Hilton Head Island Beaches

Hilton Head is an island where the beach goes almost all around the island except where it is more of a deep-water area. The beautiful beaches of Hilton Head are known for the wide hard packed sand that you can ride a bike on. The beach from the ocean to the high-water mark is public however access to the beach can often be private.

As a guest of Luxury Rentals of Hilton Head, you have access to the beach, with our the furthest property being only a 15-minute stroll and the majority of the homes and villas being on the beach or just a couple minutes’ walk. Our homes and villas are in Palmetto Dunes, Shipyard, and the Forest Beach area of Hilton Head.  During the high season (Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend) the beaches that are in front of most of our properties is an area that includes lifeguards with the option to reserve beach chairs and umbrellas.  The beach you walk to for most of our homes, are in stretches that are quieter beaches with just the people from the area homes sitting on the beach with you, so it is rarely that crowded.

Link here for the full Rules and Regulations on Hilton Head Island Beaches Here are some highlights

Following is Prohibited:

  • Digging holes in the sand that are more than 12 inches in depth (Please fill any holes when you leave)
  • Leaving anything on the beach overnight – especially a large tent covering
  • Fires and Fireworks
  • Unauthorized Vehicles
  • Shark Fishing and removal, harming or harassment of any live beach fauna (including sea turtles, sand dollars, starfish, sea oats etc.)
  • In Designated Swimming Areas (busy areas in front of condo’s, villas, and hotels) from 4/1 – 9/30 it is prohibited to:
    • Fish or Surfcast
    • Surfboards, boogie boards, frisbees or other team sports with a ball or games with metal components

Hilton Head Island Public Beach Parks 

If you desire to go to other beaches on Hilton Head there are seven public beach parks, generally open from sun-up to sun-down during the summer, that offer all sorts of amenities such as outdoor showers, restrooms and lifeguards. Many of the beach parks are modified for handicap access.


Alder Lane Beach Access – Forest Beach

During your Hilton Head Island vacation, you’ll be eager to spend time enjoying the sand and sun along the island’s twelve combined miles of beachfront. If you’re having trouble choosing the perfect beach destination among all that the island has to offer, what better place to visit than a quiet beach oasis that is sure to provide the relaxation that you deserve while vacationing on Hilton Head Island? The Adler Lane Beach access point in Hilton Head’s South Forest Beach area may be your answer. Though it is located close to the hustle and bustle of the multitude of shopping and dining options on Hilton Head’s south end, it is the perfect place to spend a few peaceful hours by the water’s edge.

The Adler Lane Public Beach access point is located within Hilton Head’s historic Forest Beach community. During the island’s early development period in the 1950s, two companies owned the vast majority of the land known as “Forest Beach.” The Sea Pines Company had ownership of land in South Forest Beach, whereas the Hilton Head Company owned land in North Forest Beach. The Sea Pines Company focused their efforts on the development of the nearby Sea Pines Planation, maintaining their land holdings in South Forest Beach for use at a later date. In contrast, the Hilton Head Company developed Port Royal Plantation on Hilton Head’s north end, eventually selling many oceanfront lots in North Forest Beach to finance their project. Interestingly enough, the decisions of these two companies over the decades that followed produced two quite different results in the modern day.

At present, South Forest Beach is known for being home to a multitude of vacation villas and rental condos on Hilton Head Island. The area also has several hotels and timeshare resorts, as well as a variety of shops and restaurants. The Sea Pines Company’s decision to develop and sell portions of this property several years later allowed for the growth of commercial businesses in South Forest Beach. In contrast, North Forest Beach is known for being a quiet residential area with more full-time residents and less seasonal visitors. Some North Forest Beach homeowners have maintained their Hilton Head Island homes as their primary residences, while others offer them for use as Forest Beach vacation rentals. Overall, the Hilton Head Company’s decision to sell off their oceanfront lots in the early phases of development has resulted in a sprawling residential community in North Forest Beach.

Despite the fact that Alder Lane’s Beach Access point is located at 2 Woodward Avenue in the South Forest Beach area, it is still quite removed from the high-traffic area that South Forest Beach has become today. Upon your arrival, you’ll find a small, metered parking area on Woodward Avenue, which is directly across the street from Alder Lane. From there, you can find the short path that will lead you directly to the beach. The public access point has restrooms, outdoor showers, and a beach mat surface to ensure a stress-free beach experience. As you make your way past the tree line, you’ll soon understand why this location is sought after by beachgoers seeking a little rest and relaxation. It’s rarely populated by more than a few other visitors, and you’ll feel like you’ve found your own personal paradise. Be sure to plan your visit to this island treasure during your Hilton Head Island Vacation.


