A Budget Weekend Trip to Hilton Head Island

Carve out a weekend that banks on all the luxuries of resort living—pristine waters, manicured trails, five-star service—without spending more than $500.
Story by Stephanie Granada and Caroline McKenzie

Friday
Find the 17-room South Beach Inn (sbinn.com) in a Nantucket-inspired marina. Its spacious suites have kitchenettes and start at $130; mention Southern Living and they'll throw in a $10 gift card each day for use in the Salty Dog Cafe. (Bill: $260 for two nights.)

Follow the crowd to The Sea Shack (seashackhhi.com), run by a former shrimper who loads paper plates with fresh seafood grilled, blackened, or fried. The Shack Attack with a crab cake, fish, oysters, shrimp, and scallops is big enough for two. (Bill: $20 for two.)

Saturday
Choose from 16 varieties of New York-style bagels baked fresh daily at Island Bagel Co. (islandbagel.com). Add house-made honey-walnut cream cheese and a bottomless cup of coffee. (Bill: $9 for two.)

Next choice: your pick from 12 miles of beaches. Burkes Beach is a bit harder to find and has no amenities, which makes it the least crowded. Coligny Beach Park has a wooden boardwalk, swings, and a splash area, making it Hilton Head's favorite family beach. (Bill: Free!)

Stroll to the island's only right-on-the-beach bar, The Tiki Hut. Attached to The Beach House Resort (thebeachhousehhi.com), the thatched-roof watering hole is a local landmark as iconic as the Harbour Town Lighthouse. Order a Tiki Hut Punch, and enjoy beach volleyball and live music from noon to 4 p.m. daily. (Bill: $14 for two.)

Head to Skull Creek Boathouse Restaurant (skullcreekboathouse.com) for early-bird specials from 4 to 5:45 p.m.—a drink, salad, and any of 12 entrées costs $15.75. Ask for a table on the live oak-canopied, waterside deck. (Bill: $31.50 for two.)

After dinner, hop aboard Cheers (cheerscharters.com), a Morgan 45 sailboat captained by the affable John Maiers. The BYOB sunset tour takes you on a two-and-a-half-hour ride through the Port Royal Sound and Intracoastal Waterway past herons, dolphins, and million-dollar mansions. Mention Southern Living to get $5 off adult tickets paid with cash. (Bill: $60 for two.)

Sunday
Rent a tandem kayak ($39.99) from Hilton Head Outfitters (hiltonheadoutfitters.com) and spend an hour cruising around Palmetto Dunes. Get 20% off kayak or canoe rentals with code HHOSL. (Bill: $32.)

Build a custom burger with house-made breads, pickles, ground meats, and sauces at CharBar Co. (843/785-2427), a gourmet burger joint headed by a chef who trained at the renowned Inn at Palmetto Bluff. (Bill: $26 for two.)

Grand Total: $453