It is possible to see about 200+ birds in the Hilton Head area over the course of a year. Beaches, marshes, lagoons, bike trails, harbours, docks, golf courses throughout the island are areas for birding. Just be sure to observe all traffic, wildlife and no trespassing warnings - they mean it!
If you're looking to explore the greater Beaufort County area, please be sure to visit the Island Packet's guide to the Lowcountry's 10 Best Birding Spots. Click here for the guide.
You may also check out the Hilton Head Island Birding Trail at this link. It's a wonderful resource and includes a mobile app that you can take with you on your device wherever you go.
Our most popular birding sites are listed below. For additional sites please see our publication including a checklist: "Birders Guide to Hilton Head Island, SC and the Low Country". 5th Ed. $10.00. Available through ABA, Coastal Discovery Museum and our local nature and book stores.
Fish Haul Creek Park - About 4+ miles east of Hilton Head Isl. Bridge on US 278, at traffic light continue east onto Beach City Rd (hospital and library) to the beach. Parking lot and boardwalk/trails on right. Best shorebird area late summer through early spring..
Sea Pines Forest Preserve - South end of island in Sea Pines Resort. ($5 gate pass) 605 acres of nature trails, bridle paths, wetlands, boardwalks, observation decks, forests, lakes and sand ridges, Best birding in spring and fall. Designated (I.B.A.) Important Birding Area in SC.
Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge - Entrance located on US 278 westbound 1/4 mile from Hilton Head Is. between the two causeway bridges across from the public boat ramp. 4 mile gravel road - foot and bicycle traffic only. 4,053 acres, 14 miles of nature trails. Saltmarsh, forest, brushland, fields, freshwater ponds. Spring and fall migrations, wading birds and shorebirds, Nesting Painted Buntings on entry drive, parking area and along walk to Ibis Pond (912) 652-4415.
Savannah National Wildlife Refuge (SC) - Located 22 mi south of the Hilton Head Is Bridge via US 278, SC 170 & US 17~ 26,000 acres. 4 1/2 mile Laural Hill Wildlife Drive through the freshwater impoundments and hardwood hammocks. Best in winter: ducks, wading birds and migrants (912) 652-4415.