Burkes Beach Park Hilton Head  – Mid-Island

The most-anticipated part of any Hilton Head Island vacation is always a trip to the beach. Among seven different public beach parks, Burkes Beach Park Hilton Head continues to be favored by countless beachgoers each year. While it is certainly a must-see for visitors vacationing on Hilton Head Island, it also bears a great deal of local significance due to its connection with Hilton Head’s historical past. The beach park’s namesake, the Burke family, is a native Gullah family that has inhabited Hilton Head Island for over nine generations—since the time period of the Civil War. Though the surrounding land has since been divided among several descendants, Burkes Beach Park was established for public use in 2001 and aptly named to honor the family that made the land their home for over a century.

As a visitor enjoying your Hilton Head Island vacation, you will find that Burkes Beach Park is conveniently located in the mid-island area. This central location ensures that Bukes Beach is just minutes from rental condos on Hilton Head Island, as well as a variety of local shops and entertainment. In fact, it’s just a two-mile journey from the entrance of Palmetto Dunes, which is a distance that can be easily travelled by bike. Whether you decide to bring your own wheels, or opt to rent them, Burkes Beach Park is the perfect choice for a family biking outing near your Palmetto Dunes vacation home. Plus, as you make your way along Hilton Head’s well-manicured bike pathway system, you may even catch a glimpse of local wildlife along the way!


Coligny Beach Park – South Forest Beach

Whether you’re a first-time visitor to Hilton Head Island or a veteran vacationer, you have likely heard of Hilton Head Island’s popular “downtown” area, known as Coligny. While Coligny’s popularity is heavily based on the multitude of shops and restaurants that can be found in the sprawling Coligny Shopping Plaza, it has also become one of Hilton Head’s most-visited beach parks. Although Coligny Beach Park opened to the public in 1989, it was the park’s recent renovation in 2009 that has helped it to become the island’s premiere beach destination. It has even been recognized as one of the best family-friendly beach parks in the country. Be sure to place a visit to Coligny Beach Park on the top of your to-do list during your Hilton Head Island vacation.

The trip to Coligny Beach Park is a quick and easy journey from your Forest Beach vacation home or Palmetto Dunes vacation condo. As you approach the Coligny Circle, signs will lead you to a spacious beach parking lot off Pope Avenue, which offers free parking to Coligny Beach Park’s visitors every day. From the parking lot, a short walk across the street will take you to the park’s grand entrance. You’ll be greeted by a beautiful brick and tabby walkway with an interactive splash fountain positioned front and center. This is the perfect place for children of all ages to cool off and enjoy the water on a hot summer day. Additionally, if you elected to make the journey to Coligny Beach Park by bike, the area to the right of the fountain is the perfect place to safely secure your family’s bikes while you enjoy your day at the beach.

Beyond the park’s entrance, you’ll find all of the amenities that you would expect to enjoy at the beach during your Hilton Head Island vacation. In addition to the usual public restrooms and outdoor showers, Coligny Beach Park has designated changing rooms and elevated decks where you can spend some time enjoying the shade on a bench swing or in a rocking chair. The park also has a number of communal areas complete with Adirondack chairs and Wi-Fi hotspots. The most curious beachgoers can make use of the binoculars along the boardwalk to search for the telltale dorsal fins of dolphins beyond the breaking waves. Not to mention, on a clear day, you can see all the way to Georgia’s nearby Tybee Island. You’ll discover that Coligny Beach Park has so much to offer, even before your toes hit the sand.

After making your way down the boardwalk, you’ll be amazed by the panoramic view of the shoreline that appears to expand endlessly in both directions. Despite Coligny Beach’s popularity, the wide expanse of white sand ensures that there is plenty of space to spread out and enjoy all that the beach has to offer. After you find the perfect spot to settle in, you’ll have the option to rent a variety of beach and watersports equipment to keep your family entertained all day long. Popular items including banana peels, aqua cycles, paddle boards, body boards, sailboats, and kayaks are available for hourly or daily use. Not to mention, the nearby Tiki Hut serves cold drinks and has several beach volleyball courts available for rent. Whether you’re an athlete, an explorer, or simply a sunbather, Coligny Beach Park has exactly what you’re looking for during your Hilton Head Island vacation.


Driessen Beach Park – Mid-Island

When vacationing on Hilton Head Island, a visit to the beach promises fun for the whole family. While there are several beautiful public beaches to explore near your vacation home on Hilton Head, Driessen Beach Park is a long-time favorite of local residents and visitors alike. Part of the park’s charm is its connection to a local family that has been a fixture on Hilton Head Island since the nineteenth century: The Driessens. Members of the Driessen family have shaped Hilton Head’s history as some of the island’s earliest farmers, teachers, and merchants. Since 1995, the park that bears their family name has welcomed the public to enjoy a small portion of the pristine parcel of land that their ancestors have inhabited for generations.

