Hilton Head Island and James Island – South Carolina

Dave and I had never been to Hilton Head Island before, so on Monday, November 10, we decided to drive there and explore the area.   A former colleague of mine (Thanks, Deborah!) was able to suggest places on the island to visit where we would be able to access the beach and see the prettiest parts of the island.

Hilton Head Island, which we didn’t realize, is shaped like a foot.  Seriously!  The best part of the island is the “toe” area which contains the areas of Harbour Town, Sea Pines Plantation, and South Beach.  Sea Pines, Harbour Town and the north portion of South Beach looks out over Calibogue Sound.  The Atlantic Ocean lies against the entire base of the foot, heel, and ankle of the island and consists of 12-miles of sandy beaches.  There are numerous bike paths throughout the island as well that one can take and taking a ½-loop around the Island equals approximately 12-miles.  Wow, that’s a lot of peddling!    Dolphin watch cruises can also be booked on catamaran sailboats and firework cruises during the summer are available as well.

The island itself is BEAUTIFUL and the people that we met on the beach were so friendly!  I don’t even know if I can begin to describe the island to do it justice. The grounds are manicured and lush with foliage, there are boutiques and shops to spend money in or “window shop” if one prefers not to depart with ones money, eating establishments for any kind of cuisine that one is interested in, grocery stores, gas stations, and even a hospital.  One never needs to leave the island for anything!  Unless of course a hurricane is bearing down on the island, then one may want to move inland to higher ground.

If you are ever in South Carolina and have the opportunity and time to visit Hilton Head Island, I highly recommend it.

Harbour Town Lighthouse, Hilton Head Island
Harbour Town Lighthouse, Hilton Head Island

 

Beach view
Beach view

 

Another view of the beach.
Another view of the beach.

 

Enjoying the beach views and the sea breezes at Hilton Head Island.
Enjoying the beach views and sea breezes at Hilton Head Island.

We ended our time in South Carolina by taking a drive to Charleston, SC and visiting Windmill Point on James Island.  James Island was home to Fort Johnson which was constructed about 1708 and was named after the Proprietary Governor of the Carolinas, Sir Nathaniel Johnson.

Fort Johnson’s history is fascinating to read about; however, the most significant event that happened at Fort Johnson was that a signal shot, which opened the bombardment of Fort Sumter and marked the beginning of the American Civil War, was fired from the east mortar battery on April 12, 1861.

The fort itself no longer exists.  A free-standing brick magazine is still intact and in excellent condition, as well as two water cisterns that sit on the site.  The majority of the Fort Johnson property was transferred to the South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department in 1970.  A small portion of land was retained by the College of Charleston for the Grice Marine Laboratory, which is currently used as a teaching and research facility.  The grounds are open to the public and there are two benches along the waterfront harbor where one can sit and watch the numerous dolphins swimming in the water or take some pictures of the Charleston Bridge and harbor.  We chose to sit on the benches and just drink in the view, while watching the dolphins in the harbor.    We even saw an alligator, a gecko and a stray kitty cat on our travels!  Thankfully the stray cat was nowhere near the alligator!

A monument that marks the spot of where the 1st cannon shot was fired.
A monument that marks the spot of where the 1st cannon shot was fired.

 

A close up of the inscription on the monument.
A close up of the inscription on the monument.

 

Free standing brick magazine that still exists.
Free standing brick magazine that still exists.

 

Plaque above the brick magazine.
Plaque above the brick magazine.

 

View of Charleston Bridge from James Island.
View of Charleston Bridge from James Island.

 

Dave enjoying the view!
Enjoying the view!

 

Fort Sumter from James Island.
Fort Sumter from James Island.

 

 

 

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