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


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!




For my 30th birthday in August, Nathan surprised me with a trip to Hilton Head Island.  Well, let me take that back.  He tried to surprise me, but accidentally gave away the secret about 2 weeks prior to us leaving (he can NOT for the life of himself keep a surprise) but I still had no idea where we were staying. So when we finally arrived to our destination and pulled into the drive of Sonesta Resorts, I was blown away with the beauty of our home-away-from-home!  From the Spanish filled oak trees lining your drive in, to the lush landscaping, Sonesta does an impeccable job at making you feel like you just arrived to an exclusive tropical getaway.  So whether you have Hilton Head Island on your radar for your next family vacation or maybe a romantic getaway with your significant other, we thought it would be fun to share with you our favorite aspects of Sonesta Resorts Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  Check out a video of our first impressions of Sonesta Resort HERE. 


Ok, so this was a huge PLUS for me!  We love traveling with Reggie, our 4 year old Cocker Spaniel. So it is super important to us that wherever we stay is not only pet-friendly but pet accommodating as well. All guests traveling with pets are given rooms on the first floor, which may not be great for views (our room overlooked the pool which I actually didn’t mind) but is awesome in terms of convenience.  We have stayed in other hotels where the pet-friendly rooms are on the higher level floors which is a pain when it comes to letting your pet outside during the day.  With us being on the first floor, we had easy access to the outdoor space to take Reggie for walks, and it was also super convenient to let him outside multiple times throughout the day when we were just hanging out at the pool!  The grounds of the hotel are also very pet friendly!  There are multiple pet baggie stations next to the walking paths around the hotel property itself, which was nice because of course I forgot mine!  The hotel grounds have a path around the pool and pond area that we would take Reggie around each morning, and Shipyard Plantation itself is full of miles of walking trails! Another aspect I really appreciated was that daily cleaning service of our room was still provided.  Other hotels we have booked with in the past absolutely do not service the room if you are boarding a pet.  Not at Sonesta!  All we had to do was put Reggie in his crate, and call when we were ready to have the room serviced and the cleaning staff showed up right away!  This was a HUGE plus, especially when your going to and from the beach, because you guys know how sand gets EVERYWHERE, and even more so with a pet!  Speaking of the beach, one more perk!  The beach outside of Sonesta is pet friendly except from 10AM-5PM.  We took Reggie to the beach every morning to watch the sunrise, and every evening to watch the sunset!  He even made a few friends!  Overall, Sonesta Resort was extremely pet-friendly and made us feel right at home with our furbaby.



Our rooms were really comfortable, spacious, modern, and clean! The king size bed was super comfy, we had a little seating area with a loveseat, a mini fridge where we kept some basic grocery items and of course we both appreciated the coffee station complete with a Keurig and assortment of K-cups.  The seating area on the patio was spacious, enough room to hang towels and store beach chairs, coolers, etc although perhaps not that private since we were directly off the pool.  The little luxuries made this room one of a kind. When the lights are off and you hop out of the bed, there is ground lighting that lightly dims the floor so you can see where you are going without turning on a light (Nathan personally loved these lights and kept saying we needed to include this feature if we ever build our own home)! The beds were extremely comfortable, and included extra pillows which I personally love.  There was even a nice robe in the closet to use at your leisure, a nice little relaxing touch. 



The pool was definitely our favorite hang out spot!  There are two pools at the resort.  The first, is a large, walk-in, outdoor pool.  It was very spacious,  had plenty of seating (you didn’t have to fight over lawn chairs or struggle finding a spot), and really had a nice luxurious feel to the area.  We always picked a spot closest to the pool bar, because their Key Lime Coladas were out of this world!  We had at least one every single day and they were absolutely delicious!!  A few days we even got extra fancy and snagged one of the cabanas!  Unlike most hotels, the cabanas at Sonesta are FREE and on a first come, first serve basis!  These were great for when we spent the entire day at the pool, the perfect cozy shady spot to lounge, take a break from the sun, and enjoy a nice nap!  The second pool, was a smaller, completely shaded pool with a small hot tub.  We liked this spot in the evenings!  We would grab a couple cocktails, relax in the hot-tub and then just hang out in the airy cabanas and watch the sky turn different shades of pink as the sun began to set!  Very dreamy and relaxing!



