A Cool Day in Hilton Head, SC

Our first review in our ‘home state’ is about a cool day we spent on Hilton Head Island.  Ok South Carolina has only been our ‘home’ for 18 months, but in that short time we’ve visited a ton of cool places:  Lake Norman, The Biltmore, Asheville, Carowinds, Myrtle Beach, to name a few.  Hilton Head was a name we knew but a place we’d never visited before.  I knew it was  famous golf lovers destination from watching the golf channel with my Dad.  We’d already vacationed at Myrtle Beach, SC, but its about as different from Hilton Head as Morton’s is from Outback.  Hilton Head has a sort of residential feel to it, where Myrtle seemed more like a tourist destination.  They both have their charms.

Hilton Head boasts 12 miles of beach.  Driving into Hilton Head we were surprised that we didn’t see the ocean!  The island is home to huge oaks draped in Spanish moss. It’s beautiful and peaceful but you do start to wonder when the ocean will pop into view.  Alongside the roadways are miles, 60 in fact, of bike trails. (Don’t worry if you can’t bring your own bikes, you can find rental shops stocking hundreds of bikes all over the island and at most resorts).  Hilton Head Bicycle CO will deliver a bike to you for $25 a week.

We were actually vacationing in Hilton Head to meet up with my parents, who had spent the last week with our kiddos.  Our final destination was Disney’s low country themed island resort, but for now we had the day to ourselves to play.  Since we weren’t checking into the resort until 4:00 we decided to head to one of the 6 public beaches. Actually all beach is public but the access is restricted by resorts and private residences. There are three access spots with free parking, and three metered in 30 minute increments.  We chose Coligny Beach.   The huge free lot fills fast, but we found a prime spot. Tip — go early or you might be looking for a spot for awhile.  Three carloads of beach goers came by to ask if we were leaving.

Scott and I grabbed our cooler with lunch, bag of hats and SPF, and sadly, realized we forgot our beach chairs, tunes, and our canopy!! So to help you avoid this mistake – click here to access our handy Going to the Beach checklist. We did have a nice supply of Fat Tire in cans, and chilled white wine.

The public area at Coligny Beach boasts clean restrooms and showers, even outdoor changing closets with curtains.  Across the street is a district called Coligny Plaza, which is a huge strip mall with shops and dining. Click here to learn more about Coligny Plaza.  The area is upscale but everyone is dressed beach casual.  Walking down to the beach, your flip flops are on solid ground with plastic latticed walkways stretching down to the packed sand where everyone sets up their sites.  The beach itself was crowded, but not in a stepping over people way. We found a spot with plenty of room around us right away, near water and not far from the path to bathrooms and showers.




The ocean water in Hilton Head is not clear. I hate to say murky but it kinda was. I’m not sure if this is the norm or maybe just the time of year.  This was our first visit so we didn’t know what to expect, and although we did remember our snorkel gear no way was it useful. Still, the water was really nice and warm, lots of people swimming and a few optimists trying to boogie board on the little breaks in the surf.

As the tide came in and our stomachs started to rumble, we decided it was time to take in some local food.  We packed up and headed out on the main road to Pope Avenue.  We were looking for a spot to pick up some easy subs or the like, when we spied a little spot called Amigos Cafe Y Cantina.  Owned by a local, Andrew, and established more than 10 years ago, this is an out of the way spot some might refer to as a ‘hole in the wall’.  Of course its Hilton Head, so its still nice and clean.  Order salty plastic rimmed margs and tacos, burritos, or quesadillas right at the counter.  Get your hot chips, then head to the salsa bar.  Several salsa choices, including one rated with 8-10 as ‘experimental’ to choose from.  We ate there on our way out of town with the kiddos, and they loved it too!

All in all it was a super cool day, beach bummin’ and hanging out just the two of us sans kiddos.  To find out how the rest of the trip went once we made it the Disney Resort, check out our reviews from my perspective, Grandma’s, and the kids!

BTW, how long have people been enjoying this lovely stretch of sand?  William Hilton discovered the island in 1663!

For questions or to learn more about planning a cool trip to Hilton Head, contact me at:

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