When you think of Hilton Head, you probably think of miles of white sandy beaches. No? Well, maybe world-class golf and the PGA Heritage Tournament every Spring. How about championship tennis, yachting, deep-sea fishing, nature trails, luxury resorts, beautiful homes and dreamy villas, nearly 150 restaurants, parasailing, Harbour Town, South Beach, amazing sunrises and sunsets, majestic live oaks, eco tours or dolphin-watching? Oh, I know what you’re thinking! Cycling!

It was the forethought of Charles Fraser who envisioned and oversaw the development of Sea Pines Plantation (now Sea Pines Resort) that the island be crisscrossed with leisure trails, bike paths and boardwalks. At the time, much of the island was still undeveloped and much had to occur before a trail system would come to fruition. Sea Pines was the birthplace for the early trails, going from 15 miles of paved paths to over 112 miles islandwide. Today, all of the systems are connected over a development spanning 4,600 acres from Sea Pines to Hilton Head Plantation. These pathways were to be away from the roads, weaving among the trees allowing bicyclists and pedestrians to get close with nature. Such a commitment (from land acquisition to funding) was unheard-of in those days and it was slow-going for a long period.

Today, with 112 miles of paved bike trails (50 of those miles are in gated communities), Hilton Head is on the map as a Bike-Friendly Community, a designation from the League of American Bicyclists. When you think of Hilton Head, the real estate comes to mind, but so too does the cycling!

Posted by Bill True on
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