At The Vacation Company, we’d heard about it, read about it, and talked about it for weeks, and finally, Johnny D and I experienced it. And for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past six months, I am speaking of the ONE, the ONLY, Hilton Head Island ZIPLINE at Broad Creek Marina. This is a blast for the whole family (please check website for age/weight limits), and takes the pressure off parents who feel they have to know everything.
Staffed with professionals, you are pre-screened for alertness and physical ability (read; awake and sober, preferably at the same time), then fitted with straps, harness, buckles, clips, helmut, gloves, and counseled to thoroughly sort things out under your clothes, so that nothing vital gets pinched during your zip (and for those of you semantically challenged, from here on out, zip refers to the ride, not the mechanism holding your pants up).
Then, there’s ground school. These guys don’t miss a trick, and our guy Tom, a certified, career, risk-taking climber (among other certifiable things), carefully prepared us for all eventualities, including getting knocked in the head by an asteroid and dangling unconscious from the end of our lanyard hooked to the cable. This of course, being a worst-case scenario as Tom also used much humor to relax us each time he told us something very serious. Like, “Pay attention on each landing because there are no hand rails, and if you fall backwards, you’ll bang your shins like there’s no tomorrow. The good part, is that you’ll never forget that there are no handrails again, right? Ha, ha, ha…” Johnny D thought Tom was very funny.
I will say that by the time we went for our first zip, I felt very comfortable and safe. All the guides are very experienced and take their responsibilities seriously. Each group runs with five to eight people accompanied by two guides; one who leads off, and one who brings up the rear. The front guy takes the zip first so you can see how fun and easy it is, while the back-end guide gently prods each zipper up to the line, reminding her or him of how fun and easy it is. “Put your right hand on the trolley first, then the left, and cross your legs,” said Ashley to six different people, times seven ziplines. Hey. I know it sounds simple, but you try to remember all three things at seventy feet up in the trees while college kids on the ground point and laugh at you.
The cool part is that you don’t have to get it perfect the first time. You have several zips that take you higher and higher into the trees, until you are on an eighty-foot tower looking out over Broad Creek. It is a beautiful view and very rewarding. And actually, by the time we got to that point, it was no longer work, but had become the enjoyable ride for which we had hoped. Each zip is a little higher and longer and faster than the one before, easing you into the whole experience. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for something new and fun to do with the family. Currently, the zipline course takes about two and a half hours from beginning to end, and costs $85/person; which isn’t a bad deal for half a day’s ride through the trees. Call for reservations: 843-682-6000 or book online.
Zipline Hilton Head is located at 33 Broad Creek Marina Way, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926.