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Why the iconic stan smith's favorite vacation is a staycation on hilton head island

By Hilton Head Insider

When you hear the name Stan Smith, what do you think of? Do you think of the American tennis player who was top of the world in the sport in the early 1970s, winning the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament, Wimbledon? Or maybe you think of the iconic white leather shoe from Adidas, a timeless classic, featuring a drawing and signature of Stan Smith on the tongue and an accent of green on the heel?

Even if you’re not a tennis fan or a sneakerhead, chances are you know the shoe. Did you know the story behind the tennis sneaker and how it’s connected to our shoe-shaped destination of Hilton Head Island. 

Not only did Stan Smith move to Hilton Head Island just as this superstar’s career was really taking off, he still lives here with his wife Margie. He became the touring professional tennis player for The Sea Pines Resort in 1971 and, well, the rest is history. 


“I stopped here. As many people do, I fell in love with the place,” Stan Smith says as he reflects on coming to Hilton Head.

Between Smith’s professional playing career and being an icon in the fashion industry, Stan Smith has seen the world but the Lowcountry keeps calling him back.

“People ask me where my favorite place is to go and visit. I say well, I like staying here,” says Smith.

That’s why Stan and Margie Smith’s preferred vacation destination is a staycation on Hilton Head Island. The Smiths raised four children on the island and it’s the go-to place for get-togethers with the whole family, including their 16 grandchildren!

Tennis is still a major part of Stan’s life as he and partner B.J. Stearns run the Smith Stearns Tennis Academy located at The Sea Pines Resort.  Around 50 youth players train at the academy year-round and like the Smiths, many families have moved to the island for tennis and the charm of America’s Favorite Island®. He’s also the president of the International Tennis Hall of Fame as well as an ambassador for The Sea Pines Resort.

No matter how you like to relax and play, there are lots of reasons to plan your next vacation on Hilton Head Island. Whether you’re a couple looking for a getaway or you’re bringing the family together for reunion, there’s something for everyone.

Here are a couple activities that the Smiths love to do in their own backyard! 




Stan Smith is a hall of fame tennis player, a proven champion. And you can’t mention Hilton Head Island without thinking of championship golf. Afterall, the PGA TOUR stops on the island every April for the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing at Harbour Town Golf Links. You can play on this Lowcountry legend, designed by Pete Dye with consultation from Jack Nicklaus. Experience the iconic par-four 18th hole, with the red-and-white striped lighthouse of Harbour Town watching over as you tee off down the fairway of this challenging hole. 

With championship golf courses, both public and private, you’re never far from a challenge no matter your skill level. Discover immaculate courses designed by the world’s best golf architects and consultants. There’s great weather year round and with 24 courses on Hilton Head Island, you’ll never wait long for a tee time. 


Stan and Margie Smith’s grandchildren love going to the beach on Hilton Head Island, and who can blame them? With over 12 miles of pristine beaches with glistening white sands, there’s a reason Hilton Head Island has been recognized as one of the top 10 family beaches in America. 

Bring a picnic lunch to Driessen Beach Park and let the kids run around and explore the playground before heading down to the sands for a day of relaxing and playing on the beach. After a morning of visiting the shops of Coligny Plaza, head to Coligny Beach Park for the afternoon where kids can play in the splash pad. With restrooms and outdoor showers, it’s easy to wash off the salt and sand from a day in the ocean. Across the street, explore the newly opened Lowcountry Celebration Park. Here you’ll find the Adventure Playground where children can explore a playground inspired by and named after the ship Captain William Hilton sailed on when he discovered Hilton Head Island. There’s public art, fitness studios, The Perimeter Walk for leisurely family strolls, and more at this park.




“When I come over that bridge to Hilton Head Island, it’s the smell of the salt water, just knowing I’m home is very special,” Smith says of his return to the island after spending time on the road.

It’s impossible to visit this island nestled in the warmest waters on the Eastern Seaboard without thinking of the salty waters surrounding Hilton Head Island. Alongside the beach, Smith enjoys time on the water with fishing and boating activities. 

Take to the water with Island Skiff Adventure Tours for a thrilling tour while driving a unique watercraft and following a local guide ase you explore the marshes and creeks of Hilton Head Island and nearby Daufuskie Island. Or if you’d rather let someone else do the navigating on the water, explore the salt marshes and ocean surroundings with Outside Hilton Head on a dolphin eco tour where you’ll see Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins, shoreline birds, and other wildlife as you cruise from Shelter Cove Marina into Calibogue Sound.

Looking to catch the big one? For an off-the-hook adventure, hop on board a boat with Drifter Excursions for a fishing experience where everything you need is provided including bait, reels, and a fishing license. Try deep sea fishing on a reef five miles offshore or shark fishing for an experience closer to Hilton Head Island. 


After a day of exploring, playing, and relaxing on Hilton Head Island, be sure to check out the dining options where you can find the best and freshest seafood. There’s something for every appetite. While you may not be able to plan a staycation on Hilton Head Island like Stan Smith, you can plan your vacation today!

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