Beach on Hilton Head Island

Friend Suggestions: Top 5 things to know before traveling to Hilton Head Island

I’ve been fortunate to have lived on Hilton Head Island since 2001. In that time, I’ve been able to build a great village of friends always willing to drop their inside wisdom on Hilton Head Island – here are a few tips and tricks from these local ladies to help make your stay on Hilton Head Island better than ever.

Heather’s Advice for Deals and Steals – 

“Check groupon or living social before your trip – it’s a great way to get discounts on local places on Hilton Head or in Bluffton or for daytrips to Savannah or Charleston. Often times there hot local spots on those sites that you would never find in a visitor magazine.”


Living Social

Bonnie, Lori, Heather and Starr on Traffic and Check In Day – 

I’m a big believer in the Friday night drive in. What’s this you ask? Avoid the Saturday traffic by driving in part or all the way on Friday. Get an awesome (think beachfront) hotel on Friday night, order some room service and wake up on Saturday refreshed and ready to check into your condo or home for the week. There are tons of budget-conscious hotels in Bluffton/Sun City/Okatie area too that can help solve your Saturday rush hour traffic blues too. Spend all day Saturday by the resort pool, on the beach (much less crowded) or at Honey Horn or at The Sandbox with little kids until your space is available for check in! Many hotels will hold your luggage as you play that afternoon too and plenty of companies deliver everything from strollers to cribs to bikes to your rental unit.  Also, remember that any traffic circle you encounter is a circle…if you miss your turnoff, just keep going – it’ll come around again!

Boy surfing on beach
Multiple images on Hilton Head Island including a family group shot

Julie and Ashley – Views from the Water –

Hilton Head Island MUST been seen by water. Rent a boat from one of the marina’s – or if that’s not in your budget, go with a kayak or paddleboard. Just get out on the water. Remember, best times to see dolphins are at dawn and dusk when the tides are changing and they are feeding so try to book those kayak trips in advance.

Kayaking at sunrise
Women paddle boarding in bathing suits

​​​​​​Catherine on Exploring Old Town Bluffton –

Take in Calhoun Street, bring a cooler with ice for fresh seafood from Larry Toomer’s Bluffton Oyster Factory (see Toomer family photo below), check out the new Eggcentricities (Nancy Golson is a MUST MEET Blufftonian) and grab an early dinner and welcome to the Lowcountry drink at Captain Woody’s, Vineyard 55 or the Dispensary from Thomas and Kimber Viljac!

Old Town Dispensary
Outdoor event with gazebos surrounded by palm trees
Family posing for group photo in front of boat and water

And My Best Advice on Grocery Shopping – 

Go to the Piggly Wiggly in Coligny Plaza for their Seafood Salad on Thursday’s – local legend Dave Martin below – but call ahead to make sure they have not sold out. And use the online grocery pickup tool from Harris Teeter. Available at both the north end and south end Harris Teeter locations, you can login, use your coupons, shop specials and have it all ready for pickup on Saturday – just as you are checking into your home or villa!

Man posing inside grocery store
Man posing in grocery store

Oh, and a bonus tip – go to the Skull Creek Boathouse and see our good friends Dennis and Amanda Wheeler. Amanda makes an amazing dirty martini and they are both the best in the service business!  Request them for incredible service as you eat on the intracoastal waterway! Enjoy your vacation and you can always find me on twitter @heatherrath!


Find Your Island Time

Hilton Head is America’s favorite island, offering 12 miles of pristine beaches and everything you need for the ultimate retreat. Enjoy easy days relaxing in the sun, sand and surf on some of the best beaches in the country.
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