Have you ever visited your favorite beach and dreamed of living there one day?
For us, Hilton Head Island is that place. There’s a huge bridge connecting HHI to the mainland. Without fail, as we crossed the bridge at the end of every vacation, one of us would comment on how we wish we could live there.
A dream is fun. And it was just that, a dream.
Then last spring reality hit hard. Our family would complete the Great Loop, essentially ending our 6,500+ mile journey as organized nomads. We needed a next step.
Admittedly, we were ready for a little break from constant travel. Yes, after a year I’d finally gotten my fill (for now!) But we also weren’t ready to move off the boat. A gold flag, remote (for now) job, and a home we could take anywhere, left us with the feeling like the world was our oyster.
We tossed around an insane amount of possibilities, but kept coming back to the idea of spending the whole summer on our favorite island.
What if we said ‘yes’ to our dream of calling Hilton Head Island HOME?
We are well aware that we can make plans, but God is ultimately in control. There were many times last spring when we questioned our decision and wondered how it would work. But, we made reservations, and just before Memorial Day we arrived on the Island in Light & Salty.
Looking back, I can confidently say it’s been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made! The summer’s been full of family, friends, sand, dolphins and memories. There’s absolutely no way I can begin to cover even a fraction of our summer in our dream home. But, I’ll do my best to summarize the highlights of the last 3 months…
The Beach Life
The beach is our happy place. And naturally, it’s our favorite thing to do on the island. This summer we’ve been introduced to several new beaches on HHI as we’ve learned to live as locals rather than just vacationers. We specifically enjoy arriving in the evening when the crowds have cleared out and we can enjoy sunset.
Want to know a secret though? When you live at the beach, you actually have to make an effort to go!
Crazy, right? On vacation, you can’t tear me away. But now that we live here, I have to be intentional about scheduling time to put our toes in the sand.
Family And Friends Vacationing To Us
This summer we were extremely lucky that both of our families agreed to vacation to Hilton Head. Brent’s whole family visited at the beginning of the summer. And my family came in July. Since both of our families have been vacationing here for forever, it was particularly special to share time with them while we call it ‘home.’
I’m extremely nervous if I start listing friends who’ve come to visit us this summer, I’m going to forget someone. However, I do have to specifically mention my friends Amy and Laura who both booked their family vacations here to spend time with our family.
Other friends own a condo here, or have been coming for years. It was really fun to coordinate spending time with so many people we don’t get the opportunity to see often. We shared our boat, lots of meals together, fireworks and concerts from our marina. The kids enjoyed having friends to play with almost every week this summer.
The other unexpected visitors we saw were the completely random ones we just ran into on the Island. From a sorority sister, to a high school friend, to an old neighbor- we just never knew who we’d see next!
Our Month In Harbour Town
In August, Brent and I made the decision to spend 1 month with our boat in Harbour Town. It was a little risky as the Harbour is not as well protected as other marinas. In other words, if a hurricane approached the Island things could have gotten a little dicey. We took a risk moving, and it paid off.
If living on Hilton Head was our dream, living on a boat in Harbor Town was our wildest, beyond comprehension dream. And it was everything and more!
Waking up every morning to our view of the iconic lighthouse, and enjoying Gregg Russell concerts every evening was insanely perfect. I truly believe in Mary Grace and Miller’s childhood, that month will probably go down as the best ever.
The Boating Community
We absolutely love being part of the boating community. Truly, nicest people in the world! Early in the summer there were still some Loopers coming through the area. It was fun to encourage them as they set out up the East Coast. And we also saw a few of of the friends we’ve traveled with in the past.
In August we had another boat with kids a couple of slips away. They have 2 kiddos close to Miller’s age and it was a fun couple of weeks on the dock with plenty of water gun fights, chalk drawings, and race tracks. (You can actually see a tiny bit of the fun the kids had together in their YouTube video: Mermaid Monster.)
An Amazing Church
In the past, when we vacationed to HHI we attended church on Sunday mornings. We found a place we loved and our kids genuinely looked forward to going. So it was a natural transition when we arrived on the island to stop watching our Charlotte church online, and begin attending in person on the island.
In addition to attending Sunday morning, Mary Grace immediately began going to Youth Group on Wednesdays. She’s made several great friends. Recently the church began offering an elementary school age program, and Miller is enjoying that too.
Other random, but worth including, highlights from our dream summer on Hilton Head include:
- Joining the library.
- Logging hundreds of miles biked on the beautiful HHI trails.
- Mary Grace being stung by a Portuguese Man o’War.
- Being hit by 3 of the first 5 named storms of the season.
- Trying different pizza places on the island in a quest to find the best. (We unanimously voted for Local Pie.)
- Celebrating Captain’s first birthday on July 25th.
- Beach fishing for the first time. Miller’s been dreaming of this for a long time, and we had some awesome friends show us the ropes.
- Mary Grace celebrating her 14th birthday.
- Miller having a minor medical emergency when he ran into a tree. We were grateful for Telemedic concussion advice and a kind doctor who removed a small tree from under Miller’s nail.
- Day trip to Beaufort to explore a really charming little coastal town.
- Climbing to the top of the Harbour Town Lighthouse.
- Miller being selected several times to sing and perform onstage with Gregg Russell.
- Mary Grace dog sitting for a sweet family from church.
- Brent and I celebrating our 17th anniversary.
- Beginning our 2nd year of Boatschool.
As you can probably tell, our summer on Hilton Head was everything we dreamed it would be.
Naturally, we are getting asked a lot…“what’s next?”
Although we planned to move the boat north for September and October, the kids begged to stay in Hilton Head. I will share more about this decision in our next post. But, ultimately we decided to stay.
So stay tuned for more tales from our favorite Island! Also, I realize my posts have gotten more and more delayed. If you’re interested in staying more up to date, please make sure to follow our Mom With A Map instagram account:
As always, we genuinely appreciate all the interest in what we’re up to. We love sharing our adventures! You might also enjoy reading:
The One Where We Brought Our Home, “Home” To Hilton Head (This was last year on our Loop!)
10 Reasons Why Hilton Head Is the Best Family Beach
The One About Living On A Boat With A Dog
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Looks and sounds like a wonderful Summer at HHI!
We left Jacksonville late May this year and started our 5th leg of our looping journeys with the intention of making it up to Norfolk. As things would have it our “plans” were changed and we ended up selling our beloved ‘Aquaholic’ in Beaufort after a stay at HHI for a few days while waiting for the transaction on the boat to be settled. We saw your boat but were unable to get a slip at Harbor Town unfortunately. We stayed at Skull Creek Marina. We think that our experience at HHI was skewed and are ready to give it another try upon our return there. As things have turned out, our Loop will likely be considered closed when we make our way back there going clockwise in a few years.
Thank you for this update. I think of y’all often. You and Brent have given the kids an adventure that will be etched in minds for ever. We. Loved meeting y’all and hopefully our boat paths will meet again.
Some of our best Loop memories include The Lower Place! We are absolutely looking forward to crossing paths with the NEW Lower Place soon! Give Robin a big hug from all of us!
[…] Head for the summer. June, July and August. (All the details in my last post. Go check it out HERE if you missed it.) Guess when I made those arrangements? February. Yes, February. Popular marinas […]