Our exploration of “new cities (to us) East of the Mississippi” continues all the way out to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina! We had never been here before, but once we booked our first stop in Savannah Georgia, we decided to add a few more days in Hilton Head – a little less than an hour drive from Savannah or the airport. We were most excited to let the kids play on the beach and swim in the pool! We got that and a lot more! Below you’ll find a handful of our favorite restaurants, things we did, and a general recap of our first time out to Hilton Head.
*If you missed our Savannah travel guide, you can read that HERE*
How we got there:
Closest airport is Savannah/Hilton Head International. The only airline that had direct flights between Indianapolis and Savannah was Allegiant. We have never flown Allegiant before, and we were a bit weary given some of the budget airline reputations out there. I have to say, it was way above expectations. Clean, huge aisle in the middle of the plane, seats were fine. Plus, direct flight that took about 90 minutes versus any other airline that would have stopped in Atlanta or Charlotte? It was absolutely worth it and we’d 100% fly them again!
Where we stayed:
We had always heard good things about Omni Resorts, but have never stayed at one. When booking, this one checked off all the boxes of what we were looking for: beachfront, big pool, a restaurant or two onsite just in case we needed a meal in, and the rooms looked like they had plenty of room. All of this was true! The room was plenty big, pools were big and pretty well maintained, the walk to the beach was about 5 minutes, and they did have some decent food options to choose from. A few issues here and there that came up that we dealt with, but all in all, if you are looking for a pool/beach/comfy room, this is a good spot to stay.
(Issues included: very hard to find a pool seat unless you are there by 9 am every morning, crazy pools with really no baby pool so big kids are running around with babies in the same spot, long waits for food at hotel restaurants, and you have to pay for a pack n play daily & it took over 2 hours for it to come to the room. This is a VERY kid friendly hotel, aka I wouldn’t stay here on your honeymoon. HA! There were kids running up and down the hallway at 6am and you can hear them loud and clear through the walls of your room fyi. And it wasn’t just a one time thing, this happened every morning.
One other thing is that you can rent beach chairs and umbrellas but beware, you have to carry them down to the beach yourself and it’s about a 5-10 minute walk from the pool. Below is a picture of Bryan carrying everything…definitely not easy! ).
I heard from a ton of you that staying at one of the plantations is the way to go – next time for sure!
Where we ate:
This was one of our favorite meals we had on the island! It’s tucked away in a shopping center and we definitely made a wrong turn or two getting here, but the food was well worth it! Very good Italian food, great wine list, awesome service, and was totally fine for Eloise and Henry. Come here hungry!
If you watched my stories, you know that we made a bit of an error on this one! Our intention was to have dinner at the Boathouse – I was craving sushi! We turned one driveway too early, followed the many hundreds of cars already in the parking lot and put our name on a list with a 2 hour wait. We are pretty seasoned travelers, but hey, everyone makes mistakes! Little did we know, we were at the wrong restaurant. They are next to each other, have similar names, and we didn’t know any better.
Well, it’s Spring Break on HH Island which means it’s pretty crowded. There are some restaurants that take reservations, but most do not. If you’re wondering when we realized we were at the wrong spot, it was over 2 hours later when we sat at our table, and there was no sushi. We were both bummed, but at that point, Bryan and I had to laugh it off and make sure the kids were ok and fed, which they were, so we ate an “ok” meal and moved on!
We have heard that the Boathouse is better, but unfortunately this blog post isn’t going to contain a first person review! If you’re heading here for dinner, make sure you’re at the right place!
After a disappointing lack of seafood experience the night before, this more than made up for it! They take reservations which is great for us traveling with two kids, and the food is delicious! Bryan had the Grouper and I had a lobster roll – both were excellent! Fun atmosphere, great drinks and sushi, and perfect options for kids! One of our favorite stops for dinner! This is right next to a great shopping center so you can roam around and shop before or after dinner.
This was a hit! Super fun restaurant open all day, right on the water, and worth the wait! Put your name in and go to the T-shirt shop! We became members of the salty dog t shirt family and now know what all of the hype is about! We had a great time eating here, loved the food, and can’t wait to go back! We had to order a 3rd kids plate because Henry and Eloise devoured their first helping so quickly.
Restaurants at the Omni:
Buoy Bar – Convenient poolside bar with some good lunch options! Kids loved the hot dogs, Bryan said they made a “pretty good” margarita.
HH Prime – Nice steakhouse with some more upscale options. Food was good, service was very slow.
XO Sports and Spirits – We didn’t spend any time here, but there’s a full sports bar on site with a ton of drink options and lots of TV’s.
There is also a great marketplace in the middle of the hotel that has snacks, food, coffee, etc. They also have smores kits that you can purchase to make smores out by their fire pit at night!
A couple of Hilton Head observations from our first trip:
- It was spring break, so it was pretty crowded. It didn’t take away from our trip, but if you’re looking to escape crowds for spring break, HH isn’t the spot. We heard from a couple of people that the locals “don’t love” this week and many of them leave. It was tricky to get into restaurants, pools were very busy, and there was some traffic getting around. We were also there a week ahead of the PGA tour event (RBC Heritage) which you could tell was going to be equally, if not more, crazy.
- Although HH Island isn’t “huge” (about 70 square miles), we found there was a lot to explore, and we probably didn’t even scratch the surface. It seems like the kind of place that every time you went back you’d find something new. Even the places you know you’re going to seem to be tucked in behind a golf course or tons of trees, or several turns to get there. It’s actually pretty cool how they made a popular place feel like there’s some hidden treasures to be found.
- Dangerous Beaches? We were warned by several people to watch out for snakes on the beaches and in the sand dunes. Fortunately, we didn’t ever encounter a snake, but just a heads up, apparently that is a ‘thing’ here. There were plenty of jellyfish both in the water and washed up on the beach that we had to keep Henry from running up and touching. Watch out!
- Unless everything you want to do is very close to your hotel (which I kind of doubt as there are fun things to do all over the island), you need to rent a car here. I’m sure you could take an Uber if you needed to, but if you’re on the fence about renting a car here, I’d go for it.
All items seen above linked HERE
Overall we had a great first trip to Hilton Head and will definitely be back!