Biking on Hilton Head – Another Reason this Island is so Special
Hilton Head Island is known as a family oriented resort destination and for its leadership in environmental preservation and resource conservation practices. The pathway network provides a safe transportation alternative by connecting residential, commercial and recreation areas of the town.
Bicycling is a key component differentiating this community from other resort communities and significantly reduces the congestion and vehicular traffic that would otherwise be generated. By constructing and maintaining the extensive pathway network the Town of Hilton Head Island is improving community connectivity, providing transportation options, improving the appeal of the island to visitors interested in cycling while on vacation, and keeping pedestrian, cyclist and driver safety as important components of pathway development.
Quick bike lane and pathway facts
On our 12-mile long and five-mile wide island, we have:
Staying in touch
The Town of Hilton Head Island maintains a help line, which is posted on town provided bike maps and information kiosks. This help line is staffed by the town's facilities management department and is used for pathway users to report unsafe conditions. It is widely distributed to residents who are frequent pathway users.
Hilton Head's Hidden Bike Routes
Discover destinations on Hilton Head Island that incorporate our rich history and natural beauty, yet receive few visitors. They are peaceful parks accessible by bicycle along the Island’s 50-plus miles of public multi-use pathways.
Looking to the pathway future
When new town parks are designed and constructed a connection to the existing pathway network is always a main consideration. The Town of Hilton Head Island has installed kiosks on island pathways and renovated existing kiosks in the past several years. The kiosks feature detailed maps showing the pathway system and the points for beach access along the pathway network. The maps include close-up detail of the immediate pathway area showing locations of eating areas, parks, points of interest, rest stops, descriptive and education information about the island and surrounding area. The kiosk maps also contain safety rules.
Similar kiosks have been installed along the pathways in the Town's two largest private communities, Sea Pines and Hilton Head Plantation. The Sea Pines community is a resort-oriented community with 17 miles of pathways. Many of the kiosks in Sea Pines include pockets containing Sea Pines bike trail maps of which more than 15,000 are distributed annually to visitors. The South Carolina Department of Transportation recently completed a road resurfacing project that included extending road shoulders to providing approximately two additional feet of paved shoulder on several arterial roads within the Town.
Educating residents and visitors and encouraging use of the pathway system
While pathways have been in place in parts of Hilton Head Island for nearly 40 years and growth of the system has continued without interruption since the late 1960s, the eco-friendly aspects of the island -- including a dense canopy of pines and live oaks -- sometimes keeps these pathways somewhat of a secret. Lately, with the emergence of recreational biking as a much more popular pursuit, especially among families, the secret is out. Now part of the challenge is to encourage safe cycling in general, and sharing the road.
Sharing the road safely is in most instances for active "A" cyclists, especially where pathways become shared roadway trails at intersections and when pathways cross roads. The Beaufort County Sheriff's office sends public service announcements to local media when running and cycling events are taking place, urging motorists to be cautious of event participants.
History of biking is a piece of the island’s commitment to eco-tourism
The Hilton Head Island community has a history of environmental leadership and remains a pioneer in the green movement. Multi-use pathways were constructed on the island when development first began in the early 1970's and has not stopped. There are over 100 miles of pathways and this number is growing yearly and there are 12 miles of hard packed beach accessible to bicycles from several access points along the pathway network. Over two million visitors make Hilton Head Island their vacation destination annually. These visitors are attracted to this community because of the beaches, natural beauty, shopping, recreation, and dining offerings. Bicycling is becoming an important part of this mix because it offers visitors an attractive and convenient way to explore the island and enjoy what Hilton Head Island has to offer.
Biking – a reason to come here
The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce and Visitor and Convention Bureau (VCB) is designated as the official marketing organization for Hilton Head Island and is focused on developing strategies designed to lure visitors year round to enjoy beaches, golf, outdoor recreation, watersports, the relaxed Lowcountry environment, restaurants, shopping and much more.
Hilton Head Island was the first community in the country developed with environmental sensitivity at its core, and although perhaps not designed with sustainability in mind, bicycle pathways were incorporated into the central infrastructure from the very beginning.
Those bicycle pathways - first in Sea Pines Plantation and later spreading, thanks to the Town's commitment, to elsewhere on the island, were first considered attractive, activity alternatives, primarily for children. Times have changed and now the Town's network of 100-plus miles of bicycle pathways are a legitimate draw worth promoting, especially to families, and Hilton Head Island is decidedly a family destination.