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America's Best Island Escapes


Mom and daughter on beach

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

hiltonheadisland.org, 800-523-3373

One of the best family golf destinations in the world, this barrier island has 24 championship courses meandering through tidal marshes and maritime forests and along picturesque lakes, lagoons and the Atlantic Ocean.

Fun in the Sun

Learn from the pros. Many resorts offer special family packages and clinics where parents and teens take lessons together in the morning and kids play for free in the afternoon. Off the course, cruise the waterways on a Zodiac boat tour while looking out for alligators. For a local taste, try down-home Southern cooking—fried chicken and catfish, collard greens and Low Country boil—at Dye's Gullah Fixin's.

Island Digs

The recently updated Beach House, a Holiday Inn resort, has a free-form pool and is a short walk to shops and restaurants. Rooms start at $159 (holidayinnresorts.com, 888-465-4329). Surrounded by more than 5,000 acres, the sprawling Sea Pines Resort offers activities like tennis, golf, kayaking and biking. Choose from a broad range of accommodations, including beach or villa rentals. Two-bedroom villas start at $160 a night (seapines.com, 866-561-8802).

Embark Here

Savannah is 75 minutes away. Take a pirate tour or visit Old Fort Jackson, the oldest standing fort in Georgia, which protected residents from the Union Army during the Civil War. Nearby Tybee Island has a historic lighthouse and a 3-mile stretch of beach.