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You Need This Hilton Head Island Beach Getaway!

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Ready for a weekend beach getaway at one of the absolute best places to travel? Then you NEED to head to Hilton Head Beach, South Carolina, right now!

Hilton Head Island, or HHI as most locals and regulars refer to it, is one of South Carolina’s best beaches offering wide beaches, golf, great restaurants, and fun for the whole family. 

Hilton Head beach
Hilton Head Beach

In this resource guide, we give you the best hotels to stay, activities to do, and a lot of insider tips so you can make the most out of your stay at Hilton Head Beach!

Does Hilton Head Have Good Beaches?

Hilton Head Island is one of the best beaches in the USA, but don’t just take my word for it. Check out all the amazing travel awards HHI has received.

Hilton Head Island Voted “#1 Island in the Continental U.S.” for the fourth consecutive year in Travel+Leisure Magazine’s 2019 World’s Best Awards

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Ranked the #2 Best Beach on Southern Living Magazine Best Beach Towns of 2020

Southern Living Magazine

 “Top 20 Resorts in The South” by Readers of Condé Nast Traveler. Reader’s Choice Awards

Conde Naste Traveler

That’s just scratching the surface. Trust me, you will LOVE Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Now, let me tell you why!

Hilton Head Weekend Getaways

We have been taking romantic weekends and last-minute Hilton Head beach getaways for more than ten years. Hilton Head getaways, first and foremost, mean BEACH.

All the beaches on Hilton Head Island are beautiful, but we certainly have one that we consider to be the best beach on Hilton Head Island. 

Port Royal Hilton Head

Port Royal Hilton Head is the northern section of Hilton Head Island and is home to two of our favorite resorts:

Hilton head beach
Hilton Head Beach

The beach at Port Royal is wide and pristine. The surrounding walkways and bike trails are beautiful and lush. You won’t be disappointed if you choose the Port Royal section of Hilton Head Island.

Palmetto Dunes Hilton Head

Palmetto Dunes beach area is accessed through the Palmetto Dunes Resort Plantation located in the island’s center. The beach can be utilized by guests staying in the plantations’ houses or beach resorts.

Palmetto Dunes is by far one of our favorite sections to visit on Hilton Head Island.  Accommodations in Palmetto Dunes include:

Condo rentals and private home rentals are also available on Hilton Head Island.

5 bedroom condo in hilton head island

It’s a close tie for us between the beach at Port Royal and the beach at Palmetto Dunes as to which is the best beach on Hilton Head Island.

You will have to check them both out and let us know what you think.

Sea Pines Hilton Head Island

The Sea Pines and Harbor Town section of Hilton Head Island is also a popular option on Hilton Head Island.

If golfing or boating is on your list for Hilton Head, staying in the Sea Pines Resort may be just what you need.

Harbor Town Marina, located within Sea Pines, is home to the Hilton Head’s iconic red and white striped lighthouse, plenty of specialty shops, and restaurants. 

We often enjoy an evening of dinner and stroll the marina gazing at all the beautiful sailboats and yachts in the harbor. 

Sea Pines is not directly located on the beach, but beach access is available.

Hilton Head Island Public Beach Access

There are several popular public beach parks as well on Hilton Head Island. Here are a few you may want to check out or ride your bike to explore.

  • Coligny Beach Park
  • Driessen Beach Park
  • Fish Haul Beach Park
  • Folly Field Beach Park
  • Burkes Beach
  • Islanders Beach Park
  • Shipyard Beach Access

Hilton Head Island Beach Resorts

Hilton Head Island accommodations consist of a combination of major beach resorts, Hotel chains, Condos, and Golf and Beachfront homes.  

Westin Hilton Head Island

Westin Hilton Head Island is our go-to favorite hotel on Hilton Head Island and is the hotel that swayed us to become very loyal Starwood Members (SPG Preferred) even before Marriott purchased the chain and enlarged our hotel portfolio.

westin hilton head island hotel
barony bay kitchen

Marriott Barony Bay Hilton Head Island

Marriott Barony Bay is such a great resort.  Our family stayed here in February and enjoyed the space to spread out the grounds, pools, and amenities. 

Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island

Sonesta Resort Hilton Head is located in the Shipley Ferry Plantation on Hilton Head Island. This isn’t our preferred area of HHI, but it is still quite charming. 

Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island

There are plenty of restaurants nearby, and the resort amenities are plentiful. 

 Check Current Rates

Packing List For Hilton Head Island

What you pack for Hilton Head Island will, in large part, be determined by what time of year you are visiting. For every trip, we always like to go minimalist.

Here are a few things to toss in the backpack for Hilton Head.

Hilton Head Island Things To Do

We often visit Hilton Head Island beaches in the Spring, so the winds can be high, however, the temperatures can also be as high as 80° in February.   

It is best to check the current weather before heading to any South Carolina beach in the Spring and plan accordingly. 

While it is rarely warm enough to swim in the ocean during the spring, we enjoy swimming in heated outdoor and indoor pools, so packing a swimsuit is usually a great idea. 

Visiting Pinckney National Wildlife Refuge

Hilton Head Island offers so much more than just the beach, however, so don’t let the weather deter you from a beach getaway to HHI in the Spring. 

Some of our favorite activities at Hilton Head Island in the spring:

READ MY Full Review of Pinckney National Wildlife Refuge Area at Travel Inspired Living!

Best Bike Rental Hilton Head

Hilton Head Island boasts over 60 miles of public pathways and trails for cyclists. 

Biking on Hilton Head Island is our absolute favorite activity (besides eating the great food, of course). Because Hilton Head is so friendly to bicyclists, it’s super easy to rent a bicycle for the duration of your visit.

red bike on bridge

Our favorite bike rental location on Hilton Head is The Bike Doctor HHI. Their rates are always fantastic when we are in town, and their service is even better.  

We simply call them on the phone, tell them where we are staying, give them our credit cards, and that’s it. They deliver the bikes to our hotel, leave the receipt at the front desk, and come back in three days to pick up the bikes.

Two kids on bikes at Hilton Head Island

They often give you a little extra time on your checkout day as well. 

The bikes come equipped with a lock and a basket so you can do a little shopping and eat while riding around the island.

We recently enjoyed a South Carolina beach getaway to Hilton Head with our kids for a three-day weekend. 

Hilton Head Island With Kids

After many years of not being able to bike with our kids because someone was too small, we were thrilled to be able to get tandem bikes for our younger kids and a bike for our older son.  

We had a great time biking around Hilton Head Island. While it’s bittersweet to see our kids get older, the joys of getting them excited to go outside and experiencing outdoor adventures with them make up for the loss of those baby moments. 

Speaking of getting older and learning to ride bikes, here are some articles to help you find the best cruiser bike for yourself and how to choose the best kid’s bike.

Best Hilton Head Restaurants

Some of the best food in the low country is found on Hilton Head Island! 

Next to my favorite dining in Charleston, SC, I have not eaten better food than I have on Hilton Head Island, even in Disney World. (Disney fans don’t throw things, please.)

Skull Creek Boathouse Hilton Head, South Carolina

As soon as our bikes arrive at our hotel, we often hop aboard our bikes and head straight to our favorite restaurant to eat the best seafood in Hilton Head at The Skull Creek Boathouse Hilton Head. 

Sometimes you may hear people refer to it as just “The Boathouse” because it is located directly behind HH Boathouse, a large boat storage house located on Squire Pope road in Hilton Head.

It’s fun to see all these massive boats in storage as you walk to Skull Creek from your car. 

Be warned, however, this is no secret place.  It’s a hopping location and if you don’t want a long wait, go early, like before 5 pm. If you can’t make it that early, pick a bar seat and enjoy.  

If you are a fan of ceviche or sushi, there is no fresher and better-tasting on the island, in our opinion. If traditional seafood is more your style, they have a bit of everything. The quality is top-notch.  

It seems to be a little-known fact that the Sushi bar serves the full menu, and hubby and I have been seated right away there while others waited thirty minutes or more for a table.  

