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Convention “Down Time” Is Hilton Head Fun Time

Bob Gillespie Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 350-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.
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So a business trip or convention has brought you to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. While most of your time may be spent in meetings, you're sure to have some down time when your work is done.

Even if it's not an official vacation, you can still enjoy the island's pleasures in small doses. Here are a few ideas for those unoccupied hours:

Golf Instruction

Don't have enough time for 18 holes? Get in a quick lesson that could help make your next round more successful. Plenty of skilled instructors are on hand for every level of player from beginners to single-digit handicappers. You'll find top instructors at The Sea Pines Resort's Golf Learning Center and The Island Golf School.

Tennis Instruction

If tennis is your game, it's even easier to squeeze in some court time or take a lesson from one of the island's renowned instructors, including former US Open champion and island resident Stan Smith. Hilton Head boasts six major tennis centers, including Palmetto Dunes Tennis & Pickleball Center, Shipyard Van Der Meer Tennis, Port Royal Racquet Club, Sea Pines Racquet Club, Van Der Meer Tennis Academy and Smith Sterns Tennis Academy.


The opportunity to drop your line includes everything from chartered boat adventures to quiet spots along the beach or in the island's tidal creeks, rivers, streams and ponds. Charters provide bait and tackle and options are plentiful, including Hilton Head Fishing Adventures, Off The Hook Fishing Charters, Outcast Sport Fishing and Top Shot Sport Fishing.


Take a guided kayak trip up Broad Creek or on one of the island's surrounding waterways. Outside Hilton Head is one of several outfitters offering tours.


Rent a bicycle and go exploring on the miles of paved trails that crisscross the island. You can pick up a bike at any number of shops, including Peddling Pelican Bike Rentals, Island Life Bike Rentals, Bicycle Billy's Bike Rentals and Hilton Head Outfitters & Bike Rentals.


Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is the perfect place to brush up on your nature photography skills. The 4,052-acre refuge features a large rookery on Ibis Pond with hundreds of nesting egrets and white ibis.

Canopy Tour

Make like Tarzan and fly through the trees on a canopy tour with ZipLine Hilton Head.

Nature Walks

Explore the numerous trails in the Sea Pines Forest Preserve. Be sure to check out the Old Lawton Rice Field and the 4,000-year-old shell ring.

Dolphin Cruises

Book a cruise to watch dolphins cavort in the island's waterways. Outfitters offering guided trips include Bluewater Adventure HHI, Captain Mark's Dolphin Watch Cruises, Vagabond Cruise, Island Explorer and Commander Zodiac.

History and Culture

The Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn features exhibits on the Lowcountry's ecosystems, Gullah culture and pirate history, as well as local artwork.

Shopping and Assorted Attractions

Fantastic shopping awaits at Hilton Head's two Tanger Outlets, Coligny Plaza, the Shops at Sea Pines Center, the Village at Wexford and Shelter Cove Towne Center, where you can also enjoy a stroll along the waterfront promenade on Broad Creek.

Climb to the top of the Harbour Town Lighthouse and learn about the island's history in a timeline on the interior walls, and say hello to friends back home on the webcam at the top of the lighthouse.

Partake in an RBC Heritage tradition: Visit Harbour Town's Quarterdeck, sit in the red rocking chairs, kick back and enjoy a cold beverage.

Bob Gillespie
Bob is a former sports writer at Columbia’s The State newspaper. He enjoys golf at South Carolina’s 350-plus courses, and after a round, sampling craft beers from the Palmetto State’s breweries.