Sunday, November 10, 2013

Getting a little taste of Hilton Head Island

November 4-9, 2013
Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort


Our original plans after leaving Petersburg COE Campground in Appling, Georgia were to spend five days near Beaufort at Hunting Island State Park. Beaufort is a place I wanted to see two years ago when we were in this area, but we slid right on by on Interstate 95 leaving it for another time.


Hunting Island State Park is quite popular so I was lucky enough to get reservations for a 5-day stay. So why are we not there?  Well, I met a fellow camper at Petersburg who is very familiar with Huntington Island SP. He asked me what site I had reserved, Site #197, and he looked at our coach and advised us to either find a different site or make other plans because of the narrow roadways and low overhanging trees. I knew the low number sites were the best (thanks to Sherri of In the Directions of Our Dreams) as most of these are beach front, but figured we would be close enough to enjoy quiet days at this rustic beach.  I got back on-line and watched the YouTube video showing every campsite at the park and the site looked okay to me, albeit quite wooded.  I also called the park to see if we could change sites, but the park was full.  After much discussion with Vic, we decided to pursue another plan which would allow us to see another place we had never been: Hilton Head Island.  We were able to cancel with a minimum fee and still be able to visit Beaufort and Huntington Beach SP on a day trip. 


Fortunately, our place of choice on the island, Hilton Head Island Motorcoach Resort, was running a 30% off special for first time visitors. The place is still $$$ but we wanted the convenience of being able to ride our bikes on the island’s fifty miles of trails which includes seven miles of beach. (There is another park on the island, Hilton Head Harbor RV Resort and Marina, but it is further out.)  This resort is billed as the first motorcoach resort in the United States, opening in the late 70s.  I believe it is still run by Outdoor Resorts of America. Surprisingly, for its age, it had been well-maintained and updated with a fantastic pool and spa area, clubhouse, and six tennis courts. Most of the sites are privately-owned, then available when unoccupied through the rental pool.  The only restriction to stay here is that you have a Class A or C motorhome at least 18’ in length. 



We have found this to be a very friendly park with no clear distinction between owners and renters like you sometimes find in other parks. We happened to be here during an annual owner’s week with lots of extra activities and we were highly encouraged to join in. So far we have attended trivia night, a wine and beer tasting, and a Luau dinner. 


We have really enjoyed learning about what draws people here as I honestly thought it would mostly be golf.  Hardly anyone we have met has been golfers. Vic and I actually had envisioned the island as one big country club with giant golf courses and hotels—not really a place that would appeal to us. We were wrong. First of all, the tropical plants and trees provide a huge canopy over most of the island. There are almost no open areas except the beach itself.  Tucked into this jungle are supposedly nine golf courses, all kinds of fabulous restaurants, gated communities, resorts, and boutique shopping malls, but you can hardly see any of them. Instead what is apparent are the amazing bike trails and maps that guide you to all parts of the island. The city also has free wi-fi throughout and very lovely little parks tucked in to various stops along the trails.



There are no tall buildings on the island. My guess is they established strict building codes some time ago; as a result, the island seems more like a nature preserve with its lush mix of moss-laden live oaks, palmetto trees, pines, magnolias, oleander, and wax myrtle.


Another attraction to this place, for some, is that high season occurs in summer—when few of the snowbirds are here. If you can tolerate winter temperatures with highs in the 50s and 60s and lows in the 30s and 40s, then this place with four distinct seasons and a fabulous beach might be a perfect place to retire. Aside from golf, tennis and biking are popular activities on the island. With all the water in the area, boating and fishing are right up there also.  I would have to add, judging by our behavior since we arrived, that eating seafood might be another major pastime.


Another delightful surprise was learning that dogs are allowed on the beaches. During the summer, they are only allowed on the beach after 5 p.m. on a leash, but after Oct. 31 they can be off-leash anytime if they are under voice control.  Not many places like this left. Even Oregon has a leash law for the beach, but it is not enforced many places. 


That about wraps up my introduction to Hilton Head Island.  We could easily spend a month here as our 7-day stay is passing way too quickly! ( I am saving our daytrip to Beaufort and Hunting Island for a separate post.)



  1. This sounds wonderful. We had previously ruled out anything east Santa Fe for the final resting place, but perhaps we should reconsider. I love the bike trails everywhere part of it.

    1. The final resting place! I had never quite thought of it that way, but it is certainly a future reality. We are like you about our love of the West, but I am quite smitten with this place as a possible winter retreat.

  2. The guys sure looks like they are having a great time at the Luau.

    We spent a week with Paul's brothers and family on Hilton Head Island a few weeks back. We did find it a bit pricey.

    1. We have met a fun group of folks here at the Motorcoach Resort.

      Regarding price, we thought this place would be spendy, but have found food, gas, and restaurants to be quite affordable. Housing looks affordable too--but maybe because we are used to West Coast prices. Another factor is that this time of year is off-season.

  3. That first beach picture is just so gorgeous. And OH MY the seafood. Again you have found another terrific place. Don't suppose there are any monthly discounts. I have begun to think that perhaps that's what I'd really like to do, stay at great places for at least a month. We SO enjoyed 6 weeks in Acadia this summer.

    1. I am with you about month-long stays. I am looking forward to longer stays this winter. We have been doing short stays of a week or less since August and it makes me a little weary. This place has definitely surprised us in terms of its attractiveness and inviting activities.

  4. Don't you just love all that moss, makes me want to go to Florida. The oysters on the half shell are looking pretty yummy too. Sounds like there is something for everyone there at HH, even the dogs got the run of the beach!

    PS - Just read the Petersburg post, and saw you had mentioned Paul and Marti. Paul had to have emergency eye surgery last week. Judy indicated that Marti told her it went well.

    1. I think many of us still on the road are feeling ready for Florida! I know we are. . . .

      Thanks for the update on Paul--that's gotta be scary. Glad to hear he is doing well.

  5. We will have to remember this resort if we ever get that way. Sure sounds like you are truly enjoying your luxury week! Enjoy all the fresh seafood!

  6. Thanks for sharing another great spot. Noted!

  7. Sounds wonderful.....especially the seafood part!

  8. Sorry that we missed you at Petersburg, certainly a disappointment for us. Hope we can catch up with you at the Tampa RV show, we are planning to be there.


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