Holiday Beach Bums: Why We Still Love the Beach in Chilly Weather

By Joanna Harrison, Contributor

Nothing beats summer days at the beach, toes in the warm sand, and sun-kissed cheeks as the sun goes down… (Excuse us while we daydream). Okay, aaaand we’re back. Those days are gone for now, but there are still so many reasons to enjoy the beach in the chillier weather, especially during the holidays!

Here’s our foolproof guide to being a holiday beach bum:

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Try a Morning Jog

During the fall and winter months it’s easy to get a little lethargic, and maybe pack on a couple extra pounds. I mean, pumpkin beer and Thanksgiving food, how could you not? But there is nothing quite as invigorating as an early morning jog on the beach, with the crisp, cool, salty air on your face. Plus, people who workout in the morning are more likely to tackle other tasks throughout the day. It’ll do wonders for your focus, clarity and can help to lower stress levels. Don’t forget to check the tides first!

Photo by David Nicolai

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Make a Sand Snowman with the Family

We may not have a white Christmas down in the Lowcountry, but we still love to get into the Holiday spirit! Why not bring the kids down to the beach, and build a “sandman?” Bonus points for Santa hat, driftwood arms, and sunglasses. And while you’re at it – snap a few pics and you’ve got yourself a family Christmas card!

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Treasure Hunt

One of the most magical things about the beach in the off-season is that it is so quiet and peaceful. There are long stretches of sand that can go untouched for days, so it is the perfect time to get down to the water and find all sorts of treasures, seashells, sea glass, driftwood, coral, sand dollars, etc. Take a solo trip, or bring the whole family and fill a bucket with some ocean goodies!

Crafty Tip: Use all of your treasures and make a beautiful, beachy holiday wreath!

Photo by Wicker Woodson

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Bundle Up and Star Gaze

One of the best things about our sweet little island is that there is minimal light pollution, meaning on a clear night you can see a full sky of bright stars. Throw on a big cozy sweater, make a cup of hot tea, and make your way down to the beach at night for a spectacular view.

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Outdoor Yoga

Get your Zen on with a little beach yoga! Go with a group or by yourself and try a yoga practice by the waves. Moonlit yoga is quite delightful, or perhaps on a warm afternoon to soak up some rays. I can’t think of anything more relaxing than a nice Savasana in the sand followed by a trip up to Coligny for a nice winter cocktail. Try a few simple practices here.

Photo by Chelsea Gates

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Beach Bocce and Other Games

Who says you need to be hot and sweaty to play some awesome beach games? Hilton Head has so many mild days during the fall and winter seasons, where the air is crisp, but it’s only cool enough for a light jacket. This is the absolute perfect time for an afternoon game of Bocce on the beach. Pack a cooler with some snacks, bring a jacket and some towels, and play some games until the sun goes down.


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Arts Center of Coastal Carolina’s December 2022 Production of “A Christmas Story: The Musical”

Celebrating the holidays on Hilton Head Island?

Starting on December 7th, the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina will open A Christmas StoryThe Musical, a holiday film classic turned hilarious musical. A great way to get into the Christmas spirit, grab your tickets and join Ralphie Parker on his exploits to fulfill his Christmas wish. Purchase tickets here.

When

December 7-31, 2022

Evening performances are at 7:30pm, and afternoon performances are either at 1:00pm or 2:00pm depending on the date. There are no performances scheduled on Sunday, the 25th and Monday, the 26th.

Where

The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina

14 Shelter Cove Ln., Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

Who Should Go

This musical is a great treat for families, and is best for ages 5 and older.

More About the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina

This award-winning regional arts center, is an independent, non-profit theater that not only brings quality performances to the region, but organizes cultural festivals and opportunities for educational outreach to the community. Not only is there the 349-seat, Elizabeth Wallace Theater, but there is the Walter Greer Gallery that showcases artwork from over 150 local artists, and is a partnership between the Arts Center and the Art League of Hilton Head.


Fill out the short form below to receive more information about activities on Hilton Head Island:

Hilton Head Golf Course Tops Travel+Leisure’s Best Courses in South Carolina

Earlier this month, Travel+Leisure listed what they considered to be the best golf courses in South Carolina, which you can read here.

Photo by Robert Linder

Considering that there are more than 350 to choose from, we were especially excited to find that the first on the list was none other than Harbour Town Golf Links, located on our very own Hilton Head Island. The writer, Patricia Doherty, also adds that there are more than 23 championship courses on the island, giving even more credit where credit is due.

With the iconic Harbour Town Lighthouse overlooking the 18th hole, Harbour Town Golf Links is best known for hosting the PGA Tour for RBC Heritage every spring. The founder of Sea Pines, Charles E. Fraser, established the tournament in 1969, allowing the Heritage Classic Foundation to raise millions for various charities over the years. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus are just two of the big names in golf that have won the RBC Heritage over the years.

Doherty continues to name Palmetto Bluff’s May River Golf Club and Daufuskie Island’s Haig Point as the second and third golf courses on the list, solidifying that Hilton Head Island makes the perfect home base for a dream vacation destination for golfers.

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Golf Course in South Carolina

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If you’re interested in discounted rounds of golf at various golf courses on Hilton Head Island, please fill out the short form below:

Halloween Events on Hilton Head Island

The fall season is well underway in the Lowcountry, and as the end of October creeps up on us, we’re getting ready to celebrate this spooky time of year. Read on to learn more about the events scheduled just in time for Halloween.

Click here for a full schedule of 2022’s fall events.

October 19-22, 2022

7:00pm

Zion Cemetery & Baynard Mausoleum Outdoor Learning Center

Directions

Join the Heritage Library at one of the spookiest and most haunted locations on Hilton Head for an evening full of ghost stories and paranormal accounts. Recommended for those 10-years and older, learn all about the most famous historical figures haunting the island. Purchase tickets here.

October 22-29, 2022

10:00am-11:30am

Sea Pines Heritage Farm

Directions

You’re cordially invited to a festive wagon ride through the scenic Sea Pines Forest Preserve. Play a specially-themed game of I-Spy to get into the Halloween spirit. Reserve your seat ahead of time, and feel free to arrive in costume. Tickets can be purchased here.

October 21, 2022

4:00pm-7:00pm

Shelter Cove Community Park

Directions

Shelter Cove will host this free event on the Friday before Halloween. Kids are encouraged to dress up and enter the Costume Contest at 5:45. Enjoy free games and activities with the option of purchasing concessions and the chance to climb a rock wall or go for a train ride.

October 30, 2022

1:30pm-3:30pm

Harbour Town

Directions

Another reason to show off your wicked Halloween costume, all ages are invited for this Harbour Town celebration. Join in on fun activities and trick-or-treating, hosted by Sea Pines Resort. Although this is a free event, a gate fee is required to enter the Sea Pines property.


Want to stay up to date on what’s happening on Hilton Head? Fill out the short form below to sign up for the Hilton Head Guest Services Newsletter:

Arts Center of Coastal Carolina’s October 2022 Production of “Little Shop of Horrors”

If you’re visiting Hilton Head Island this October, make sure to grab tickets to see the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina’s latest production, Little Shop of Horrors! Read on for more information about the show, and click here to purchase tickets.

When & Where

Performances are on Wednesday through Sunday evenings at 7:30pm, with an additional afternoon showtime available on Saturdays only. Your last chance to see Little Shop of Horrors will be on Sunday, October 30th.

The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina

14 Shelter Cove Ln., Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

Who Should Go

The show is recommended for comedy and musical lovers ages 13-years and older. Parental discretion is advised.

Show Synopsis

This hilarious musical has been an Off-Broadway favorite for over 30-years. Full of comedy and rock, this show centers around a floral shop assistant named, Seymour, who discovers an unusual plant that will change his life as he knows it. Only after naming it after his crush at the floral shop, Seymour finds that this strange plant has a thirst for human blood! A perfect show to see just in time for Halloween, the Little Shop of Horrors is a production you’ll never forget.

