For that small-town Lowcountry feel, Brighton Beach at the end of Alljoy Road is the place to go. The Alljoy Boat Landing provides access to the May River and Calibogue Sound. Limited parking is available, so drive your golf cart over early! It’s the perfect place to unwind, perhaps after a day of shopping or dining in Old Town, or to launch a great day on the water from the public dock! For a list of Beaufort County’s Public Docks, visit bcgov.net.
May River Sandbar:
For some leisure at low tide, the May River Sand Bar is the perfect place for a picnic. Locals and visitors alike—and their dogs!—dock at the sand bar to enjoy a few hours of swimming, playing volleyball or just kicking back and relaxing. Check the tide chart carefully before planning your play date—the sand bar doesn’t exist when the tide comes in! For details, visit hiltonheadisland.org/lowcountrylife/bluffton.
Hilton Head Island
Hilton Head Island boasts a whopping 12 miles of beach; all public from the ocean to high water mark. Access to the beach, however, may be private. Public parking is widely available. The Island’s beaches are ideal for strolling, biking, swimming, parasailing or paddleboarding, sunbathing and more. Designated Swimming Areas are clearly marked, and during the season (April 1–September 30), lifeguards are present. Fishing, surfing, team sports involving a ball and pets are only permitted before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. in the summer. Please note, alcohol is not allowed on any of Hilton Head’s beaches at any time. If you’re staying on Hilton Head, all major hotels, resorts and plantations with beaches have access to the shore for their guests. When you’re ready for a snack, keep an eye out for the Island’s new food trucks at Driessen Beach Park, Chaplin Community Park and Burkes Beach Road. For more informations, go to hiltonhead.com/beaches.
Port Royal/The Sands:
Conveniently located at the southern tip of the town of Port Royal, The Sands offers easy access from all points in Beaufort. Just drive right up to the beach and enjoy a picnic out of the back of your car if you like, or try any of the amazing restaurants in the area serving only the freshest seafood, steaks and more. Anyone hoping to spot pelicans or egrets flying overhead, dolphin playing in the surf or collecting sharks’ teeth must stroll down The Sands’ awesome, expansive boardwalk! Completely free and open to the public during daylight hours, The Sands is a family-friendly “beach” on the Beaufort River, and favorite local spot. For more, visit beaufortsc.org/50-things-to-do.
Hunting Island State Park:
For camping enthusiasts, South Carolina’s most visited state park is a must! Besides offering pristine beaches, Hunting Island State Park also features a campground with space for both RV and tent campers, and a site for established groups; which, due to Hurricane Matthew, is predicted to be open by late June. This nature and wildlife paradise permits boating, surfing and fishing, as well as hikes along nature trails. No visit here is complete without a climb to the top of the historic lighthouse, where awe-inspiring views of the ocean, beach and Lowcountry marshlands can be seen. Since parking is limited due to restoration in some areas, a shuttle from St. Helena Elementary School is now provided for guests. For more, visit southcarolinaparks.com/huntingisland/introduction.aspx.
Beaufort Sand Bar:
If you’re looking for first-class entertainment and summer memories to last a lifetime, head to the 62nd Annual Beaufort Water Festival. From July 14-23, this Lowcountry tradition brings 10 days of music, dancing, arts and crafts markets, races, and more on the banks of the Beaufort River at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. While you’re there, make plans to attend the 2nd Annual Beaufort Sandbar Concert starring country music artist Pat Cooper. For more, visit bftwaterfestival.com.
Just 30 minutes from historic downtown Savannah, Tybee Island is the perfect afternoon getaway. Bring your surfboard, your fishing pole or your boat, but leave the pups at home since Tybee doesn’t allow pets on the beach. When you need to take a break from the sun, visit an array of lively restaurants lining the streets, climb the Tybee Island Lighthouse—one of seven surviving colonial-era light towers—or stop by Old Fort Jackson, the oldest standing brick fort in Georgia. If you’re planning a picnic at the shore, pack with plastic; glass is not permitted on the beach and violations come with a heavy fine. Be sure to check for parking updates since Tybee’s gorgeous beach is wildly popular and parking is limited! For more, visit savannah.com/beaches/tybee-island-beach-information.