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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina / Coligny Plaza, Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, beach, trails, shopping restaurants...

November 2016, Weekend-weekday, 3-nights


Following is information about some of the places we visited during our stay at Marriott Resort & Spa on Hilton Head Island. 

Restaurants, dining options

We had a late lunch at Joe Loves Lobster Rolls in Ridgeland, SC on our way to Hilton Head. If you are arriving from the north, this is right on the way on N. Okatie Hwy. My husband had the Smoked Wild Boar sandwich special, and I had the Lobster Mac 'n Cheese side special. The sandwich came with a side and drink, which are not visible in the photo below. The food flavor was excellent, although afterward, we wished we had ordered the largest lobster roll and shared it instead. Yes, we wanted more lobster!

Joe Loves Lobster Rolls
We dined at two locations in Palmetto Dunes, which were less than a half mile walk from the Marriott: Palmetto Dunes General Store and Big Jim's BBQ, Burgers, and Pizza. Our breakfast from the General Store was not what we had initially planned that morning; however, it was very good. We had a freshly made bagel egg sandwich and sausage egg burrito. The portion sizes were good, and the cost was around $5 each. There is a sitting area outside the store. Other breakfast foods were available, as well as deli/lunch-type sandwiches. All of the foods looked fresh and appetizing.

Palmetto Dunes General Store
Big Jim's website says it is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; however, it was not open for breakfast the day we tried to visit, which is why we ended up at the General Store. We could smell food cooking when we walked by the General Store on our way to Big Jim's. We thought the smell was coming from Big Jim's until we got there and discovered it was closed. We had dinner at Big Jim's the next evening - a burger and grouper sandwich. The food was acceptable, although not anything special.

We walked to breakfast at Hilton Head Diner across the street from Palmetto Dunes one morning. The service was good, and the food was merely okay. I had the California Benedict with grits, and my husband had eggs with toast and ham. The grits were flavorless, and the foods were all sliced paper thin: the tomato, avocado, english muffin, bread/toast, and ham. The cost for food at the diner was a bit less than similar items at The Cafe in the Marriott; however, the food flavor and quality we received the next morning at The Cafe was far superior.


Tiki Hut menu and Nutty Sailor
We ate at Tiki Hut the day we visited Coligny Plaza, because we wanted to see the band that was scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. (they did not start until after 1:30). We had fish tacos, grouper sandwich, and a few beverages. The service was good at the start of our visit, and the food and beverages were merely okay. The cost for a margarita at Liquid bar in the Marriott was less than the cost at Tiki Hut (we had one at Liquid bar, not at Tiki Hut). The beverages I consumed at Tiki Hut had pretty good flavor, although I did not feel like they'd had much alcohol after I had finished them. 

We are from Michigan, and I sometimes forget that many southern states allow smoking in areas where food is served outside. That was the case at Tiki Hut. We initially took a seat inside the tent on the ocean side with a good view of the stage, as there were no guests smoking when we arrived. By the time the band was ready to start, everyone around us was smoking, so we moved to a table outside. Before our trip to Hilton Head, I had considered staying at Marriott Resort & Spa (where we stayed), and at this location (Beach House). I ended up choosing the Marriott because the only balcony guestrooms at Beach House do not have a full balcony, and they overlook Tiki Hut. It would have been fun to have a room at Beach House the day the band was playing; however, I do not think I would have liked it the rest of the time, as we are non-smokers, and the music through the speakers at Tiki Hut before the band started was very loud.

Walking, bicycling, shopping, Coligny Plaza

There is a paved trail most of the distance from Marriott Resort & Spa to the main road (William Hilton Parkway/Business 278). If you follow the path to the right/north when you get to the end of Queens Folly Rd., there is a walkway under the main road to the other side. The walk to Hilton Head Diner using the walkway under the road was 1.67 miles. We crossed the main road on the return trip,  rather than walking past Queens Folly Rd. to the underpass, and the return trip was 1.31 miles.

Bird near the lagoon on our walk along Queens Folly Rd
There are paved trails along many of the main roads on Hilton Head. We did not rent bikes, and did not venture any farther along Business 278 than our trip to the diner.

Jellyfish on our trek to Coligny Plaza - looks like somebody pestered
the poor guy with the bottom of their shoe before we got to him
The beach is hard at low tide, and we observed many bicyclers on the sand during our walk to Coligny Plaza. The ocean water was warm enough for swimming the day we arrived, and we observed people swimming the first two days. I had a link for Coligny Plaza in this blog post; however, I removed it because it does not load correctly. You can easily find information about the plaza by searching the name. The distance from Marriott Resort & Spa to Coligny Beach is less than three miles (2.79, to be exact). It is another ¼ mile, or so, from the beach park to the shopping plaza. There are several stores, including a supermarket and wine tasting room, and restaurants in the shopping plaza. Public restrooms are available at the beach and in the shopping plaza.
View of Coligny Beach -
Tiki Hut/Beach House beyond cars on right

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is located to the north as you cross Harbor River just before Hilton Head Island. We visited and hiked a few of the trails when we left Hilton Head Island. Even though we started our visit in the morning, the only wildlife we observed were birds. We also observed fresh scat - from a raccoon, maybe. It actually looked like black bear scat; however, I could not find anything about bear sightings on the island. We also heard a loud crash (branches breaking) from something fairly large in the woods on the trail out to Shell Point.


There is no charge to visit the wildlife refuge, although there is a donation box. There are no facilities in the park. I suggest having insect repellent, good walking shoes, and fresh water. We visited at the end of November, and we had mosquitos around us before the end of our visit.

Ibis Pond

Trail along Starr Pond










We observed several trees down during our visit, as it was shortly after  Hurricane Matthew went through the area.

Please let me know if you have any questions or information to add. Feel free to share this post for others.