5 Best Photo Opportunities in Hilton Head

Photo Opportunities Hilton Head

Lee Van Grack

What could easily be called the gem of the Southeast, Hilton Head Island is a premier beach destination on the east coast. Fittingly, there are a lot of great photo opportunities. Hilton Head Island has so many, in fact, that it's difficult to narrow down its top five!

1. The Romantic Photo: Calibogue Sound Beach

Any trip to the beach is ideal for great travel photography. Hilton Head Island has plenty of picturesque beaches, but Calibogue Sound Beach is one of the less-discovered places, so it isn't quite as touristy as Hilton Head Island's other beaches.

Calibogue Sound Beach is located on what is considered the toe of Hilton Head Island, at the southern tip of the island. The area is somewhat unsettled, as the area doesn't offer public parking, and is really accessible only by walking or bicycling. As such, the waters are popular among fishers.

Because Calibogue Sound Beach is so remote, it's a great spot for either a romantic morning or evening. Along the eastern side of the beach, visitors can enjoy a scenic Hilton Head Island sunrise, and may even catch a glimpse of dolphins. However, the beach is best enjoyed by walking the western side toward Braddock Cove, where it offers one of the best views on the island of the sunset.

Calibogue Sound Beach
232 South Sea Pines Dr
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

2. The Quirky Photo: Indian Shell Ring at Sea Pines Forest Preserve

One of the oldest landmarks in Hilton Head Island, the Indian shell rings and mounds at Sea Pines Forest Preserve make for nice landscape photography. This Hilton Head Island preserve is one of many around the island, as the preserves are somewhat of an icon, highlighting the community's commitment to animal and plant life.

Sea Pines is most noted for its resort, which is one of the most luxurious on the island. Because of this, the Indian rings at the Sea Pines Forest Preserve are often overlooked. What's unique about the shell rings is that they are some of a small number still in existence. The rings were used by Native Americans as something of a refuse heap. This particular ring is 150 feet in diameter and is undamaged, as it has been well preserved over the years.

Sea Pines Forest Preserve
175 Greenwood Dr
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
Open daily sunrise-sunset
Donations accepted

3. The Family Fun Photo: Fort Mitchel

Kids, teenagers and families alike have a fascination with military landmarks. Fort Mitchel is located in an area of South Carolina steeped in history, as it represents where the Civil War began, since the first official shots were fired at nearby Fort Sumter. This Hilton Head Island landmark is unique in that it was occupied almost exclusively by Union soldiers during the Civil War. Located in a wooded area, there are remains of the fort, including Howitzer canons.

Fort Mitchel
65 Skull Creek Dr
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina 29926
Hours vary

4. The Scenic Photo: Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is a national refuge and is widely known; in fact, it's the largest refuge island in the area. With more than 4,000 acres of land, its features include saltmarsh, forestland, brushland and freshwater ponds.

As nice as the variations of the landscape are, visitors come here to catch photos of the abundant wildlife. Many unique animals populate the refuge, such as the wood stork, which is actually on the endangered species list, and can be found in the mudflats, oyster beds and shores. Although parts of the refuge are accessible by car, the best way to experience Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is by bicycle or walking, as it features more than 14 miles of trails.

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge
Lands End Drive Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
Hours vary

5. The Classic Photo: Harbour Town Lighthouse

A strong case can be made for the Harbour Town Lighthouse as the poster child of Hilton Head Island. Visitors will find the 90-foot red and white striped tower throughout the island on billboards, posters, t-shirts, postcards and much more. If there is one photo you want to get in Hilton Head Island, this is it.

Harbour Town Lighthouse is one of the more up-to-date lighthouses on the southeast coast, as it was just built in 1970. It's unique in that visitors can walk to the top and get one of the best views of the island. It offers one of the area's best photo opportunities – Hilton Head Island at its most scenic!

Harbour Town Lighthouse
149 Lighthouse Rd
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
Hours vary
Admission is $3. Children 5 and under are free
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