Beachin': Hilton Head Island

There’s no such thing as boredom on Hilton Head Island. It’s truly the ultimate beach destination: there’s a reason the resort town’s population swells from around 35,000 full-time residents to close to 300,000 during the peak of the summer season. Luckily, with nearly twelve miles of beaches surrounding the island, there’s plenty of sand and sunshine for everyone—plus tons of restaurants to try, places to explore, shops to visit, and a thriving arts and culture scene to keep you entertained. —A. A.


 ➼What’s New:
A chic, new gastropub has hit the Hilton Head scene: Bomboras Grille. There are nineteen craft beers on tap and the menu offers small plates with a southern twist, like the Surf & Turf, a butcher’s filet and crab cakes served over Gouda grits ($12). 843-689-2662,

Where the Locals Eat:
The Sea Shack, a hidden gem that’s anything but fancy, serves up fresh, Lowcountry-style seafood. You can’t go wrong with a grouper sandwich made the way you like it (fried, grilled, or blackened) on a Kaiser roll with two sides and hush puppies ($10.95). 843-785-2464,

Where to Drink:
If a mountain lodge at the beach sounds odd, prepare to be won over by The Lodge Beer & Growler Bar’s constantly rotating selection of more than thirty beers on tap, plus billiards and shuffleboard. If you can’t wait to get back to the beach, order a growler to go. 843-842-8966,

Stay Here:
Keep the kids entertained at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, which features rooms and suites with colorful décor, pools with fountains and water slides, beach access, and a daily schedule of kid-friendly activities. Rates start at $110 in the off-season and $355 during peak season. 843-341-4100,

Or Here:
Need a place to stay that’s pet-friendly? Has laundry services? Is within walking distance to restaurants and shopping? You’ll find hundreds of properties to choose from with Hilton Head Vacation Rentals. 800-232-2463,

For the Kids:
Take a time-out from the sun at The Sandbox, an interactive children’s museum geared toward kids from infants to eight years old. Inside you’ll find activities, hands-on exhibits and play centers. 843-842-7645,

For the Adults:
Catch a show at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, a regional theatre group that produces musicals, comedies, and dramas. Upcoming shows include How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Driving Miss Daisy. 843-842-2787,

Where to Go When You’re Craving Barbecue:
One Hot Mama’s. People drive up from Savannah just to order the baby back ribs, which come with honey jalapeno cornbread, coleslaw, and fries ($22 for a full rack, $17 for half).


Small Town Charm

You have to leave the island to get to Old Town Bluffton, the one-square-mile National Historic District, but it’s worth the trip to admire the beautiful antebellum buildings and browse charming antiques stores and boutiques, plus art galleries, a market, and more. Start at the Heyward House Historic Center, Bluffton’s official welcome center. 843-757-6293,