ou instantly relax, struck by its natural beauty. Located 35-miles north of Savannah, Georgia, the island has the kind of laid-back energy and serene landscape that settles you into vacation mode instantly. If your goal is to recalibrate and find some equilibrium, this is the place to do it.
Pristine beaches, gorgeous weather and a myriad of outdoor activities make Hilton Head Island a natural fit for wellbeing-focused retreats. Layer on boutique fitness classes, relaxing spa treatments, world-class golf and a smattering of healing experiences for the truly wellness-curious, and Hilton Head Island shapes up to be an enticing choice for your next self-care vacation.
In the 1950s, developer Charles Fraser had a vision to turn Hilton Head Island into a resort community that worked harmoniously with the island’s natural beauty (think: no high-rise buildings or neon signs). Since then, Hilton Head Island has led the way with its eco-conscious mindset, preserving and protecting the destination’s water, land and wildlife. Thanks to this environmental stewardship, Hilton Head Island is the perfect place to get outside and experience nature. Spot a variety of birds and dolphins, wander through forested nature preserves, try paddleboarding or kayaking with Outside Hilton Head or learn from the in-house naturalists at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn, a Smithsonian affiliate.
In keeping with its eco-friendly focus, Hilton Head Island encourages visitors to explore by bike (better for you, better for the environment!) In fact, it is recognized as one of the Top 25 Bicycle-Friendly Communities in the U.S., designated a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of America Bicyclists. You will find over 30 bike rental shops dotted around the island and 60 miles of leisure pathways across the destination. The best way to navigate Hilton Head Island is on two wheels, whether you are zipping from the south end to the north end or riding for the simple joy of feeling the wind in your hair as you coast through nature preserves. You can even cycle on the island’s 12 miles of hard-packed beaches during low tide.
From the stress-relieving swing of a club to the calming, gentle fairways of a manicured course – golf is a wonderful way to let off steam and get into vacation-chill mode. Hilton Head Island boasts 23 world-class golf courses, many designed by the sport’s most renowned architects including Robert Trent Jones Sr., Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus. It’s also the region’s premier destination for golfing trips (fun fact: more than a million rounds of golf are played on the island each year). Long-time enthusiasts will relish teeing off on courses like the Harbour Town Golf Links at The Sea Pines Resort, which plays host to the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing PGA TOUR tournament, or try one of the award winning courses at Palmetto Dunes.
If you are ready to get serious about your wellbeing, Hilton Head Island is a great place to discover what makes you feel good. Aside from its natural beauty and laid-back pace, the island has a broad array of treatments, experiences and classes. Try salt room therapy, a sound bath or an infrared sauna session at Pure Salt Studios, or cryotherapy at Restore. Opt for a spin class at Cyclebar, a full-body rowing workout at Rowhouse, or perhaps a chilled summertime yoga session on the beach. If your idea of wellbeing entails plenty of pampering, book a treatment at FACES Day Spa.
Tennis has been a quintessential pastime here ever since Hilton Head Island’s developer, Charles Fraser, invited tennis legend Stan Smith (he of the eponymous Adidas sneakers) to be the resident touring professional at The Sea Pines Resort. The island has over 300 courts and tons of talented instructors ready to help you sharpen your backhand. Even Stan Smith (who coaches on request) if you are bold enough.
If enhancing your sense of wellbeing is the goal, pick one of Hilton Head Island’s health-and-wellness-conscious hotels. Enjoy in-room fitness kits at Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort, Peloton cycle sessions and relaxing spa treatments at the The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa, or – for those who are serious about making a positive change – a wellness retreat and lifestyle program at Hilton Head Health.