On the last Monday of May, our Nation honors the brave men and women who died while serving in the United States military. Memorial Day Weekend is also the unofficial start to the summer season, meaning more Americans pack their suitcases and travel over the three-day weekend–or longer! If you’re headed out for a weekend getaway, keep the significance of the holiday in mind and find ways to honor the fallen soldiers who fought for our freedoms. If you’re visiting Hilton Head Island, here are two ways to observe the holiday:
Hilton Head Freedom 5K Run & Walk
The 7th Annual Hilton Head Memorial Day 5K Run & Walk, presented by the Palmetto Running Company, is a family-friendly event that honors those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Strollers and dogs are welcome, with custom medals given to the top 3 dogs! In addition to medals given to division winners, there is also a “Best Costume” Award, so make sure to dress in your patriotic best!
There will be no same-day registration, so make sure to register in advance here!
A portion of the proceeds as well as all donations will be given to the Semper Fi & America’s Fund. For more information about this fund, click here.
Monday, May 30th
Port Royal Plantation
10 Clubhouse Dr., Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
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It’s that time of year again when the idea of walking ankle-deep in the refreshing Atlantic, building sandcastles, and soaking up the Carolina sunshine becomes a little bit more irresistible. Although Hilton Head’s temperate weather allows locals and visitors alike to visit its beautiful beaches year-round, there’s an explosion of activity that begins every year around Memorial Day that brings more tents and towels to our beaches. The summer season is an exciting time buzzing with more people to meet and more chances to make lasting memories with friends and family.
As you prepare for your upcoming summer vacation to Hilton Head Island, make sure you brush up on your beach safety. Don’t allow the anxiety of what could go wrong deter you from having fun during your vacation. On the other hand, you also don’t want to get caught unprepared if something does happen. Here are some things to keep in mind before you head to the beach:
What to Bring
It’s easy to become dehydrated at the beach, especially if you’re chasing down frisbees or playing in the waves. Make it a point to bring an ample amount of water for everyone in your group. Not a fan of water? I know it might be tempting to stock up on just soda and sugary juices, but any sports drink with electrolytes is a better replacement.
Another thing to keep in mind: alcoholic beverages are not allowed on any of Hilton Head Island’s beaches.
An important beach staple, sunscreen should always have a spot inside your beach bag. There’s always someone in your group who forgets to apply sunscreen, and depending on how long your beach day is actually going to last, it’s a good idea to reapply throughout the day especially if you’ve been in and out of the water.
Out of sunscreen? Stop by one of the local gift shops or grocery stores on the island and pick up some reef-friendly sunscreen that will not only protect you, but ocean life as well!
–First Aid Kit
Having a first aid kit on hand when traveling is a good idea in general. You never know when a rogue scraped knee or bee sting will surprise you. Accidents do happen, and if you end up losing a wrestling match with your beach umbrella, it’s always handy to have a stash of your own band aids and other supplies, especially if there’s no lifeguard around.
Of course, some injuries do require medical attention, so don’t hesitate to seek emergency care if necessary.
Here are just a few of the main water safety tips. Some of the following tips may sound like common sense, but they’re good to brush up on if you haven’t visited the beach in a while.
If you know you can’t swim, stay out of the water.
Never overestimate your swimming ability.
Never swim alone.
Always supervise your children, even if you are located in a guarded area.
Remember to enter the water feet first—don’t dive.
Ask the lifeguard why he or she is flying a yellow caution flag.
The chances of rip currents increase with higher surf levels, as well as with weather activity, so before you even unfold the beach chair, check with the lifeguard on duty and keep an eye on your weather app.
The best things to do if you do happen to be caught in a rip current:
Don’t panic or fight the current.
Swim sideways, or parallel to shore until you’re outside of the rip current.
Let the current pull you out, and then swim parallel to shore once you’re outside of the current.
Most injuries caused by stingrays seem to happen during the months of May through June. Whether one can pin that on stingray mating season, feeding habits, or just bad luck, there are ways to help limit your chances of getting injured. As you splash around in the water, remember to shuffle or drag your feet. Believe it or not, stingrays only attack you if they feel threatened, and accidentally stepping on one does in fact fall into that category.
What happens when you’ve been injured? The injury should be cleaned and disinfected immediately, and hot water seems to help with the pain from the stingray’s toxins. It’s always a good idea to seek medical treatment, especially if there are any spines that remain or if the injury in the chest, neck, and head area. Injuries from a stingray normally cause severe pain, weakness, and nausea.
Please keep in mind that we are not medical professionals, and this guide should not replace medical treatment.
