The Southern Nest Blog

My Favorite Spots in Hilton Head

My Favorite Spots in Hilton Head

After vacationing in the same spot for a long enough time, you develop your favorites.  I am going to share our family’s favorite spots in Hilton Head, SC.  If you are familiar with the island and have anything you love, please let me know!  We are always looking for new things to do when we visit.

1.  A Lowcountry Backyard

Want to sit in an amazing “southern backyard” and eat a gourmet Southern meal (under twinkling lights) while your kids play games?  A Lowcountry Backyard needs to be on your restaurant list.  My two favorites on the menu?  “The Bischick” and the banana pudding…omg.  Plan to drink wine out of a mason jar and put your feet up.  It’s heaven.



Kids can walk around the backyard and entertain themselves while you eat.  Here, B decided he wanted to sit on a bar (not being used.)  One of the friendly members of the staff came and turned a ceiling fan on for him and engaged him in convo.  While we ate.  YES.



My heart skipped a beat when I realized I had gotten the same picture of B, drinking from the same type of jar at Lowcountry Backyard (a kid’s milk cup is actually a covered mason jar here) three years ago.  They really look SO much alike!!!


2. Louette Boutique

A few doors down from A Lowcountry Backyard is Louette Boutique.   They have the most eclectic mix of home decor, clothing, and accessories.  I LOVE this boutique.

photo via Louette Twitter Feed

photo via Louette Twitter Feed


3. Island Child

I cannot go to Hilton Head without popping into Island Child.  They carry my favorite kid’s clothing brands.  I get Gigi a Beaufort Bonnet from there every year.  (This year I also snagged this gorgeous Proper Peony dress.)


4. Skull Creek Boathouse

With live music and fantastic water views, this delicious restaurant is always at the top of our list.

5. The Palmetto Dunes General Store

Just a tiny little store (by the tennis courts) in Palmetto Dunes, this inconspicuous place has the BEST breakfast biscuits.  Pop in there-you won’t be sorry.

6. Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

This was the first time we felt brave enough to try the Pinckney Island Refuge-with the little ones, it always sounded intimidating.  It was amazing.  We went in May (so the weather was perfect) but if you visit in midsummer, I’d plan to hit the trails here early in the morning to avoid the heat.

See all of the little “dots” in the marsh in the photo below?  They are all crabs!  How crazy is that?


You can see the tops of the alligators in the marsh below.

The baby alligators below were sunning themselves right beside our walking trail.   It was one of those moments that you hold your breath and hope they stay right where they are.  I just kept praying the mom alligator didn’t come for a surprise.


The bird sanctuary was unreal.  I’ve never been particularly “into birds,” but this place was something you’d have to see to believe.  Gorgeous, exotic birds were everywhere.


This is what the walking trail looked like.  The whole place was gorgeous.


We stopped in the shade to rest and sat on this tiny brick structure we found laying in the woods.  I’m not sure where it came from, but I remembered learning on a tour in Savannah that when the bricks are irregular shapes like this, they are made by hand (and likely very old.)  I just thought it was so cool.   (If I’m wrong about this, don’t bust my bubble.)


Little Miss Gigi is obsessed with her belly right now.  She walked the trails like this.

7. Palmetto Bay Sunrise Café

Our favorite spot to sit on the porch and eat a yummy breakfast.

8. Bridge to Sheltor Cove via William Hilton Parkway

I have no idea what the actual name of the bridge is, but when you are biking in Palmetto Dunes and want to head to Shelter Cove, this is the scenic way to go.  (Signs point you in the right direction.)  The bridge is built to run under William Hilton Parkway.  It’s quiet and gorgeous.

9. The Pirates of Hilton Head

If you have small children, you MUST have the Pirates of Hilton Head experience!!  It is amazing.  You go to the dock and your little ones get dressed up like pirates.  They board the ship, led by the Pirate “Squirt” (who is amazing with children) and the whole family sets sail on the Pirate Ship.  You can sit back and relax while you watch your little one have the time of his/her life singing pirate songs with the other kids on the adventure to hunt for the missing treasure.  A “bad guy” named Stinky Pete comes along in a dingy, and the kids get to shoot him with water guns.  The whole thing is ADORABLE and worth every penny.  We’ve done it twice already and will definitely do it again next year.



Little Gigi was enamored with the Captain.  I’m pretty sure she never took her eyes off of him.


10.  Barnacle Bill’s Fresh Seafood Market

This was the first time we had a condo (rather than a hotel) and we decided we had to try cooking local seafood.  Barnacle Bill’s is the best place to get it.  We even got to meet Bill himself.



Bill thought I was joking when I told him I wanted to take his fabulous blue table.  The guys literally laughed and asked “why?” when I said I was in love with it.

Y’all.  Look at this freaking table.  I mean, seriously?  He said “you can have it!” and I almost fell over.  I asked David if we could strap it to the roof and bring it home.  I was only semi-joking.  But….it’s still there.  I’m going to take it home one day.




11. Harbour Town, Sea Pines

When you want to find the spot that  1.You can shop  2. Has an awesome playground in which your kids can play while you do said shopping 3. Has a spot for your husband to grab a beer while he supervises the kids on the playground….go to Harbour Town.  It’s a hodgepodge of high end boutiques, souvenir shops, ice cream parlors, and overall a great family entertainment center.  We like to do this right after we leave Pirates of Hilton Head (which leaves from here.)

12. The Salty Dog

Yes, it’s a Hilton Head cliche, but we cannot leave HHI without a trip to Salty Dog.  The atmosphere is phenomenal.  Of course, we always need to get our Salty Dog Tee’s.  (It’s also in Sea Pines, so it’s great to plan Salty Dog after your Pirates of Hilton Head/Harbour Town visit.)


If you want to go the hotel route, my two faves: The Marriot Resort & Spa and The Sonesta

Clearly, this is just what we have found to be perfect for us through trial and error.  I’d love to hear about other “must see’s” on HHI.  Every time we go, we always leave knowing we want to take in more next year.


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  1. Coligny Plaza for shopping… Frosty frog Cafe in Coligny Plaza 😉

  2. Taylor Harris says:

    My husband and I are semi locals (we live in Savannah), and visited Lowcountry Back yard on a random “date Monday” just to try something new! We love love LOVE it!

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