For my 30th birthday, Nathan surprised me with a trip to Hilton Head Island, SC. I was SUPER excited because I remember going there as a child, and having so much fun!! We both have been so busy with our jobs, launching the blog, wedding planning, etc that we were both really looking forward to this trip and some much needed rest, relaxation and quality time together! We stayed at Sonesta Resort (read our full review HERE) which was PERFECT because it offered so many amenities, not to mention we could walk right to the beach and its central location made it nice when exploring the island. Watch our full review on Sonesta Resort HERE.
Some of my favorite memories from this trip were waking up super early to watch the sunrise on the beach, chilling by the pool in our favorite little cabana while sipping on the absolute BEST key lime colada EVER, and going to the beach at night with Reggie…watching the stars and seeing how bright the moon shines over the ocean.
Hilton Head Island is definitely a very chill vacation spot, you don’t have to worry about getting dressed up when you go out to eat (I’m talking a cute sundress and flip flops) and most places are dog-friendly (which was a HUGE plus for us since we brought Reggie with us!). They also have some AMAZING seafood restaurants, and so many indiscreet places offering awesome lowcoxntry foods! Our best advice would be to pick a couple of favorites that you might like to check out, and just go with the flow to see where the day takes you!
JAVA BURRITO- this was by far the most highly recommended breakfast spot, and I can totally understand why! Think locally sourced fresh food burrito bar meets your favorite trendy organic coffee shop. Whether you want to stop in for a signature coffee drink, like the honey lavender latte, or put together the freshest breakfast burrito you can imagine, this place is definetly worth checking out for breakfast or lunch!
THE FRENCH BAKERY- we found this place by my friend Maddie’s recommendation, and we had the most lovely breakfast here one dreary morning! They have a wide variety of homemade baked goods, baked fresh every single morning as well as a small menu of traditional breakfast items. Nathan and I got a box of assorted pastries (the chocolate filled croissant was my FAVORITE), and two lattes, and ate breakfast in the park across the street which overlooks the bay.
CHAR BAR COMPANY- vinyl records line the walls of this laid back spot offering gourmet burger, craft beer and homemade shake. Nathan and I went here for an early dinner one day, but I also think it’d be a great spot for lunch! We sat outside on their dog-friendly patio, Nathan got the “Dirty South” - a burger topped with pulled pork, red pepper jelly, pimento, bourbon bbq sauce and topped with a fried green tomato. I went a little more adventurous and did the “Wine Jam”- a wagyu beef burger topped with bone marrow butter, basil, prosciutto, port wine onion jam and Boursin cheese. Obviously we both left extremely full!!
SALTY DOG CAFE- located at South Beach Marina Village in Sea Pines, this is a quitisential Hilton Head favorite. I hadn’t been here since I was about 8 years old, so of course I had to go back to see if it was as cool as I remembered! Its a whole tiny village of little shops and spring-off restaurants but the original Salty Dog offers casual bar food, with great views of the bay and often live music on their outdoor patio. Side note: you actually are not allowed to have your dog on the outdoor dining patio, so you’ll have to leave your fur baby at home ( we learned this the hard way lol)
HUDSONS- one day I was craving a fried shrimp Po-Boy, so we googled where we could find one and this place was the first to pop up, so off we went! Turns out, it was WAY worth it!! This place has such a cool history! The restaurant itself is an old oyster factory started in 1912, and the company still employs one of the two remaining fishing fleets on the Island, which means your seafood is served straight from their docks to your table…it doesn’t get more FRESH than that!! Nathan and I both got the shrimp po-boys with hushpuppies (which are AMAZING), a couple of tropical drinks, and enjoyed the open-air views of the Port Royal Sound. Hudson’s is a must in my opinion, even if you just go for a cocktail to watch the sunset!
SKULL CREEK BOATHOUSE/DOCKSIDE- probably the most highly recommended dinner spot, and trust me, it didn’t disappoint! These side-by-side restaurants both offer incredible views of Skull Creek! Dockside is the newer restaurant, and offers a gorgeous dining room indoors if needed due to weather. The Boathouse is the original restaurant and definitely has a more laid-back island feel, offering a HUGE outdoor bar and patio. If there is a wait-time, they have a common area complete with lawn chairs, yard games, a playground, etc. We ended up getting a high-top table at the Boathouse right away! We both got the seafood sampler platter and shared a basket (or maybe 2) of the hushpuppies which were SOOOO good! We chilled here a good part of the night, enjoyed the amazing sunset over the sound, and listened to the live music! The patio at the Boathouse is dog-friendly!
A LOW COUNTRY BACKYARD- this place has a super unique atmosphere! The outdoor patio is set under a huge tent with live oak trees and wood chip flooring, making you feel like you are literally in the comfort of your backyard! This restaurant is known for its homage to low country fare, so we both got the classic Shrimp & Grits and we would highly recommend it! Live music starts at 6pm, but be prepared for a wait because seating is limited, especially outside!
*A few places that were recommended but we didn’t get the chance to try:
Skillets Cafe, Frosty Frog Cafe, The Old Oyster, Poseidon, Frankie Bones, The Jazz Corner, Coco’s on the Beach
PLACES TO SEE/THINGS TO DO
SHELTER COVE- this is a newer area with shopping and restaurants as well as a beautiful new park complete with an amphitheater that houses year round festivals and live events.
HARBOUR TOWN- another area with boutiques, restaurants and activities. Also home to the iconic red and white striped Harbor Town lighthouse, which offers an amazing view of the entire marina as well as a museum that you can tour daily.
COLIGNY PLAZA- full of shops, restaurants and live entertainment.
RENT BIKES- this is a great way to explore the island AND get your exercise!! Our resort had a bike rental, but there are plenty of companies on the island you can rent from if you are unable to bring your own!
Have you ever been to Hilton Head Island? If so, we would love to hear about some of your favorite places in the comments below!! As always, thanks so much for reading and stay tuned for our next Travel Diary!