Furry Family Members are Welcome on Hilton Head Island

Americans love their pets. It’s estimated that we will spend over $50 billion on our pets in 2011. We spoil them with treats and toys and bring them wherever we go. We feed them the very best food and frame their pictures. And now, our four-legged family members can join the family vacation too!
Pet friendly travel is on the rise, and in recent years some Hilton Head Island properties have added pet friendly policies, rolling out the welcome mat to your furry family members with special amenities and services.

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Dining Out, Family Style

I’ll never forget the first time we took my oldest son out to a restaurant. We were new parents treading new waters…and we were nervous. We chose to have brunch at our favorite spot, and after I had thoroughly disinfected the entire table top and high chair (because that’s what first-time new mothers do), installed all the ‘gear’ (high chair cover, travel fold-out suction placemat, etc.), we opened our menus and ordered up Bloody Mary’s (pronto).

Ten minutes later, our son had emptied the salt and pepper shakers, spilled a glass of water, ate a lemon wedge and squeezed the jelly containers all over the table. We looked at each other in silent agreement…we would never go out to eat again. We would be banished to delivery and fast food if we wanted to eat ‘out’ with our kids.

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Casting Call for Hilton Head Island Reality TV Show!

We know Hilton Head Island is made for families…but is your family made for TV?

Every family is special in its own way, but maybe your family has an extra special story to tell. Maybe you’re a family of athletes or comedians. Or, maybe your family has overcome a huge obstacle and you’re an inspiration to everyone around you. Or, maybe you’re a group of guys that ‘mancation’ every year or a family reunion.

Whatever camp you fall in, Hilton Head Island has a very special opportunity for you!

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Summer Camps at The Arts Center

Hilton Head Island is known for its legendary golf, world-class resorts and pristine beaches, but it’s also home to a thriving arts community. At the hub of it all is the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina—which features a year-round, robust calendar of performing and visual arts events. And they don’t just cater to the adult crowd; they also offer an exciting menu of children’s camps and workshops for locals and visitors. So if you have an aspiring Picasso (like I do) or a blossoming Laurence Olivier in your family, you don’t want to miss these two fun-filled camps:

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America the Beautiful: Fourth of July on Hilton Head Island

Growing up on the Island, I have fond memories of my Fourth of July celebrations. Festive red, white and blue gatherings at the Country Club of Hilton Head—with a traditional spread of Americana food on picnic tables spanning the driving range; greased watermelon relays in the swimming pool; glow bracelets and face painting; and lying side by side with my best friend in the grass under the starry summer sky awaiting the colorful (and ooh and awing) display of fireworks with the national anthem blaring for all to hear.

This Fourth of July, Hilton Head Island warmly welcomes visitors to celebrate Independence Day with three public celebrations and fireworks displays. As an Islander for 23 years, I have done the Fourth in almost every way possible: at Harbour Town in The Sea Pines Resort, at Shelter Cove Harbour, at South Forest Beach, at Skull Creek, on a boat on the Intracoastal, at restaurants, at private homes, etc. There’s no bad view of the fireworks on the Island—in fact, you’re likely to see more than one display from where you plant yourself this Fourth of July!

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On Your Mark, Get Set, Learn!

These days, it seems as though kids (and adults) are more connected to the latest technology than they are to the great outdoors. Are you ready to shed the gadgets and get back to nature? If so, Hilton Head Island is the perfect vacation spot to unplug, and connect with Mother Nature.

There are so many fun ways for your kids (and you) to learn about the rich eco-system and wildlife on our barrier island. Your starting point should be the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn. Established in 1985, the museum offers an array of hands-on explorations and investigations into the natural history of the Lowcountry.

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I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream!

On any given summer evening on Hilton Head Island, you are bound to find a row of sun-tanned, smiling little faces enjoying a frozen treat after a long day of fun in the sun. Whether it’s scooped in a bowl or piled high on a cone, ice cream is a summer time staple on Hilton Head Island.

This past weekend, we took our boys to Hilton Head Ice Cream for an after dinner treat. We got ours to go (Superman for our 3 year old, Raspberry Sorbet for mom and dad to split, and Praline for Poppa). We made our way over to Poppa’s house to enjoy our frozen treat on the porch.

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Make HarbourFest a Family Vacation Tradition

As a new parent, I am always mindful of the memories and traditions we are beginning to form as a family. This past Memorial Day weekend, we began what I believe will be an important family tradition—a summer kick-off trip to the lake with several of our close family friends. It was a fun trip (8 adults and 7 kids under 3), and you could feel that this was an important memory-making moment for our children.

Hilton Head Island is an important summer tradition for so many families across the country. And for thousands of families, the Shannon Tanner family show during HarbourFest at Shelter Cove is a magical moment.

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Coligny Beach Park Named a Best Family Beach!

I was thrilled to read in my June issue of Parents magazine that our very own Coligny Beach Park was name #2 Best Family Beach! The editorial staff at Parents researched and waded through over 1,000 different U.S. beaches to find the top 10 best beaches that are kid-friendly and also fun for adults. Coligny Beach offers something for everyone; whether you have little kids or teens…it truly is the hub of the Island’s beach activities.

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Playing in the Sandbox

When my youngest son was born last summer, my in-laws swept into town to meet our new arrival…and to graciously entertain our oldest son (then 2) while I was in the hospital. They came ready with gifts, activities and itineraries to keep him busy. But the biggest hit of their visit was the afternoon they spent with my son at The Sandbox on Hilton Head Island.

The Sandbox Interactive Children’s Museum is a great place to take your kids (or grandkids) for a day of imagination, creativity and interactive fun! Sit back and let your child take the lead through the museum finding the spaces that peak their interest most. The museum is not only designed for fun—the activities and spaces are intended to build and improve your children’s motor skills, mathematical skills, reasoning skills, word recognition, eye-hand coordination, group play and interaction with other children and decision making skills.

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