You’d think that after visiting the same place a few times a year – every year – things might get a little stale after awhile. I’ve traveled to Hilton Head Island for over 22 years now – my husband even longer. We often do the tourist favorites – Harbor Town and other lures within Sea Pines, dining at popular restaurants, and hitting the Tanger outlets for great deals. Through the years, we’ve discovered spots to love that might be under the radar for most folks. Finding gems like these keep our island visits fresh.

Whether you visit Hilton Head as a couple, with small children, or with hard to please teens, here are some places you might not know about.

Daniel’s Restaurant and Lounge

Photo courtesy of Daniel's

Photo courtesy of Daniel’s

I’m ashamed to admit we only discovered this place last year. My husband and I came down sans kids for our anniversary. We made a pact we would only eat in restaurants we’ve never been to.

Best. Decision. Ever.

Tucked away amidst the tee shirt and souvenir shops on the ocean side of Coligny is this hip tapas restaurant with the most remarkable happy hour. Savor a variety of delectable international dishes accompanied with signature drinks, and still stay within your budget. Lucky for us, it’s within walking distance of our condo. Those Berrypolitans really pack a punch. I highly recommend the spicy shrimp and calamari or the freshly made hummus plate. Top it off with a martini flight. Yeah, you read that correctly. Divine.


Photo credit: Sandbox

Photo credit: Sandbox

When our kids were elementary age, they adored this place. Actually, they still talk about it often. We found it one rainy day, yet returned on many sunny days. Located on the south end of the island, the Sandbox is an interactive children’s museum that will keep your kids entertained for hours. My daughters’ favorites were the international airport terminal complete with an airplane; the pirate adventure boat; and the SCBT bank. The Sandbox also offers programs and summer camps.

Island Rec Center

Photo credit: Island Rec Center

Photo credit: Island Rec Center

Island “to do” packets and brochures are helpful, but the Island Rec Center website is a great resource you should consider. We found them during a search for surf camps last summer, and I’m so glad we did. The instructor was patient and friendly. I couldn’t believe how quickly both girls picked up the sport. The camp takes place at Burks Beach, which is a great beach to spend the day. The cost for the camp is extremely reasonable, too. Island Rec also offers lots of other camps and programs for adults and seniors, as well as a pretty extensive list of local events like Summer Jams and Water Fun Day.

Classic Consignments

Photo courtesy of Classic Consignments

Photo courtesy of Classic Consignments

My mother-in-law and I share a passion for estate sales and consignment stores, and we love meandering through the aisles here in search of treasures. I bought my favorite lamp here! They have varied home décor items, furniture, and a good selection of eclectic accessories. Inventory changes often, and I find something new every time I visit. Just make sure you’ve left extra room in the van for your spoils.

Gregg Russell

Okay, so the fact that droves of families come see him year after year may disqualify him for an “under the radar” category. However, no matter how often we visit the island, no trip is complete without seeing him perform under the Liberty Oak in Harbour Town. My kids have almost worn out their copies of “Camp Tanglefoot” and “Come Away Home”, and a trip home wouldn’t be complete without a rousing rendition of “Are We There Yet?”. Gregg is engaging, funny, and kind. And he’s one of the reasons Hilton Head is such a special place. Oh, and you don’t have to have kids to enjoy the show, either. He’s that much fun. For your viewing enjoyment, I’ve included a video of my youngest daughter singing for Gregg a few years ago. Disclaimer: I’m not the world’s best videographer.


Have I missed any of your “under the radar” favorites? If so, please share. I’m always looking for new adventures!

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