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Where to vacation during a pandemic: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

October 27, 2020

family travel


Craving that change of scenery? Want to get out and explore but don’t know where to go?

I am a mom of two girls and our family loves to travel! Being a travel agent AND a travel lover and it has been killing me that getting away has been such a challenge. I have toured my state and have found that drivable vacations are easier to accomplish with kiddos in tow during this trying time. Read on about our Hilton head Vacation!

Our family watching the sunset at Coast Restaurant

Why Hilton Head? Hilton head is a drivable destination from where I live in Raleigh, NC. It is about 5 hours away which is doable for my family. HIlton Head also is an “open” state ,eating that dining, hotels and most attractions we were interested in were open. There are mask mandates (which were strictly enforced) and social distancing is discussed and post everywhere. Having these protocols in place made us feel confident to travel safely. It is always important to check or ask your travel agent about the local restrictions. 


When to go? I choose this destination because in early fall, it is fairly warm. Hilton Head averages temps in the 70’s and 80’s. It is also a shoulder season meaning that it won’t be as crowded as the summer months. 


Be safe: Since COVID is a thing safety is number one. Prior to booking I researched all hotel protocols. It is a good idea to contact your travel agent and do your research as COVID-19 is a fluid virus. Always be sure to check to CDC here

Where to stay? Sea Pines Village is in the south end of Hilton head Island. It is a gated section but very large with tons of bike paths, hotels and activities within those gates. You can choose from various hotels, house and condo rentals. The nice part of staying within Sea Pines is less traffic and a well kept area within Hilton Head. Golf, activities, accommodations, dining are all within the gates making it that once you get there you really don’t need to leave. This makes it a perfect destination for anyone who decides to fly in.

Sea Pines Resort: We decided to make this trip a special one since I was celebrating my birthday. Sea Pines resort is a boutique hotel with less than 60 rooms and the hotel was around 30% capacity which was perfect during Covid times. The hotel is on a golf course with a pool and is walkable to so many attractions The LightHouse, Sea Pines Village, Sea Pines Marina and a many dining options. In addition, the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to the stables and beach. 

Our experience at the resort was amazing. Our golf view room with two queen beds was spacious  and had a balcony (which is a MUST when traveling with kids). We had a mini fridge in the room which is key when having kiddos in tow! We had a huge tub with a separate rainshower. The kids were greeted with stuffed animals upon check-in and the staff immediately knew our names. It was such a welcoming feeling even though we were all masked up. We enjoyed the complimentary breakfast (take out only) and ate it pool or beachside each day. The hotel staff made my birthday feel special and organized a dinner at a restaurant on the beach. We also had champagne in the room which was such a happy and FUN surprise (love me some bubbly). As soon as we changed into bathing suits, we knew it was going to be a relaxing trip that we needed. 


The kids wanted to get into the pool as soon as possible (its their favorite way to relax) and we decided to pop the champagne and get in relaxation mode quickly. I was so happy to have texting capabilities with the concierge. Instead of my husband pouring over yelp reviews for figuring out where to dine, I just texted the concergies as asked for recommendations after explaining we wanted something easy and low key (hence the kids) and they gave us some great options. This helped us save time and enjoy the moment. This is so valuable I can’t even tell you!

Our Family Vacation at a Glance

Day 1: Arrival: Welcomed to resort by name (I love when this happens)! Kids were greeted with plush stuffed animals and we were given a pocket map, lists of our included perks and early access to our room. Poolside drinks and kiddos swimming were the perfect way to get into relaxation mode. We walked to dinner in the village and ate outside with live music. Perfect ending to day 1!


Day 2: We got an early start and ordered our complimentary breakfast to go and decided to shuttle over to the beach. Weather was iffy so we got a good 4 hours of beach time before the rains came down! We went back for showers and decided to explore the opposite side of Sea Pines. We had a late lunch at the original Salty Dog Cafe! Super cute, and fun vibe. Very kid friendly with great views. That evening the kids wanted some more pool time and we ended up ordering pizza right to the pool deck! We had the place to ourselves and the kids loved this!


Day 3: We planned with the help of our concierge to book a day at Daufuskie Island. We booked a private ferry ride over to the island where our private golf cart was waiting for us. We picked up a landmark map making the day feel like a scavenger hunt and making it fun  to explore! The ferry captain gave us a few tips-grab a few beers at the general store and stop at Lucy Bells (which was found out on the food Network).

The map was about 20 landmarks/photo ops that felt like we were on a scavenger hunt! It was super fun and encompassed that feel of exploring a new place (which, lets be honest, we were craving so bad). We had a blast going all around, getting a little history in and also enjoying the beach views. The kids had a blast driving around in a golf cart! We had one stop left which was the one room school house.  The school was turned into a Indigo dye shop where we were able to get a quick lesson on indigo dying which the kids loved.  We highly recommend a trip to Daufuskie island the next time you are in hilton head! To top it off, on our way back to the main Hilton head Island, we saw a school of dolphins, again not planned but such a fun surprise! 


Day 4: After eating some breakfast we took the kids to the playground where they burned some energy before we had to leave. It was a short trip but well worth it. If we didn’t have to have such an early start I would recommend making it another beach day!


Mystery Trips, The Travel Mechanic, travel expertWant to watch more? Check out my IGTV! If you are ready to plan a vacation click here to set up a FREE consultation. Not ready to commit but want more info? Join my FREE facebook travel group here. 


Lauren Doyle is a senior travel advisor and Co-Owner of The Travel Mechanic. Lauren has been on various media outlets and is a member of Ensemble Travel Group. She is on a advisory board for Recommend Magazine. She loves to travel and can’t wait to help you plan your next special trip!

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