Celebrating New Year’s on Hilton Head Island

If you’re lucky enough to be celebrating New Years on Hilton Head Island, you’re already off to a great start. Here are some things that ensure your luck keeps on going for 2022! 

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

When the Clock Strikes Midnight

There are many traditions and superstitions around the world for what to do and what not to do to ring in the New Year with as much good fortune as possible. Some traditions need to take place exactly when the clock strikes midnight, so here are some ideas depending on where you find yourself on the island at 11:59pm. 

Wave 2021 Goodbye

In Brazil, people celebrate New Year’s Eve at the beach! As soon as it’s midnight, everyone walks ankle-deep into the water while fireworks dazzle overhead. Every time a wave washes in, everyone jumps over it and makes a wish. It’s tradition to jump over seven waves, meaning you’ll get a grand total of seven wishes. Test out this tradition on one of Hilton Head Island’s many beaches, and see if any of your wishes come true! 

Grab Your Suitcase 

If you want 2022 to be filled with travel and adventure, carry around an empty suitcase starting at midnight. This is a tradition that stems from Columbia and other Spanish-speaking countries. Regardless if you’re celebrating the New Year on vacation or relaxing in the comfort of your own home, remember to grab that suitcase when the clock strikes midnight! 

Open Up the Doors and Windows

It’s a great thing that Hilton Head Island has such mild winter weather, so won’t freeze when you open the doors and windows to let 2021 out and to welcome the New Year in! It’s an easy tradition, so why not try it? Anything to help make sure 2022 goes as smoothly as possible…

January 1st To-Do List 

Just as there are traditions and superstitions for New Year’s Eve, there are specific things to do on January 1st, and other things that you need to stay clear of!

Polar Plunge at Coligny Beach

The first-ever recorded Polar Bear Plunge took place in Boston, Massachusetts in 1904. Since then, jumping into an ice-cold pool or freezing lake is a tradition for many on New Year’s Day. Some might think it’s a crazy thing to do, but not only is the freezing swim said to be good for your immune system, but many of these events benefit charities. 

The annual Polar Plunge at Coligny Beach will start at 11am on New Year’s Day, and benefits Charli’s Critters Charity. 

Leave the Cleaning for January 2nd

If you’re on vacation, cleaning probably isn’t on your radar as it is. Just to be safe, make sure to leave those coffee cups in the sink and refrain from any sweeping or dusting. You don’t want to wash or sweep away any luck that’s headed your way! 

What’s for Dinner?

Here’s a southern tradition that’ll bring you luck and prosperity in 2022: make sure to eat a dinner that includes black-eyed peas. The black-eyed peas themselves represent coins, and they’re typically served with some sort of greens to symbolize paper money. A common dish that’s served for dinner on New Year’s Day is called Hoppin’ John. 

If you want to learn more about Hoppin’ John and its ties to the Lowcountry and Gullah culture, here is a great article by Discover South Carolina that includes a recipe from one of Charleston’s top chefs, Chef BJ Dennis.

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December 2021 Tides [Hilton Head Island]

If you’re visiting our beautiful island during the holidays, it’s a good idea to know when High or Low Tide is happening before you plan your beach bike ride or sunrise stroll.

Fill out the short form below to receive your printable tide chart.

Hilton Head Restaurants Open for Christmas

A question we get asked over and over by visitors to the island is, “Which restaurants are open on the holidays?” To that end, we’re compiling a list of local restaurants open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2021.

The following restaurants are offering both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dining:

  • Hilton Head Diner 843-686-2400  Hilton Head Diner is typically open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, serving all day breakfast, their full menu, as well as a special Holiday menu featuring specials like duck L’orange, thyme roasted pork loin, and more. We’ll update this listing with this year’s Christmas menu as soon as it becomes available. Download their takeout menu here.
  • Nick’s Steak & Seafood | 843-686-2920 | Reservations only | NicksSteakAndSeafood.com – Nick’s Steak & Seafood will be open on Christmas Day, but you must have a reservation.  Please call 843-686-2920 to make a reservation; same-day reservations are very difficult to accommodate. They typically serve their full menu as well as traditional holiday favorites.
  • Grand Ocean Terrace at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa | 843-681-4000 ext. 7066 | Reservation only
  • The Porch | 843-785-2900 | Reservation Only -Located at The Beach House Resort, The Porch Restaurant offers Christmas Day dining. Reservations required.

