Hilton Head Island in South Carolina is a Lowcountry, high-culture destination where music, gourmet food, golf and the arts meld with modern simplicity.
Jack Reed, director of sales at the Hilton Head Island Visitor & Convention Bureau, says that’s what makes it special. “We have no streetlights, no neon signs. The ambiance is miles and miles of beach and rich history.”
Part of this history finds its swing with the PGA Tour, which has chosen the island as host to the RBC Heritage tournament for the past 50 years, “first won by Arnold Palmer,” Reed says as a point of pride. There are 24 world-class golf courses across the island. And while incorporated a little more than 30 years ago, much of the town of Hilton Head remains as it was when sighted from Captain William Hilton’s 17th-century ship. Wildlife, flora and waterways abound, offering ample opportunity for kayaking, dolphin spotting, sailing and bird watching, as well as zip line canopy tours above and 60 miles of bike and hiking paths that meander through. The island’s 12-mile stretch of sand, meanwhile, is emblazoned with the footprints of Native Americans, European colonists, pirates, African slaves, soldiers and even loggerhead sea turtles who come to lay their eggs onshore in the dark of night.
Incorporated a little more than 30 years ago, much of the town of Hilton Head remains as it was when sighted from Captain William Hilton’s 17th-century ship.
All of this heritage seeps into the essence of the island and the meetings and events that are held here. Consider a buyout at one of 250 restaurants (most locally owned) or introduce groups to the annual food and wine festival, an Antebellum home tour, cultural venues like the Gullah Museum, or a symphony orchestra and live theatre performance. Boutique galleries dot the island, and art workshops immerse attendees in local style and tradition.
All in all, planners have at their disposal 150,000 sf of meeting space, 3,000 hotel rooms, 6,000 villas and resort convention facilities on Hilton Head Island; all of the island’s hotels and resorts have undergone major renovations in the past few years.