The definitive Canadian guide to March Break at Disney's HHI Resort


May 7, 2009
IMG_2101 by carriecook, on Flickr

I will start this off by admitting I have no business writing another trip report, since I started one for our last trip to Disney World in August 2014 and ran out of steam on it with about two days left in the trip. But, as everyone who has planned a trip to HHI knows, there is a dearth of information out there about HHI. So I feel obligated to do this, and I will keep it up for as long as I can!

IMG_2193 by carriecook, on Flickr

We are a family of 4 with two kids, 9 and 7. We live in southwestern Ontario, Canada and drove down to HHI. We left home around 3 pm on the Friday afternoon at the start of March Break (March 13). We drove 5 or so hours, stopped for the night in Ohio, and finished up the rest of our 1400 km journey the following day just after 5 pm.

We had hoped to get there an hour or so earlier, so that we could rent our bikes before the recreation window closed (hours were 8 am-5 pm). Since that didn't happen, we spent our evening hours exploring the resort on foot, swimming, and playing corn hole.

IMG_2023 by carriecook, on Flickr

This was our first family trip to HHI but my DH had been there once, briefly. Last fall my in laws took a trip to HHI and DH had to make a trip down to help out when medical emergency arose for them. (All is well now.) He was only on property for a couple of hours when that happened and didn't have time for more than a quick look around. He did use that opportunity to scout out the buildings and requested that we be booked into building #18, which we got. It was a great location with a marsh view and equally close to both the Live Oak Lodge and the pool.

The front of our building:

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View from the back porch:

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We had a one bedroom unit - it was lovely. And spacious! We were on the ground floor, and there was definitely some noise from upstairs, but it wasn't a deal breaker.

Some photos from our unit (#1812):

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For dinner that night, since we were still getting our bearings, we headed across the bridge on foot to the nearest restaurant, Scott's Fish Market. The food was good but not particularly noteworthy. Still, a good quick option and one I would go back to.

View across Shelter Cover harbour, from the Fish Market patio:

IMG_2110 by carriecook, on Flickr

More corn hole and some shuffle board after dark, and then it was off to bed to get rested for our first full day on the island.
We're fortunate to live about 90 minutes from HHI, so we visit often. It's a wonderful beach destination, very safe and well-maintained, with much to do. The beaches are wide and easily accessible. Although we are not DVC owners, I've had a quick visit to the HHI Villas - very nice. I hope you enjoy your time in the Low Country.
We enjoyed it very much! It was a great trip, and I'd love to get back there someday. Lucky you to live so close!
Sunday, March 15 - I got up earlier than the rest of the family to go for a run. I headed out of Shelter Cove to hwy 278 (the main road) and started looking for the pedestrian walkway that would lead me under the road to the beach. I went in circles for quite some time and simply couldn't find it. It didn't help matters that it was dark. Also, I got out to the road to find a sign saying pedestrians must use the under-highway path, and yet 20 feet away was a crosswalk. I asked a few other early-morning runners who were out, and none of them knew, either. I gave up on the idea of going to the beach and instead ran on the path along the highway. Later we would find out the trick to getting onto the pathway to the beach - you turn left as soon as you get off Disney property - the path starts well back in Shelter Cove!

