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If you’ve ever vacationed on Hilton Head Island, then you understand why our beaches are consistently ranked among the best in the nation by Travel & Leisure and many other publications! The South Carolina coast, and Hilton Head in particular, is truly unique in that it combines tropical scenery with southern sensibilities. Where else in the country can you find locals sipping sweet tea beneath the shade of a palm tree?

Our coastal landscape is comprised of pristine water, swaying seagrass, and pillowy sand dunes bordered by a maritime forest. The vast majority of Hilton Head’s public beaches are quite wide, which allows visitors plenty of room for building sand castles, doing a little beach reading, or biking along the water’s edge before or after high tide. And did we mention the incredible sunrises and sunsets that can be viewed while walking the many beaches located on our slice of island paradise? There is truly something for everyone to enjoy during a vacation on Hilton Head Island.

To help you enjoy as much of our island as possible, we’ve put together a public parking guide for Hilton Head beaches. Read on to discover how to access the best beaches on Hilton Head Island!

Sunset at the beach with sea oats in sand

Alder Lane Beach

Public Access Point: 2 Woodward Avenue

Located on the south end of the island off South Forest Beach Drive, Alder Lane is a fantastic alternative to the perpetually-crowded Coligny area. A total of 22 metered parking spaces are available, and the beach area is equipped with public restrooms, handicap access, seasonal lifeguards, and outdoor showers for rinsing off sandy feet.

Burkes Beach

Public Access Point: 60 Burkes Beach Road

Burkes Beach is a favorite among Hilton Head locals, and luckily this hot spot offers plenty of beach parking for visitors as well! Beach access is at the end of Burkes Beach Road with over 246 free parking spots at nearby Chaplin Park which features baseball and soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, and a dog park. If you’re looking for a restroom, you’ll find two located in the park near the basketball or tennis courts.

Coligny Beach Park

Public Access Point: 1 Coligny Circle

Without a doubt, Coligny Beach Park is Hilton Head Island’s most popular beach area…and it is also the most crowded! If you’re into sand volleyball, you’ll find nets to play on outside of the Tiki Hut along with a great selection of tropical mixed drinks. Local boutiques, gift stores, restaurants, ice cream parlors, and coffee shops abound in the nearby Coligny Plaza shopping center. In terms of amenities, Coligny Beach Park has it all. Wi-Fi, outdoor showers/rinsing stations, restrooms, seasonal lifeguards, and seasonal beach rentals are all available at this iconic Hilton Head beach! There are over 390 free parking spaces available in lots off of Pope Avenue right by the beach access.

Beach with blue umbrellas and people

Driessen Beach Park

Public Access Point: 64 Bradley Beach Road

Lighter crowds and hassle-free parking are two of Driessen Beach Park’s top attractions. Located at the end of Bradley Beach Road, you’ll also find a playground, picnic pavilion, outdoor showers, and a couple of grills on the grounds. Park your car in one of Driessen’s 168 paid spaces and head down the boardwalk to enjoy a family-friendly beach scene! Restrooms, seasonal lifeguards, and seasonal beach rentals are also available.

Driessen Beach Parking Lot

Folly Field Beach Park

Public Access Point: 55 Starfish Drive

If Driessen isn’t your scene, check out Folly Field Beach Park—another beautiful area that’s typically less crowded than other locales. Like Driessen, Folly Field offers a boardwalk, outdoor showers, restrooms, and seasonal lifeguards and rentals. Parking is a bit more limited, with 51 paid spaces available. Wide beaches perfect for walking, biking, and kite-flying await!

Islanders Beach Park

Public Access Point: 94 Folly Field Road

Islanders is frequented by Hilton Head locals, and the majority of the available parking spaces are reserved for annual beach pass holders. However, short-term vacationers still have 25 paid parking spaces to choose from. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at the pavilion or make use of the grill located on the grounds. Islanders Beach also offers a boardwalk, playground, restrooms, outdoor showers, and seasonal lifeguards.

Fish Haul Beach Park

Public Access Point: 120 Mitchellville Road

The Fish Haul Beach Park area is very secluded, but the good news is that your hunt for the perfect beach will be rewarded with free parking and lots of it! This lesser-known beach park is best suited for taking a long walk or observing nature. At low tide this beach reveals numerous tide pools which are perfect for the kids to play in. Keep your eyes open (and have your camera ready) to catch a glimpse of scurrying crabs, graceful herons, and other Lowcountry wildlife! Restrooms and outdoor showers are available on-site.

Fish Haul Beach Park

Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park

Public Access Point: 228 Beach City Road

While you’re out and about exploring Fish Haul Creek Beach, be sure to stop by the historic Mitchelville Freedom Park. A wooded trail will lead you to the beach, where you’re likely to encounter a variety of marine life—especially during low tide! Horseshoe crabs and driftwood alternate with historic markers that tell the story of the Civil War era Battle of Port Royal Sound and the freedmen community of Mitchelville. Walking trails, restrooms, a picnic pavilion, outdoor showers, and an observation deck are all available on the grounds. This memorable mix of history and nature is a must-see on Hilton Head Island! Please note that this may not be the ideal location if you plan to bring a lot of stuff to the beach as the access trail is lengthy.

Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park

For more detailed information, be sure to check out this map of Hilton Head Island parks and Hilton Head Island’s official website. If you’re interested in turning your Hilton Head trip into a permanent stay-cation, give us a call or send us an email! Our team of Lowcountry locals would be honored to help you find a home or getaway property in Hilton Head, Bluffton, or Palmetto Bluff to call your own.

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