APRIL, 26 2018 Add to Favorites

General Beach Info for Hilton Head Island

Boardwalk Beach Access

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department patrols the beaches and enforces all beach rules. Violators of beach rules are subject to fines up to $500.00 per offense. For more information, visit the Sheriff's website here: http://www.bcso.net/

Prohibited Year Round

  • Alcoholic beverages of any sort
  • Glass of any kind (bottles, containers, et cetera)
  • Littering
  • Nudity & indecent exposure
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Unauthorized vehicles
  • Fireworks and fires of any kind
  • Shark fishing
  • Harming, removing, or otherwise harassing any live beach animals (sea turtles, sand bucks, conchs, starfish, et cetera)
  • Removal, alteration, or injury to dunes, sea oats, or alternative ridge flora
  • Operation, launching, or landing of unauthorized motorized watercraft
  • Unauthorized commercial endeavors
  • Sleeping on the beach between 12:00AM and 6:00AM (napping during other hours is allowed)
  • Unauthorized carrying or wearing of lifeguard emblems, insignias, et cetera
  • Unauthorized, unlicensed solicitation, along with the distribution of handouts
  • Kites not under complete user control
  • Sand-sailing

Seasonal Rules (from April 1st through September 30th yearly)

The official “beach season” is from April 1st through September 30th, yearly.
To protect beach goers, the following activities are banned during the beach season from 10:00AM to 6:00PM:

  • Fishing or surfcasting
  • Surfboards, blues boards, et cetera
  • Football, soccer, Frisbee or any other team sports involving a ball
  • Any games or activities with metal elements
  • Stunt kites

Beach Regulations for Pets

  • Are not permissible between 10:00AM and 5:00PM, from the Fri. before Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend
  • Must use a leash between 10:00AM and 5:00PM from April 1st to the Thursday before Memorial Day
  • Must use a leash between 10:00AM and 5:00PM from Tuesday after Labor Day through September 30th
  • Must use a leash or be completely under owner control at any other time
  • Persons with animals on the beach must remove and dispose of animal waste

Public Beach Access

The entirety of all beaches on the island is public, from the ocean to the high water mark. Access to the beach, however, can often be private. The city of Hilton Head Island provides beach accesses and public parking at the subsequent locations:

  • Alder Lane Beach Access off South Forest Beach Drive
  • Burkes Beach Access, at the top of Burkes Beach Road 
  • Chaplin Community Park, off of William Hilton Drive 
  • Coligny Beach Park at Coligny Circle
  • Driessen Beach Park at the top of Bradley Beach Road
  • Mitchelville Freedom Park, at the top of Beach town Road
  • Folly Field Beach Park off Folly Field Road
  • Islanders Beach Park, off Folly Field Road
  • Mitchelville Beach Park, off Beach town Road
  • Beach access for guests is available at all of the major hotels and resorts


  • There are twenty-three metered spots at Alder Lane, fifty-four metered spots at Folly Field, and thirteen metered spots at Burkes Beach Road. Fees: 0.25$ per 15 minute interval.
  • Additionally, there are 207 long term parking spots at Driessen Beach. Fee: 0.25$ per 30 minute interval.
  • Parking spots at Islanders Beach Park are perpetually reserved for annual beach pass holders. Annual beach pass parking at Driessen Beach is from 8:00AM to 3:00PM only.
  • At Mitchelville Freedom Park, Mitchelville Park, and Coligny Beach Park, parking is free.
  • Handicap parking is obtainable at no fee at all beaches.

Designated Swimming Areas

  • Designated swimming areas for Alder, Coligny, Driessen, Folly Field, and Islanders beaches are clearly marked.
  • Lifeguards are on duty during the beach season, stationed in every one of the selected swimming areas and alternative heavily inhabited beach areas for help and info. If a yellow flag is waving, please speak to the lifeguard on duty before entering the water.

Personal Watercraft Rules

These rules are in the Personal Watercraft and Boating Safety Act of 1996, of the State of South Carolina.

  • Personal watercraft may not be operated at night.
  • All passengers on the craft ought to wear an approved float device.
  • Any minors below the age of 16 must first pass a safety training course to operate any craft with more than 15 horsepower.
  • All craft shall be equipped to circle or shut off if the rider falls off.
  • No vessel may exceed idle speed within one-hundred yards of the coast or within fifty feet of a moored vessel, fixed object, or person.
  • Wake jumping within 200 feet of the creating craft is prohibited. 
  • Personal floatation devices are required for all passengers under 12 years of age.
  • Harassing wildlife is strictly forbidden.


FISHING is not FREE: in 2009, S.C. law-makers created an enormous change to the saltwater fishing rules by requiring that each shore based fishermen, must acquire a South Carolina saltwater fishing license. The law specifically states: “This act requires all individuals (16 and over) to have a saltwater recreational fishing license when harvesting marine resources, including finfish, oysters, clams, shrimp and crab.”

  • If you are fishing on an authorized pier or with an authorized charter captain, you are covered by their permit.
  • The license is simple and easy to acquire. An annual resident S.C. saltwater license is just $10.00 (a two week license for a S.C. resident license is only $5.00). A non-resident can purchase a two week salt-water license for $11.00 (or $35.00 for a yearly license). A license is purchased 24/7 by phone at 866-714-3611 or online at www.dnr.sc.gov.
  • The minimum fine for not having a S.C. salt-water license is $160.00 and each fisherman will be required to post a cash bond or head to jail. The highest fine is more than $1,000.00. 
  • Saltwater fishing areas include the beaches, all lagoons, public boat landings, and public and private docks and piers.The SCDNR uses these license fees for geographical point information assortment and geographical point management programs. 

Monthly Average Air Temperatures

January – 59
February – 61
March – 67
April – 76
May – 82
June – 86
July – 89
August – 89
September – 84
October – 77
November – 69
December – 61 

Monthly Average Ocean Temperatures

January – 52
February – 54
March – 59
April – 67
May – 75
June – 82
July – 84
August – 84
September – 80
October – 73
November – 63
December – 54

First Aid Tips

  • Sunburn: soak in cool water unless skin is broken. An anti-inflammatory may facilitate recovery as well (ibuprofen).
  • Bee Stings: apply baking soda paste and ice. If allergic, acquire medical attention.
  • Jellyfish Stings: apply vinegar, sugar, salt or dry sand. Wait twenty minutes, rinse with salt water.
  • Crab Bites: rinse well, disinfect, and apply antibiotic ointment. Seek medical assistance if stitches maybe required.
  • Tick Bites: do not decide to remove the tick. Coat with petroleum jelly or a layer of oil. Once insect is free, remove it with tweezers. Watch for flu-like symptoms for up to 14 days. If this happens, acquire immediate medical attention.
  • Snake Bites: call 9-1-1 immediately. Use a compression dressing just above the bite area, do NOT tourniquet.
  • Oyster Shells: cuts and abrasions could find yourself with serious infections. Medical treatment is advised.
  • Alligators: do not go near alligators. They run very, very fast. Do not feed or tease!
  • Stingrays: rinse with water and apply heat to neutralize sting. Acquire medical attention.

Emergency Numbers

All Emergencies

  • Dial 9-1-1

Local Law Enforcement

Fire Department

Medical Assistance

Other Emergency Numbers

U.S. Coast Guard Marine & Air Emergencies

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