Hilton Head Island Beaches – Check the Tide!

Even if you’ve vacationed on Hilton Head Island before, here’s a reminder we know will be helpful. Yes (we proudly admit), we have a great beach. Twelve miles of it. But what many people don’t realize is that we also experience a significant tide change. From low tide to high tide averages between 6 and 8 feet. From low water mark (low tide) to high water mark (high tide, takes a little over 6 hours.

What does that mean to you? At low tide, our beaches are wider than a football field (or seem so). At high tide, you get to meet your neighbors, because the beach “shrinks,” depending on where you’re located, as much as 70% to 80%. So everyone moves “back” or “up” to the high water mark.

The changing tides are part of the fun. For beach combing, you want to be on the beach when the tide is going out, leaving a variety of treasures as it retreats. For one of the best sites to check the local tides, click here.

The changing tide in the Lowcountry runs the lives of people who make their living on the water, from shrimpers and fishermen, to kayak and jet ski operators. A passage in a tidal creek that, at high tide, might be six (or more) feet deep, will only be six inches deep (or less) at low tide. If you’re planning to be on the water instead of watching it from the beach, always call ahead. Local knowledge is a good thing!


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