Last year, a friend of mine texted me that she was going to HHI for the first time and wanted some recs. I basically wrote out a book to send back to her so I figured I'd turn it into a guide! Now I haven't been going there since I was little like most people who love Hilton Head, but Nick and I did live there last summer so I think I have some pretty good knowledge to share.. mostly pertaining to food lol.
Hilton Head Island is where Nick and I met so it holds a really special place in our hearts. Not to mention, he's been going there and staying in the same condo that has been in his family since he was born. Now that we live only 2 hours way, we've been spending a lot more time there. The condo is a 5 minute walk from the beach so it's pretty amazing,
Okay lets get into it. We'll start with the most important stuff, food and drinks.
Food and Drinks
Poseidon - This restaurant is one of the best brunch spots. They have a really cute rooftop bar with live music. Highly recommend the crab cake eggs benny.
Boathouse at Skullcreek - One of my favorite places. Definitely sit outside -- super fun atmosphere with good food and live music. They have a bunch of outdoor games and a decent happy hour. It’s part of 3 restaurants that are all next to each other along the water, so you can try any of them out.
Fishcamp on Broad Creek - Boathouse can get super packed so if you're feeling that vibe but want something a little more low key, Fishcamp is it. It's still a ton of fun and on a gorgeous creek so pictures will be awesome.
Captain Woody’s - Really good seafood and fun place for drinks and music. Make sure if you go here, your gps is going to the one on the island and not in Bluffton. I've made that mistake too many times.
The Sage Room - Our new favorite for a fancy night out. Make reservations or else you won't eat until 9pm. That might work for you but I'm a grandma. Try their coffee and creme brûlée, its the best.
ELA’s on the Water - Another good one for a fancier dinner. Steaks, scallops, that kinda thing. Really pretty view of the harbor at sunset, definitely make reservations.
Tiki Hut - Live music at a cute beach bar. Super fun vibes and the bartenders are awesome. All of them have been working there foreverrr. It's also where Nick and I met so have a Mango Tango drink for us ;)
Crazy Crab - Not my favorite for dinner but they have a pretty good happy hour specials. There’s two locations, go to the north end one.
Old Oyster Factory - My favorite date night place, they have the prettiest outdoor seating on the marsh and beautiful sunsets. Never disappoints.
Bella Italia Pizza - We've always joked that HH has the worsttt pizza. But last weekend, we finally found one that's amazing.
Barnacle Bills - not a restaurant. Fresh seafood (uncooked) caught that day. If you’re eating in one night, definitely get a couple pounds of shrimp from them, it’s so good. They also have the BEST crab cakes but you have to call ahead and order them to pick up another day.
Okay now here is my most important recommendation:
If you go to Barnacle Bills, or even if you don’t, you should really try the food truck that is parked in the field behind barnacle bills. It’s called Jesse’s Island Food Truck. Seriously the best tacos I’ve ever had and they’re so cheap. If you go on taco Tuesday, they have mahi mahi tacos and they’re fireeee. Yes, this is the place we drove 4 hours to in one day just for their tacos and street corn lol.
Places to Walk Around
Coligny - lots of shops and little restaurants in a big plaza. There’s public beach access there with free parking. That is where Tiki Hut is and all of the little beach shops.
Harbour Town - Shopping and restaurants on a harbor with a really pretty lighthouse. To get to Harbour town, you have to go through Sea Pines which is an “exclusive” part of the island. You have to pay $9 cash to get a day pass to go in there. It’s kinda fun to drive around Sea Pines and see all of the gigantic houses and spend some time in Harbour town. This is also where the famous Salty Dog Cafe is.
Shelter Cove - shopping and restaurants on a Harbour, not in Sea Pines. Very very pretty and there’s a ton of yachts and stuff to see. It’s where ELA’s is and a bunch of other good restaurants.
Old Town Bluffton - it’s not on Hilton Head Island, but it’s only a 15-20 min drive depending where you’re staying. Super cute area to walk around with tons of southern charm. All of the houses and restaurants are so old timey and adorable.
Hilton Head has bike paths literally everywhere. It’s kinda fun to rent beach cruisers and ride around. If you do, Breeze Bikes is the cheapest bike rental. They drop off the bikes wherever you’re staying and pick them up for you whenever you’re done.
There’s mini golf places all over the island but the best one is Pirates Cove right near Shelter Cove.
Daufuskie Island is like a desolate island that you have to take a water taxi to and then drive around the island in golf carts. It’s pretty cool to see all of the history there and experience some of the Gullah culture. There's also a really fun bar there called the Old Daufuskie Crab Company.
Dolphin tours are super popular and there’s honestly a ton of dolphins in the bays. You can schedule tours at Shelter Cove or at Harbour Town in Sea Pines. There’s also a bunch of other water sports/activities you can check out at those places.
Theres so much more I'm probably forgetting but this should get anyone started! If you vacation in Hilton Head, let me know what some of your favorites are! I'm always up for trying something new.