Breakfast was Mickey waffles from the onsite quick service dining location, Tide Me Over. Hours were 8 am-5 pm.
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After breakfast we picked up our bikes that we rented from Disney for the week. They are big comfy beach cruiser bikes, perfect for tooling around. We rode over to the beach. The route was pretty obvious; don't turn off the main road until you see a sign directing you to the Disney Beach House. By my GPS watch, the distance from door to door is 1.7 miles.
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Our visit coincided with low tide. The beach was a lovely wide expanse of hard packed sand. We were in shorts for the first time in 6 months; the temperature probably reached high 70s. There were sea critters in the tide pools that we were having fun scooping up. It was awesome!
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We had lunch at Signals, the quick service location at the Beach House. It was open 11 am-4 pm, from Friday-Sunday only, while we were there. Luckily it was Sunday. I had the turkey sandwich, which came without the tomatoes or onion or Dijon sauce the menu had promised. It was still good though. We swam at the Beach House for a while. The ocean temperature was only in the high 50s, i.e. we did no more than wade up to our knees in it.
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We rode back to the resort and got cleaned up. Our trip coincided with Hilton Head's annual St. Patrick's Day parade, which is a very big deal on HHI. We dressed in our Irish finery and headed out to it. On our way we stopped in at Live Oak Lodge and met Shadow for the first time.
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The parade was crazy - and the pre-parade tailgating seemed to be the biggest attraction of all. That, and the Budweiser Clydesdales that made the trip down.
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Back at the resort, we purchased a crab net from the recreation window and DS tried his luck fishing off the pier. He came up empty handed. We swam in the pool for a bIt and then decided we were feeling too lazy to go out to eat. I ran over to Whole Foods to pick up some groceries we could eat in our room. The kitchen in our unit was a good size and well stocked.
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After dinner, we went to the campfire at 7 pm. It's only on two or three times/week at this time of year. We finished our night off by getting some Mickey bars from the Broad Creek Mercantile store, open from 8 am-10 pm, and playing a bit more corn hole before bed.
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Monday March 16 - I got up for a run on the beach, and this time I was able to find the beach! I got there in time for sunrise. It was gorgeous! I was not alone; the beach was crawling with people. Tide was low and there were lots of beachcombers and photographers out. I spotted dolphins swimming not far offshore.

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(So glad I took my phone with me!)

Back in the room, we had groceries for breakfast and started to plan our activities, which we had looked into before heading out on our trip, but hadn't booked. We wanted to go to Aerial Adventure but their morning session was already sold out, so we booked into the onsite sea kayaking excursion instead.

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There were 11 in our group. It was DVC member discount day (Mondays and Wednesdays) which probably led to the large group size. We are not members so should have gone another time. Oh well! It was a great day to be out on the water though, sunny and calm. The trip lasted about 1:45. We enjoyed paddling up Broad Creek but did not see any remarkable wildlife. The guide was good, but not great. He did take some photos for us and emailed them later, which I thought was a nice touch.

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Back at the resort we had lunch in our room, then played more cornhole - the kids loved it. DD was signed up to do a craft (Beach in My Pocket - $8) so she did that for a while, and then we took another bike ride to the beach. This time we rode our bikes along the beach for a while. DS loved this but DD was a little less enthused. We went back to the resort again to swim.

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For dinner we went to Hudson's, which was recommended by our kayaking guide, but we didn't find it to be anything special.

We finished our night off back at the resort by watching part of the outdoor movie, renting an indoor movie from Broad Creek Mercantile (free, with a huge selection), and enjoying some Mickey bars.
Tuesday March 17 - another early morning beach run, and breakfast in our room before heading out to Aerial Adventure. We booked this over the phone on Monday when we couldn't get in there.

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The course took a little over 2 hours and we all loved it - definitely one of the highlights of the week for us. It was a lot harder than any of us expected! They say it's suitable for ages 5 and up, but I have a hard time understanding how a 5 year old could do it. There were a few places on the course where my kids needed me or DH to go out on the obstacle and help them across a gap because it was too far for them to reach, etc.

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On our way back to the resort we stopped off at Sweet Carolina's in Coligny Plaza and picked up half a dozen cupcakes. They were divine! - highly recommended.

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We had lunch at Tide Me Over again. I had the pulled pork which was just ok. The 'mustard bbq' sauce was just mustard, as far as I could tell.

DS was signed up to do the Gyotaku craft - $18 - whereby you paint a dead fish (for real) and then use it to stamp onto a t shirt. He loved this.

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The staff really made it a lot of fun. Both the kids pin traded a bit - there is a pin board at the recreation window, and the desk staff and retail staff wear lanyards.

