Leisure Activities Abound on Hilton Head Island

By:Marie McAden


Hilton Head Island might be world-famous for its championship golf courses, but the fun and games don’t stop on the fairways. Vacationers have the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of recreational activities — from beach volleyball to disc golf — in an outdoor setting lush with stately live oaks, verdant salt marshes and spectacular water views.

The island’s subtropical climate makes it an inviting destination to stay and play any time of year. For racquet-packing visitors, it’s tennis nirvana.

Along with mild temps, Hilton Head boasts eight of the world’s top 100 tennis resorts and camps. There are more than 350 tennis courts on the 12-mile island — possibly more per square mile than anywhere in the United States.

With clinics, lessons, drill sessions and tournaments offered every week of every season, it’s easy to get in on the game while vacationing on the island. You can even play on grass and get the Wimbledon experience.

Ranked among the best in the world by Tennis Resorts Online, the island’s six major tennis centers offer world-class facilities and an extensive schedule of tennis programs and highly experienced instructors, including former U.S. Open and Wimbledon champ Stan Smith. The legendary tennis star joined The Sea Pines Resort as its touring pro in 1971 and continues to lead clinics at the state-of-the-art tennis facility.

Hilton Head’s beautiful seaside setting inspires all kinds of weekend warriors to get outdoors and enjoy the island’s many recreational amenities. Visitors are always welcome to join a pickup game of basketball at one of the town parks or a beach volleyball match on the sand courts at Coligny Beach.

The island also features an 18-hole disc golf course with several challenging shots. Water is in play on many of the holes at Hover Park, located on the grounds of the First Presbyterian Church on William Hilton Parkway. The course also includes two holes that are more than 300-feet long. Hours of play are limited.

For skaters and skateboarders, there’s Bristol Sports Arena on the south end of the island. This sports complex includes a roller hockey rink and skate park with ramps, half-pipes, and inclined rails and ledges to grind it up.

Several other town parks also offer recreational facilities for sports-minded visitors. Crossings Park next to the Bristol Sports Arena is a great place to kick around a soccer ball, organize an impromptu tag football game or play Ultimate Frisbee.

Chaplin Community Park also features open green space for outdoor play, along with tennis and basketball courts, and soccer and baseball fields. At the Island Recreation Center, the big draw is the outdoor pool (covered in the cooler months) with marked lanes for swimming laps. The facility has indoor basketball courts, too.

One of the latest additions to the recreation scene is footgolf, an up-and-coming sport that combines golf with soccer. Like traditional golf, the object of the game is to sink a ball into a hole with the fewest shots possible — only you’re playing with a soccer ball, the hole is a cup that is 21 inches in diameter and you’re kicking with your leg instead of swinging a club.

Port Royal Golf Club opened the island’s first footgolf facility on its Planter’s Row golf course. It’s open afternoons from Thursday through Sunday. To play 18 holes, the cost is $22 if you use a cart, $15 for adult walkers and $10 for children.

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