Beaches & Bikes | Our Weekend on Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

On April 11th, Austin and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Since Austin was traveling for work, we weren’t able to do anything special on the actual date. However, we more than made up for it a month later after we had moved from Oregon and had gotten settled in South Carolina. Early in May, we repacked our suitcases and left our hotel in Greenwood to head to a new hotel – the South Beach Marina Inn on Hilton Head Island. (Let me say that it’s just plain weird to leave stuff in a hotel. It’s like a vacation inside a vacation.)

Hilton Head Island

After a five hour drive and upon arrival at the South Beach Marina, we were thrilled to discover that we would be staying in such a quiet and secluded area of the Island – the Sea Pines Resort. The South Beach Marina in Sea Pines is where the famous Salty Dog Cafe is located and there is a $6 fee to get into the area unless you are a resident or have a guest pass that came with our lodging.

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

The view from our balcony.

Everything about the trip felt like one blessing after another. Starting with our lodging. Staying at a fancy resort was not in our budget and we thought we would have to stay at a cheaper hotel inland and then drive to the beach. However, quite by accident, we stumbled upon the South Beach Marina Inn. It looked too good to be true since it is located on the waterfront and prices were exactly the same as the budget hotel we had been previously considering. We took a risk and booked a random room and little did we know it was their most popular room called the Crow’s Nest overlooking the entire Marina. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a loft, a comfy living room, a kitchenette, and a gorgeous view for $130 a night? Does it get any better than that?

We fell in love with our room and would have happily stayed a few more days since we were outside so much, we felt like we didn’t get to enjoy it properly.

Hilton Head Island

Since the Salty Dog Cafe was located on the same marina as our room at the inn, it was only a short walk away. Great food, excellent service, and beach vibes are what kept us coming back multiple times during our stay. (Note: Their Key Lime Pie is outstanding.)

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

After lunch on our first day, we picked up our bike rentals. Everywhere in the Sea Pines Resort is connected with bike paths and we were so excited to be able to bike everywhere over the weekend.

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

The weather was beautiful and we had bikes. What more could you want? We set out to explore part of the island and our first stop was the Stoney-Baynard Ruins.

Hilton Head Island

The Stoney-Baynard Ruins are the remnants of a grand antebellum plantation home built 1793-1810 by Captain John “Saucy Jack” Stoney. The original house was 1885 square feet, built of timber and tabby; a mixture of oyster shells, lime, and sand. In 1837, the Stoney family declared bankruptcy and William Baynard acquired the property from the bank. The home was raided during the Civil War and Union forces made it their headquarters. It burned down shortly after the Civil War. Listed on the National Register of Historic Sites, the Stoney-Baynard Ruins have captivated guests and residents with its mystery and beauty. Explore Sea Pines | Historical Sites

Hilton Head Island

After our bike ride, we were hot and ready for ice cream. The Salty Dog Ice Cream Shop is on the South Beach Marina too and it became a spot we visited daily.

Hilton Head Island

Austin got Key Lime and I chose Peach – the same flavors of pie we each picked for our wedding desserts. This happened completely accidentally too.

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

If you are looking for a quiet, secluded beach, then South Beach is the spot for you.

Hilton Head Island

There were at least five dolphins swimming this close to the shore.

Hilton Head Island

For our first dinner out, we drove across the island to Skull Creek Boathouse. We went for their early-bird specials from 4 to 5:45 p.m. The food was delicious, but not as good as some of the other places we tried later on. Ultimately, not worth the drive.

Hilton Head Island

After dinner, we decided to visit the popular Coligny Beach. It was crowded, noisy, and smelly. There were sand fleas biting us and after a quick walk on the shore, we were ready to head back to the private Sea Pines resort and the South Beach Marina.

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

Our first night in Hilton Head ended with us sitting out on the marina enjoying the gorgeous views at dusk. Everything was peaceful and perfect.

Hilton Head Island

We woke up early on Saturday morning because we wanted to leave Sea Pines and go to the Java Burrito Co. for breakfast. According to the map, it should have taken us 30 minutes to get there. Instead, it took an hour and a half. So, if you stay on the South Beach Marina and want to go to the Java Burrito Co., be prepared for a long bike ride, or just take your car.

