This post is going to be a bit different guys as I am going to talk about two locations that happen to be very close to each other. Hilton Head Island and Savannah, Georgia are very close to each other, and so, instead of covering them both independently, I am going to talk about them both here in the same article. These places are definitely for the outdoorsy people that like wildlife, beaches, golfing, and activities like that! I’m going to really focus on the wildlife here because it is a great area to be searching out alligators, birds, and other animals native to the area.
Hilton Head Island
Hilton Head is an island located in the southeastern part of South Carolina and it is also super expensive and seemingly all privately owned (You won’t believe the amount of golf courses that they have managed to fit on one small island off the coast of South Carolina.). I was kind of disappointed to find that out because I am not into the golfing lifestyle, but it was still great being there because of how relaxing and beautiful and interesting it is! The hotels/resorts are expensive to stay at and really do anything at, but when off their property it become a ton easier to be cheap and still have fun.
Wildlife on Hilton Head
There are plenty of places to find wildlife on and off resort property with two reserves located on the island. The bigger and probably better of the two (Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge) is on the island side of the bridge to the island, but you will have to walk into the area to find most of the wildlife. The other free option is a forest are with trails on the southwestern side of the island, but you probably won’t have much luck here as its quite small. You also will be able to find animals on resort property (especially the resort area on the south of the island where it is worth the $10-$20 to get in just for that) with alligators, birds, turtles, and various other types of creatures to get up close to. I would seriously recommend this option as well as staying at one of the properties within to save on a bit of cost and be close to the wildlife if that is what you want as well as having all the amenities that any other resort will have on the island.
Staying and Eating
I only stayed at one place on the island, but they are all basically the same idea and all of them are going to be steeply priced. Look out for deals and try to keep that cost down and don’t look too hard at which one to stay at unless you really want the Disney experience or are looking to be as close as possible to the wildlife. Food is also going to be cheapest off the resort properties and I found a fantastic pizza place on the ocean side stretch of road off of any resort properties making it very well priced. To save the most, it might be best to stay inland and commuting into the island for each day.
To the northwest of the city and across a large bridge is one of the best places I have ever seen (and I have been in Florida before) for seeing alligators in the wild. Savannah itself is a very diverse city and is as cool as Charleston was if not more so! Unfortunately I got even less time here than I did in Charleston which was really unfortunate because the churches and other architecture is really compelling and interesting!
Wildlife near Savannah
In both Hilton Head and Savannah it is likely that any pond or small river you pass by has an alligator or two in it. Armed with that knowledge you may be re-thinking traveling here, but you really shouldn’t because they are harmless unless you are being a goofy-goober and trying to aggravate them. I saw plenty of people getting within 15 feet to take a photo without any harm or the gator even opening its eyes. Be more careful at night though as this is when they are more active.
The Savannah Wildlife Reserve is friendlier to non-walkers here with it being about 90% driving to get to places to see wildlife. The alligators will line the shores with hundreds in the park itself it would be hard to drive through without numbering more than you can count on all the fingers and toes you have. Other than that what you will find is going to be similar to that which is on Hilton Head, but easier access and much cheaper!
History and Walking in the City
Savannah, Georgia has some life to it with things like the downtown city life, historic river walk, and beautiful architecture. Strolling along the side of the river on the old cobblestone you can take a bit of a trip back in time to when these bumpy materials were more regularly used to pave streets. The buildings also have a nostalgic feel to them that I must say is unique to Savannah and the city’s seeming grit and taste.
The downtown is something that feels like a small city, but also big and important too with all the industry and character one could ask for. Buildings take you back in time on one street and whips you straight back into the modern world with design when you take ten more steps. The effect is most dramatic walking in from the river walk as you will pass by beautiful little squares of an old world then back into the shops and businesses once through. (fun fact: Forest Gump’s bench is located in one of these little squares see if you can find it!)