Driessen Beach Park’s central location on Hilton Head Island is just a short car ride away from your Palmetto Dunes or Forest Beach vacation home. As you make your way to the beach, be sure to stop and enjoy some of the other popular amenities in the mid-island area, including a wide variety of dining and shopping options that are sure to be a hit with your family. If you choose to make the trip from your vacation villa by bicycle, not to worry, Driessen Beach Park is just a two-and-a-half mile journey from the entrance of Palmetto Dunes along Hilton Head’s well-maintained bike path system. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the local scenery along your way, and you’ll be sure to find plenty of racks where you can park your bikes when you arrive to Driessen Beach Park.

The park is located at the end of Bradley Beach Road, passing briefly through a quiet beach community before opening to an expansive parking area with over two hundred metered spaces. Be sure to note your parking space number so that you can enter it at the electronic meter at the park’s entrance. As you make your way along the boardwalk, you’ll find restrooms and showers located just past the entrance, followed by a lovely picnic area with charcoal grills. This is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a picnic lunch that you prepared at your vacation condo on Hilton Head Island. In addition to the picnic facilities, Driessen Beach Park also has a large playground with enough equipment to entertain children of all ages. You’ll be enjoying your Hilton Head Island vacation from the moment you arrive—and all before you’ve even set foot on the beach!

The remainder of the boardwalk traverses a scenic marsh and wetland area, where you can view wading birds, fiddler crabs, and lowcountry plant life up close. After a brief walk, you’ll make your way past the picturesque sand dunes and out onto the broad, white sand beach. The best part is, the boardwalk transitions from a ramp onto a firm beach mat surface, making the beach accessible to all visitors, not to mention your favorite wagons and beach carts. However, if you decided to travel lightly, there are seasonal rentals available from the lifeguards along beach. Regardless of what you bring along, you’ll be sure to leave with memories of the good times and great views provided by Driessen Beach Park. All you have to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy your Hilton Head Island vacation!


Islanders Beach Park – Folly Field

When renting a vacation villa on Hilton Head, you have access to everything that the beautiful barrier island has to offer, including twelve miles of pristine beaches. Hilton Head has seven different public parks where the white sandy beaches can be accessed, one which is the recently renovated Islanders Beach Park. While the name may imply that this beach park is for locals only, don’t be deterred—all are welcome! In fact, Islanders Beach Park has been open to residents and visitors alike since 1998, and it continues to appeal to those who want to enjoy a quiet, relaxing day along one of the island’s most picturesque stretches of shoreline. Your family is sure to enjoy spending time in the sun and shade at Islanders Beach Park during your Hilton Head Island vacation.

Islanders Beach Park is located at 94 Folly Field Road in the heart of the Folly Field Community, which is one of Hilton Head’s first oceanfront residential communities. This location in the popular mid-island area makes Islanders Beach Park just a short car ride away from any vacation rental on Hilton Head Island. Because the park is a local favorite, it has a higher percentage of reserved parking spaces for residents than many of Hilton Head’s other public beach parks. The twenty-five metered parking spaces for visitors do tend to fill up quickly, so be sure to plan ahead. However, there is plenty of parking for vehicles of the two-wheeled variety, making Islanders Beach Park the perfect destination for a family bike ride. Not to mention, the park is only three-and-a-half miles from the entrance of Palmetto Dunes, a distance you can easily bike from your Palmetto Dunes vacation condo.

As a visitor to Islanders Beach Park, you will not be disappointed by the wide variety of amenities that the park has to offer. At the base of the boardwalk, you can find one of Hilton Head Island’s most popular playgrounds, complete with slides, swings, and see-saws— all under the shade of beautiful oak trees draped in Spanish moss. The playground is bordered by a picnic pavilion that provides the perfect shady spot to enjoy a quick bite to eat, or to spend time relaxing while you watch your little ones play. At the boardwalk’s entrance, there is also a spacious area with restrooms and showers that are perfect for rinsing off and cleaning up your favorite beach gear before you return to your Hilton Head vacation rental.

The journey along the boardwalk is brief, ensuring that your family will have their toes in the sand in a matter of minutes. Additionally, the boardwalk’s ramp descends onto a durable beach mat surface, making the soft sand easy to traverse for any visitor with beach gear in tow. Once you arrive, the wide, sandy shoreline ensures that there is plenty of space for visitors to spread out and settle in for an amazing day by the water’s edge. If you watch closely, you can catch sight of a variety of local wildlife along the shoreline, including sandpipers, fiddler crabs, and even bottlenose dolphins. The views from your beach chair are sure to impress, making Islanders Beach Park a must-see attraction while you are vacationing on Hilton Head Island.


