Funny story! While we were on vacation last fall walking around the island of St. Martin in the Caribbean, someone approached us with a scratch off and we ended up winning a FREE 4 day stay at the Marriott Hilton Head Resort & Spa! I mean…. we had to listen to a 3-hour time share time share presentation, but at the end it was all worth it! 😉
Another interesting story is that one of my coworkers is actually originally from Hilton Head Island (HHI), so she was able to give me a couple of great tips before our trip! 🙂 Thanks, Jordan! An interesting observation that we did, was that the majority of the tourism in HHI is mainly “seasoned” travelers, so don’t expect some crazy nights out haha. But don’t worry, it’s still a great place to relax and enjoy a few days away from home!
You can either fly directly to HHI or you can fly into Savannah, GA and rent a car and drive an hour to get to HHI like we did. Regardless of where you fly into, I highly recommend renting a car because things are pretty spread apart, and nothing is really walking distance. We got a great deal on a car with Budget!
Sea Pines is a MUST GO! I recommend spending one day in Sea Pines. It’s on the South End of the island, plus this is where Harbor Town Lighthouse and South Beach! If you are interested in golfing, this is also your place! They charge $10 (cash only) to get into the plantation by car. Then, you park in a lot and then you can take a FREE trolly that takes you to different areas of the plantation. It’s super cute!
- South Beach: This is where the famous Salty Dog Café is. You can sit outside and enjoy the lake view. They often have live music in the afternoons and sunset is gorgeous. We enjoyed lunch and drinks at the outside bar! You can follow the marked paths to reach the beach too.
- Harbor Town: This is where the famous red and white lighthouse is at, and you can even go to their mini museum and go all the way to the top for $5 and enjoy the view! There are ice cream shops, bars, and stores in Harbor Town, but it’s more about the marina views.
Daufuskie Island is another MUST visit, it’s fun! You can only get here by “ferry” (more like a boat), and you can get your tickets here. I recommend taking the 10am ferry and coming back at the last one at 5:30pm. You can park your car for free at their place.
This island is SUPER TINY and a bit old school with some interesting history. What makes this island fun, is that you can only navigate it with a golf cart at a 15 MPH speed! Haha You also get a map of the island with places to find, so it’s like a little scavenger hunt! They have several restaurants in the island, but my friend recommended trying Daufuskie Island Crab Co for a cold beer and sandwich and we really enjoyed it!
I recommend booking the ferry a day before and also reserving the golf carts a day before, because one day we just showed up the day of and they were sold out for the ferry. The golf cart vendor we used was Island Carts and their number is 843-505-3937. They have golf carts for 4 or 6 people. The all-day cost for a standard golf cart was $70 and pretty much all vendors have the same price. For more golf cart vendors, check the bottom of THIS page.
Although HHI is a small city and we were there during the week, it was actually a bit hard to get a table, so I recommend making reservations, especially if you are with a big party.
The Boathouse: Located on the north end of the island. HUGE menu with a little bit of everything and an ENORMOUS outdoor patio and bar.
Hudson’s Seafood: Also located on the north end of the island, right next to Boathouse and apparently this is the only seafood house that serves all local seafood. The outside deck is definitely where you want to be!
Pro Tip: snag seats at the outside bar. Get there 4:30-5ish and stay for sunset!
Sunset Grille: MUST GO! Although it’s right next to an RV area, it’s a great restaurant! So don’t be discouraged. This was probably the best place for a fancier dinner. The dining room is on the smaller side, so you’ll definitely need reservations. Views of the water are GORGEOUS and sunset views are phenomenal. We went at 7:30pm and that was the perfect time.
Sunrise Café: In Palmetto Bay Marina. My friend recommended this place and it’s a great spot for breakfast/lunch.
As I mentioned, we stayed at the Marriott Hilton Head Resort & Spa in the Palmetto Dunes area, facing the ocean and near many other resorts.
You could also rent a house in the Sea Pines area or get an Airbnb if you are into doing that.
We went in April and it was definitely chilly in the morning and after sunset. So as a Texan, I recommend bringing a light sweater or jacket if you go in the spring. Now you have all the insider recommendations I got from a HHI native! 😉