offers numerous ways for everyone to enjoy a slow and local travel experience.
Don't Miss the Special Pre- and Post-Conference Tours!
For the ESTC 2011 participants, our local partners offer a range of pre- and post-conference tour options, from kayaking, birding to island history excursion. Add on a few days before and after the conference to maximize your ESTC experience and to explore Hilton Head Island, the green gem of the Southeastern US.
Pre-Conference Tours: Saturday, September 17th – Sunday, September 18th
- Waddell Mariculture Center by SCDNR and Hilton Head Reef Foundation: Learn about the unique natural resources and characteristics of the Port Royal Sound Estuarine system and about SCDNR’s Waddell Mariculture Center
- Dolphin Ecotour by Outside Hilton Head: The excursion is lead by a naturalist/captain and will explore the areas rich nature, history and culture.
- Hunting Island State Park Lighthouse & Nature Tour: Visit the 19th Century Hunting Island Lighthouse, the only lighthouse in South Carolina open to the public for climbing, and learn about the past and future efforts to maintain and preserve this valuable treasure.
- Kayak Guided Nature Tours by Outside Hilton Head: Fun, safe and easy. No experience is necessary to enjoy this ‘nature hike’ through the Island’s beautiful creeks and inlets.
- Blue Crabs by Coastal Discovery Museum: Visit Jarvis Creek and learn about the life cycle and importance of the Atlantic Blue Crab living in our coastal waters, and get a hands-on experience of harvesting, cooking, picking and tasting.
- Birding by Coastal Discovery Museum: Led by an experienced bird-watcher, the tour will explore the 68-acre property the Coastal Discovery Museum.
- Salt Marsh by Coastal Discovery Museum: As one of the most productive environments on the planet, the Salt Marsh functions as a filter and a nursery for the coast.
- The Outback by Outside Hilton Head: Your “Outback” adventure begins with a scenic boat excursion through the backcountry creeks and rivers to Outside Hilton Head’s private and remote Page Island.
Post-Conference Tours: Wednesday, September 21st – Friday, September 23rd
- Sea Turtles by Coastal Discovery Museum: An evening lecture and beach walk to educate participants about the threatened loggerhead sea turtle.
- Beaufort Kayak Tour: Narration includes an emphasis on cultural and natural history interpretation. This tour will focus on the Salt Marsh Ecology and Barrier Island Geology.
- Beaufort River Tours: Beaufort Kayak Tours is a fully narrated tour of Beaufort and Hunting Island, specializing in easy-to-enter, stable kayaks while allowing guests to paddle with the current.
- Beach Discovery by Coastal Discovery Museum: Join us as we venture to the beach, through the maritime forest, to learn about the unique marine organisms living in our coastal zone.
- Beachcombing Cruise to Remote Vanishing Island by Outside Hilton Head: This 3 hour boat cruise incorporates a 2-hour Eco Tour with the added bonus of getting off the boat on a remote sand bar near legendary Daufuskie Island.
- Daufuskie Island History & Artisans Excursion by Outside Hilton Head: Tucked in between Hilton Head Island and the mainland, Daufuskie Island, accessible only by boat, is a truly unique ‘undeveloped’ side of this historic sea island.