With more miles of bike paths than actual square miles on Hilton Head Island, most of the Island can be discovered on two wheels. The 80 miles of pathways and 12 miles of white, sandy beaches offer cyclists of all levels a great experience.
The road(s) less traveled
Most visitors will find themselves pedaling along William Hilton Parkway (aka 278, aka the ‘main drag’) and down Pope Avenue towards Coligny Beach. But, I want to give you some back roads worth exploring that offer surprises and rewards along the way.
Accessible via Matthews Drive from 278, Marshland Road runs parallel with beautiful Broad Creek and offers a quiet, canopy covered pathway traveled mostly by residents. At the end, you have two choices. The first requires slightly more distance while the second has a pretty serious climb.
- Option 1 takes you further north. From Marshland, turn right on to Spanish Wells Road. Upon arriving at a stoplight, go straight across to Wild Horse Road. Once reaching Gum Tree Road, stay left. You will approach a roundabout. Go a quarter of the way around to Squire Pope. Your reward? Three great waterfront restaurant stops (Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks, Skull Creek Boathouse and the Chart House) to grab a delicious bite to eat to regain your energy before biking back. Approximate mileage (one way): 8 miles.
- Option 2 will take you over the Cross Island. From Marshland Road, turn left on to Marshland Lane. You will see a bike path accessing the Cross Island Parkway. While it is the hardest climb on the Island, once you reach the top, it is well worth it. The view out over the water is spectacular and not too far from the bottom, you will come to Palmetto Bay Marina (turn left on Arrow Road and then left on to Helmsman Way) with, again, great dining spots (Sunrise Café, Captain Woody’s and Black Marlin Bayside Grill). Approximate mileage (one way): 7 miles.
Beach City Road
Unless you arrived via the Island airport, here is another stretch unknown to most visitors. From 278, turn on to Beach City Road and continue to head straight. Upon reaching the stop sign, turn left on to Fish Haul Road. Then, take a right on to Baygall Road which will lead to Mitchelville Road. Turn right. You will run out of actual bike path but the tree-lined, dirt road will take you back in time. Plus, you will run into Mitchelville Beach Park which offers public beach access. The end of Mitchellvile Road takes you right back on to Fish Haul. And, you would be surprised to know that this loop will lead you to, count them, 4 historical markers. Approximate mileage (one way): 3.2 miles. Learn more about historic Mitchelville.
Unconventional means of transportation
Want a new way to explore the Island bikeways? The Island’s bicycle rental companies offer a number of fun alternatives. I would suggest trying your hand (or feet) on a Zike Bike. Less than a year old to the Island, Zikes have made it here by way of Hilton Head Outfitters located in Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. A mobile elliptical machine, if you will, the Zike offers a greater level of workout than a standard cruiser. I can vouch…you will feel it working your quads and gluts. While I was a little uneasy launching off on my first Zike ride, once I got going, it was just like riding a bike (but with more head turns). Want to try a Zike out yourself? Contact Hilton Head Outfitters at (866) 380-1783.
For more information and tips on biking Hilton Head Island, click here.