There’s so much more to the Lowcountry than history and pristine beaches. Soak in the local ecology when you embark on an adventure exploring the best walking trails on Hilton Head Island! There’s nothing quite as soothing as soaking in the salty air, feeling the warm sun on your shoulders, and taking in the sights and sounds of the region’s natural beauty. Hike through maritime forests shaded by towering pines or along sandy beaches studded with seashells. Read on to discover what adventures lie in store for you. Then, check out our free 7-Day Insider’s Guide for the best local insight on where to go and what to do around Hilton Head!
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9 Walking Trails on Hilton Head Island You Need to Explore
1. Sea Pines Forest Preserve
The Sea Pines Forest Preserve is a protected wildlife habitat that has everything from bridle paths, wetland boardwalks, bridges, and fishing docks. There, you can expect to encounter the 4,000-year-old Sea Pines Shell Ring, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, you’ll see acres of natural landscapes, local flora and fauna, rice fields, swamps, and more. While the walking trails here are perfect for hiking, you might also like to opt for guided boat tours, horseback rides, fishing expeditions, or wagon tours.
What is a shell ring? The shell rings are steep basins with walls made of shells. These archaeological discoveries date back to thousands of years ago. They were most likely used for ceremonial purposes by ancient Native Americans.
2. Audubon - Newhall Preserve
Hike the two miles of forested trails found at Audubon Newhall Preserve. Observe the natural ecology and revel in the peace and quiet of this pretty little park. If you’re interested in bird-spotting, bring your binoculars because there’s a good chance you’ll encounter various species along your hike.
3. Jarvis Creek Park
Take a walk along the paved trail that encircles the pond at Jarvis Creek Park. This body of water is home to sunbathing alligators, shy turtles, and beautiful migratory birds. It’s the perfect place to observe some of Hilton Head’s wildlife.
4. Pinckney Island National Wildlife Reserve
Choose between hiking trails of various lengths and difficulties at Pinckney Island National Wildlife Reserve. The best walking trails at this reserve include:
- Ibis Pond – 1.2 miles; 1 ½ hours
- Shell Point – 4.6 miles; 4 hours, 15 minutes
- Starr Pond – 2.0 miles; 2 ½ hours
- Osprey Pond – 3.0 miles; 3 hours
- Nini Chapin and Barker Ponds – 3.6 miles; 3 ½ hours
- Bull Point – 5.0 miles; 5 hours
- Dick Point – 7.4 miles; 6 ½ hours
- White Point – 7.8 miles; 7 hours
The time ranges for these trails allow for a leisurely pace as well as time to stop and take in the natural surroundings! Here, you can encounter over 250 species of birds, white-tailed deer, alligators, and red foxes.
5. Burkes Beach
If you can’t quite get enough of the ocean views, consider hiking along the seaside trails at Burkes Beach. This quiet, peaceful place is the perfect place to bring your pup along for a beach stroll. This is an especially lovely beach for those looking to stray further away from development and enjoy the natural beauty of South Carolina’s coastal island.
Travel Tip: A vacation just isn’t the same if your furry companion can’t join you. Pack your pooches up for a beach getaway on Hilton Head Island and stay in one of our pet-friendly properties!
6. Mitchelville Beach Park
Mitchelville Beach Park is a local favorite. It’s considered to be one of the most natural beaches on the island. You won’t find paved trails here. In fact, you have to drive down a dirt road to even get to the park. From there, walk along sandy paths and enjoy the sights and sounds of the ocean.
7. Fort Howell
History buffs won’t want to miss a visit to Fort Howell. This unique Civil War fort is known for serving to protect a community of freed slaves. While the structure itself no longer stands, you can hike over the above-ground mounds that signify the original location of the fort’s walls. From there, you can continue your hike through the woods and enjoy the shade of towering pines, cypresses, and oaks in the summertime.
8. Fish Haul Park
Search for seashells with your toes in the sand and your back to the sun at Fish Haul Park. Breathe in the salty air. Listen to the ocean’s lulling tide. There’s no better way to spend an afternoon than enjoying the unspoiled beauty of Hilton Head’s coast.
9. Greens Shell Park
If you’re interested in Native American history and the shell rings on Hilton Head, then you have to visit Greens Shell Park. This 10,000-year-old shell ring is found at the north end of the Island near Amelia White Cemetery. Here, you will also find various informational signs that share the history of the area as well as a charming dock that takes you out to the marsh.
Make Yourself at Home When You Stay With Beach Properties
Hiking along some of the most scenic walking trails on Hilton Head Island is the perfect way to experience the natural beauty of the Lowcountry. Maybe you’re planning to spend all your days on the beach. Perhaps you’re looking to get out and explore the rest of the island. Either way, you’ll find so many fun things to do that the whole family can enjoy. Stay near the best attractions, on beautiful beaches, and in some of the island’s top-rated communities when you stay with Beach Properties!
Larger families can find refuge in one of our bigger beachfront homes. Smaller groups might prefer a cozy, luxury condo overlooking the water. Whether you’re looking for pet-friendly accommodations, homes with a private pool, or properties with enough room to house your family reunion, rest assured that you’ll find just what you need! We go above and beyond to ensure that your dream vacation becomes a reality.
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