Local Favorites: Joni Vanderslice's Hilton Head

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Joni Vanderslice has exquisite taste. Trusted the world over by private clients and hotels for her company J Banks‘s warm, inviting design style, we couldn’t resist when she offered to share her favorite places in her own backyard: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. An easy drive from Savannah to the south, and Charleston to the north, it’s the perfect spot for a long beach weekend, week, or month. Here’s what Joni recommends:

Local Sights
Rich in beauty, nature and culture, I feel so lucky to live here. As much as I love to travel, it’s always nice to come home. We’re famous for our beaches and golf courses for good reason: Hilton Head is a lovely place to take in nature and be active. Here are some of my favorite things to do.

Paddle Boarding
It’s so beautiful to watch the sunrise or sunset from a paddle board, not to mention get a great workout. If you’ve never done it, there are special learning boards. A popular place to rent from is Outside Hilton Head for excursions like nature “boards” of the coastal salt marshes, which are full of interesting animals and birds, and low tide tours of the sandbars.

Coastal Discovery Museum
With everything from lectures on sea turtles to gardens filled with native plants, the Coastal Discovery Museum is a helpful introduction to the wildlife and history of Hilton Head and the Low Country. The grounds are stunning, and there is always a lecture worth listening to and something interesting happening.

Hilton Head is a big biking community, with nearly 60 miles of award-winning public biking trails. I think it’s the best way to get around the island. One of my favorite rides is around Shelter Cove with a stop at the Towne Centre for an ice cream or a bite to eat. I also love getting out as early as possible—being on the beach or the trails at sunrise is not to be missed.

J Banks Retail Shop
Come and see me at my shop. I opened it to feature sophisticated home décor, plus artisan-inspired gifts, and some of the eclectic little luxuries I’ve found on my travels, from Turkish linens to lettuce ware. We can help you find the perfect thing to remember your time on the island!

Local Bites
Between the farms close by on the mainland and the sea right here, plus the heritage of Low Country cuisine, we have some really fabulous restaurants and seafood to eat in Hilton Head: blue crab, local oysters, shrimp. We are lucky to have so much nearby!

Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks
Hudson’s is a local treasure. We love to pull up in the boat and eat dockside while taking in the gorgeous sunset. The seafood is outstanding; the restaurant employs its own fishing fleet!

I designed this waterfront restaurant, which is just a fun place for a night out. The atmosphere is like a party—with a rooftop bar and “The World is your Oyster” bar. I always order their catch of the day or salmon sliders.

For more on J Banks and Joni, follow her on Instagram and Facebook.