Pirate's Island Adventure Golf keeps mini-golfers guessing as they traverse two 18-hole courses impeded by all manner of pirate-themed obstacles. The courses provide an ideal venue for all members of the family to sink testy putts, then retrieve dimpled orbs from the cup and behold them like a scurvy-plagued buccaneer admiring a citrus fruit. Demonstrate a steady hand by sinking a putt while being stared down by a skeletal swashbuckler, or study the patterns of water dispersal while playing one of the holes that run alongside refreshing waterfalls. Children with high verisimilitude standards will appreciate the well-wrought pirate-ship wreckage and treasure chests that stalk them as they loop the course and hone their knowledge of nautical terminology.
Nestled in the salt marshes of northern Wilmington Island, Bull River Marina is an ideal launch pad for exploring the region’s natural splendor. Experienced captains offer tours that find them steering their prow through the bottlenose-dolphin-inhabited waters off the shores of Savannah. Additionally, Bull River's captains lead crabbing and fishing charters that search the waters for everything from kingfish to sharks. The seasoned fishermen provide passengers with all the bait, tackle, and licenses they need to wrest trout and flounder from the refrigerators of submarine captains.
Helmed by water-sports enthusiast Neil Turner, the staff of Sea Monkey Watersports outfits and guides explorers through the aquatic arteries of Hilton Head Island and the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. After a quick tutorial, thrill-seekers take to the waterways atop a Yamaha WaveRunner, which reaching up to 50 miles per hour, while keeping an eye out for local shorebirds and dolphins looking to drag race. Paddlers enjoy a more slow-paced journey piloting single or double kayaks as they traveling on guided nature expeditions or self-led tours of the surrounding waters.
Started by a professional winemaker, the Island Winery crafts fine fermented red, white, and Lowcountry specialty wines from the fruits of the South Carolina coast. The wine and cheese happy hour kicks off in the early evening and includes a glass of wine and light appetizers for all guests. Attendees taste 10 of Island Winery's wines, including the barrel-reserve chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and southern passion sangria. Those opting for the wine flight, held 12:30 p.m.–2:20 p.m., will enjoy an olfactory overload with samples of many of the available imbibing delicacies, and complimentary cheeses cleanse palates and act as rubbery tooth napkins.
At 9 Promenade, chef Thiago Cunha arrays sizable tapas dishes for communal dining alongside more than 20 specialty martinis. Nestled into pastry dough cradles, baked brie snuggles under blankets of balsamic and raspberry glaze, lulled into a false sense of security as grapes and walnuts hum rounds of soothing lullabies. Diners sink cuspids into a stuffed mushroom's made-to-order crab-cake core, or slather nine chicken wings in jalapeno cilantro, hot buffalo, or barbecue sauce. Hardworking jaws relax with sips of a Pineapple Upside Down Cake martini—a concoction of Stoli Vanil vodka, pineapple, and grenadine. For a serving of liquid dessert decadence, the Red Velvet martini blends Finlandia Redberry Vodka, Eristoff Sloe Berry vodka, cranberry juice, and Bailey's Irish Cream, resulting in sophisticated fruity tones best enjoyed while sprawled across the top of a baby grand in a silk robe.
With more than three decades as a marine biologist tucked under his waders, Dr. Joe Richardson has studied beaches from Nova Scotia to the Bahamas, but he still never ceases to marvel at the diversity of Tybee Island’s shores. The widely published professor emeritus of marine sciences at Savannah State University delights in sharing his knowledge about these lively shores, and to that end hosts walking tours for groups of all ages that incorporate conversation and hands-on activities. As his followers comb their fingers and toes through the sand of the beaches and inlets, they search for fossilized shark teeth and animals that Dr. Joe helps identify. He also discusses the tides, sand layers, local marine life, and which creatures eat with salad forks or soup spoons. Along the rock jetty, groups splash into tide pools to learn about the intertidal zone and the ways animals adapt to this habitat, then help Dr. Joe collect live specimens for a field aquarium by pulling in a 50-foot beach seine net and examining the fish and crabs caught in its weave. Lucky guests can glimpse the sleek fins of dolphins, and curious ones can ask Dr. Joe about his research projects, current ecological concerns, and how mermaids keep their fingers from getting pruny.