Hart to Heart: Visit Hilton Head for the holidays

Savannah Morning News
Online Article
By Anne Hart

When I moved to Savannah 15 years ago, one of the many surprising discoveries was how few Savannah residents visit Hilton Head Isand. 

Only a roughly 60-minute drive from Savannah, Hilton Head is a vacation mecca for families in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania, etc., but for some reason, those right in Savannah rarely venture over the bridges to enjoy this coveted family friendly island. 

Folks from Cleveland pack their minivan and drive a forever-worth-of “Are we there yet?” to Hilton Head for one week a year, but we can’t even commit to a day trip to that biking, golfing, beaching paradise?

Doesn’t make sense. 

So let’s change all that. 

Here are some reasons to trek across the Talmadge Bridge and pay tribute to that famous foot-shaped barrier island this holiday season. 


Free family events at Sea Pines Resort

You can see Harbour Town’s holiday lights display - including the decorated lighthouse - and take part in various free events happening during December.

There is a $6 per vehicle charge to enter Sea Pines Resort gate.

• Outdoor Movie: “Polar Express” on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. Get into the holiday spirit by watching this magical movie under the Liberty Oak. Bench seating will be provided and admission is complimentary with the donation of a canned good for Deep Well. A fire pit and s’mores will also be available.

• Free outdoor family concert with Gregg Russell: Dec. 23 at 7:30-9 p.m. Relish the spirit of the holidays with an evening in Harbour Town. Listen as Gregg Russell plays his guitar and sings songs of the season for children and adults. After the concert, enjoy a special visit from Santa Claus.

• Holiday Fun, Holiday Movies, Marshmallow-roasting in Harbour Town: Dec. 27-30 from 4 to 8 p.m. Come to the Liberty Oak in Harbour Town to watch classic holiday movies, roast marshmallows over a fire pit, and enjoy festive games and activities for the whole family. Games and activities start at 4 p.m. and the movie and fire pit start at 6 p.m.


Dove Street Festival of Lights at Shelter Cove Towne Centre, Hilton Head Island 

The Dove Street Festival of Lights, an Island holiday tradition for 20 years, is back to life at Shelter Cove Towne Centre. With the blessing of founders Paul and Kristi Beckler and Rob Lolik, visitors from across the region will once again be able to experience the magic of the cascading and tastefully tacky display.

The Dove Street Festival of Lights will run through Jan. 4 and will be open to the public nightly from 6-10 p.m. Visitors will be able to gain entrance to the Dove Street Festival of Lights via both the Kroger and Belk sides of the Towne Centre. Free family evening activities throughout the holidays. 


Nightly event details here: 


The Sandbox Children’s Museum

Parents’ Night Out

Dec. 22 and Dec. 29; 6-9 p.m.

$30 per child for non-members, $20 per child for members. Let us watch the kids while you sneak away for last-minute shopping, wrapping presents, or just enjoy some peace and quiet! Reservations required. Call 843-842-7645 to sign up.


Twas Two Days Before Christmas

Dec 23; 10:30 a.m.-noon

Included in admission. Join in as Santa stops by and reads a classic holiday story, then decorate a frame to use for your favorite holiday picture! They’ll have cocoa and cookies on the porch, too!


Santa’s Last Stop

Dec 24; 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Included in admission. Santa will be stopping by one final time before he heads to the North Pole - make sure you’re here to drop off your last-minute wish list and snap a picture with the holly jolly guy himself.


Noon Year’s Eve

Dec. 31; 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

$10 for non-members, $8 for members. Are the kids excited to ring in 2015, but you know they won’t make it up until midnight? Come over and celebrate. Bounce house, snow machine, activities and games, lunch and a balloon drop at noon.

Details at www.thesandbox.org.


Contact Anne Hart at anne@southernmamas.com.