Sea Pines Traffic Circle Hilton Head Island

How to Navigate Hilton Head Island’s Sea Pines Circle [A Visitor’s Guide]

I’ve always found traffic circles to be confusing. That wouldn’t be at all surprising if you knew me. My special gift is getting lost. I can get lost in the most familiar places; places I’ve visited over and over. It’s probably one of the reasons I chose the human equivalent of a GPS as my life partner. He and I and our 7-year-old son moved from Michigan to Hilton Head less than 3 months ago, in May 2021. Along with all the usual trials that come with moving to a new place, Hilton Head Island presented a particularly confusing new normal for me, The Sea Pines Circle. For those of you unfamiliar with this “traffic circle” or “round-a-bout”, Sea Pines Circle can be a bit overwhelming. The good news is, with a little guidance and a few quick tips, you’ll be navigating this infrastructural phenomenon like a pro in no time. Understanding this 4-exit exchange is your all-access pass to this amazing Lowcountry destination. So buckle up! 

Sea Pines Traffic Circle Hilton Head Island

For starters, let’s talk traffic circle rules.

  1. When entering the Sea Pines Circle from any of the roads that feed into it, you must do so from the left lane. If you’re in the right lane, you’ll have to turn right when you reach the circle.
  2. You must yield to all traffic in the circle when entering. Drivers in the circle always have the right of way.
  3. Signal when exiting. Traffic will flow more easily through the circle if people waiting to enter know that others are going to exit. 
  4. If you miss your exit, don’t worry. Just take another lap around the circle until you reach your desired destination road. 

Once you’ve mastered the rules of the circle, your options are plentiful. Whether you’re trying to get to the beach, looking for your resort, hoping to enjoy some of the many island activities, or just making a quick grocery run, chances are, you’re going to encounter the Sea Pines Circle. Knowing which exit leads to which destination will be helpful. Let’s break it down.

Grocery Shopping on Hilton Head Island

There are plenty of options for picking up essentials on the island.  Harris Teeter is accessible from the Pope Avenue/Coligny Beach exit.  Looking for Publix? Take the Palmetto Bay Road/Cross Island Parkway exit. Whole Foods and Fresh Market can be reached via William Hilton Parkway (Highway 278), as can Kroger and others. The Piggly Wiggly, where I’m told you can get the BEST fresh, locally caught seafood, is in Coligny Plaza, accessible from the Pope Avenue exit.

Hilton Head Island Beaches

If you’re headed to Coligny Beach, take the Pope Avenue exit toward the south end of the island.  Shipyard Beach Access is reached via William Hilton Parkway, as are Singleton Beach, Folly Field Beach, and Islanders Beach. Shipyard Beach Access is inside the gated community, so be sure you have a pass if you’re planning to go there.

Best Restaurants on Hilton Head

For amazing pizza, try Local Pie, accessible from both the Pope Avenue and 278 exits, or Mellow Mushroom, which can be reached from either the Greenwood Avenue/Sea Pines exit or the Pope Avenue exit.  There are multiple seafood options off every exit. We like The Sea Shack off Pope Avenue, Carolina Crab Company off Palmetto Bay Road, and Nick’s Steak & Seafood off William Hilton Parkway just to name a few. If your kids are hangry and you need something FAST, drive through McDonald’s from the William Hilton Parkway exit, Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Palmetto Bay Road, or Zaxby’s also on William Hilton Parkway.  Hilton Head Diner, a breakfast favorite, is reachable from the William Hilton Parkway exit, and Wild Wing Cafe is a favorite for chicken wing enthusiasts. Get there from the Pope Avenue exit. 

These are just a few of the many fantastic dining options on Hilton Head. Click here for a more complete list of Hilton Head Restaurants.

Sea Pines Traffic Circle Hilton Head Island

Fun Things to do on Hilton Head

If watersports are your thing, exit the circle at Palmetto Bay Road and head to One HHI. There you can enjoy kayaking, jet skiing, and paddleboarding or relax during one of their awesome dolphin cruises. For the more adventurous visitors, head on over to Island Head Watersports, by taking the Palmetto Bay Road exit, for an epic Parasailing experience, or take a drive toward Hilton Head Island Airport off William Hilton Parkway to experience the island from the air on a Hilton Head Helicopter Tour. Take the Sea Pines exit to experience the iconic HHI Lighthouse at Harbourtown.

I’ll admit, with all the options for things to do, I’ve only experienced a few of the amazing island offerings in my 3 short months as a South Carolinian. But suffice it to say, I’m confident there’s something for everyone. I  hope these tips for navigating Sea Pines Circle have been helpful. If I, the perpetually lost, can learn my way around, you can too. But if the thought of driving during the HHI busy season still has you feeling anxious, head on over to Wheelz of Hilton Head to rent bikes for the whole family. With over 60 miles of bike trails, you can easily hang up the car keys for a week and experience Hilton Head from a new perspective.  (editing to add: my colleague and I hopped on a couple of Wheelz bikes and peddled down to The Circle to take some pictures for this article. I hadn’t been on a bike in years, but am happy to report that, despite the blazing HHI summer temperatures, my first experience with the Island on a bike was fantastic. 5 out of 5 stars! Highly recommend it.)