Although you might not see a jellyfish in the water before unintentionally bumping into it, you can steer clear of any dead jellyfish on the beach—they can still sting! If you’re terrified of a jellyfish sting ruining your beach day, keep a bottle of vinegar as well as a pair of tweezers in your beach bag. Rinsing the sting with vinegar is said to keep the stingers from firing any additional jellyfish venom. Tweezers can help pluck any remaining tentacles off of the skin—the scraping method is now thought to cause more pain. Similar to stingray injuries, soaking the skin in hot water seems to ease the pain more than cold water does.
Please keep in mind that we are not medical professionals, and this guide should not replace medical treatment.
The first Saturday of May, Bluffton becomes host to one of the best spring festivals in South Carolina. Located in charming Old Town, those wanting to join in on the festivities should expect more than 150 artists and food vendors, live music playing on two stages throughout the day, as well as a fun-filled schedule of events:
Pie Eating Contest
11:30am | Dubois Park
Ugly Dog Contest
1:00pm | Heyward House
Derby Hat Parade
2:00pm | Martin Family Park Stage
Admission is free to all guests. Complimentary parking will be at Red Cedar Elementary, and includes a complimentary shuttle to the festival area.
Celebrate National Bike Month and Hilton Head Island’s award-winning cycling community by joining in on the 14th Annual Pedal Hilton Head. Rain or shine, locals and visitors alike will participate in one of six different rides that accommodate every level of rider. From a fun, family-centered two-mile beach ride to a grand tour of the island in the sixty-two-mile ride, there is a carefully planned route for everyone to enjoy.
Event proceeds will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Hilton Head Island. Not only is it Pedal’s mission to be a marquee cycling event in the island’s Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community, but the event organizers’ main focus is to fund as many programs and scholarships as possible for the kids who benefit from the Boys and Girls Club. Pedal, and Pedal-for-a-Kid program specifically, continues to be a successful fundraising event year after year, and directly supports programs that focus on academic success, healthy lifestyles, and the importance of being good, productive and caring citizens.
For more information, or if you’d like to register for Pedal Hilton Head, click here.
For discounts on rental bikes and other activities, fill out this short form below:
Mother’s Day is coming up, and if you’re drawing a blank trying to think of something to do for your World’s Best Mom, here are some ideas of some of the best things to do if you find yourself on Hilton Head Island this year.
Plan A Picnic
Take advantage of the beautiful spring weather and treat your mom to an al fresco spread on one of the island’s beaches or parks. Nothing beats eating lunch outside on a warm, sunny day, and your mom will love this thoughtful gesture and quality time with you. Grab all of mom’s favorite eats and everything else you’ll need at Piggly Wiggly. Not sure what to pack in the cooler? Try preparing something new like this tasty Thai Mandarin Salad with Peanut Orange Chipotle Dressing or these delicious chicken wraps. Have a sweet tooth? These easy-to-make Raspberry Jam Thumbprint Cookies will be a hit!
Paint Some Pottery
Fun for all ages, make a reservation for yourself and your mom at the island’s very own pottery studio, The Art Café. With hundreds of items to choose from, you both will have a great time creating your own masterpieces. Located on the second story above Rockfish, the studio has paired with the restaurant to serve food and beverages in the evenings. If you and your mom want to enjoy a relaxing time painting and sipping on refreshing drinks from The Art Café’s patio, think about making your reservation anytime after four o’clock. Give the staff three days to hand-glaze and process your pieces, and your new favorite keepsake will be ready to pick up!
You can never go wrong with taking your mom to a delicious brunch to start Mother’s Day off right. Hilton Head is home to an array of cafés and restaurants that serve fantastic brunch favorites, and of course if Mom is an early riser, breakfast. Because Mother’s Day lands on a Sunday, expect the brunch crowds to be more crowded than usual and make a reservation ahead of time if you can. For our guide to some of the best brunches on the island, click below:
Go for a Bike Ride
Something that should already be on your to-do list while visiting Hilton Head Island regardless of the occasion, rent bikes and let Mom decide where to going exploring. From miles of bike paths to open stretches of beautiful beaches, make sure to ask for a bike basket in case you happen to stop at any of the island’s shops in between! Remember to take a break and lock up your bike to grab a bite to eat—your mom (and legs) will thank you!
