Hilton Head Island Travel Guide
You've probably seen people with a shirt from Hilton Head's Salty Dog Cafe: It's the one with a dog wearing a yellow hat. The place certainly is a top tourist spot--and maybe even a tourist trap--but the island *is* for tourists. The cafe's just playing to the market.
Located within the Sea Pines Resort, it will cost you $5 for a day pass just to visit the place. Once inside Sea Pines you'll want to see the Hilton Head Island lighthouse in Harbour Town. The lighthouse was actually built as an attraction and just holds a shop inside; there's no boat protection here. Oh, if you want to go to the top, that's going to be $3.
Once you finally make it to the actual cafe at the South Beach Marina, you'll be greeted with waterfront seating. There's usually someone playing covers of popular beach tunes with people shouting out requests for their favorite Jimmy Buffet song. As the summer winds down so do the crowds, but if you want to visit when it's busy, go on October 4 and participate in the 13th Annual Oyster Roast. They're going to crack open more than a ton of oysters and cook 'em on the grill. The first ten customers even get one of those shirts.
After filling up on many of the culinary delicacies offered at this year's crop of state fairs, you may be interested in something a little more refined. That's where the Seafood, Jazz & Brew Festival on Hilton Head Island comes in. This year, the festival takes place on the evening of Friday, September 12 and runs through the next afternoon.
As you relax near the water at Shelter Cove Community Park on Friday, you'll enjoy some jazz while feasting on some of the best local seafood specialties the island has to offer. (Spots to try include Ocean Grille, CQ's and Antonios.) Admission to the evening's events is $50 per person, and you should act quickly as last year sold out.
Come Saturday afternoon the action's at Shelter Cove Harbour. There will be a home brew contest here, and $10 will get you four "tasting tokens." For the extra thirsty, you'll be able to buy two additional tokens for just a buck.
[Photo: Savannah Grandfather]