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Slowing Down at the Beach

Hello friends!

This week has been a little hectic, so I haven't been able to do Monday's usual post. However, I am excited to announce that today is the first round of my new segment: Travel Thursdays!

This is just a way I can share some travel tips like what to pack, where to eat, or where to go when you have the time to travel! I won't be doing this segment every week, but I'll be updating it after various trips & things like that.


Considering how crazy grad school and just life in general has been, I thought it would be fun to start this Travel Thursday section with a theme of relaxation. Sometimes getting away isn't enough to destress. You might be longing for a place where you can slow down, reset yourself and just focus on some self-care.

To which I would suggest: going to the beach.

More specifically, I would suggest Hilton Head Island, SC.

Recently, I was able to take a break from the hustle and bustle of a big city and spend a few days on island time. And while I wish I could have stayed longer, I think it was the perfect mini-vacation to refresh myself before returning to the regular work days. Plus, it was packed with plenty of sun and great food.

So here's my short guide to having a great time at Hilton Head Island when you only have a few days to do it!

Location, Location, Location

Now the start to any good trip is finding a good location. Obviously picking your main destination is the most important part of planning, but I would think finding a good hotel follows at a close second. On my trip, we stayed at the Westin which was located right on the beach!

View of the beach and ocean from Westin hotel balcony in Hilton Head Island, SC
View from hotel balcony

The oceanside rooms came with the best view of the beach, ocean and the hotel's pool and lounge area. The room itself was great to stay in, with comfortable beds, a large bathroom with a nice shower/bathtub combo and the overall feel was clean and cozy.

A bonus to the hotel, besides it being directly on the beach along with having multiple pools and hot tubs is that it's very pet friendly! Poe and Tiffany became friends with a lot of staff members who always seemed to have an extra treat on hand for them. The hotel also has a dog park complete with an obstacle course for the more energetic puppies who need a place to work out their zoomies.

There are also plenty of nice restaurants at the hotel that can meet all your cravings: from fancy scallop pasta or just a simple tuna fish sandwich. One of these restaurants is on the pool deck, along with multiple bars so the adults can fully embrace that summer-time relaxation. And for younger visitors, there's always some family friendly activity going on. Because of what time we were visiting, there was a lot of Saint Pattys themed events, like St. Patrick's bingo, "Leprechaun" juice (kid and adult versions), and four leaf cookies.

While I personally would recommend the Westin, I know there are other equally great hotels in the nearby area. Choosing the right hotel depends on your specific needs; for me it was finding a pet friendly location, but for others it could be a hotel that doubles as a spa. The best step is to find a few that you really like, then make a list of pros and cons, including price and proximity to the beach or whatever other sights you want to see.

Food and Fun

Since this trip was mostly about relaxing, there aren't a lot of specific outings I can recommend, other than walking on the beach or lying by the water with a good book. But what I can provide are some great food recs!

Hilton Head Island- much like most beach-based places- can offer top tier seafood. Some of the best restaurants I've personally been to at Hilton Head are:

This chic, modern restaurant has a great lunch and dinner service; and a brunch on Sundays! All the staff was extremely nice and helpful, and everything was served in a timely manner. The menu is so distinctly Hilton Head, but with a Lulu twist to the plating and extra ingredients. From the story behind the restaurant's name to the warm, welcoming environment, Lulu is the perfect restaurant to feel like you're right back at home with old friends.

A Hilton Head Island, SC beach
Hilton Head beach

If you're looking for a restaurant on the water, then this is the perfect place for you! With a large, spacious venue that contains outside and inside seating, the Old Oyster Factory is the perfect spot for everyone. Southern comfort foods, freshly caught seafood, and the famous O.O.F. drink are just a few of the yummy options available at this family-friendly restaurant that's so distinct of island towns. It's the perfect addition to any beach vacation at Hilton Head, and is certain to fully immerse you in your trip. And if you're lucky enough to snag a seat outside next to the water, you might even see a dolphin or two swim by.

This next pick is so distinctly Hilton Head that it would be impossible to leave it off a trip itinerary. The Salty Dog Cafe is perhaps best known for the legend of a loyal dog named Jake who rescues his owner after their boat, The Salty Dog, is destroyed in a storm. Now, what started as a story about bravery, loyalty and a heart-warming dog, has turned into a massive brand that draws in people each year to hear the story of the original Salty Dog. Not only is there merch for both humans and their four-legged friends, but the Salty Dog Cafe is actually a stellar restaurant with a great view of the water. It's definitely a must see for those familiar or entirely new with the Hilton Head area.


And those are my short, simple recommendations for a quick vacation at the beach. Obviously the most important part about planning any trip is deciding what you want to take away from it. Are you looking to spend time together as a family and do a lot of bonding activities and fun outings? Or do you just need a break from the usual drum of the 9 to 5 life and want to lay out in the sun with a fun drink and good book?

Whichever it is, I hope this has been a little helpful in planning your next trip to Hilton Head.

And if you aren't planning a trip to Hilton Head, remember to take a break for yourself anyways. Whether it's 10 minutes or 10 days, give yourself the permission to rest and breathe and take care of yourself. You don't need to be on vacation time to take a step back and recenter yourself.

Although being at the beach can help with that :)

Love y'all!

"Take time in a place you love, restore your spirit on the beach.– Luanne Rice

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