By the time we arrived, we were famished and enjoyed the most delicious breakfast tacos ever washed down with lots of iced coffee.

Java Burrito Co. is a family- owned and operated Mexican Grill & Coffee Bar in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. We’ve only been around since 2013 yet the family history in the restaurant industry goes back over 100 years! We use the finest ingredients and traditional methods to produce the most exceptional products.

 

Our Burrito Bar sources organic and local food when in season. We never use artificial preservatives and absolutely no growth hormones or antibiotics. Our Coffee Bar sources locally roasted beans, organic milk and all-natural cane sugar sweeteners. Our philosophy promotes positive change within the sustainable farming initiative, supporting farms and individuals with like standards. Java Burrito Co. | About

Hilton Head Island

Once we were fueled by coffee and tacos, we biked back to Sea Pines and Harbor Town so we could climb to the top of the lighthouse.

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

If you’re visiting Hilton Head and want a fun activity, I highly recommend the lighthouse museum. There are lots of interesting things to read and look at as you make your way up to the best views on the island.

Hilton Head Island

Backpack Details: Fjallraven Kanken

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island

By the time we had finished our lighthouse adventures, it was time for lunch. The Sea Shack may not look like much, but it ranked as some of the best food we at during our stay on the island. The Sea Shack is run by a former shrimper who serves food that is “not fancy, just good!” We ordered the Shack Attack that was big enough for both of us to share with a crab cake, fish, oysters, shrimp, and scallops.

Hilton Head Island

We spent the rest of the day at a gorgeous beach in the Sea Pines Resort. Pristine amenities and a happy, quiet, family-friendly beach made this the perfect place for us to go swimming.

Hilton Head Island

Sunny days, sandy toes, saltwater air, and waves that were perfect for swimming in. At one point, while we were walking in the water, I stepped on a flounder. It was a terrifying experience to think you’re stepping on sand and then feel something slippery swim out from under your foot. *shudder*

Swimsuit Details: Garden Isle Swimsuit from Albion Fit

Hilton Head Island

Sunday was our last day on the island and we packed up, checked out, and left our room at the lovely South Beach Inn and spent the better part of the morning riding the free trolley from the South Beach Marina to Harbor Town and back again.

Our final lunch on Hilton Head was at a hole-in-the-wall place we had heard fantastic things about. Kenny B’s French Quarter Cafe had some of the best Jambalaya and Étouffée we had ever had. The owner, Kenny, used to be a chef in New Orleans and, when he moved to Hilton Head Island and opened this place with his family, now serves Cajun food that is as authentic as it gets.

Hilton Head Island

Before making our drive back to Greenwood, we had to have another meander along the South Beach and have our last Salty Dog Ice Cream.

Hilton Head Island

Not pictured: The burning hot asphalt that was roasting our feet and the thorns in the dirt that poked us whenever we tried to escape. #walkofpain

Hilton Head Island

It was a hot and sticky day so we spent our last hours sitting in the red rocking chairs under the Harbor Town Lighthouse while sipping ice-cold drinks. We’re both such old souls and are unashamed to admit it.

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island was the perfect place to spend our (belated) first anniversary. From stunning views to quiet beaches to incredible food, Austin and I both fell completely in love with the island and the Sea Pines resort in particular. The southern part of the island has such a rich and interesting history and we are already excited for the One Day when we hope to be back again. Staying at the Crow’s Nest in the South Beach Marina Inn, eating delicious seafood off paper plates at the Sea Shack, and spending hours riding our bikes. Island life is a slower-paced life and it was exactly the getaway that we needed.

Have you been to Hilton Head Island?

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  • Some friends of ours bought a boat and a condo in Hilton Head and go down all the time. It looks just gorgeous! Fantastic shots! Love the parrots!

  • Courtney Patterson

    Amazing photos. This looks like a beautiful and relaxing trip.

  • I love Hilton Head. I use to go every summer with my family when I was young! I’m so glad you got to experience its beauty! Also, happy belated anniversary (I wrote birthday twice..ahh)!

