Hilton Head Island Beach boasts more than 12 miles of sandy public beach. The number of people on the beach and amenities available vary depending on the access point you will choose. There are more commercialized and more tranquil swimming spots. For instance, Coligny Beach is extremely popular while Driessen Beach or Bradley Beach is quieter.
Location and Access
All of the beach from the ocean to the high watermark is public but there are many private accesses. Public access points with parking are located at Alder Lane Beach Access, Burkes Beach Access, Chaplin Community Park, Driessen Beach Park, Folly Field Beach Park, Islanders Beach Park, Mitchelville Freedom Park, Coligny Beach Park, and Mitchelville Beach Park. The last three parks offer free parking. Beach entrance is free.
The beach is fairly clean. At low tide, it can be up to two hundred yards wide. Designated swimming areas are clearly marked. You can find them at Folly Field, Alder, Coligny, and Islanders beach access points. The water is not always very clear but it’s warm. There is plenty of sea life in the water.
The official beach season is from April 1 to September 30, which means lifeguards will be on duty at designated swimming areas and some other heavily crowded spots during this period.
You should know that fishing is not free. If you don’t fish with a licensed captain or from a licensed pier, you are required to buy a South Carolina saltwater fishing license, otherwise, you will be fined (from $160 to $1000 and more).
The beach is wide and long and features hard-packed sand, which is just perfect for long strolls and bike rides. However, there are no shells so don’t expect a rewarding shelling session. If you’re a sports enthusiast, there are golf courses and watersport rentals.
Animals are permitted on the beach at certain hours so dog owners should plan their visit accordingly. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day, pets are not allowed at all! However, you can bring your dog on a leash between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. April 1st through Thursday before Memorial Day and Tuesday after Labor Day through September 30th. Finally, at all other times, you can also bring your dog on a leash. But don’t forget to pick up after your pet.
- 2 hours 5 minutes from Charleston, SC
- 3 hours 55 minutes from Charlotte, NC
- 4 hours 15 minutes from Atlanta, GA
Additionally, there's a number of beaches near Hilton Head Island Beach which you can visit: