Family-friendly golf and fun on Hilton Head Island

By Blanche T. Sullivan, Contributor

HILTON HEAD ISLAND S.C. -- After only one visit to this charming and serene locale you'll be convinced that there is no better vacation destination than Hilton Head Island, particularly if you are seeking a memorable family-friendly summertime getaway. A convenient drive-to destination, Hilton Head offers a generous assortment of activities amidst a beautiful and relaxing backdrop.

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Planning a Hilton Head vacation with kids? Consider an educational beach tour or kayaking trip.
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From boating, bike riding and nature tours to art camps, fireworks and movies in the park, you can take it easy or have an action-packed adventure. Also, while Hilton Head Island is known for its world-class golf and Verizon Heritage tournament, many of Hilton Head Island's incredible courses offer family-friendly tees, programs and specials.

Family-friendly Hilton Head golf

Along with its premier golf courses and resorts, Hilton Head Island has become home to world-class teaching facilities, noteworthy amateur tournaments and a greater number of family-friendly playing opportunities (with junior tee placements/junior rates) than ever before.

The Robert Trent Jones course at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, for example, allows golfers 10 and younger to play for free during the afternoon when an adult paying the regular rate accompanies those golfers.

Sea Pines Resort, home to the historic Heritage, also hosts a number of kid-friendly opportunities, such as the "Future Stars" junior golf program, which is led by one of the resort's friendly and highly skilled professionals.

Recognized as one of the country's top golf schools, Hilton Head's Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy offers weekly and multi-week instructional programs from May 31-Aug. 2.

For those who enjoy a less formal outing, Hilton Head Island also offers several miniature golf facilities, such as Pirates Island, Legendary Golf and Adventure Cove Family Fun Center.

Perfect beaches for biking, hiking, learning and lounging

In addition to golf, Hilton Head Island is also beloved for its beautiful beaches. Many visitors enjoy renting bicycles for a cruise around the Hilton Head Island, via the island's vast network of terrific bike paths, or right on the beach where they can take in the refreshing salt air and ocean views. With about 12 miles of sandy shores, Hilton Head Island is also well suited for an invigorating run or reflective stroll along the Atlantic.

All Hilton Head Island beaches are public and there are many convenient access points throughout the island, as well as varying levels of activity to suit every beachgoer. Coligny Beach Park, for example, features a new interactive water fountain, ample parking and restroom facilities and is situated near Coligny Plaza's shops and restaurants, as well as the island's iconic "Tiki Hut" outdoor bar. You can learn more about the island's beach locations and regulations on the Town of Hilton Head Island's website.

With all the fascinating wildlife on and around Hilton Head Island, such as turtles, dolphins and hermit crabs, why not take advantage of educational beach tours or kayaking trips, such as those offered by the Coastal Discovery Museum or Outside Hilton Head?

Fun for all ages: From Harbourfest to Harbour Town

Year after year, many families enjoy Harbourfest, a lively tradition that attracts hundreds every Tuesday evening to Hilton Head Island's idyllic Shelter Cove Harbour. Attendees enjoy food, riveting fireworks and kid-friendly entertainment courtesy popular troubadour Shannon Tanner. The harbour, part of Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, features a deepwater marina, unique restaurants and shops and robust 4th of July celebration.

The Summer Jams program, hosted by the Island Rec Center at Shelter Cove Community Park, features bounce houses, face painting, concessions, fireworks and entertainment every Tuesday from 7 – 10 p.m. Admission is free. The rec center will also offer a cinema action under the stars, or "Movies in the Park," via a huge outdoor inflatable screen, on June 18, July 9 and Aug. 6. Visit the rec center website for more details.

Families will take a particular fancy to the Sandbox: An Interactive Children's Museum, which is ideally suited for younger vacationers and offers many fun hands-on experiences.

"Gather around, for fun in Harbour Town" with legendary Gregg Russell and enjoy family-friendly entertainment under the famed Liberty Oak. Russell's guitar strumming and rib-tickling audience interaction are revered by all ages and his summer concerts run May 28-30, June 2-4 and June 6-Aug. 27. Catch his fun-filled performances Sunday through Friday at 8 p.m.

Blanche T. SullivanBlanche T. Sullivan, Contributor

A golf getaway drew Michigan native Blanche T. Sullivan to Hilton Head Island, SC. a decade ago; employment afforded her permanent residence in paradise. The former magazine editor/ad agency devotee enjoys writing, epicurean endeavors, golf and any combination thereof.

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