South Carolina: Hilton Head Island
Hilton Head is an eco-conscious resort community where the well-heeled crowd goes to vacation. This 12-mile-long lowcountry island features fine-dining restaurants, luxury gated communities, and more than 20 championship golf courses — stark contrast between its current form and its cotton and rice plantation past, to be sure. An important base for the Union Army during the Civil War, escaped slaves found a home at Mitchelville, the first self-governed town of freedmen. Hilton Head has the usual outdoor adventures — zip lining, parasailing, and kayaking — and it’s one of the few places in the world where you can witness strand feeding, where a pod of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins herd a school of fish onto the shore to feed. When it’s time to feed yourself, satiate your hunger with shrimp and grits at A Lowcountry Backyard or seafood chowder at The Skull Creek Boathouse.