Besides, you can enjoy good food and entertainment while looking at Lobster and Octopus. What more could a girl want?

The Watusi Restaurant Hilton Head

For breakfast in Hilton Head, we recommend The Watusi Cafe.  We also recommend sitting at the bar for breakfast. 

This place is also hopping, but the bar is the most entertaining and usually available. 

Sign outside Watusi Cafe HHI SC

We were able to chat it up one morning with the manager, who shared with us the story behind the name Watusi.  

Her sister owns the restaurant, and when they were children, they used to dance and sing along on vacation at the beach or wherever, and they would often remark that they were “Doing the Watusi”.

Sign over the bar at the Watusi Cafe HHI SC

They weren’t doing the “Watusi,” but that phrase became associated with fun and family time for their family, so the restaurant name is a family inside story.  

Avocado Omelets at The Watusi

It’s stories like this that keep my heart in love with travel and, most especially, with the little mom-and-pop restaurants and businesses that make up this country. Don’t worry, I’m not running for political office. I just really love getting to hear stories like that.

Charbar Hilton Head

A newer restaurant we have discovered but have added to our list of “must-do restaurants in Hilton Head” is The Charbar.  

Burger and Onion Rings plated

If burgers, brews, and bands are your thing, then definitely take the time to check out The Charbar. 

We had an amazing burger and enjoyed some live music.  It’s very low-key and casual, so it’s a great place to go as a couple or with the kids. 

Albums on the wall at the Charbar Hilton Head Island, SC

Shelter Cove Marina Restaurants

In the Shelter Cove area, the dining options are numerous.  We enjoy dining bot at the Shelter Cove Harbor and Marina as well as in the newer Shelter Cove Shopping district. 

Boats on water at Shelter Cove Marina

Here are just a few of our favorites. 

For a romantic dinner on the marina, try Ela’s on the Water They have a large wine selection, and the food was superb.

Shelter Cove Marina Ela's On The Water

Aside from the fantastic food, the view is spectacular. Perfect for a romantic evening with your significant other.

Ela's On The Water Hilton Head Island, SC Calamari
Hilton Head Island Ela's on the Water

If you are looking for a quick breakfast pastry while strolling the marina, try out The Hilton Head Social Bakery

Hilton Head Island Social Bakery Shelter Cove Marina
Pastries at HHI Social Bakery

In the newer shopping district, we also enjoyed shrimp tacos at Poseidon’s.

Shelter cove Shopping district Poseidon Shrimp Tacos

More Favorite Restaurants In Hilton Head Beach

The dining options on Hilton Head Island are endless, but here are just a few more of our favorites.

Hilton Head Ice Cream Shop

Easy to remember. 

I am an allergy mom, so I always ask about their processes, and I was excited to learn that they take great effort not to cross-contaminate their very delicious handmade ice cream flavors, including washing equipment and keeping dedicated scoops for peanut and tree nut allergic patrons.

Family at Hudsons

This place was so cute! I can’t wait to take my kids there. Lego designs, a fish aquarium, kid-friendly murals, and eclectic collections of cookie jars and toys.

Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks

Also, another family favorite for its great water views and allergy-friendly policies. 

The service is always top notch, and ensures my kids can safely eat their delicious seafood. 

Seagrass Grill

Seagrass Grill is our final recommendation for another great romantic option.

It’s very intimate, and the steaks and seafood are fresh and tasty.

Hilton Head Beach

Whether you are looking for a family beach getaway to a South Carolina beach or a romantic weekend retreat, Hilton Head Island is perfect. 

We enjoy spring beach getaways to Hilton Head Island for the wide beautiful beaches, the fun activities like biking and shopping, and especially all the fabulous low country food on Hilton Head.

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If you liked this post, you should check out these RV campgrounds near Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, if looking for a cheap alternative for that HHI getaway.

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Cath - BattleMum

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This area of South Carolina sounds like a great place for a family getaway. There certainly seems to be lots to see, do and eat there .Thanks for linking up to #wanderlustkids

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