Destination Feature: Hilton Head, South Carolina (HXD)
This year Rachel and I had the unique opportunity to escape the cold New England winter and work remotely from a warmer climate. We chose to stay on Hilton Head Island for the month of January and had an absolutely excellent experience. The island, 20 miles north of Savannah, Georgia, and 95 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina, is home to a 12 mile stretch of beach, numerous golf courses, excellent restaurants, and world class resorts. Whether staying for a long weekend, a week, a month, or a whole season, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is a perfect destination for the entire family.
Hilton Head Airport (which oddly uses the code "HHH" for airline flights but the code "HXD" for private jet flights) is situated on the north end of the island. The runway was recently (2018) extended to 5,000 feet allowing for larger and longer range private jets to use the airport safely. The single FBO at the airport is Signature Flight Support located on the east side of the airfield which offers all the amenities expected of a top-tier arrival facility. Hilton Head is about a 1hr 45min flight from Chicago, a 2hr 20min flight from Boston, or a 2hr 10min flight from New York and can safely handle aircraft ranging from a Citation V light jet to a Gulfstream GV.
From Hilton Head Airport to the farthest point on the island is only a 25 minute drive. For comparison, the closest airport with significant nonstop airline options is Savannah (SAV) a 1 hour drive south of the island.
What To Do
A highlight of our stay in January was that (aside from boat rides) we didn't leave the island once over the 30 days we were there. Everything you need, whether it be a grocery store, restaurant, pharmacy, or golf course, is all within short driving (or biking) distance. Hilton Head is home to 60 miles of public bike paths and the hard packed beach sand also allows for riding at low tide.
We stayed at the Hilton Head Beach and Tennis Club for the month. Our villa was just steps from the beach, 8 well kept tennis courts, and 6 pickleball courts (the fastest growing sport in America!). Even in January (the coldest month of the year), Tennis Pro Denny Bianco had the courts busy with matches and lessons.
16 public golf courses are scattered throughout the island including Harbour Town Golf Links which hosts South Carolina's only PGA Tour event, the RBC Heritage, each April. The picturesque 18th Hole is located along Calibogue Sound and approaches the famous Harbour Town lighthouse. Harbour Town is part of the much larger Sea Pines Plantation, a gated community with restaurants, marinas, golf courses, residences, and rental properties. At 5,200 acres, Sea Pines takes up almost the entire southern half of Hilton Head Island. Other "Plantations" (as they are known as on the island) and resort developments include Wexford Plantation, Palmetto Dunes, and Port Royal, each with golf courses, tennis clubs, and beach access.
Where To Eat
We enjoyed excellent dining throughout our month on the island. Highlights were scallops and braised short ribs at ELA's on the Water, tacos in the sun at The Sandbar, and a great sushi selection at the Skull Creek Boathouse. One of many hidden gems is the Hilton Head Brewing Company on Cardinal Road. The only brewery on the island, HHBC offers a variety of hand crafted beers on tap, cans and growlers to go, as well as a full kitchen and indoor and outdoor dining. Of course, the Salty Dog Cafe in the South Beach neighborhood of Sea Pines is a must visit for live music and outdoor dining overlooking the marina.
Being an island, boating is part of the lifestyle in Hilton Head. The Freedom Boat Club has a location on the north end of the island at Skull Creek Marina. Through a reciprocal membership, we took a 22 foot Key West center console out for a day on the water. Along our voyage we stopped at Daufuskie Island, a "remote retreat from modern life" which is only accessible via boat. Ferry service runs 18 round trips to Hilton Head per day and a few private residential communities, resorts, a few restaurants, and even 29 holes of golf cover the small island. Other on-the-water activities include jet ski rental, parasailing, and sunset dolphin cruises.
If you're thinking of making a trip to Hilton Head, consider a MAVCO jet charter and arrive directly on the island. MAVCO specializes in on-demand private jet charter with no upfront fees or long term commitments. Our pay-as-you-fly model is perfect for those looking for a flexible, customized, and seamless travel experience. Call 857-772-6056 or visit flyMAVCO.com to request a quote.