June 2008

2008 Tourist Advisory

Author: Paul deVere | Photographer: Mine Studios/ Dana Rose

As a public service to you, one of the million plus visitors who will vacation on Hilton Head Island this summer, CH2 has prepared this simple “dos,” “don’ts,” list that will help you keep out of trouble and feeling as refreshed and relaxed as you did just prior to:
A. Your kids yelling, “Daddy, Daddy, look! Hilton Head Island, Exit 8!”
B. Realizing that there is no accident at Exit 8 slowing traffic, but that you are at the end of the line of 45 miles of bumper-to-bumper SUVs.

1. Avoiding “Circle Rage.”
A. Our traffic circles may seem intimidating at first, but they do keep traffic moving. If you are in the traffic circle (even if you’ve been going round and round for 35 minutes), you have the right of way. The people entering the circle do not, unless of course, they’re locals.
B. DO NOT STOP IN THE CIRCLE. If you do, you’ll probably be hit by a local or a deer. (For more on deer, see below.)
C. Even though locals don’t, use your turn signal to get off the circle, even if you don’t know where you’re going. Using your turn signal tells everyone about to jump ahead of you that you are intellectually superior to those IDIOTS who do not use that convenient utility.

2. Treatment of wildlife.
Hilton Head Island has three types of large animals you should be aware of. As a general rule they will not hurt you if you just leave them alone.
A. Deer. They are cute, but keep in mind they are also suicidal. At dusk they love to frolic in front of, on top of and under moving vehicles. Check your car insurance.
B. Alligators. They not only chase golfers who keep hooking their drives into lagoons that should be well out of play, alligators love any miniature breed of dog. As with traffic circles (see above), DO NOT STOP YOUR CAR to take a picture of an alligator sunning him or herself on the bank of a lagoon. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to do that when you take your little toy poodle for a walk.
C. Locals. Most of the time, these large animals are friendly. But they get pretty riled up if your rather loud party goes beyond 2:00 a.m.; if you park in their yard (front or back); if you climb over their fence to get to the beach; or if you attempt to date one of their daughters. If you happen to meet one in a bar, you may buy him (or her) one or more drinks. Err on the side of caution.

3. Beach Etiquette.
A. Holes. If you dig a deep hole in the sand, for whatever idiotic reason, fill it in before you leave the beach. Too many vacations have been ruined when little children peer over the edge of the huge pit daddy dug the day before and find an unconscious jogger at the bottom, with a broken leg. You might consider NOT digging deep holes.
B. Animals. No four-legged animals allowed on the beach between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. It’s the law. As for the two-legged variety, the Beach Patrol or Sheriff’s Department will handle them.
C. Music. No matter how generous you feel, please do not “share” your music with the rest of us. That’s what ear buds and headphones are for. If you do not heed this “sound” advice, be prepared for an unwelcome visit from 2C. (See above.)
D. Wind. Notice the direction of the wind BEFORE you shake the sand off your towels, mats, beach chairs, etc. Like your music, do not share your sand.

4. Give and take.
A. Give. Be generous with tips to your server(s). Some are paying for college. Some are raising families. Some are living off social security. Most of them are really, really good. Most of them have car payments to make. The guy (or gal) delivering pizza or Chinese? That’s his/her car out there burning precious gas just for you. For those of you who are mathematically challenged, it’s easier to figure out a 20 percent tip than a 15 percent one.
B. Take. You are welcome to take back home as many pine cones, palmetto fronds, sand spurs and squirrels as you can find. Also, do not forget to take home any member of your family who came with you.
C. DO NOT TAKE sand dollars from the beach (they are living creatures) nor sea oats from the dunes (they protect our beaches).

5. Upon leaving.
Focus on the good times you had, the fun, the beach, the putt you made to save par. Forget the kids screaming, the impossible traffic ahead of you.

Oh, wait! BEFORE YOU GO, check your vehicle for snakes. (We only have a couple poisonous varieties.) You just never know where those critters will hole up.

Drive carefully.

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