Often shortened to Hilton Head, Hilton Head Island is a resort town and barrier island off the coast of South Carolina. The town was named for Captain William Hilton who first spotted the island back in the 17th century. Fewer than 50,000 people call this oceanside paradise home throughout the entire year, but in the spring and summer, it is not uncommon for there to be over 150,000 people on the island due to its popularity.
Although Hilton Head Island was discovered in the 17th century, it did not become an incorporated town until 1983. That being said, there are numerous sites around the island suggesting early human inhabitants living on the island over 4,000 years ago. When you book an RV in Hilton Head Island, you not only get miles of stunning beaches lining the Atlantic Ocean, but also a bevy of cultural institutions, golf courses, boutique shops, and amazing restaurants. Stunning nature reserves maintain a balance between resorts and nature, ensuring a lovely experience for all who rent an RV in town.
Getting to town is incredibly easy, as there is a bridge on the William Hilton Parkway that serves as the main artery of the island. There is also an airport on the island, as well as countless docks and marinas where people may dock their boats or take a ferry to other outlying islands. Geographically, the island is located nearly halfway between Charleston and Savannah, Georgia, so there is plenty to do when you pick up your Hilton Head camper rental and start your epic vacation.
Explore the Outdoors
Even if you wanted to avoid the parks and conservation areas of Hilton Head Island, it would be difficult to not stumble on some scenic beach or park. Fish Haul Beach Park is one example of what you can see when you visit the island and rent an RV, with splendid views and wheelchair-accessible pathways. The white sand beaches at Fish Haul Beach Park are about as picture-worthy as you can find, with plenty of open space to lounge around reading a book, play volleyball, or go swimming in the Atlantic Ocean.
Hunting Island State Park is the next island over to the north, with more scenic beaches to visit. The park is one of the most visited in the entire state, with well over a million people entering per year. There are hiking and biking trails, elegant wooden boardwalks carving through the wetlands and marshes, waterways for kayaking or canoeing, and facilities where you can camp with your Hilton Head Island RV rental by owner. There is even a tall, retired lighthouse you can climb for epic views of the ocean, and a nature center showcasing and explaining the wildlife of the park, from the loggerhead turtles to the migratory birds who call it their temporary home.
Francis Marion National Forest is a collection of different ecosystems north of Charleston, with oak savannas, swamps, and coniferous forests among other things. The forest is named for Francis Marion, a brilliant general and military tactician during the Revolutionary War who was infamous for guerilla warfare tactics and the ability to disappear into the woods, earning him the nickname “Swamp Fox.” Most of the forest was leveled by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, but now the new growth has taken over and given life to the forest once again. You can go hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and camping in this amazing forest by the sea, so don’t miss out.
If you head inland towards the state capital Columbia, you can check out Congaree National Park, the state’s lone national park. This smaller national park is known for its old-growth bottomland hardwood forest that remains one of the largest in the country. The park has been around since 2003, but its riparian habitats have become World Heritage Sites and natural landmarks in the process. You can hike or kayak through the park, seeing fascinating interactions between wildlife species, and ancient mangroves.
There aren’t a whole lot of campgrounds on the island, as most of the land has been designated for resorts with hotels and swanky, seaside villas. Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort and Marina is a luxury resort with large coastal campsites and its own marina. There are watersports, two pools, a hot tub, gazebos, sun lounges, playgrounds, a camp store, and a five-star restaurant on-site where guests can indulge.
Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort could be a great place to stay with a luxury motorhome rental from Hilton Head Island. The resort has a swimming pool, laundry facilities, a snack shack, marble bathrooms, sports courts, and there are even RV mechanics on-site.
Over on the Georgia side of the state line, River’s End Campground enables you to get off the island and try somewhere else out for size. This beautiful resort has its own dog park, fitness center, pool, bathrooms, camp store, and more.
When you rent an RV on Hilton Head Island, the natural beauty is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The island is famous for its offering of golf courses, with several championship courses scattered throughout the area. Dozens of top-notch courses make Hilton Head a golfer’s mecca and a major reason for visiting the island. A few of the courses have hosted big-name PGA tournaments with some of the best players on the planet.
The Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island is a wonderful place to learn a thing or two about your vacation destination, especially with regards to the Gullah population. The Gullah culture is a fascinating one, made from African Americans who fled slavery and maintained their African heritage and culture. They have their own distinct dialect and customs, making them a unique group in the lowlands of Georgia and South Carolina.
The Coastal Discovery Museum is another beloved institution on the island, doing its very best to educate and enlighten people of all ages. Charming exhibits depict and explain in great detail the bounty of wildlife on the island, the natural history and how it was formed, and the ancient cultures who once lived there. There are kids' workshops and events for young ones, and tours through the museum are certainly useful too.