Another perk of Sonesta Resort, is that all you have to do is take a short walk down a beautifully lined pathway and you have immediate beach access.  This was super convenient because we could come and go to the beach as we pleased!  Nathan and I brought our own beach chairs, but the resort has chairs and umbrellas that you can rent by the day if you need.  Or you can reserve one through the beach patrol for the day, and they will set up the chair and umbrella for you!  If you are staying for a couple days, though, we would definitely suggest bringing your own beach gear because it can get kinda pricey renting each day.



Upon arrival at Sonesta, I was immediately impressed by the grounds of the entire complex.  They really do an excellent job in making the space feel extremely plush, and beautiful.  From the well-maintained pathways around the facility, to the pristine ponds,  the property itself is nothing less than luxurious!  There are several seating areas around the grounds, whether you want to spend the day reading a book in one of the hammocks or enjoy a cocktail at one of the cozy fire pits, there really is a spot for everyone! I also appreciated the family-friendly aspects they included like corn hole stations, areas where you can watch turtles, and even the cutest little snack shops where they offered tasty little treats and snow cones!



Sonesta Resort offers several restaurants with both indoor and outdoor dining options.

HEYWARDS RESTUARANT : serves breakfast daily and also dinner, focusing on the traditional Lowcountry fare.  Don’t forget about their amazing desserts!! 

SEACREST TERRACE & PATIO:  Located directly next door to Heyward’s Restaurant.  This restaurant is open every day for lunch only, and offers a cool and casual indoor/outdoor dining option.  

BAYLEYS BAR: located in the heart of the modern resort lobby, this is the place for a quick coffee in the morning and your favorite tropical cocktail at night!

SWEET CANE BAR & GRILLE: this is the poolside bar that offered Nathan and I’s favorite cocktail of the week: Key Lime Colada!!  They have an array of different tropical drinks, daily happy hour promotions, and lunch items made to order. 

SANDBAR AT MARKER 72:  this is the newest Beach Bar for Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island and Shipyard Plantation.  With a rustic wood covered beach deck setting and tables overlooking the ocean and lagoon this bar instantly gives you that beach vacation feel.  They had live entertainment every day from about 12-3 pm, which you could enjoy at the bar or even while relaxing at the pool!



Arum Spa is one of the newest spas in Hilton Head!  And although I didn’t enjoy a spa experience myself (I definitely wish I would have) it looked like a complete relaxation oasis!  Whether you have an hour, or a full day, they can accommodate all of your needs!  Arum Spa offers an array of different treatments such as massages, full body treatments, facials, or even full day customizable spa packages to give you the best experience possible, and its sure to calm your mind and lift your spirits!



Sonesta Resort offers an array of recreational activities, from bike rentals to paddle boarding, kayaking, tennis or helping you book a round of gold at one of the many courses around the island!  They also have a 24 hour fitness center (which we used a couple times during our stay), complimentary shuttle service around Shipyard Plantation, concierge, and a kids activity program just to name a few!  Honestly, the activity Nathan and I enjoyed the most was taking long walks on the beach with Reggie, enjoying the sounds of the ocean, and catching every sunrise and sunset that we could! 

Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island is a true tropical oasis, and we felt like we were on a relaxing tropical getaway the moment we stepped into the lobby!  The views, easy beach access, luxurious grounds and accommodating staff make this a truly relaxing stay!  Whether you’ve been looking to plan your first trip to Hilton Head Island, or come here every year, we highly recommend you check out this resort for yourself! You’re sure to have nothing short of a relaxing and magical stay at Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island. 

Thank you so much for reading, and if you have any questions about our stay, let us know!