  • I have never heard of this place. Looks like so much fun. If I get a chance to go, I would definitely rent a bike and explore!

  • It looks beautiful there (and the food looks really tasty, too!). We are hoping to buy Disney Vacation Club, their timeshare, sometime soon. Disney has a resort on Hilton Head that’s part of the timeshare, so once we buy in we’ll definitely make a point to travel here.

  • Leslie Nichole

    Gorgeous! I love South Carolina, it’s only about 3 hours from Raleigh. I also love the Salty Dog, it’s a witty name and the dogs are tasty. It looks like you guys had a lot of fun. Charleston is beautiful too.

  • Oh this looks and sounds like such a wonderful vacation! I’ve always wanted to go to Hilton Head…it’s so pretty and seems like the perfect place to relax and unwind.

    Shannon
    Clothes & Quotes

  • Hilton Head is such a pretty place. I have been there.

  • Awe! So pretty! We went to HHI on our honeymoon…can’t believe that was 6 years ago. Skullcreek Boathouse was actually my favorite restaurant we visited at the time, but I’m sure quite a few others have come and gone since then. 🙂

  • Chrissa – Physical Kitchness

    This might be one of my favorite posts you’ve done! My hubby LOVES going to Hilton Head to golf, but I never had a desire to go until NOW. I never realized how amazingly cute it is!!!! Love your photos!

  • I love this post! It was great!
    I have heard good things about Hilton Head, but have never been.
    I am a total beach girl though (grew up on the NC coast), so I would love to go check it out. And I will definitely be going to the taco/coffee place if I make it there!

  • Ive heard Hilton Head is amazing and your pics are totally showing that! I want to go to SC and NC sooo bad! Glad you enjoyed your trip!

  • I love Hilton Head! It’s one of my favorite U.S. beach destinations. We’re going back next summer and I can’t wait. Your pictures really show what Hilton Head has to offer.

    LiveLifeWell,
    Allison

  • This looks like so much fun!!!! I live in Georgia and I really need to make my way over there. Your post did such a great job telling me cute places to go and visit yummy ice cream to go eat!!

  • Rachel Golden

    I was just in Hilton Head in May! We were there for a week and I feel like I didn’t see any of the things you did! We were located in the Shipyard Plantation by the Sonesta resort and it rained a twice while we were there, but we did make it to the Salty Dog store! It’s such a small island, but there is so much to see and do. One trip is definitely not enough time!

  • Happy Belated Anniversary! It’s been nearly 10 years since I’ve visited Hilton Head Island; your post reminded me that it’s time for another trip back.

    Also, since you’ve just moved to SC, you might want to join our local bloggers group on Facebook – Palmetto Bloggers.

  • Maggie Unzueta

    What a great weekend. Happy Anniversary!

  • Wow! Looks like an amazing trip! Just loved all the stunning photos! And the beach is just pure beauty! Happy anniversary!! It’s fun to read another INFJ’s blog! 🙂

  • This looks like such an awesome beach vacation! I am really quite jealous right now haha. So happy you had a wonderful anniversary trip! Those tacos and iced coffee look so good!

  • Sami

    We did Hilton Head last March, and your post has me itching to go back — so many things we haven’t done yet! Your room looks *beautiful* and I loved the dolphin photos!

  • Lilies + Lambs

    Looks beautiful, and delicious! Happy Anniversary!

  • Your photos are amazing and it makes me want to go there asap. I love the east coast, I have family in Maryland and these pics remind me of it :). Thanks for sharing!

  • This is such a great recap of what looks like an amazing trip!! I have always wanted to go to Hilton Head!

  • Hilton Head is so fun! That hotel room is so cute too!

  • Maya Kohn

    Oh my goodness this looks like my perfect vacation! Bikes, sun, sand, and good food! YES PLEASE!

  • Beautiful! I would so love to visit there!

  • Amanda K

    This looks like a fun day! This is something my husband and I would enjoy doing.

    xx,
    Amanda || http://www.fortheloveofglitter.com