Part of the fun in traveling to a new place is seeing how its natural surroundings are different from what you’re familiar with. You could go to a zoo… or you could go exploring on your own. When you come to Hilton Head, here’s a heads up for whose natural habitats you might come across on a self-guided adventure!

In the Air

For those of you who have your head in the clouds, you’ll find plenty of winged friends to keep you entertained. If you happen to be golfing, and you come across a long-legged white bird with a curvy beak, you have found an ibis. If you’re near the marsh, that tall, grayish bird watching the water is likely a great blue heron. On one of the many bike trails, you’re sure to see some gorgeous birds as you pedal along. If you are at the beach, and you happen to spot a dive-bomber in the ocean, you have probably found a brown pelican. Don’t worry, though. They’re only after the fish.

Near the Water

While you may find a yellow-bellied slider turtle catching the rays in the marshy areas, it’s also possible to find a loggerhead turtle. These turtles are much larger—up to 4 feet in length—and are an endangered species, so be careful not to disturb them. And you can’t forget one of the biggest attractions of the South—the American alligator. These 12 ft. giants pose no threat to humans unless they are provoked, so it’s best to keep your distance.

In the Water

A favorite sight of visitors peering out into the ocean or bay is the bottle-nosed dolphin. Listen for the clicking communication they produce with their friends. Or take a dolphin tour to get close to one of these friendly 12-ft. sea mammals. Another big ocean dweller you could come across is a manatee. Don’t worry about their half-ton size—they’re actually quite friendly.

No matter what kind of wildlife you’re hoping to see, you are bound to find a tour in Hilton Head to explore the natural surroundings of your favorite kind of creature.