I sometimes come to the end of a vacation thinking, “That was a fantastic trip, but I’m ready to go home.” Maybe I’m picky, but few places have made me want to stay there longer. But I can confidently say that I have never left Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, without wanting to stay longer. However, my stays on the island are not complete without a bike.

For me, a bike turns a temporary vacation home into just a home. Rather than drive to a destination, I can ride a bike on the island to enjoy the journey as well as the destination. Traveling slower than if I’m in a car, I can see so much more on a bike, and I have time to take in the sights. Only on a bike can I breathe in the fresh air and catch the sight of an alligator’s eyes popping out of nearly every body of water I pass. A car simply doesn’t give me enough time to feel so at home on the island. Nearly all the must-see sites on Hilton Head Island can be reached on a bike: Harbour Town, Salty Dog Cafe, and Sea Pines Resort.

Of course, you cannot visit Hilton Head Island, without spending time on the beach. During low tide, the sand is hard enough and the beach is long enough for my family and I to bike by the ocean. On a bike, I can spend my morning covering nearly half the island’s diameter. On a bike, I can travel slow enough on the busy roads but fast enough on the calm beach. On a bike, I can take in more of my temporary home.

– Sydney Snyder