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At 2:30, there was a pool party, which was not on the activity schedule - not sure if this was because it was St. Patrick's Day or whether they often do these without notice? The kids had a blast at this. They played several organized games, including an ice bucket relay and had a 'southern snowball fight' with small plastic balls.

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After the pool party, DS got out to go crabbing (still no luck) and DD stayed in the pool. The weather was in the high 80s - it was awesome! We ate our cupcakes and played shuffleboard.

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We rented a movie and spent some downtime in our room watching that, doing laundry, and eating a light dinner. At 8 pm we played Goofy Bingo, which again was a ton of fun. You need to sign up in advance for this one. It fills up quickly.

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That was it for another very full day!
I was on a business trip this week and got sidetracked from my trip report, but I did finish compiling a 4 minute video of the trip highlights. It's on YouTube if you care to watch it:

*Whoops - uploaded to the wrong YouTube account. Will fix it up and repost when it's uploaded again!*
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I read this hoping to find out a bit about HH and what a treat! Your video was just too much fun! :) then I got sidetracked by your Disney video. Wow! It was amazing! So then I read the trip report that went with it lol! I'm home snuggling with the 2 youngest sick littles this morning while the rest of the crew is out at the good Friday service....thanks for the fun distraction for us. :)
P.s. We are fellow Canadians and live just outside of sarnia. :)
Love the video! It looks like your family had a wonderful time and that the kids enjoyed al the resort had to offer. Great report!
Wow! I bought a Gopro because of your Disney World video I watched a few months ago. Super thrilled to see your trip report. We're going this July. What Gopro settings are you using? Are you doing anything in post? Your videos look awesome.
I read this hoping to find out a bit about HH and what a treat! Your video was just too much fun! :) then I got sidetracked by your Disney video. Wow! It was amazing! So then I read the trip report that went with it lol! I'm home snuggling with the 2 youngest sick littles this morning while the rest of the crew is out at the good Friday service....thanks for the fun distraction for us. :)
P.s. We are fellow Canadians and live just outside of sarnia. :)

Thank you! Glad that you enjoyed them. We live in Chatham… small world!

I loved your video!! Especially the montage of the bike rides :lovestruc
Your kids are adorable, btw....

Thanks! I think the bike riding sequence is my favourite part of the video, too.

Love the video! It looks like your family had a wonderful time and that the kids enjoyed al the resort had to offer. Great report!

Thanks! The resort has a ton to offer. When there are no theme parks competing for your attention, you find plenty to entertain yourself with on property!

Wow! I bought a Gopro because of your Disney World video I watched a few months ago. Super thrilled to see your trip report. We're going this July. What Gopro settings are you using? Are you doing anything in post? Your videos look awesome.

Thank you! I don't do any post production editing other than stringing the clips together. I shoot in 1080p, 30 FPS - i.e. the GoPro default - I have tried using Superview a few times in the past but don't really have a need to use an angle that wide.
Wednesday March 18 - this morning I took the beach cruiser bike out for a ride instead of running. I took it down to the beach, but the wind had really picked up and the tide was high, so conditions to ride on the beach were poor and I left the beach pretty quickly and stuck to the paths. We ate breakfast from Tide Me Over and left our room at 10 am. We had booked a fishing charter with Off the Hook and met them at the dock at 11 am.

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To make a long story short, fishing was a bust. The wind was just too high, as was the tide. On March 20 there was a super moon and the tides got ridiculously high as the week progressed. Instead of heading offshore to fish as we had hoped, our captain took us to a sheltered spot right next to the Disney property to fish. Several boats were there as none were going offshore. Our boat could not anchor on account of the fast running water. None of the other boats were catching anything. We called it off pretty quickly.

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Not all was lost though, as our captain took us through the marina to look for dolphins before unloading, and we found 3 of them who came right up to the boat. That was very cool! In the end he refunded the majority of the price of our trip, and it saved us $ we had earmarked to go on a dolphin excursion later in the week as well, so we were satisfied.