Day Trip to Daufuskie Island
Spend the day with Mom on Daufuskie Island, a sea island situated between Hilton Head and Savannah. Only accessible by ferry, this lowcountry gem is a great escape from the crowds. The island has few paved roads, making golf carts the best way to explore the five-mile-long island. While there, enjoy a delicious meal of fresh seafood and other local ingredients at one of the dining locations on Daufuskie that take advantage of their beautiful surroundings and offer outdoor seating. Remember to bring your camera while roaming the island and soak in the Lowcounty’s natural beauty.
For more information and discounts on the activities listed, fill out the form below. If there’s any additional dining, shopping, and/or activities on Hilton Head Island that you’re interested in, please let us know!
It’s beginning to be brunch season again. What is brunch season, you ask? Well, to be honest, we just completely made that up. But we are heading into the time of year when there are more reasons to plan on spending your mid-morning sipping on mimosas and enjoying a delicious plate of French toast. With Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day fast approaching, it’s a good idea to start making plans now—especially if you’re able to make reservations ahead of time! Here are our recommendations for some of the best brunches on Hilton Head Island:
Palmetto Bay Sunrise Café
Located in Palmetto Bay Marina, this café is a great option for breakfast or lunch—or in this case, brunch! Palmetto Bay Sunrise Café is a local favorite that quickly turns new customers into regulars. With a full bar that can whip up delicious Bloody Marys, and a regularly updated specials menu that continues to wow, this island favorite offers a dog-friendly patio where you can enjoy a beautiful morning waterside.
We recommend the Crab Cake Eggs Benedict or their signature Breakfast Burrito with homemade salsa. Although breakfast items are served all day, their “Late Risers,” or lunch menu, is equally delicious. Try the Shrimp Scampi, Leslie Burger, or the Egg Salad Melt. Add an order of Crab Wontons from their “Snax” menu, or try their delicious She-Crab Soup.
Plantation Café & Deli
A Hilton Head staple that has been in operation for almost half a century, Plantation Café & Deli has three convenient locations that cover both the island and Bluffton. For early risers that want to get a head start on their day, visit this café before eight a.m. to order from their delicious Early Bird Specials menu. If sleeping in is on the day’s to-do list, both breakfast, lunch, and Sunday Brunch menus are packed with mouthwatering plates. A must-stop while visiting Hilton Head, visitors and locals alike rave about the delightful, family-friendly atmosphere and scrumptious southern-style cooking.
The breakfast menu boasts country skillets, an array of benedicts and omelets, as well as plates from the griddle that are all beautifully topped with powdered sugar. Our favorite breakfast plate is Ellie’s Southern Breakfast, a more traditional order with a southern spin that includes fried green tomatoes. You can’t go wrong with a Creole skillet or golden Belgian Waffle. Our Sunday Brunch favorites include the Salad Platter and Pimento Grilled Cheese.
Skillets Café & Grill
Located in Coligny Plaza, Skillets Café & Grill is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Although they don’t have a specific brunch menu, they do serve breakfast until three p.m. due to popular demand. In operation for twenty-five plus years, Skillets has always been the go-to place before or after a trip to the beach. Among plenty of great reviews from happy customers, praises for how seriously the restaurant staff takes gluten-free allergies are just as plentiful as the amount of options of menu items that are gluten-free friendly and even vegan.
When at Skillets Café & Grill, why not order one of their five, delicious breakfast skillets? In true island fashion, two of our favorites are called The Beach and The Coligny. We would also recommend the Country Crepe, The Kitchen Sink, as well as the Seafood Omelette off the breakfast menu. If you’re ordering off the lunch menu, try the Monte Cristo or Shrimp and Grits. Lunchtime also unlocks a long list of dessert options, so make sure to save room for a slice of Key Lime Pie, Lemon Berry Mascarpone Cake, or the House Made Cobbler.
These are just three of the long list of fantastic brunch options you can find on Hilton Head Island. For more places to find great food and hospitality on the island, visit our Restaurant page.
Fill out the short form below to receive our Mini Island Discount Packet that offers coupons for dining, shopping, activities, and more in and around the Coligny Beach area!
Hilton Head Island is an idyllic escape from neon signs and chaotic cities—and that wasn’t an accident. Over the years, locals and generations of visitors alike have worked hard to preserve and protect the island’s natural habitats throughout the town’s stages of development. If it weren’t for the early visionary and developer of Sea Pines, Charles Fraser, and continued conservation efforts such as the creation of the Hilton Head Land Trust in 1987, the island would’ve looked very different.
Fraser’s use of strict land-use covenants and sincere respect for wide-open spaces started a trend that ultimately caused Hilton Head Island to be considered a leader in environmental activism. Additional public, residential, and tourist-driven communities all share the same respect for the island’s natural beauty. This desire to showcase Hilton Head’s natural landscape instead of buildings is the reason why you might drive past a shopping center ten times before you knew it even existed.
