An Island Tradition


HarbourFest returns to make for another great summer

My husband and I enjoying dinner before the 4th of July fireworks display last year

My husband and I enjoying dinner before the 4th of July fireworks display last year

When you hear the crackle of fireworks in the air on Tuesday nights, you know that summer has officially returned to Hilton Head Island.  HarbourFest (June – August), and the fireworks that are synonymous with the festivities, is the official celebration of summertime in the Lowcountry.  I remember attending HarbourFest fireworks displays as far back as I can remember as my family returned every summer.

The weekly fireworks display (for a complete schedule which includes the Fourth of July, click here), which are launched from a barge located in Broad Creek, light up the Lowcountry sky above the Neptune statue centrally placed in Shelter Cove Harbour.  Blues, reds and yellows electrify the summer evenings and can be seen (and heard) from many vantage points on the Island.  But if you want my vote, the best seat in the house is, hands down, on the water itself, directly under the display of twinkling lights.  Outside Hilton Head offers special “Fireworks Paddle” guided kayak tours during the summer.

But it’s not just about the fireworks.  In addition to the delicious food available (now, as an adult, I like to grab a table and a glass of wine at Bistro 17 to enjoy the evening) and the great shopping and arts and crafts, there are many other exciting features to the HarbourFest playbook.  To name a few…

  • One of the many delicious dishes at La Fontana

    One of the many delicious dishes at La Fontana

    Shannon Taylor, a staple of Shelter Cover Harbour and HarbourFest since 1988, performs nightly Monday through Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day at both 6:30pm and 8:00pm.  His performances include songs for all ages with sing-a-longs, pop music, classic tunes, and his own original songs. 
    Plus, don’t miss Shelter Cove’s latest culinary addition – La Fontana.  Situated on the marina and overlooking the stage where Shannon plays, it’s a great spot to take in all of the sights and sounds of HarbourFest.  Featuring brick oven pizza, La Fontana offers a casual indoor/outdoor venue with a great outside bar.

  • Cappy the Clown will be on-site 6:00pm to 9:00pm nightly Monday through Friday from Labor Day to Memorial Day with balloon animals, face painting and more!
  • Want to enjoy the fireworks and the nature of the Lowcountry.  In addition to their “Fireworks Paddle” kayak tour, Outside Hilton head also offers a Dolphin Boat Fireworks Cruise that includes 2 hours meeting and viewing my favorite animal resident of the Lowcountry, the bottlenose dolphin, and 30 additional minutes to enjoy the fireworks in the water!
  • The magnificent view from Ela's

    The magnificent view from Ela’s

    Looking for a little romance during the fireworks?  Ela’s Blu Water Grille is a great date night spot with inside and outdoor dining options for a more formal setting.  I highly recommend their Fried Green Tomatoes and Lobster Carbonara.

And the best part?!?  HarbourFest is FREE!  Just bring your family and be ready to have a good time!