Mitchelville Freedom Park – Fish Haul Beach Park – Island North-End

Any beach lover dreams about discovering a hidden stretch of sand that they can enjoy all to themselves during their beach vacation. You’ll be delighted to know that you can fulfill this dream during your Hilton Head Island vacation with a visit to Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park  also commonly referred to as Fish Haul Beach Park, is one of Hilton Head Island’s most recently established public beach parks, reaching completion in 2007. However, it’s location on the north end of the island, a residential area that is farther from the island’s more popular beaches, makes Fish Haul Beach Park a less-traveled locale that is sure to offer some respite from the hustle and bustle of the island’s more populated areas. This hidden gem is a sight you certainly don’t want to miss when vacationing on Hilton Head Island.

While the park itself is a relatively new development, the surrounding land is filled with a rich history that attracts many visitors to Fish Haul Beach Park. In fact, the park’s allure is two-fold, given that it not only serves as a public beach park, but it is also home to the site of the Mitchelville Freedom Park. The Mitchelville community not only bears great significance to local history, but it is also an integral element of the history surrounding the Civil War because it is credited as being the first self-governed settlement for freed slaves in the United States. In the recent past, local citizens have made great efforts to preserve this element of Hilton Head’s history, which is part of the island’s Gullah cultural heritage. Currently, Mitchelville Freedom Park offers a display of literature and hosts a number of Gullah heritage events every year, but the ultimate vision for the park includes replicas of the original community and rotating exhibitions that will be sure to attract a crowd.

Mitchelville Freedom Park – Fish Haul Beach Park is located at 124 Mitchelville Road, which can be found at the end of Beach City Road on the island’s north end. The park has many of the amenities of Hilton Head Island’s other public beach parks, and more, meeting all of your expectations while vacationing on Hilton Head Island. Beginning with a shady gravel parking lot and well-maintained public restrooms, Fish Haul Beach Park also features a few short walking trails. The trail system will lead you to other desirable amenities, including a shady picnic shelter as well as a boardwalk with a covered observation deck overlooking the marsh. Both areas can serve as the perfect place to observe local wildlife, including the island’s rotating population of shorebirds. If you’re up for a little adventure, you can even take a stroll along the trail through the park’s maritime forest.

If these features aren’t enough to draw you in, a unique stretch of shoreline awaits at the end of the winding beach trail lined with live oaks. The flat, sandy beach is bordered by large rocks, a sight otherwise unseen on Hilton Head Island’s beaches. If you decide to stay and enjoy the scenery for a while, you’ll notice how rapidly the coastline changes with the tides, revealing a beach teeming with wildlife. From plant life, to sea birds, to hermit crabs, Fish Haul Beach offers an unparalleled sampling of Hilton Head Island’s wildlife, all in one place. Although it may be a little off the beaten bath, Mitchelville Freedom Park – Fish Haul Beach Park is an ideal place for naturalists, seashell searchers, and anyone who may be looking for an untouched piece of island paradise to enjoy during their Hilton Head Island vacation.


Folly Field Beach

Folly Field Beach is a lovely beach park off Folly Field Road (then go straight onto Starfish Road), a little past the middle of Hilton Head Island. There are metered parking spaces if you want to check out this beach, tucked at the end of residential neighborhood. There is a boardwalk to the beach which includes restrooms and outdoor shower. Another nice amenity at this beach is the beach matting that helps differently abled people get to the wide hard packed sandy beach.

In season (approximately Memorial Weekend to Labor Day Weekend) there are lifeguards and beach rentals such as chairs and umbrellas.

  • Beach
  • Beach Matting
  • Boardwalk
  • Meter Parking
  • Outdoor Showers
  • Restrooms
  • Seasonal Beach Rentals
  • Seasonal Lifeguards

The Folly Field area is one of the oldest neighborhoods of the modern era of Hilton Head Island. In 1953 a Holiday Homes development was built with affordable homes to entice people to take the ferry to the Island with the hope the influx would help the island get a bridge. This gamble paid off when a bridge was built in 1959 and the rest is history. Sitting between the gated community of Palmetto Dunes and Port Royal the community has a different feel due to older beach cottages now next to much larger beachfront homes, and affordable condos just a stone’s throw from oceanfront villas. If you are biking down William Hilton Parkway (HWY 278) take a turn off Folly Field and take a leisurely ride through this eclectic neighborhood and enjoy a wide quiet beach that is a hidden treasure.