Hilton Head Island Beaches

Public Beaches | Regulations | Safety

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The Travel Channel recently ranked Hilton Head Island number three in its "America's Best Beaches" program. Come and enjoy the island's 12 miles of sandy beaches

Public Access to Hilton Head Island Beaches:
The Town of Hilton Head Island provides eight (8) Public Beach Accesses as follows:

  • Alder Lane Beach Access off South Forest Beach Drive - 22 metered parking spots available.

  • Folly Field Beach Park off Folly Field Road - 54 metered parking spots available.

  • Burkes Beach Access, at end of Burkes Beach Road - 13 metered parking spots available
    Parking fee is a quarter for each 15 minutes.

  • Driessen Beach Park at the end of Bradley Beach Road - 207 metered parking spots available. Parking fee is a quarter for each 30 minutes and annual beach pass holders spots are reserved from 8AM - 3PM.

  • Islander Beach Park at end of Folly Field Road is reserved only for islanders with a two year $30 beach decal on their vehicle.

  • Coligny Beach Park - Large lot just across from beach.

  • Fish Haul Park at the end of Beach City Road

  • Mitchelville Beach Park of Beach City Road - Free Parking available

  • There is beach matting that makes the entrance onto the beach more handicapped accessible at the following beaches - Coligny, Alder, Driessen, Folly Field, Islander (it is also at some of the resort beaches inside the resorts).

    Prohibited at the Beach all seasons

    • Alcoholic liquor, beer or wine
    • Glass (Bottles, containers, etc
    • Littering
    • Indecent exposure (nudity)
    • Disorderly Conduct
    • Disturbing the peace
    • Unauthorized vehicles
    • Fires and Fireworks
    • Shark fishing
    • Removal Harming, or harassment of any live beach fauna (sea turtles,sand dollars, conchs,startfish etc.)
    • Removal alteration, or damaget dunes, sea oats or other dune flora
    • The operation, launching or landing of motorized watercraft (except in emergencies)
    • Unauthorized commercial activity
    • Sleeping on the beach between midnight and 6AM
    • Unauthorized wearing of lifegaurd emblems, insignias, etc
    • Solicitaiton or distribution of handouts
    • Kites not under manual control
    • Sand Sailing

    Seasonal Rules

    From April 1st - September 30th ~ 10 AM - 6PM

    • No Stunt Kites
    • No fishing or surf casting in designated swimming areas
    • No surfboards or other articles to ride the surf in designated swimming areas.
    • No frisbees or other team sports involving a ball in designated swimming areas.
    • No games with metal components (such as metal horseshoes) in designated swimming areas.

    Animal Regulations for all Hilton Head Beaches

    • Friday before Memorial Day to Labor Day - Animals are not permitted on the beach between 10AM - 5PM
    • April 1 through the Thursday before Memorial Day - Must be on a leash between 10AM - 5PM
    • Tuesday after Labor Day through September 30 - Must be on a leash between 10AM - 5PM
    • All other times of the year - Must be on a leash or under positive voice control
    • Must be on a leash at all times at Mitchelville and Fish Haul Creek Beach Parks

    Local law requires owners to clean up after their pets and dispose of the excrement properly

    Beach Safety

    • Protect your skin: Sunlight contains two kinds of UV rays -- UVA increases the risk of skin cancer, skin aging, and other skin diseases. UVB causes sunburn and can lead to skin cancer. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and wear a sunscreen with a sun protection factor containing a high rating such as 15.

    • Drink plenty of water regularly and often even if you do not feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. They can make you feel good briefly but make the heat's effects on your body worse. This is especially true with beer, which dehydrates the body.

    • Watch for signs of heat stroke: Heat stroke is life-threatening. The victim's temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly. Signals include hot, red, and dry skin; changes in consciousness, rapid, weak pulse, and rapid, shallow breathing. Call 9-1-1 or your local EMS number. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the body by wrapping wet sheets around the body and fan it. If you have ice packs or cold packs, place them on each of the victim's wrists and ankles, in the armpits and on the neck to cool the large blood vessels. Watch for signals of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.

    • Wear eye protection: Sunglasses are like sunscreen for your eyes and protect against damage that can occur from UV rays. Be sure to wear sunglasses with labels that indicate that they absorb at least 90 percent of UV sunlight.

    • Wear foot protection: Many times, people's feet can get burned from the sand or cut from glass or shells in the sand.

    Ocean Safety

    • Learn to swim. The best thing anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is to learn to swim--this includes adults and children. The American Red Cross has swimming courses for people of any age and swimming ability. Contact your local Red Cross chapter for information on courses.

    • Stay within the designated swimming area, ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard.

    • Never swim alone.

    • Check the surf conditions before you enter the water. Check to see if a warning flag is up or check with a lifeguard for water conditions, beach conditions, or any potential hazards.

    • Stay away from piers, pilings, and diving platforms when in the water.

    • Keep a lookout for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants. Leave animals alone.

    • Make sure you always have enough energy to swim back to shore.

    • Don't try to swim against a current if caught in one. Swim gradually out of the current, by swimming across it.

    Beach First Aid Tips

    • Sunburn - Soak in cool water unless skin is broken or blistered. Ibuprofen may help.

    • Bee Stings - Apply a baking soda paste and ice. If allergic, seek medical help.

    • Jelly Fish Stings - Apply vinegar, sugar, salt or dry sand. After 20 min., rinse with salt water.

    • Crab Bites - rinse well, disinfect, and apply antibiotic ointment. May need stitches.

    • Tick Bites - DO NOT attempt to remove the tick. Cover with vaseline or a film of oil. When insect is free, remove with tweezers. Look for flu-like symptoms for up to two weeks. If this occurs, seek immediate medical attention.

    • Snake Bites - CALL 911. Use a compression dressing just above site, NOT a tourniquet.

    • Oyster Shells - cuts and abrasions can result in serious infections. Medical treatment advised.

    • Alligators - Do NOT go near alligators. They run very fast. Do NOT feed or tease !

    • Sting Ray - rinse with water and apply heat to neutralize sting. Seek medical attention.

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