South to Savannah: Hilton Head Island
From Beaufort, the easiest way south is to follow Hwy-170 all the way to Savannah or to detour east onto I-95. Otherwise, a pleasant but potentially confusing series of two-lane roads run around Hilton Head Island across the lowlands toward Georgia.
Near the southern tip of South Carolina, Hilton Head Island is the largest ocean island between Florida and New Jersey. It was first settled in 1663, but only since the late 1950s, when a bridge to the mainland was completed, has it really been on the map. The deluxe, 500-room, 5,000-acre Sea Pines Resort (32 Greenwood Dr., 866/561-8802, $161 and up) is an international destination. Upscale golf courses and plantation-style estates abound around the island’s 30,000 acres, as do minimalls and all the trappings of suburban America. There’s also a very popular, family-friendly Disney resort (22 Harbourside Ln., 843/341-4100, $115 and up).
The “success” of Hilton Head has caused developers to set their sights on the rest of the Lowcountry, as shown by the opening of the super-plush Palmetto Bluff resort (843/706-6500, $340 and up) at nearby Bluffton, where each of 50 waterfront cottages is outfitted with plasma TVs and a Sub-Zero fridge for that quintessential Lowcountry experience.