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The Perfect Lowcountry Road Trip: Hilton Head Island


The Perfect Lowcountry Road Trip: Hilton Head Island

A weekend road trip is a perfect getaway when you’re short on time but want to travel. There is just enough distance to have a change of scenery but close enough to make it back to work on Monday morning.  Recently, my sister and I hopped into a brand new 2018 GMC Terrain for a weekend road trip to explore Hilton Head Island and the Bluffton area in South Carolina.


Our Ride: The All New GMC Terrain

The brand new 2018 GMC Terrain was the perfect vehicle for a weekend road trip. It’s a beautiful, comfortable ride with amenities comparable for a weekend of exploration.  We plugged in our phone and used the Apple CarPlay to listen to our playlists and safely make phone calls and send texts. The Terrain also comes with a 4G LTE hotspot to connect up to seven devices.  We can take turns driving, watching movies on our iPad, answering e-mails on our laptop you name it. When we got closer to Hilton Head Island, especially around the Bluffton area the moss-covered oaks will make you put down all of your devices and take in the Lowcountry through the SkyScape® sunroof.


GMC Terrain. Hilton Head Island

The 2018 GMC Terrain. (Photo by TalismanPHOTO for GMC)


GMC Terrain. Hilton Head Island

The 2018 GMC Terrain. (Photo by TalismanPHOTO for GMC)


GMC Terrain. Hilton Head Island

Connecting to the 4G LTE hotspot in the 2018 GMC Terrain. (Photo by TalismanPHOTO for GMC)


Where to Stay: The Sonesta Resort Hilton Head

Situated within the beautiful nature preserves of Hilton Head Island, with direct views of the Atlantic ocean, the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island is beautiful inside and out. Outside are verdant, tropical gardens, a hammock swing, zero entry lagoon swimming pool and direct access to the ocean.  Inside is a full-service spa, four dining areas, kids club, fitness center and more. The newly renovated, spacious rooms feature private balconies overlooking the Shipyard Plantation Grounds gardens and the Atlantic Ocean.  Room sizes range from a beautiful standard studio to a one-bedroom presidential suite with a parlor and two private balconies.  The hotel has been honored with numerous accolades, most recently including a readers choice award from ConventionSouth.

Shipyard Plantation Grounds gardens

One of the four dining destinations on the property

The Presidential Suite

2 p.m. Lunch at Heyward’s Terrace

Typically open for breakfast or dinner, we stopped in for a special lunch at Heyward’s, located in the lobby of the Sonesta. The restaurant overlooks the lush plantation gardens and offers local seafood, vibrant wine and aged steaks to perfection.

5p.m. Boat Ride to Dinner on the Docks at Hudson’s

We used the power our GMC Terrain’s turbo engine to launch our speedboat into the Broad Creek in Hilton Head Island for a cruise on the water before heading to dinner. We even spotted dolphins swimming before we made it to the docks at Hudson’s – just the place you want to stop for dockside dining with an extraordinary view of Port Royal Sound.


The 2018 GMC Terrain and Terrain Denali. (Photo by TalismanPHOTO for GMC)


Open the newspaper-style menu and try your best not to order everything you see.  You won’t go wrong with the local Fried Green Tomatoes, Bling Bling Shrimp or their selection of oysters – Rockefeller, on the half shell or Hudson, which is wrapped in bacon and deep fried. The restaurant is open for brunch and lunch but if you want to catch the beautiful views of the sunset, dinner is the best time to stop in for a bite.  

Dinner menu on the docks at Hudson’s

10 a.m. Kayak Experience

The next morning, sleep in for a bit then order room service (or call it in the night before so it’s ready at the just right time).  The Sonesta Resort Hilton Head, had this amazing almond crusted french toast that was so good, I ordered it again the next day.

Once downstairs to our Terrain, we loaded our Kayak directly into the vehicle. The front seat folds flat and the back seat also folds flat with a two-thirds split so there was enough room for both of us and our stuff.  We headed over to Outside Hilton Head for a Kayak experience.


The full sized kayak fits into the 2018 GMC Terrain using the fold-flat front and back seats feature. (Photo by TalismanPHOTO for GMC)

1 p.m. Roadtrip to Bluffton for Picnic Lunch

Simple, yet delicious, The Cottage is the perfect stop to pick up lunch for a picnic.  Though BBQ Pulled Pork – a southern staple –  is on the menu, venture out and try the Blue Bayou Bash (Bacon, turkey, cheddar, battered & seared, side maple sauce, powder sugar) or the Monte Crisco (Turkey, ham, Swiss, battered & seared, side grape sauce, powder sugar).  Don’t forget the beverages (they make pretty good batches of lemonade and sweet tea) and the desserts from the bakery.  Once lunch is packed in your ride, drive a few blocks over and sit outside at the Bluffton Oyster Factory Park, overlooking the May River.  If you love a bit of history, you’ll enjoy a visit, right next door, to the Garvey House.


Have a seat in the park overlooking the May River

Tours are available Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment only for the Garvey House.

4:00 p.m. Harbour Town Lighthouse

Visiting a lighthouse is always at the top of my list when visiting a coastal city so we made plans to visit the Harbour Town Lighthouse. A quaint southern destination, this stop on Hilton Head Island also had a shopping, a play area for the kids, ice creams shop and a few great place for a bit to eat. The climb to the top of this red and white lighthouse isn’t a long as most (it’s about 90 feet high) so you can make your way to the top pretty quickly for a panoramic view of Calibogue Sound.


7:30 p.m. Dinner at Sea Crest Terrace

Located just off the lobby of the Sonesta, Sea Crest Terrace is the perfect place to grab a hand-crafted cocktail and a wide range of dinner offerings. The vibe can be lively in the evenings with indoor/outdoor seating and outdoor fireplace. Be sure to ask for desserts by the pastry chef – the perfect ending to a perfect meal.


Want to see more travel stories and road trip ideas? Visit our travel section, which features a NEW travel story every Tuesday!

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I’m the Editor-in-Chief of this fab magazine! I write about travel, parenting and more. Follow me on social media @ItsBrieW.

I'm the Editor-in-Chief of this fab magazine! I write about travel, parenting and more. Follow me on social media @ItsBrieW.

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