On the water...

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Water, Water Everywhere...

Fun In, On and Near the Water...

While Hilton Head Island seems dominated by the massive, gated "plantations," town leaders have made a special effort to ensure that beach access is available for residents and visitors not staying on plantations.


But in accessing the island's seven beaches you need to remember two things:

  1. By law beaches are available for public use between the ocean and the high water mark; and
  2. Property above the high water mark is Sea Pines' iconic lighthouse at Harbour Townusually private property, which means you will be trespassing if you cross onto it.


Hilton Head Island considers the six-month period from April 1 through September 30 to be the official "beach season."









Public beaches and parks


For public use, the town has developed the following beaches and nearby parking. Alder Lane Beach Access, off South Forest Beach Dr, 23 metered parking spaces


  • Adler Lane Beach Access, off of South Forest Beach Dr
  • Burkes Beach Access, at the end of Burkes Beach Rd, 13 metered spaces
  • Chaplin Community Park, off William Hilton Pkwy
  • Coligny Beach Park, off Coligny Cr, parking is free
  • Driessen Beach Park, at the end of Bradley Beach Rd, 207 spaces reserved for annual beach passes from 8 am to 3 pm
  • Fish Haul Park, at the end of Beach City Rd, parking is free
  • Folly Field Beach Park, off Folly Field Rd, 54 metered spaces
  • Islanders Beach Park, off Folly Field Rd, spaces always reserved for annual beach passes
  • Mitchelville Beach Park, off Beach City Rd, parking is free


Beaches have marked spaces and are governed by parking meters, which require a quarter for each quarter hour. Regulations vary among beach parking areas, and are posted in each area. For details check the town Website here.


Handicap parking is available at no charge at all beach parks.






Swimming at the beaches


"Official swimming areas" have been designated for the Alder, Coligny, Driessen, Folly Field and Islanders beaches. The boundaries of these areas are marked on the beach and in the water.


During the beach season — April 1 through September 30 — "lifeguards are stationed in each of the designated swimming areas and other heavily populated beach areas for assistance and beach information." When a "yellow caution flag" is displayed at these beaches, lifeguards control access to the water, so ask before you go in.







Beach rules

According to the town's Website, the following are PROHIBITED on all Hilton Head Island public beaches.

  • Alcoholic liquor, beer, wine
  • Glass (bottles, containers, etc.)
  • Littering
  • Indecent exposure (nudity)
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Unauthorized vehicles
  • Fires and Fireworks
  • Shark Fishing
  • Removal, harming, or harassment of any live beach fauna (sea turtles, sand dollars, conchs, starfish, etc.)
  • Removal, alteration, or damage to dunes, sea oats, or other dune flora
  • Operation, launching, or landing of unauthorized motorized watercraft
  • Unauthorized commercial activity
  • Sleeping on the beach between midnight and 6 a.m.
  • Unauthorized wearing of lifeguard emblems, insignias, etc.
  • Solicitation or distribution of handouts
  • Kites not under manual control
  • Stunt kites 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. April 1 through September 30
  • Sand-sailing


More information is available at the town's Website here.


Potential beach prohibitions

After the end of the 2016 tourist season, the Town Council Finance and Administrative Committee held hearing about the appropriateness of limiting, or outright banning, the use of large beach umbrellas, tents and other canopies on public beaches.


Some local residents consider the construction unsightly at best, and at worst dangerous and costly to remove when abandoned by their owners.

During the hearing, the Shore Services director said that his staff cleans up 20 to 50 abandoned canopies left behind each week during the high tourist season.

Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation Arts Center of Coastal Carolina RBC Heritage golf classic at Sea Pines Resort Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn
King Tide Guide, when and how much to expecgt

Boating, in all its forms...

Boating services are often seasonal, and business come and go, but we try to keep the list current.




Barhopper near-shore excursions, 671-2704

Boat charters, 671-2628

Charter 32' Hero or Echo, 671-2704

Outside Hilton Head, 686-6996

Private charter boat, the Manatee, 671-2704



Dolphin & Nature

Capt. Dick's Dolphin Watch, 524-4422

Dolphin Discoveries, 684-1911

Dolphin SeaFari, 785-7131

Dolphin Watch Cruises, 785-4558

Dolphin Watch on Gypsy, South Beach, 363-2900

Gypsy, South Beach, 363-2900

Island Explorer, 785-2100

Low Country Nature Tours, 683-0187

Nature kayak nature tours, 842-1979

Outside Hilton Head, 686-6996

Sonny-C Charters, Pelican & Island Queen, 681-2522

Stars & Strips sailing, 363-9446

Vagabond dolphin cruises, 363-9023

Commander Zodiac nature tours, 671--3344



Dinner Cruises

Dinner, specialty cruises, 642-7179

Spirit of Harbour Town, 363-9026



Dive Charters

Integrity Charters, certified master, 422-1221



Jet Skis

C-Katz Watersportz, Yamaha Jet Skis, 681-9008




Commander Zodiac nature tours, 671--3344

Electric Motor Kayaking, 699-5331

Kayak Hilton Head, 684-1910

Harbour Town kayak rental, 671-4386

Outside Hilton Head, 686-6996

Palmetto Bay Water Sports, 785-2345




Palmetto Bay Parasailing, 785-7131

Sky Pirate, 842-2566



Power boating

Flying Circus Sailing Charters, 686-2582

Harbour Town Power Boats, 363-2628

Island Water Sports, 671-7007

Parasailing, waver runners, etc, 67`1-4386

Screamin' speed boat rides, 689-3337



Rentals, powerboat

Powerboats at Harbour Town, 671-4386




Paul Hana & Flying Circus, 686-2582

Sail charters by Let's Go, 671-4386

Stars & Strips sailing, Vagabond Cruise, 363-9446

Stiletto 30' Catamaran, 671-4386

Sail Sumo trimaran, 672-4386



Savannah tours

Old Savannah Tours, 800-517-9007

Savannah aboard Spirit of Harbour Town, 363-9026



Sport Fishing

Bonnie Rae Charters sport fishing, 706-2181

Blue Water Bait, Tackle & Charters, 671-3060

Bulldog Fishing Charters, 422-0887

Capt. Hook Deep Sea Fishing, 785-1700

Drifter Deep Sea Fishing, 363-2900

Fishin' Coach Charters, 757-2126

Boomerang fishing charters, South Beach, 671-3060

Izzy-A Sea Cat, Fishing charter, 23', 671-2704

Live Oak, Family Shark Fishing, 888-254-8362

Moneric Fishing Charters, 816-0215

Outside Hilton Head, 686-6996

Polecat Sport fishing, 384-5186

Pristine Charters, 290-1187

Runaway Carolina Sport fisher, 384-6511

Shark Fishing on Drifter, South Beach 363-2900

Shark Hunters, Nautical Therapy, 683-8687

Stray Cat Charters, 683-5427

Triple Threat, fastest fishing charter, 689-3337

Offshore sport fishing, 671-4534



Wave runners

Island Water Sports, 671-7007

Palmetto Bay Water Sports , 785-2345




Commander Zodiac , 671-3433



Marina Capacity Chart

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