Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tips on Family Travel to Hilton Head

We're in the midst of our annual (semi-annual this year) family trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina. Here are some tips and ideas for other families doing the same thing.

1. If space is limited in the van/car/suv, leave the clubs at home. There are golf shops on Hilton Head and the nearby mainland that have good rental clubs. It'll cost you $40 or so, but it's worth the money.

2. Schedule a golf lesson for the kids. The pros at the Robert Trent Jones course in Hilton Head's Palmetto Dunes area are great with the kids and adults.

3. Stay near the beach. No need to expand on that one. Who wants to lug the cooler, chairs, toys, towels, kids, etc. a long way?

4. Plan your trip ahead of time. If you're traveling a long distance, plan your route and where you'll be stopping for the night. This year's experience was great. We stopped in Columbia, South Carolina(coming from Kentucky it was about a 7 hour drive). We stayed at the two-year-old Hilton Garden Inn; $109 per night with AAA discount, free cookies at the front desk, extremely courteous staff, and a fabulous and affordable full breakfast. There were tons of restaurants nearby and some within walking distance.

5. Book your golf tee times early. Although the crowds seem to be down this year, gas prices being what they are, there are still lots of golfers. Book early.

6. If you have young children, eat dinner early. Again, although the crowds are down, a two-hour wait for dinner is likely. That can kill the evening with little ones in tow. Get to your restaurants no later than 5:00pm and the wait will be minimal. Get there at 5:30pm and your out of luck.

7. Try the crab cakes at the Wreck of the Salty Dog.

Hilton Head is, in my opinion, the best place in the world to combine a family vacation and golf.