Discovering Hilton Head Island by Bicycle!
Years ago, when my wife and I first visited the beautiful Motorcoach Resort on Hilton Head Island in our motorhome, we did not realize what a treasure we had found. At that time, we had two road bikes with us and decided to ride around the Island. These bikes were lightweight, 21-speed and ready to fly!
We heard that Hilton Head Island was god but recently learned it is rated as a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the American League of Bicyclists. We learned it offered more than 60 miles of multi-use trails connecting us to everywhere we wanted to go, including those beautiful beaches just a short ride away from the Resort. And if you’re looking to ride with a group, HHI Motorcoach Resort offers weekly rides for bikers of all levels. With The Bike Doctor nearby as a Preferred Business at the Resort and another nearly 30 bicycle rental shops offering approximately 15,000 bicycles for rent—in addition to visitors who bring personal bicycles with them on vacation—the wheels are always in motion on Hilton Head Island! And why not, just look at this map of bike paths available to us!
That first day, we took our great road bikes, left the Resort and found some wonderful bike paths which ran adjacent to the major roads but were tucked safely away from any vehicular traffic. We work out often and can get our bicycles up to speed quickly. We were going to ride the entire Island’s bike paths and needed to go fast to do it that one day. That was our first mistake.
On more than one instance, we nearly ran over people on cruiser bicycles or just slower riders. Our bikes were too fast for the beautiful paths that crossed this Paradise Island. It did not take long to realize that we were not riding on “Island Time.” We were still hustling on our bikes instead of slowing down and appreciating the wonderful scenery around us. We have since left those road bicycles at our home in northeast Tennessee and purchased two cruiser bikers on which we could enjoy Hilton Head Island.
It is an amazing thing that one does not need a car when you have a bike on Hilton Head Island. We love that we can ride out of the Motorcoach Resort on our cruiser bicycles and travel across the Island in a matter of minutes. We can ride along Pope Avenue, past the statue depicting the famous 1953 photo of famed developer Charles Fraser walking next to an alligator.
Following the bike path off Pope Avenue, we are soon at Coligny Beach area. With our aluminum cruiser bikes, we can ride on the beach at low tide for miles north or south.
One direction, we fight the head wind but the breeze is great in the warm sunlight. Sometimes, we will turn back to have the wind at our backs as we ride along the beach. Now, while it is not proper to ride into Sea Pine from the beach, we have heard some people do this dastardly deed. Okay, we have done it too. As we ride through this lush, tropical residential area, we often ride to Harbor Town to visit the dock there, the historic lighthouse and our favorite store offering ice cream and my favorite Peach Pecan Amaretto Preserves. We always stop in for a couple of jars.
At Harbor Town, we have a favorite activity with the kayaking into the Sound.
We have left early in the morning before to go out, kayaking and watch the dolphins swim past us. We also get a great history and environmental lesson as we paddle in our kayaks, a gentle breeze on the water keeping us comfortable. And this is within a short bike ride from the Resort.
Riding back towards the Island on the Sea Pines bike paths, winding graciously and safely away from the main roads, we will take a detour to visit the South Beach Marina with its Salty Dog Cafe and shops. There is an incredible sunset cruise from the Salty Dog with drinks and hors devours which we took last summer.
The cruise took us out into the Calibogue Sound where we saw dolphins frolicking in the water as the sun dropped behind the trees off to our west.
We would not have found the cruise if we had not ridden to the South Beach Marina.
Heading on the bike paths toward the Greenwood Gate, we rode past Lawton Stables. Not big equestrians, at least in experience, we were not sure what this business could offer us. If you want to learn about the Low Country eco-system, you should check out their trail rides. The trail rides take you on an informative trip through the low country of the Island riding a horse on a leisurely ride. And, either before you leave or after you return, be sure to visit their petting zoo on site. Fun for young and old.
We head back towards the Resort and stop in at the popular Aunt Chilada’s to meet friends and grab one of their daily taco specials. We had two Fish (Grouper) Tacos for $4.50 each that day. A nice snack after riding close to 16 miles. We had many other choices like The Sea Shack or Signes Bakery or Annie O’s or Captain Woody’s or…well, you get the picture. Your food choices are endless and all within a short bike ride from the Resort.
Riding the trails, you pass many others who have come to the Island to enjoy the tranquil tropical settings, the beauty of the beach, the magnificence of the ever pounding ocean, the ability to let time move slower on Island Time and realize there is so much more to everyday life than just busy-ness. You will pass people older, younger, with kids in tow, pulling their dogs in a stroller, walking hand in hand, getting their daily jog in, people you know from your hometown, others you don’t. But to each, you say a warm hello and continue to cycle along the well designed bike paths towards your final destination.
Riding back into the Resort, we are not tired from our ride but truly refreshed. We are ready to enjoy some of the amenities of the HHI Motorcoach Resort, be it an afternoon of pickle ball or tennis, laying by the gorgeous pool, walking our four-legged family members or visiting with other owners in the Resort. We also find ourselves leaving our car at our site on those days we head out to explore Hilton Head Island. No need to burn any fossil fuels or get stressed out on the roadways.
Just get on your cruiser bike and ride. It is a great way to Discover Hilton Head Island, a Paradise Island and one of the nation’s finest motorcoach resorts, the Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort.
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