For the first time in five years, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina was not named the best island in the continental U.S. by Travel + Leisure magazine voters.
Hilton Head did get the bronze this year, though.
The travel magazine with nearly 5 million readers released its highly anticipated “2020 World’s Best” list Wednesday morning.
South Carolina’s shoe-shaped island came in behind Golden Isles, Georgia (which includes Jekyll Island, Little St. Simons Island, Sea Island, St. Simons Island) at No. 1 and San Juan Islands, Washington at No. 2.
Kiawah Island came in close behind Hilton Head at No. 5 for Best U.S. Islands.
Voters had lots of love for South Carolina in 2020’s Travel + Leisure World’s Best competition.
Charleston, South Carolina was once again named the best city in the United States.
“Charleston has history, architecture, culture, pleasant weather, gracious locals, and even proximity to the beach,” the magazine article said. “But chances are, if you were to ask T+L readers for their top reason for their obsession with this genteel city, they’d say the food.”
Charleston also was also named at the No. 18 city in the world.
Four South Carolina resorts made the magazines “Best Resort Hotels in the South” list, including:
- Montage Palmetto Bluff (Bluffton, South Carolina) was honored on the magazine’s list at No. 2
- The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort (Kiawah Island, South Carolina) at No. 8
- The Willcox (Aiken, South Carolina) at No. 10
- The Inn & Club at Harbour Town (Hilton Head Island, South Carolina) at No. 11
Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport also made the list as the No. 6 domestic airport in the U.S.
The announcement comes at an awkward time for tourism, however. South Carolina was recently named one of the worst coronavirus hotspots in the world in the New York Times.
The virus is so widespread in South Carolina, visitors from a handful of states including Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Kansas must quarantine after visiting the Palmetto State.
COVID-19 has been spreading rapidly on Hilton Head since tourism season began. On Memorial Day, the island had 35 cases. On Tuesday, it had 381 total COVID-19 cases. To stop the spread, Hilton Head, along with more than a dozen other SC cities, has passed a mask mandate.
RELATED: Dear Hilton Head Tourists: You Can’t Take A Vacation From COVID | Opinion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR..
Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an investigative journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Mandy also hosts the Murdaugh Murders podcast. Want to contact Mandy? Send your tips to [email protected].
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