The following restaurants will be open on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day

  • Wild Wings | 843-785-9464 | Christmas Eve – open until 6:30p by volume, closed Christmas Day
  • Fish Camp on Broad Creek | 843-842-2267 – Christmas Eve 12:00 pm – 6:30 pm;   Closed Christmas Day 
  • Plantation Café and Deli | 843-785-9020 – Christmas Eve regular hours;    Closed Christmas
  • Local Pie | 843-842-7437 – Christmas Eve (open by volume); Closed Christmas Day
  • Crazy Crab Harbour Town | 843-683-2722 – Open Christmas Eve (last reservation 6:30pm); Closed Christmas Day
  • Crazy Crab Jarvis Creek | 843-681-5021 – Open Christmas Eve (last reservation 6:30pm); Closed Christmas Day

The following restaurants will be closed for Christmas:

  • Sea Shack | 843-785-2464 – Closed Christmas Day
  • Up the Creek Pub & Grill | 843-681-3625 – Closed Christmas Day
  • North End Pour House | 843-681-4153 – Closed Christmas Day
  • Skillets | 843-785-3131 – Closed Christmas Day

For a unique Christmas Eve Dinner Experience…

We’ll be updating this list as new information becomes available. Fill out the short form below to receive our Mini Island Discount Packet that offers coupons for Hilton Head dining, shopping, activities, and more.

Guide to Shopping Local this Holiday Season

Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift to place under the tree, or a keepsake to remember your trip to Hilton Head Island, there are plenty of opportunities to shop local this 2021 holiday season!

Holiday Markets & Events:


Make sure to RSVP for the 2021 Gullah Holiday Market! Join in on the wonderful celebration of Gullah culture through live music, delicious food, and great shopping. Don’t miss out!

December 4th


Lowcountry Celebration Park,

94 Pope Avenue, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


The Coastal Discovery Museum is hosting an indigo tie dye station at the Farmers Market on December 7th. Experience a piece of the Lowcountry’s history while making a beautiful tie dye creation for yourself or as a holiday gift for a loved one. You may bring your own cotton items to dye for free and/or purchase a cotton t-shirt for $5. No registration required. Learn more about the Coastal Discovery Museum’s other hands-on programs here.

December 7th


Hilton Head Farmers Market at Honey Horn,

70 Honey Horn Dr, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926


Free to attend, there are two chances to enjoy the Holiday Market at the Shops of Sea Pines Center this season. With such a great collection of shops and local vendors, you’re sure to find the perfect holiday gift and leave with lots of sweet and savory treats!

Please keep in mind that there is a gate fee to enter the Sea Pines property.

December 7th & 14th


The Shops at Sea Pines Center,

71 Lighthouse Road, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

Toys, Souvenirs, & Much More:


The young and young at heart will have a blast while shopping at either Coligny Plaza or Harbour Town location. Whether you’re in search of the season’s newest toys, or games for a day at the beach, Hilton Head Toys has you covered.

Coligny Plaza Location:

1 N Forest Beach Dr., Hilton Head Island, SC 2998

Harbour Town Location:

147 Lighthouse Rd. #7222, Sea Pines, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928


After searching for gifts to give your friends and family this holiday season, don’t forget to treat yourself! This women and men’s boutique is a great place to find quality pieces that’ll get you ready for any upcoming office party or family gathering.

38 Shelter Cove Ln. Ste 125, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

For more great places for holiday shopping, visit our Shopping page!

To download your FREE Mini Island Discount Packet for savings at the Island Trading Company and more, please fill out the form below.