More About Arts Center of Coastal Carolina

This award-winning regional arts center, is an independent, non-profit theater that not only brings quality performances to the region, but organizes cultural festivals and opportunities for educational outreach to the community. Not only is there the 349-seat, Elizabeth Wallace Theater, but there is the Walter Greer Gallery that showcases artwork from over 150 local artists, and is a partnership between the Arts Center and the Art League of Hilton Head.


Fill out the short form below to receive more information about activities on Hilton Head Island:

The Best Takeout to Take to the Beach

Hilton Head Island boasts beach weather year-round.  Most of the time, it’s warm enough to spend all day at the beach. Other times, the island’s temperate weather still makes it a great spot for a walk, bike ride, or a great place for a picnic. If it’s a last-minute afternoon trip to catch some rays or you’re wanting to eat lunch or dinner with a stunning view, read on for some of the best local restaurants to order takeout from before hitting the beach.

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Stu’s Surfside Subs & Suds

Sandwiches are the ultimate beach food, that’s why they’re called “sandwiches,” right?  All jokes aside, throw a couple of sandwiches, a bag of chips, and some sodas in a cooler and you’ll be able to spend the rest of the afternoon soaking up the sunshine without having to leave and find food.

I don’t think we have to further explain anything, this is common knowledge. We do, however, have a suggestion of where to pick up sandwiches before heading out to the beach! Stop by Stu’s Surfside Subs & Suds and pick up one of the most delicious subs you’ll ever have in your life.  An island staple and newly renovated, Stu’s is conveniently located in Coligny Plaza.

We recommend The Local and The Sub-Mariner, although anything on the menu is simply delicious.

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Local Pie

Another convenient takeout choice is pizza. If you’re getting a later start to your beach day than expected, order a pie or two ahead of time to take with you!  Although you can’t necessarily stow an entire pizza box into a cooler, it’ll be ready to eat as soon as you sink down into your beach chair.

 Local Pie is just up the road from Coligny Beach and is a great choice if you’re feeding a large group or are picking up a smaller pizza for yourself to enjoy. This goes without being said, but please remember to discard the box when you’re done—we want those beaches to stay clean!

We recommend an order of wings alongside a Suped Up, Mr. Mittake, or a Monkey classic pie. You can create your own masterpiece, and there’s a lineup of delicious calzones and fresh-baked subs to choose from.

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Aunt Chilada’s

What could be better than relaxing in the Carolina sunshine and watching the waves roll in?  Relaxing in the Carolina sunshine and watching the waves roll in with a big plate of nachos or an array of delicious tacos to enjoy. Aunt Chilada’s is your go-to takeout choice if you’re craving some chips, salsa, and queso—definitely order the queso.

You can easily order your meal over the phone or online to pick up on your way to the beach. Located minutes away from Coligny Beach, it’ll still be fresh and ready to eat after you find the perfect spot to lay your beach towels down. Just don’t wait too long!

We recommend the queso, burrito bowl, street corn bites, and…did we say queso?

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Sea Shack

Worth a stop even if you’re not headed out for a beach day, the Sea Shack is an island favorite for those who love fresh seafood that’s fried, blackened, or grilled. Somewhat hidden off of Pope Road, you’d never know it by the size of the crowds on a warm, summer day. But don’t fret—the line moves quickly and you’ll soon be on your way with a to-go box full of something delicious.

This is another meal that you should probably eat sooner than later, and honestly, it may not even make it to the beach. It’ll smell so good that you’ll want to scarf it down before you find a spot in beach parking.

You’ll be able to find all of the classics on the menu such as shrimp, scallops, and oysters, alongside alligator, frog legs, and even conch fritters. Order the Shack Attack Combo to try all of the favorites including their delicious crab cake.  The Sea Shack also serves delicious po’ boys and burgers and has a great kid’s menu.


