Hilton Head Island is more than just one of the most sought-after family vacation destinations. It’s also a leader in environmental preservation and resource conservation practices, so it’s no surprise at the biking pathway network of 60 miles of bike paths and 100 miles of public pathways and connections to at least 50 more miles connecting residential, commercial and recreation areas of the town including Island Time’s vacation rentals near Shipyard, North Forest Beach, South Forest Beach, Palmetto Dunes, Sea Pines, Palmetto Dunes.
Bike Pathways On Hilton Head
Hilton Head Island is completely connected by bike paths. Many follow main roads providing cyclists a safe, quick way to get around the island. From the Outfitters by the beach, to the paths along Queens Folly Road and under the highway to Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina. The Coastal Discovery Museum, with its already extensive variety of guided walks and excursions is in the beginning stages of developing bicycle tours of the area with both historical interest and a focus on the natural environment.
Should you rent or bring your bikes?
Biking is a great family activity, especially on Hilton Head. Bikes can be rented at one of the many of the bike rental shops on the island or you can bring your own. Helmets are required for children up to 14 years of age, and strongly recommended for everyone. If you’re bringing your own bike, make sure to also bring a chain and lock. An unfortunate fact is that it’s advisable to lock bicycles, especially if you’re going to be away from it for a while. Since it’s a little more difficult to find something to lock your bike to on the beach, it’s a good practice to lock a couple of bikes together, just to be safe.
If you’re more of an e-bike fan, effective February 3rd, 2020, electric bikes with the following features are allowed under South Carolina law: the bikes must not be able to exceed 20 mph, must have less than 750W of power, and the “assist” must stop either when the rider brakes or stops pedaling. E-bikes are considered to be bicycles not motor vehicles and can be ridden on all of the public pathways on Hilton Head.
Along the pathways and throughout the Island there are more than 10,000 bike rack slots at retail shops, public buildings and in public parks. Maps of the town’s multi-use pathway network are available at the Town Hall, online, and posted at pathway kiosks as well as full service and bike rental shops, hotels, vacation rental properties, restaurants and areas frequented by visitors which detail bicycle routes.
Recommended Bike Trails
There are several notable bike trails around the island that are worth the time to explore and will take you through, but here are some favorites to get you started:
Sea Pines Bike Trails: These bike trails cover about 15 miles offering many points of interest along the way including The Sea Pines Plantation Golf Club, Harbour Town, Sea Pines Forest Preserve, and Stoney Baynard Ruins are just a few. Stop by the 4,000-year-old Sea Pines Shell Ring, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Be mindful of walking trails, which do not allow bikes.
Fish Haul Creek Park: This historic park in Fish Haul Creek offers a shaded trail through maritime forest, wetlands, and marsh. It’s just east of Mitchelville Beach featuring 16 acres of land to explore and has beach access from Fish Haul Creek. The Mitchell Freedom Park is a historic site in Fish Haul Creek.
Jarvis Creek Park: This park offers a 1.1-mile loop through wooded areas and marshes and along a small lake and sprawls over 53 acres and has a paved trail for easy access. The park also features outdoor training equipment, open grassy fields, fishing docks, and picnic pavilions.
Coligny Beach Park: This park is a favorite among locals and travelers, featuring a wide-open boardwalk for strolling and taking in the views. There is also a bike rack on site where you can leave your bike if you want to hit the beach. Since this a favorite park destination, be aware that it can get crowded during the busy season.
Greens Shell Community Park: Greens Shell Community Park provides a picnic pavilion, playground, basketball court, restroom facilities, and small parking areas. It’s adjacent to Amelia White Cemetery and Greens Shell Mound, a South Carolina archaeological site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and features views of Skull Creek and Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge.
Barker Field Observation Deck: A favorite for pedalists to bike here to watch a famous Hilton Head Island sunrise. The path leads cyclists behind Baker Field and to the Port Royal Sound. Park your bicycles and climb up the observation deck to take in a breathtaking view of the marshes, the water, and more.
Old House Creek Pier: Bike the 225-foot Old House Creek Pier for a perfect spot for wildlife watching and a semi-secluded crabbing and fishing spot with views of the Intracoastal Waterway.
Shelter Cove Community Park: Shelter Cove Community Park is often hosted to live music and community festivals. Located along Broad Creek, Shelter Cove features a white granite memorial for veterans as well as sweeping views of the marshland. Shelter Cover Towne center bike path leads from North Island, South Island, Palmetto Dunes all near Island Time vacation rentals.
Palmetto Dunes Bike Path Another bike trail worth checking out. In addition to golf, pickle ball and many other outdoor activities, Palmetto Dunes has five miles of paved bike paths for you to cruise around on and over fifty more miles of paths that surround the resort and Island.
Biking on the beach
Bicycling isn’t just for the pathways. Hilton Head Island's 12 miles of hard-packed beach are remarkably bike-able, particularly at low tide, and are conveniently accessible from several locations. Be careful not to ride in the water though. Salt water is very corrosive and even the salty sand can do some damage, so it is always a good idea to wash the bikes after a beach ride.
Hilton Head Island’s commitment to bicycling promotion, education, infrastructure, and pro-bicycling policies can be reflected in its receipt of the Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community Award from the League of American Bicyclists making Hilton Head Island the only recipient in the Southeast. This has helped make Hilton Head Island known as a recreational bicycle destination for more than two million visitors who come here every year and rent or bring their bicycles to the Island.
So, if you are planning your next vacation to Hilton Head Island, make sure you save some time to explore the miles of bike trails that will take you through wooded forests, along pristine beaches, and past historic sites. There is no better way to see Hilton Head Island than by bike.