Hiking and Biking
- Grand Strand Weekend
- South Carolina for Kids
- South Carolina Bar-B-Que
- A Midlands Weekend
- Civil War Adventures
- South Carolina Waterways
- Three Days in Horse Country
- South Carolina for Seafoodies
- South Carolina Kitsch
- Gullah and African American History
- Upstate Weekend
- South Carolina’s Top Ten for Golfers
- South Carolina’s Offbeat Festivals
- Southern Comforts
- Lowcountry Romance
Though the very flat terrain is not challenging, Hilton Head provides some scenic and relaxing biking opportunities. Thanks to wise planning and foresight, the island has an extensive 40-mile-plus network of biking trails that does a great job of keeping bikers out of traffic.
A big plus is the long bike path paralleling the William Hilton Parkway, enabling cyclists to use that key artery without braving its traffic. There is even an underground bike path beneath the Parkway to facilitate crossing that busy road. In addition, there are also routes along Pope Avenue and North and South Forest Beach Drive.
Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort (4 Queens Folly Rd., 800/827-3006, www.palmettodunes.com) has a particularly nice, 25-mile network of bike paths which all link up to the island’s larger framework. Within the resort is Palmetto Dunes Outfitters (843/785-2449, www.pdoutfitters.com, daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m.), which will rent you any type of bike you might need. Sea Pines Plantation also has an extensive, 17-mile network of bike trails; you can pick up a map at most information kiosks within the plantation.
With the exception of Sea Pines, where five bucks gets you daily access, for biking purposes be aware that on the private residential developments, such as Palmetto Dunes, access technically is limited to residents and you may be challenged and asked where you’re residing. Also, please pay attention to the miniature stop signs on the bike paths, ignorance of which can lead to some nasty scrapes or worse.
But the best bike path on Hilton Head is the simplest of all, where no one will ask you where you’re staying that night: the beach. For a few hours before and after low tide the beach effectively becomes a 12-mile bike path around most of the island, and a pleasant morning or afternoon ride may well prove to be the highlight of your trip to the island.
There’s a plethora of bike rental facilities on Hilton Head with competitive rates. Be sure and ask if they offer free pick-up and delivery. Try Coconut Bike Rentals (81 Pope Ave., 843/686-5055, daily 8 a.m.–5 p.m.) or Hilton Head Bicycle Company (112 Arrow Rd., 843/686-6888, Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. noon–5 p.m.).
Hikers will particularly enjoy Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, which takes you through several key Lowcountry ecosystems, from maritime forest to salt marsh. Other peaceful, if non-challenging, trails are at the Audubon-Newhall Preserve on Hilton Head Island.
© Jim Morekis from Moon South Carolina, 4th Edition