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Your Guide to the Best Beaches on Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island beaches are among the most beautiful in the country. Smooth sand, endless blue skies, and great weather combine to make the ideal conditions for beach days throughout the four seasons! Read on to learn everything you need to plan the perfect family beach day, including beach access information, beach rules, and tips for planning your trip.

Afterward, discover more of the island’s hidden treasures in our free Seven-Day Hilton Head Island Guide. Our guide is full of recommendations on family-friendly restaurants, beach rentals, and more so that you can spend less time planning and more time having fun.

Hilton Head Beach Access Information

Hilton Head Island is home to 12 miles of pristine beach. The entire beach is beautifully maintained and open to the public. Many of our homes and villas at Beach Properties provide private beach access. However, if you are not staying in a home or villa with direct oceanfront or beach path access, we have you covered! Take advantage of the following beach access areas below.

Forest Beach

Coligny Beach Park at Forest Beach is one of the island’s most popular beaches. Here, you’ll find a variety of convenient amenities. Restrooms, a children's splash fountain, and a wifi hotspot are all available. In addition, this beautiful beach is within walking distance of more than 100 boutique shops and restaurants. Free parking is available in the designated lot across from the beach. The Forest Beach Shuttle and the Breeze Trolley are two other great options if you’d prefer not to drive! If you are interested in a vacation rental that is convenient to Forest Beach, browse our Forest Beach vacation homes and Seaside Villas.

Palmetto Dunes

Guests staying within Palmetto Dunes are in for a treat. The beach access here provides many special amenities, including a variety of nearby dining options. Beach access at Palmetto Dunes is available at the Dunes House and Disney. Restroom facilities are also available on this beach. Please keep in mind that there is limited on-site parking. To avoid the hassle of finding somewhere to park, we recommend taking advantage of courtesy transportation to and from your Palmetto Dunes vacation rental via the Beach Buggy. Make your transportation arrangements by calling (843) 689-4222.

Sea Pines

Beach access at the Sea Pines resort community is available only to Sea Pines guests and residents. This beach is also famous for its proximity to the candy-striped lighthouse at the Harbour Town Yacht Basin!  Because parking is limited, we recommend taking advantage of the Sea Pines Trolley. This free trolley service has scheduled stops to Harbour Town, The Sea Pines Beach Club, and The South Beach Marina.

Hilton Head Beach Rules Overview

  • Alcoholic liquor, beer, and wine are prohibited on all beaches.

  • Do not leave beach rentals or equipment, such as chairs and umbrellas, on the beach overnight. If you dig holes in the sand, please remember to fill them before you leave. Filling holes and bringing home your beach supplies is especially important during loggerhead turtle nesting season!

  • Keep in mind that saltwater fishing regulations require that all shore-based fishermen, resident or tourist, purchase a South Carolina saltwater fishing license. For more information on saltwater fishing in South Carolina, please visit the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources website.

  • Dogs must be on a leash or under voice control at all times. Dogs are not permitted on the beach 10am - 5pm, Memorial Day through Labor Day.

For detailed information and a full list of beach regulations and rules, visit the Town of Hilton Head Island website. Thank you for doing your part in keeping our community beautiful!

Helpful Information for Planning Your Beach Day

  • The tides on Hilton Head typically range from six to nine feet with two high tides and two low tides in 24 hours. Low tides expose the hard sand and present the perfect time to find seashells and ride bikes on the beach!

  • You can make arrangements for bike, beach, or baby gear rentals before your arrival. This way, your beach rentals will be at your home on day one of check-in. Find a full list of local companies who provide these items at a discount on our Island Discount program page.