Did you know that you can purchase tickets for many of these activities for up to 60% off through Hilton Head Guest Services? Call 843-612-6917 or fill out the short form below. One of our local experts will guide you through making the absolute most of your time on Hilton Head. Just for filling out the form, you’ll receive our Mini Island Discount Packet, which includes coupons for some of our favorite restaurants and excursions.

National Fishing Month

National Fishing Month

Did you know that July 24th through August 30th is National Fishing Month? The goal of National Fishing Month is to encourage family and friends to get outside, enjoy the outdoors and most importantly, learn how to fish! Fishing is a family-friendly activity that is fun for all ages.

Fishing can serve multiple purposes. The history fishing originated as a necessity for many cultures to survive.  Fish became a staple for many diets around the world. Fishing has now evolved from a calming recreational activity into a professional sport that is broadcasted worldwide for spectators to watch

No matter how much experience you have, fishing can be enjoyable for everyone!

Best Fishing Locations in Hilton Head

With an abundance of freshwater and saltwater fishing locations, Hilton Head, South Carolina is fisherman’s dream location. According to multiple local fisherman, here are the top spots around the island to sit back, cast a line and test out your fishing skills!

  • Jenkins Island Fishing Pier: Located at 43 Jenkins Island Rd, Hilton Head, SC, 29926, the Jenkins Island Fishing Pier extends out into the waters of Skull Creek. The parking is limited in this area so make sure to get there early. Also, be sure to use a restroom prior to arriving since there aren’t any in the vicinity of the pier.
  • Old House Creek Fishing Pier: The closest intersection to the Old House Creek Fishing Pier is Sterling Point Drive and Silver Oak Drive on Hilton Head Island. The pier is approximately 500 feet down from that specific intersection. This location also doesn’t have restrooms available to the public and parking is limited. Old House Creek Fishing pier is especially popular during crabbing season which falls in late April to about mid-May.
  • Jarvis Creek Park: Type 100 Jarvis Park Rd, Hilton Head, SC, 29926 into your maps and it will take you to this breathtaking 53-acre park. The park is located on the north end of the island and has an 11-acre freshwater lake. The lake is stocked year-round with bluegill and largemouth bass. Jarvis Creek Park is ideal for families to fish due to all the amenities it has to offer. The park does however have a catch and release rule. So, make sure you throw back anything you happen to hook that day! 
  • Lake Joe (Sea Pines Forest Preserve): Lake Joe is one of the five lakes located within the Sea Pine Forest Preserve. The lake was named after one of the Sea Pines developers, Joseph B. Fraser. The lake is restricted to children 14 years and younger, however, they must be accompanied by an adult. The lake is stocked with a plethora of smallmouth bass, bluegill sunfish and crappie.
  • Palmetto Dunes Lagoon: Located at 1 Shelter Cove Ln, Hilton Head, SC 29928, almost directly in the middle of the island. Fun fact, the Palmetto Dunes Lagoon is the second-largest man-made, saltwater lagoon in the United States. This lagoon contains multiple species of fish such as black drum, flounder, speckled sea trout, bluefish, and tarpon.
  • C.C Haigh Fishing Pier: The entrance to the C.C Haigh Pier is located off of the William Hilton Parkway (278) across from the Pickney Wildlife Refuge.  The pier itself is 150 feet in length. There is ample space for tourists to share with the local fisherman.

More Fishing Locations Close to Hilton Head

  • Port Royal Sands in Port Royal
  • Lobeco Fishing Pier off Highway 21
  • Old House Creek Fishing Pier on Hilton Head
  • Broad River Fishing Pier near Beaufort
  • Paradise Pier at Hunting Island State Park
  • Camp St. Marys Fishing Pier in Okatie
  • Whale Branch Fishing Pier in Seabrook
  • Daufuskie Island Dock and Float
  • Winbee Fishing Pier near Dale
  • Waterfront Park in Beaufort

Insider Tip #1: In South Carolina, if you are 16 and years and older, even if you are just visiting, you will need to purchase a fishing license. Visit https://www.dnr.sc.gov/legallicense.html for more information.

Insider Tip #2: When fishing in freshwater ponds in the lowcountry, make sure to be aware of your surroundings. You never know what kind of reptile could be lurking!

Insider Tip #3: Checks the tides prior to fishing in Hilton Head. The ideal time to fish is an incoming tide or rising tide. The water coming in from the ocean typically is a cooler temperature and can contain more oxygen which helps the fish to thrive.

Hilton Head Fishing Charters

Some of best fishing can be done offshore via boat. While many tourists may not have access to a boating vessel, Hilton Head has multiple fishing charter companies to utilize while you are on vacation. Whether you are an experienced angler or just starting out your fishing journey, each charter can be customized to all different styles of fishing. Cruise the intracoastal waterways catching all kinds of species from cobia, sea bass, trout and possibly even a shark or two!

Did you know that you can purchase tickets for many of these activities for up to 60% off through Hilton Head Guest Services? Call (843) 341-2370 or fill out the short form below. One of our local experts will guide you through making the absolute most of your time on Hilton Head. Just for filling out the form, you’ll receive our Mini Island Discount Packet, which includes coupons for some of our favorite restaurants and excursions.