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Since our plans were thwarted, we decided to head to lunch at the Salty Dog (since this seems like a mandatory stop on a HHI trip) and a visit to Harbour Town. The wait for a table was an hour, but we passed it shopping along the waterfront. The ambience was fun and the food was quite good, including the famous hushpuppies.

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In Harbour Town we visited the lighthouse and then had ice cream before leaving for the Sea Pines Forest Preserve and hiking for an hour or so before dark. We spotted a few gators along the way, so the trip was considered a success.

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We had a late dinner in our room while watching another movie - the temperature dropped significantly, to a high of about 60. We went out to the campfire for a bit before calling it a night as well.
Thursday March 19 - our one day of bad weather on the trip. It rained for most of the day. The ocean looked angry during my morning run.

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After breakfast we had planned to do Shadow's Funny Bunny Hunt, but it was rained out. Shadow visited with the kids for a bit instead. We took the opportunity to go souvenir shopping at Coligny Plaza and had lunch at Panera Bread on our way back (a treat we don't have at home!) The kids played checkers in the Lodge before going to the pin board craft they were signed up for ($18). They both really enjoyed this and did some more pin trading when they finished. We went up to Broad Creek Mercantile and bought them HHI pins to add to their boards - sadly there was only one style (in addition to a 2014 HHI holiday edition pin that was on clearance). The kids and their dad swam for a bit while I ran over to the Tanger outlets for a couple of hours. I wished I had more time there, but the activities both on and off the resort were keeping us busy!

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That night for dinner we did the low country shrimp boil at the Beach House. We took a chance on this because it was still raining when the deadline to sign up came at 2 pm, and was expected to continue to rain all night. But they were proceeding with the event, and so we signed up, as did many other guests. The food was pretty good, set up buffet style inside Signals. Seating was under the cover of the roof at the Beach House at assigned tables. There were activities for the kids, games and crafts and a cupcake eating contest that was a hoot. By this point in the week the kids knew the recreation staff by name and vice versa, and it was a fun night for them to spend together. It was $27.95 for us and $13.95 for the kids. I'm sure there is better food elsewhere, but I think it was well worth it.

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Entertainment at the low country boil:
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(Yes, Shadow came to the event too!)

Back at the resort after dinner, we went hot tubbing in the pouring rain before watching a movie back in our room.
Friday March 20 - going home day. Sad face. :(

The day started out overcast, but cleared by early afternoon and got downright hot by the time we left around 3 pm. I ran on the beach at high tide in the morning, and found an awesome big conch shell that I carried home with me. We ate breakfast while we packed up and cleared out of our room. We left our luggage in our car, and rode bikes to the beach again.

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We found another conch! The pair are sitting on a side table at home right now. Love collecting souvenirs like that.

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We walked on the beach for a while. It was almost low tide, but due to the super moon the tide was still relatively high, so there were no tide pools.

We went up to Signals for lunch - I had the mahi sandwich which was amazing! Totally yum. We also got dole whips which was kind of a fun Disney nod. Be forewarned though, these are pineapple soft serve, but they don't have the pineapple juice to make it a dole whip float.

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We rode back to the resort and returned the bikes to the recreation desk. We swam for a while as it got increasingly hotter and were sad to be leaving right when the weather was getting so good again!

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After our swim, we grabbed a quick bite at Tide Me Over (the kids hadn't had lunch earlier) and then headed for home by 3 pm.

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The drive home was thankfully uneventful - we drove about 5 hours, stopped for the night somewhere outside of Asheville, NC and then completed the rest of the drive the following day.

A few wrap-up thoughts still to come.
Your pics and video were GREAT! Looks like this was a FABULOUS FAMILY vaca! Children look VERY HAPPY!:Pinkbounc
Cannot WAIT for first visit in May to HHI!:cheer2: I'm set...Mahi Sandwich at Signals, awesome cupcakes at Sweet Carolinas, Coligny Plaza and of course DOLE WHIP!
THANKS for posting!:thumbsup2
OMG you just made my entire day when you showed the picture of the Dole Whip. Note to self to bring pineapple juice. The kids will be ridiculously excited!!!


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