Fill out the short form below to receive a Mini Island Discount Packet that includes discounts for select dining, shopping, and activities:

Fall 2022 Events to Get Excited For

If there’s one thing that the Lowcountry likes to do as soon as the weather cools off a few degrees, it is to plan a festival or two–or ten. And we’re good at it too! Fall is a time to gather as a community and welcome new faces to celebrate the live music, great food, and beautiful weather within the Hilton Head and surrounding Beaufort County area.

Here are a few festivals and events to keep on your radar if you happen to be visiting the island this fall:

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Music & Taste on the Harbour

Select Thursday Nights in September & October 6-9 pm | Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina

These pet-friendly outdoor concerts at the Neptune Statue are the perfect way to spend your Thursday evenings on the island this fall. Enjoy local bands with the chance to purchase light appetizers, wine, beer, and cocktails from featured Shelter Cove Harbour restaurants. Leave the outside food and beverages at home as they’re not permitted, but don’t forget to grab your lawn chairs as limited seating is available.

Weather permitting–please check here for event updates and concert lineup.

Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ Market at Coastal Discover Museum

Tuesdays | 9 am-1 pm | 70 Honey Horn Dr., HHI

Farmers’ & Makers Market

Tuesdays (Ending Nov. 22nd) | 10 am-2 pm | The Shops at Sea Pines Center, 71 Lighthouse Rd. HHI

Farmers’ Market of Bluffton

Thursdays (Closed Thanksgiving) | 12-5 pm 68 Boundary St., Bluffton

Hilton Head Island Shrimp Festival

Harbour Town Lawn

Sea Pines Resort

Saturday, Sept. 24th

1:00-4:00 pm

Calling all shrimp lovers: the Hilton Head Island Shrimp Festival can’t be missed! Your ticket will unlock a profuse sampling of shrimp prepared by eighteen celebrated chefs from the Hilton Head area. Pair your savory shrimp dishes with craft beer tastings from 14 breweries. A family-friendly event, kids will love the designated “Fun Zone,” complete with a bounce house, face painting, and arts and crafts. Enjoy an array of specialty vendors, as well as a live performance by local band, Groove Town Assault.

Check here for ticket information.

Harbour Town Fall Fest

Harbour Town

Sea Pines Resort

Sunday, Sept. 25th

11:00am-6:00pm

Celebrate the first official weekend of fall with the Harbour Town Fall Fest. Peruse the shops from 11 am-6 pm during the sidewalk sale to find great deals on gifts for friends and family back home–and a little something for you, too! Starting at noon, check out the classic car display hosted by the Carolina Dreamers Car Club. At 1:00 pm, get ready for some great live music from local band, Deas-Guyz and children’s activities galore!

Please note that there is a gate fee to enter Sea Pines.

Harbour Town | Photo by Shep McAllister

Lowcountry Fish and Grits Music Festival

Lowcountry Celebration Park

Saturday, Oct. 1st

1:00-6:00pm

The Lowcountry Fish and Grits Music Festival will offer “Great music, great food, and great times!” By showcasing a lineup of fantastic musical talent and local cuisine, this festival brings awareness to the Gullah Geechee culture. Live entertainment includes a mix of folk, funk, jazz, spoken word, and R&B, as well as a special appearance by a Gullah storyteller and preservationist. Enjoy delicious food and market brought to you by Lowcountry Gullah Geechee vendors.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Rock N’ Ribs Music & BBQ Fest

Coligny Plaza

Oct. 14th-15th

Times Vary Per Ticket

Live music and barbecue, what could be better than that? Enjoy some classic rock and roll while tasting world-class barbecue from pit masters across the country. This is the inaugural year of this festival, and the island is buzzing with excitement. General admission and one-day VIP tickets are currently still on sale as of the publishing of this blog post. If you aren’t able to grab tickets for your group, you can always attend the Rock N’ Ribs Afterparty which is free and open to the public.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Italian Heritage Festival

Coastal Discovery Museum

70 Honey Horn Dr., HHI

Saturday, Oct. 22

11:00am-4:00pm

Hilton Head Island will celebrate the 12th Annual Italian Heritage Festival this fall, rain or shine. The festival returns with classic events like the grape stomping and pizza-eating contests, along with a few new events on the schedule as well. It wouldn’t be an Italian Heritage Festival without an array of booths offering traditional Italian foods. Cheeses, breads, pasta, calzones, meatballs, Italian ice, gelato, biscotti, and so much more will be available and sponsored by local restaurants. In addition to the delicious food and live entertainment, a silent auction will offer gift certificates for golfing, dining, boat cruises, and more!

