Explore the Wild Edge

In the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton area, there is one great nature preserve that trumps all others. Our beaches offer more breathtaking scenery, wildlife action and a daily show of nature’s raw power than anywhere else in the region. This nexus of land and water is pure habitat for hundreds of animal species – from the biggest fish and dolphins to mysterious burrowers deep in sand.

No two beaches are alike. For real seaside adventure, visit these locations:


1. Fish Haul Creek Park. Rising sea level has exposed wide mudflats, tree stumps and upland bluffs. The flats are critical habitat for hemispheric migratory shorebirds, including the rare red knot. Access: Beach City Road. Trails lead to the beach.

2. Scarborough Head. The easternmost point on Hilton Head Island, this beach is over 100 yards wide at low tide: great for finding starfish and colorful sea-whip coral. Joiner Bank, offshore, offers roosting space for shorebirds and brown pelicans. Access: walk from Driessen Beach Park, Bradley Beach Road.

3. Folly Creek. At Burke’s Beach, the strong tidal inlet rushes into wide salt marsh, nourishing a habitat of shellfish, fish and wading birds. Access: Burke’s Beach Road.

4. South Beach. At the southwestern end of the Island, waves and currents form a peninsula-like “spit.” Here is the place to check out tide-stranded horseshoe crabs, knobbed whelk shells, and dolphins feeding near shore. Access: for Sea Pines guests and residents. Others: take a healthy walk from Coligny Beach Park.

5. May River. Visit historic Palmetto Bluff (southwest of Bluffton) and join a guided kayak tour. You’ll share habitat with bottlenose dolphins, wading birds, bluff-nesting belted kingfishers and perhaps a bald eagle or swallow-tailed kite.

Explore the Wild Edge

A flame-red sunset over the Atlantic Ocean (credit: Todd Ballantine)

So, start exploring and discover our bountiful beaches. You’ll be enriched for a lifetime.