Hilton Head Beaches

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Hilton Head beaches, like almost all those along the Atlantic, are public from the ocean to the high water mark. Access to some of them, however, may be private. The island has become famous as a year-round resort for good reason. A temperate climate, spectacular golf, and 10,000 years of history are only the beginning.

Details about Hilton Head Beaches

The island of Hilton Head nestles close to the South Carolina shore. It is shaped like a boot and stands on tiptoe near the Georgia state border. The bridge from the mainland--to extend the metaphor--is the ankle bone. The sole of the boot are the 12 miles of wide Hilton Head beaches along the Atlantic. In the center of that stretch are the five public access beach areas, all of which have designated swimming areas.

Four of the five are parks--Coligny, Driessen, Folly Field, and Islanders. All these offer changing areas, showers, and restrooms. Parking is both metered and long-term, but not at every beach. Metered parking is available at Alder Lane (22 spaces), Coligny (30), and Folly Field (52). Two-year beach parking passes are available, but only to those who own or live on property within town limits.

The regular Hilton Head beach season is April 1 through September 30. Animals are not permitted on Hilton Head beaches between 10 am and 5 pm during the regular season, and must be leashed when they are. Surfing and fishing is not permitted in designated swimming areas. Alcohol, glass, commercial activities, fireworks, littering, and nudity are forbidden. In short, the usual guidelines apply.

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