Going to Hilton Head-need advice

Going to Hilton Head in June-sort of family, in-law thing so I know I will want to be on my own a lot. My question is should I transport my boats down on my truck or rent down there. I am an intermediate paddler. Boats:Prijon Calabria 14.5 and Prijon Barracuda 17. Also what are the best areas to kayak and where should I avoid. Thanks, Wayne

Also I will be driving down from Ne Pa. I am weighing this against flying or possibly taking the train.

You might want to check out…
Where you will be staying…

Some of the Gated communities have vehicle/boat restrictions.

try www.outsidehiltonhead.com

– Last Updated: Mar-26-07 1:39 PM EST –

pinckney island on the north side of the island is a great place to paddle. also what greyhawk said.

My experience
I’ve driven down from Maryland with kayaks and stayed in Sea Pines - many times.

There are restrictions - basically you can’t leave the boats on your vehicle and they must be stored out of sight at the home. If you are renting - call your rental agent and get an email (in writing not verbal) stating that it is ok to bring and store kayaks at your particular rental. You can show it at the gate when they hassle you - and they will.

I’ve kayaked from the South Beach Marina area. I’ve typically rented with access to the creek there but there is a boat launch with a fee if you use it.

From South Beach I’ve enjoyed kayaking to the Harbour Town marina and over to Dafuskie Island. Go out around 7PM when the shrimpers are coming in and you are likely to find yourself surrounded by dolphins.

The channel between HH and Dafuskie has a pretty significant current between tides. I’d suggest some caution - check it out, stay close to HH shore at first.

I’ve heard Pinkney is good but haven’t been there.

Enjoy - be safe.

what he said
Get the agreement from the rental agency–if you’re in a condo, you’re stuck because you cannot leave the kayaks on the car and will have no place to store them–that means rental, which isn’t cheap. If you’re in a duplex on the water, you can store the kayaks on the back porch semi out of signt, but within a few minutes of arriving the local police will be there to check on you. It is worse with a truck than an Audi, but that’s HHI. Enough said about that I suppose. The paddling from South Beach (where my wife’s family has a place) is fun and it’s an easy paddle over to Dafuskie. I’ve circumnavigated the island, but you have to be capable of open ocean paddling and be very careful about winds and tides. It is very easy to get stuck with a long paddle home. You can also go up toward the inlet (Tower beach)from South Beach and paddle along the shore in the surf line if you want to play a bit. Dolphins are everywhere most days in the sound up against the shore. If you want to get off HHI, head over to Folly Beach–Tom Nickels is a terrific guide. Would make for a nice day trip. If you like wildlife and are a birder, Pynkney (sp) Island is really beautiful, but it is also the worst place outside of black water swamps I’ve ever been for mosquitos. Horrible x 100 if there anything less than a Force 3-4 wind, but that probably wouldn’t be so much a problem once you got on the water.

One more thing about South Beach
The water you see from the dock at South Beach Marina - The Salty Dog – at low tide it is nearly all a mud flat. Just a word of warning, I did watch one guy sit in the mud in his powerboat across the channel from the docks. I enjoyed a couple of cold beers while he was in some darn hot sun until his boat floated again.

Beaufort, SC
waaaayyyyy nicer and no stupid restrictions.


I travel some down in that neighborhood and I really like areas ‘other’ than HH. Tybee IS, Beaufort, Hunting Is…etc.


flatpick is right
hhi is a suburb of atlanta with a beach. surfing boat wakes is fun! it does have nice bike trails .

Agree with what’s been said
Last June I paddled down that way. Sea Pines was definetely not kayaker friendly so we had to hide the boats in the garage of the friends place we were staying at. We paddled to Dafuskie Island from South Beach Marina, which was a nice trip. June is not full on tourist season yet, so if you are going then it shouldn’t be too awful crowded. Then we left for Hunting Island State Park - Beaufort area, much more friendly and more my style! There are lots of places to paddle in that area. I would definetely recommend a day trip somewhere in the ACE basin wildlife refuge. Have fun!

You people are fantastic-great info. I am still debating whether to transport my boats down or rent. I found out we are staying at a huge priovate home so I guess storage won’t be a problem. Why are the rules so explicit about not having kayaks on vehicles or exposed on a lawn?

Thanks for your help-Wayne

While HHI is charming in some ways–the bike paths in particular or, if you play golf, the golf courses–it is impossible to forget that you are staying in a gated community with a private army (read security service) designed for people with a lot of money to stay protected from the rest of us. It is a very Republican environment–yuk. Personally, I’d never go there if it was just me, but my wife’s family has a place in Lands End in SeaPines, so I am happy to go rolling / paddling when we’re there as I love the family more than I love my antipathy for things Republican. Close call though .

ACE Basin
You might try getting out of Hilton Head, and paddling on one of the Rivers and creeks that form the ACE Basin. The scenery, wildlife and paddling are exceptional. I just did a trip up the Combahee that was my best paddle ever.

The drive to the area would be no more than an hour from HH Island. If you do a search on kayaking the ACE basin you’ll find some outfitters who could help you out with a kayak.

just because hhi is surrounded
by many places that are more friendly to paddling does NOT mean hilton head is not a great place to paddle. the waters are teeming with wildlife, the weather is great, there is lots of water access. if it were me i’d bring my own boat(s) and do some exploring.

hhi paddling
i went through this last year. sea pines is impossible- don’t even bother. i left my surfski at outside hilton head- paid them some small fee per day, locked up the ski to their rack. went and picked it up and put in off the beach, in the main little tidal creek there, and at pinkney. the paddling was excellent once you got over the bs factor. the pinkney boat ramp is probably the easiest put in if you don’t like carrying too far.


hh and eateries
Thanks everyone for the replys. I am going to drive down with my boats. I will be there for a week sounds like I might be pleasantly busy. Any good Indian or Thai restaurants in the area?



Personally if I were you I would put the boat on the car and drive over to Tybee Island for a day trip.

You can stop at Sea Kayak Georgia and they will point you in the right direction.

Go paddle over in the Triangle at high tide…awesome paddling!


best restaurant on hhi
Le Bistro Mediterranean

430 William Hilton Pkwy Ste 301

Hilton Head Isle, SC 29926-2409View Map

(843) 681-8425

Dos Borrachos, still there??
I was there in the late 70’s racing catamarans. It was after Labor day and a lot of the businesses were closed. Spent a lot of time at a Tex-Mex restaurant called Dos Borrachos (two drunks)…

Forgot to mention that if you do go to Tybee to paddle, Sea Kayak Georgia rents boats. They have quality boats from Necky, Valley, NDK, Impex, etc. They are great folks out there. They also offer several different options for guided trips if you are interested.

I still think that is your best be down there.