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Off-island festivals that are worth the trip:

Annual Beaufort Shrimp Festival

Oct. 7 & 8

Downtown Beaufort

More Information

Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival

Oct. 15-23

Various Locations in Bluffton

More Information

Gullah/Geechee Seafood Festival

Oct. 22 | 12:00-6:00pm

Hunting Island Nature Center

More Information

Photo Credit: Beaufort Shrimp Festival | beaufortshrimpfestival.com

Concours d’Elegance

Various Locations

Nov. 4-6

Various Times

The 20th Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival continues to celebrate the art and passion behind the automobile. Year after year, those who flock to Hilton Head Island for the Concours d’Elegance festivities are never disappointed. The 2022 schedule of events is as elegant and entertaining as ever, so you won’t want to miss out! Find more information about each event and purchase tickets here.

Hilton Head Oyster Festival

Shelter Cove Community Park & Lowcountry Celebration Park

Nov. 11 & 12

Various Times

If we’re going by the r-rule–months that include the letter “r”–then November is well into the oyster season. This festival is an island favorite that benefits the Carmines Family Recreation Scholarship Fund at the Hilton Head Island Recreation Center. The Friday night before the official festival, join in on all-you-can-eat steamed local oysters and other delicious Lowcountry offerings while listening to live music. Saturday’s festivities include live music, kids’ activities, and an entire lineup of bands. Treat yourself to more delicious food and beverages while browsing local artisan pop-up shops. And of course, don’t forget about the Oyster Shucking Contest scheduled for 1:10 pm.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Hilton Head Island Lantern Parade

South Forest Beach

Saturday, Nov. 12

Line-Up: 5pm

Step-Off: 5:45pm

A Hilton Head Island tradition that the whole family can enjoy, the Lantern Parade will return once again this fall. A beautiful and fun experience to either partake in or watch, the parade will start at the Alder Lane Beach Access and make its way up the beach where an afterparty at the Tiki Hut awaits. It is a free event, and the only requirement to participate is that you have a lantern. This event was created by and features artist, Chantelle Rytter, and truly brings the island community together! Please leave pets and bicycles at home.

For more information, click here.

Photo Credit: Hilton Head Island Lantern Parade | culturehhi.org

The Gator Guide

Alligators.

A hot topic among those that visit Hilton Head Island, frequent visitors tend to know the drill and even look forward to seeing them sunbathing or skulking about in a nearby pond. On the other hand, first-time visitors might be hesitant about these modern-day dinosaurs—and that’s very understandable. These powerful reptiles shouldn’t be messed with, but we also don’t want anyone’s fear of alligators keeping them from exploring our beautiful island.

This guide is meant to give you some piece of mind and a solid understanding of how to keep both yourself and these crocodilian creatures safe.

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Photo by Brian Yurasits

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NEVER FEED ALLIGATORS

This can actually apply to all wildlife, but in this case, it’s extremely important to never feed alligators. There’s a reason for the saying, “A fed gator, is a dead gator,” since the act of feeding an alligator is not only illegal in South Carolina but also may come to a sad—and otherwise avoidable—outcome. Alligators end up associating humans with food, meaning that they lose their fear of people. So let them find their own catch of the day, snap the photo, and move on.

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KEEP YOUR DISTANCE

Smart phones these days have incredible camera quality, so there’s really never a reason for you to get closer than you already are to an alligator. In fact, you should be doing the opposite: give them as much space as possible. These creatures have incredible speed over short distances, and although they usually won’t chase people just for fun, they might interpret your approach as a threat.

