Local Favorites: Joni Vanderslice’s Hilton Head

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

Photo Courtesy of Joni Vanderslice

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

Photo Courtesy of 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 Store

Photo Courtesy of J Banks Design

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

Photo Credit: Hudson’s

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!


Photo Credit: Poseidon

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.

Chico’s Packing List

We love this versatile outfit for a walk on the beach, followed by some shopping, and a bite and a drink at Poseidon. Relaxed, sophisticated, and fun, just like the island itself.

Click to buy: Light Wash Denim Shirt, Pastel Ikat Maxi Skirt, Greta Bangles, Harper Hoop Earrings.

Stylist’s Tip:
Tie the shirt at the waist
for a casually chic look.

Learn more about Joni, her travels, and J Banks on her Facebookher Instagram, and website.  

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33 Responses

  1. Have enjoyed eating at Hudsons for years. Best she crab soup I have ever had, including where I live, Floroda. Love the casual dining both inside and outside.

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