Hilton Head Island is known for its gorgeous Atlantic beaches and top-rated golf courses. Along with its coastal charm, the area is also home to a variety of museums and heritage sites celebrating the Lowcountry’s rich history, local talent and natural surroundings. Here are top 6 museums on the Hilton Head Islands you should visit:
Coastal Discovery Museum
Founded in 1985, the Coastal Discovery Museum offers visitors an opportunity to explore the Lowcountry’s rich history and diverse wildlife. The trail system runs through many unique historical sites and environments, giving guests the chance to experience the gardens, live oaks, butterfly enclosures and Marsh Tacky horses. Since its opening, the museum has grown vastly, expanding its program offerings, doubling the number of participating students and hosting many special events and festivals. In 2015, the museum joined 200 other institutions around the country in being recognized as a Smithsonian affiliate. It is free to everyone but voluntary donations are accepted.
Harbour Town Lighthouse
Known as one of the most recognizable symbols of Hilton Head Island, the candy cane-striped Harbour Town Lighthouse is a fun Hilton Head vacation idea and a great way to see the island. Construction of the lighthouse began in 1969 by Charles Fraser and came to its finish in 1970. It was Fraser’s dream to create a joyful gathering spot overlooking the area’s boats and waterways. Visit the structure in the heart of Sea Pine’s Harbour Town, and climb its 110 steps to enjoy breath-taking panoramic views.
Looking to experience a place filled with unique, unusual and sophisticated pieces of art? Visit Hilton Head’s Nash Gallery, which features the handcrafted works of over 400 North American craftsmen. The artwork ranges from glass and ceramics to jewelry, metal work and much more, with each piece expressing the individuality of the artist who created it. The gallery requires four elements to each piece it displays – it's interesting, it's different, it's functional and it's artistic – so you know it’ll be good!
The Bloody Point Lighthouse
Daufuskie Island, located just a short ferry ride away from Hilton Head’s mainland, offers a number of fun museums to check out. The island itself is small but filled with history, making it a great day trip for the whole family. One must see is The Bloody Point Lighthouse. The historical lighthouse is named after the Indian battles that took place there in the 1700s. Construction of the lighthouse began in 1882 to help guide ships away from the Savannah River. In 1899, however, the lighthouse was moved inland. It’s a wonderful site for learning more about the history of Daufuskie and its past inhabitants.
Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island
The Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island gives each visitor an authentic look into what life was like before the bridge to the mainland was built in 1956. It explores the culture of the original inhabitants and celebrates their Gullah traditions. Established in 2003, the museum’s mission is to revive, restore and preserve the island’s Gullah history. Hilton Head Island native Louise Miller Cohen teaches visitors about the rich culture by sharing tales of the past, singing gospel, speaking and teaching the Gullah language, and sharing her wealth of knowledge of the plants they once used for medicine.
The Sandbox Interactive Children’s Museum
Rainy day on Hilton Head Island? No Problem! The Sandbox Interactive Children’s Museum is the perfect place to go for a fun-filled day with the kids. The museum features many different exhibits all geared to fuel every child’s unique imagination and intelligence. The Sandbox is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating an educational play space in the community for preschool to early elementary school-aged children.
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