In the rare occurrence when an alligator crosses your path, stay calm and give it as much room as possible. Alligators typically are the most active at night, dawn, or dusk, but sometimes they want to travel to the next pond in the middle of the day. They’ll be on a mission and won’t want to bother you as long as you don’t get in their way. Be as patient, calm, and respectful as possible while they finish crossing a path or road. We say patient, because they might take a couple of breaks on their journey regardless how short it is.  

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REGARDING PETS AND CHILDREN

Alligators can’t differentiate your pet from a wild animal, so the best way to keep your pets safe is to keep them on a leash and far from any ponds or marshy areas in general. Children can also be curious about these creatures and will want to get a closer look, so keep them away from the edge of ponds regardless if you see an alligator or not.

It’s best to just leave the island’s alligators alone, end of story. Maybe that’s where the phrase, “see you later, alligator,” comes from.

Contact the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources regarding alligator disturbances. The number for Beaufort County is (803) 625-3569.


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Visiting the Harbour Town Lighthouse Museum

It’s extremely hard not to think of the Harbour Town Lighthouse when Hilton Head Island is mentioned. The iconic, red-and-white striped structure has welcomed visitors for more than five decades, and its likeness has traveled around the country on many a bumper sticker and T-shirt.

Photo by Nikolay Loubet on Unsplash

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Although the lighthouse itself was constructed in 1969, it holds a collective history of Hilton Head within its walls.  Now a museum with 9 landings documenting the island’s history dating back to its Native American populations, visitors can climb all 114 steps to the very top for the best panoramic views of Harbour Town and the surrounding Calibogue Sound. The museum also includes a Coast Guard Exhibit, the first of its kind in the United States.

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At 93 feet, the Harbour Town Lighthouse stands out amongst the live oaks as it overlooks Harbour Town Yacht Basin and the legendary 18th hole of Harbour Town Golf Links.  In addition to acting as a navigational beacon for those out on the water, the lighthouse serves its true purpose as a gathering point, daily.  Charles Fraser, the creative genius and developer of the Sea Pines property, insisted there be a place for people to socialize. After extensive research, the plans of Harbour Town developed with Mediterranean influences, mainly open-air central plazas with gorgeous backdrops. There was really only one thing missing—a centerpiece. And so, the Harbour Town Lighthouse was created, making it the first lighthouse built since the early 1800s that was privately financed. Construction was completed just in time for the inaugural Heritage golf tournament, something that only grew Hilton Head Island’s popularity.

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A must-see for first-time vacationers to the island, especially for those interested in the region’s history, a visit to the Harbour Town Lighthouse will complete your trip to the island. Easy to get to and worth the trip, keep in mind that there is a gate fee when entering the Sea Pines property.  Plan to drive into Harbour Town, as bikes aren’t permitted through the gate unless you’re a guest staying within Sea Pines.  Parking does tend to fill up later in the day during peak seasons, so we recommend making the excursion after breakfast or brunch on a beautiful, clear morning. You’ll arrive just in time for the museum’s opening at 10 am and can enjoy the shops or have lunch in Harbour Town afterward. To find ticket pricing, the live webcam, or other information, click here.

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Photo by Shep McAllister on Unsplash

For more information about discounted tickets to the Harbour Town Lighthouse Museum or other fun activities on Hilton Head Island, fill out the form below.

Jazz in the Park–A Free Concert Series

Don’t miss out on the two remaining chances to enjoy Jazz in the Park, a free outdoor concert series.  A great way to enjoy a beautiful, summer evening filled with live music, don’t forget to bring your own chairs or blanket!

Each concert begins at 7:30 pm, giving you the option of having a nice dinner beforehand or picking up a meal to-go from any of the restaurants within walking distance of Lowcountry Celebration Park.

Want to learn more about this concert series or future concerts? Visit the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra’s website here.

To stay up to date on the island’s events and for more information on activities and island-wide discounts, fill out the form below.