Get Wild at Hilton Head’s Coastal Discovery Museum

Hilton Head Island offers one of the best places on earth to get up close and personal with some of the southeast coastal plain’s native critters and soak in its beautiful surroundings. From creeks and waterways to thick maritime forests, there’s a little bit of everything here on an island where nature is put first.

One of the best places to experience that natural splendor is Coastal Discovery Museum. Tucked away on the island’s north end, it’s located at Historic Honey Horn, a range of forest and field that has served as a plantation home and a hunting getaway for wealthy northerners in its long and storied history. Through unique classes and getaways or through the series of trails that wind around the property, Coastal Discovery Museum offers plenty of ways to experience the island’s natural beauty.

OUT ON THE WATER
Coastal Discovery Museum offers a slew of special tours of our area waterways, on kayaks and by boat. Their dolphin and nature cruise take you out with a docent on Broad Creek to spot some of the many aquatic creatures that call our area home, from river otters and blue crabs to playful bottlenose dolphins. For a closer look, you can take their kayak tour of Jarvis Creek, a quiet and secluded waterway that runs through the north end of the island. Or you can head to the mainland for a May River cruise that takes you along the bends and eddies between Old Town and Palmetto Bluff. These tours are held regularly throughout the week and ticket prices vary. Click here for more information.

ON LAND
Landlubbers will still find plenty to explore at Coastal Discovery Museum. The beach discovery tour takes you out to the always-tranquil Fish Haul Beach Park with a docent to learn about the ever-changing sands of our area beaches and the wildlife that calls it home. There are also tours of Pinckney Island, the lush wildlife refuge between the two bridges onto Hilton Head, with some focusing on the astounding bird species that live among the treetops there. There are also tours of the island’s rich history, such as the forts of Port Royal tour which guides you through the historic Civil War forts and the ruins of an antique steam cannon that dot the north end. Uncovering the roots of reconstruction guides you through what came to be known as the “Port Royal Experiment,” where freed slaves were given a town of their own in Mitchelville. More information on tour schedules and tickets can be found here.

WHERE TO STAY
With an itinerary as packed with Hilton Head Island’s natural wonders as this, you’ll want a vacation getaway that compliments that bucolic transcendence. You’ll find it in the celebration of the island’s beautiful surroundings that is 1468 Sound Villa, available from Vacation Company. Inside, this exquisite four-bedroom getaway exults in a masterfully realized coastal chic charm that permeates every square foot. High-end amenities and upgrades throughout let you bask in the natural charm while not sacrificing the luxury you deserve. And outside, a wonder of scenic beauty awaits thanks to its ideal location on the water, with views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Calibogue Sound just beyond your windows. Inside, it’s a charming luxury vacation destination ripped straight from the pages of Coastal Living. Outside, it’s just a short walk through maritime trees to the beach, and Hilton Head’s inimitable natural beauty.