In January, Izzie and I vacationed on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina for a couple of weeks. We drove 1145 miles across east Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia through rain and a little sleet and snow. As we travelled to and from South Carolina, we were happy to get off the road each day. On our trip, we stayed in La Quinta Inns, which are very affordable and best of all, they all are PET FRIENDLY.

Izzie enjoyed her stays at La Quinta with dinner in bed.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - Izzie in La Quinta

On the third day of our trip, we finally arrived in South Carolina. We stopped at the Visitor Center and picked up tourist brochures and literature.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - Welcome to South Carolina and Izzie

We travelled over the bridge onto Hilton Head Island, and our first stop was at Shelter Cove Harbour to see my sister, Tara, and her husband, Mark. They own a condo there where they spend much of the winter in order to escape the cold Iowa weather.

Their condo overlooks the yacht filled Shelter Cove marina. They also have beautiful views of Broad Creek which is a tidal creek and salt water marsh. At high tide, Tara and Mark have seen dolphins that make their way through the waterway. And at low tide, the marsh grasses are visible.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - Broad Creek salt marsh

After a brief visit with Tara and Mark, we checked into the villa I rented through Sea Pines Resort in Sea Pines Plantation. The small one bedroom villa was comfortable and well equipped. The deck overlooked a lagoon that was supposed to be the home to an alligator. Thankfully, Izzie and I never crossed paths with him on our walks around the villa.

Once everything was unpacked, I drove to the nearby grocery store to pick up a few groceries for our stay. I was ready to relax after the long road trip, so I enjoyed a nice dinner and glass of wine while I read the tourist books I had picked up earlier.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - First dinner in the villa

The next day was my birthday. I opened presents and cards from family and friends, and Tara gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - Birthday flowers from Tara

That afternoon, Izzie and I walked on the beach. The sun was shining, but the temperature was only 43 degrees. After our walk, we sat under the heaters at the outdoor bar at the Sea Pines Beach Club to warm up. Izzie curled up on my arm while I sipped on a Bloody Mary and visited with the other patrons.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - Bloody Mary at the Sea Pines Beach Club

That evening, I joined Tara and Mark at the home of their friends, Chris and Joe, for an Italian family dinner with fresh shrimp scampi and pasta. The company and food were wonderful, and we celebrated my birthday with champagne and a trifle that Tara made with angel food cake. I enjoyed a very special birthday.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - Birthday trifle made with angel food cake and champagne

The temperatures were cold the first few days we were there, but the weather turned a little warmer over the weekend. Warm or cold, Izzie and I walked on the beach almost every day. Hilton Head Island has 12 miles of beaches on the Atlantic Ocean which are open to the public. Izzie captured the attention of many people walking on the beach as she was one of the smallest dogs out there. She also was the only dog who caught a ride with Mom most of the way. After walking a short way, Izzie was ready to be picked up and carried.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - Izzie on a walk on the beach

Izzie and I loved going to the Sea Pines Beach Club which was short drive from our villa. They have access to the beach, and the outdoor part of the restaurant, Coast, is pet friendly. We met lots of dogs and their people, and some days, I had lunch outside while Izzie sat on my lap. My favorites were the Crab Cake Sandwich and the Fresh Catch Wrap.

We crossed over the dunes to walk on the beach.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - Sand dune

We arose early one morning to go to the beach to see the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. It was beautiful as the sky erupted in vibrant hues of orange and pink.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - Sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean

Tara and I dined inside at the Ocean Lounge at the Beach Club. Before the sun set, we enjoyed beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean. We both had their Catch of Day, a delicious grouper with béarnaise sauce, along with our cocktails.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - Drinks and dinner at the Sea Pines Ocean Lounge

The villa was within walking distance to the Harbour Town Marina, and Izzie and I visited their shops which are all pet friendly. We also checked out the big boats in the marina.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - Harbour Town

Izzie and I went with Tara and Luigi to their dog agility class. We watched as they ran around the course. Luigi was really fast running through the weave poles.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - Agility

Tara and I also enjoyed a delicious dinner at Truffles Café. I had the Tuna Napa Salad, an Asian inspired salad made with grilled tuna and Napa cabbage while Tara had the Chicken Napa Salad.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - Dinner at Truffles

Obviously, I was in heaven with all of the fresh fish and seafood that was available. We don’t get it right off the boat here in Denton, TX. Tara clued me in on the Piggly Wiggly grocery store at Coligny Plaza. Since they are an independently owned store, not corporate, they offer fresh fish and seafood that the fishermen bring in every morning. So, on the days that I cooked dinner at the villa, I picked up fresh fish at Piggly Wiggly. Yummy!

I studied the tide schedule before going for our walks on the beach. The time of the high and low tides vary each day. Some days, we walked when the high tide was coming in. As we walked along the shoreline, we had to move further inland to avoid the waves. Other days, we walked on the beach near low tide which meant we walked on the hard damp sand where the water had receded.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - Footprints on the beach

I collected sea shells on our walks.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - Sea shells

My sea shells are displayed in a sweetgrass basket that I bought at the Coastal Discovery Center gift shop. Sweetgrass baskets are made by the Gullah artists who are descendants of West African slaves living in the South Carolina Lowcountry.

2018-02-01 Trip to Hilton Head Island SC - Salt grass basket

Izzie and I had a wonderful time on our adventure to Hilton Head Island. Being near the ocean was invigorating and at the same time relaxing and peaceful. Cheers to a great vacation!