Preserving this natural paradise is always on the island’s mind, but in honor of Earth Day, here are a few ways to keep Hilton Head Island beautiful for generations to come:
Skip the Straw
In the summer of 2018, Beaufort County encouraged everyone to participle in something called a Strawless Summer. Four years later, local communities have continued finding ways to either replace plastic straws with greener options or encouraged people to just simply skip the straw. The next time you head out for your beach day, try swapping a to-go cup for an insulated, reusable cup so your drink can also stay colder for longer!
It might not seem like saying no to a plastic straw would make much of a difference, it’s not only an easy way to help limit single-use plastics, but it takes one of the most detrimental pieces of trash out of the ocean. The shape and size of a plastic straw make it more dangerous if consumed by wildlife.
Bring a Tote Bag
Efforts to reduce single-use plastic doesn’t stop at plastic straws in Hilton Head. Beaufort County started a plastic bag ban in 2018, so it’s always a good idea to bring a reusable bag or two when you’re in town. Having an extra bag while traveling is always a good idea as it is. From having a designated snack tote for your road trip to having an extra bag on hand to carry wet towels back from the beach, you will certainly find a use for reusable bags on your vacation even if a trip to the grocery store isn’t on your to-do list.
Leave Nothing but Your Footprints:
Now that you have that reusable bag handy, make sure that everything you’ve brought to the beach leaves with you. If you see trash that previous beachgoers have left behind, please do us a favor and pick it up! The island’s beaches have plenty of receptacles that make disposing of your garbage easy. The town has even added baskets at beach entrances to help those who want to help our beaches stay clean.
Not only is it important to pick up your beach toys and any trash you might have, but always remember to fill in any holes you might have dug. A hazard the entire year, filling in holes in the sand is especially important during the summer. During nesting season, sea turtles are deterred from laying their eggs in a safe location if they run into any barriers or holes in the sand.
Attend Hilton Head’s Annual Beach Clean Up
Respect the Wildlife
Wildlife and their habitats are always considered a priority on Hilton Head Island. The entire reason behind conservation efforts, respecting local wildlife is necessary in keeping the island a natural paradise. The best way to show your respect is to leave them be! Feeding—and especially harassing–wild animals is never a good idea and could cost you a big fine! Take as many pictures of all the dolphins, deer, and alligators you’d like, just don’t put yourself or them in dangerous situations and give them plenty of space.
Not only should you let the wildlife alone, but you should also stay away from the dunes on the island’s beaches. The island’s beaches are large enough, so there really is no need for biking or walking through the dunes. Serving as important storm barriers, the dunes are also home to various native species and allow animals to navigate the island without having to cross any roadways. Dunes are also where many sea turtles decide to nest.
Speaking of sea turtles, the island has a saying during turtle season in the summer months—lights out for turtles! This simply means that all outside lights near the beach should be turned off. Baby turtles look for the moonlight reflecting off of the ocean, so if they were to see other lights in the opposite direction, they may not make it to the waterline.
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The South’s Best of 2022 is officially out, and it looks like the Lowcountry and neighboring City of Savannah have officially won over the hearts of those at Southern Living as well as their readers. With fourteen categories in total, South Carolina captures the “winningest state” title, earning the number one ranking in five divisions. Four out of the five are located right here in the Lowcountry:
The South’s Best Beach Town: Hilton Head Island, SC
The South’s Best Small Town: Beaufort, SC
The South’s Best City: Charleston, SC
The South’s Best Brewery: Palmetto Brewing Company (Charleston, SC)
We’re also excited to see the South’s Best Bakery, Back in the Day Bakery, is located in the lovely, Savannah, GA, which was also the runner up to the South’s Best City!
You can’t deny the charming allure of these destinations, and Southern Living has written fantastic accounts that’ll make you want to pack a bag and visit! After winning the South’s Best Beach Town in 2019, Hilton Head Island has reclaimed its rightful title once again. There’s something to be said about a place where pristine, near-perfect beaches are just the starting point as to why it’s considered the best beach town.
The article sings Hilton Head’s praises in detail, stating that the island’s Gullah roots, environmental mindfulness, and delicious local fare are just some of the many factors that have shaped the island into the flouring coastal community that it is today. With a heavy nod to the surrounding waterways—be it oysters, beautiful views, or boats and watersports—the article includes comments from locals who have never taken the island’s splendor for granted.
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