Thursday, June 28, 2018

Family Vacation to Hilton Head Island, SC 2018

At the beginning of May, we went on a family trip to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. It was our first family trip with just the 6 of us and the first time we've left the state since the boys were adopted. It was so nice to be able to just hit the road and go without worrying about getting forms signed! 
We left early Friday morning and spent that day driving to Atlanta. It was supposed to be about 13 hours and I don't even know how long it ended up taking. 17? 18? It was such a long day with so much traffic! But we made it there (very late) and got settled into our hotel for that night. 
The next morning we had plans to spend the day at the Georgia Aquarium. It is supposed to be one of the best aquariums in the world! We had been studying oceans and ocean animals this year in our homeschool, so we planned on doing this as a way to celebrate the end of the year and for them to get to see a lot of the animals they had learned about! All of the kids loved it. 



Late afternoon we got on the road again to Hilton Head and arrived that evening. We did some exploring around the condo's property, checked out the lagoons and even found a turtle hiding on the land :)  (We did more walks around the property a few times throughout the week and had 27 turtles following us around the lagoon at one point! It was so cool-the girls just died over that.)

The rest of the week was spent mostly at the beach, a little bit of pool time, lots of delicious sea food and some fun activities on the island! 
The condo we rented was just across the street from the beach, so we hopped on a little shaded path and walked down there every single day. Man, getting 4 kids ready to go to the beach is A LOT of work, but it was so worth it. They all had so much fun and it was such a blast to see them enjoying themselves so much. The girls had been to the beach before, but not for more than a few hours at a time, and the boys had never been. 
He seriously had the time of his life! Pretty sure he would have never left. And this is a kid that is not overly easy to please!



Some of our favorite places that we ate on the island were: 
  • The Salty Dog Cafe (iconic and an absolute must eat at place! Start with the hush puppies-my kids devoured them!)) 


How handsome is he?!

  • Duck Donuts (you "build" your own donut by choosing the frosting, toppings, etc. They literally melt in your mouth-sooo good!) 

  • The Crazy Crab (my favorite meal on the island! The seafood was incredibly fresh and delicious) 
  • A lowcountry backyard (best shrimp and grits in South Carolina, apparently. My husband had them. The food was good and the atmosphere was cool, but I wouldn't recommend taking kids. It was a long wait and they weren't overly welcoming to our children.)


  • The Ice Cream Cone (in Coligny Plaza. They had so many flavors, and even dairy free ice cream for my little guy!)


Some of the activities we did on the island: 

Pirates of Hilton Head
This was so much fun. I am so glad we heard about it. The kids get to dress up like pirates, get pirate names, and go on a real pirate boat. On the boat they play games, hunt for treasure, find the treasure map (which my kids' dad just happened to have "stolen" ;) ), shoot water at another pirate on another boat, and take some booty from the treasure box home. It was a blast, and all the kids loved it. They really put on a good show for both the kids and parents! 




Harbortown
There was SO much to do at Harbortown. Some of our favorite things included...
  • Harbortown playground (SUCH a neat playground with tons of equipment and fun things for the kids to do)
  • Go to the shops and restaurants 
  • Visit the iconic lighthouse (you can walk to the top, but we didn't)


While you are in Sea Pines visiting Harbortown, you can also stop at Lawton Stables and do their petting zoo, feed the animals and I believe you can pay to do horse rides. 

At Coligny Plaza you'll find a splash area for the kids, tons and tons of shops including boutiques, souvenir shops, and specialty shops of all kinds, restaurants, lots of ice cream shops, drink stands, and a really cool little pirate ship playground. 


Aside from the activities away from the condo/beach, we really spent at least several hours every day at the beach! The kids just loved it, so we made sure to get in some time there every day. We also saw sharks, dolphins and sea turtles one day, which was a little freaky but neat to see. Oh, and of course jellyfish throughout the week! 




One thing I loved about the island is that the whole island had a path around it where you could walk or bike (tons of bike rentals on the island) and get around the entire island if you wanted to. One day during the kids nap time, I walked down to Coligny and the path was shaded almost the entire time, so it wasn't bad at all. It was such a beautiful, lush island. So many pretty trees, lots of animals. Just a beautiful place to stay. 

On the way there, the boys literally played with these sticky hands my husband got at Target for about 10-12 hours of our drive. Not exaggerating. It kept them busy the ENTIRE day somehow. The way home they didn't play with them quite as much but probably kept them busy for at least 5 hours here and there throughout the day. I had packed an entire bag of things for them and on the way there, I think we got one other thing out the entire day. So...if you need a road trip idea, apparently kids love sticky hands! 

Also, these fake mustaches were a hit. It's the little things, I guess. 

On the way home, we hit Ikea in Atlanta for a few things we needed, then drove as far as we could manage that day, which ended up being to St. Louis. We drove to the far side, so we wouldn't have city traffic in the morning, crashed very late, woke up and had a good breakfast, and finished the drive home by lunch time. It worked out perfectly. 

Now we need to get on planning next year's vacation. Where should we go next?! 


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