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Explore Hilton Head, Bluffton and Savannah

Get out of town for theday and experiencewhat else the Lowcountryand Georgia'sCoastal Empire haveto offer.

HILTON HEAD ISLANDAbout 35 miles south ofBeaufort is Hilton Head Island- a sunny, beautiful islandknown for its beaches, topnotchgolf courses and tennisfacilities.

The island's official beachseason, with lifeguards onduty in designated areas, runsApril 1 through Sept. 30. Allbeaches are public, but accessto the beach may be private inplantations or other residentialareas.

The stretch of beach underTown of Hilton Head jurisdictionextends from the southernshores of Fish Haul Creek(Port Royal Sound) southwardto Calibogue Sound. Animalsare not permitted on the beachbetween 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.from the Friday before MemorialDay through the Mondayof Labor Day weekend.

Alcoholic beverages are notallowed, nor are glass containers.At public beaches, parkingmetercosts start at 25 cents(quarters only).

Coligny Beach, off ColignyCircle at Pope Avenue on thesouth end of the island, is thecrown jewel of Hilton HeadIsland's beaches. It has a newsplash fountain, rest roomswith showers and changingareas, and plenty of parkingin a town lot across the street.Beach matting allows wheelchairs to roll to the beach. Thedesignated swimming area isfrom the Breakers to HolidayInn.

Other public beach accesssites include Chaplin Park,which also has a playground,picnic shelters, sports fields, adog park and beach mattingfor wheel chairs. It's off U.S.278/William Hilton Parkway,mid island.

Hilton Head Island is alsohome to great shopping andvaried dining.

BLUFFTONOn the mainland rightbefore the bridges to HiltonHead Island, the town of Blufftonis perched atop a high bluffoverlooking the pristine MayRiver, source of world-famousBluffton oysters. This historicriverfront community is knownfor its history, art and antiquegalleries.

The Bluffton Oyster Co. atthe end of Wharf Street is thelast shucking and canning oysterhouse on the East Coast. Itis now also a public park. TheChurch of the Cross, built in1854, also is a sight to see.

Directions: From Beaufort,take S.C. 170. Merge ontoU.S. 278 toward Bluffton/HiltonHead.

SAVANNAHA day trip to Savannah,about an a hour away fromBeaufort, offers a taste of historyin its downtown and RiverStreet districts. Check out theCity Market on West JulianStreet, lined with restoredshops, restaurants, taverns,studios and art galleries.

The nine-block River Streetarea, a narrow, cobblestoneddrive along the Savannah Riveris the hub of shopping andentertainment. The riverfrontarea - lined with brick warehousesthat once held cotton- underwent a massive renovationin 1977 and featuresmuseums, shops, taverns andeateries. For families, ForsythPark offers two large playgrounds,sports fields, publictennis and basketball courts,and a coffee shop and bistro.Or head to Tybee Island for abeach day. Directions: TakeS.C. 170 to S.C. 170 ALT.Turn left at U.S. 17 ALT andcontinue on U.S. 17 until youenter Georgia. Take OglethorpeAvenue exit toward downtownSavannah.