3 Can’t-Miss Lowcountry Festivals (And Where to Stay)

Need a reason to head to Hilton Head? We have three. Need a place to stay while you’re there? We have you covered there, too.

There’s really never a bad time to make a day trip up to Hilton Head Island, but fall is far and away the best. The teeming hordes of tourists have made their way back north, meaning there’s plenty of room at the island’s beautiful beaches and world-class restaurants.

That’s not to say the island is deserted, by any means. Hilton Head’s growth as a community over the last 20-30 years has resulted in a strong year-round population of locals ready to reclaim the rock as summer winds down. And let’s make one thing clear about these locals: they know how to have a good time.

As evidence, we present the following sampling of outstanding fall festival and events hitting the area over the next few months. If you want to join in the fun, you’re going to need a place to stay. To that end, we’ve enlisted help from the experts at Vacation Company to find you the best rental property for your fall day trip to Hilton Head Island.


Pedal Hilton Head, Sept. 17

Courtesy of Hilton Head Island.

Between its miles of pathways and its Gold Level status as bike-friendly community, Hilton Head Island is perfect for cyclists. Pedal Hilton Head embraces that notion with a series of rides for every skill level. This long-running benefit for the Boys & Girls Club saw some huge changes for this year’s event, the biggest of which was a new course that heads all the way off the island to the flyovers.

The courses run the gamut from the two-mile Family Pedal along the island’s pathways and beaches to the 62-mile “Metric Century” that crosses three bridges while taking riders past jaw-dropping scenery. It’s all capped off with an epic closing party at Coligny Plaza.


Where to Stay: Endlessly elegant and impressively spacious, 3B Hickory Lane is like having a world-class resort all to yourself. At the same time, it’s too gorgeous not to share. Located just up the street from Coligny Plaza in Hilton Head’s lush South Forest Beach area, you can host your own amazing afterparty in this sophisticated retreat built for entertaining thanks to a spacious pool and outdoor bar. And the spa-like amenities in the master suite will be just the thing to soothe your aching muscles after a day’s ride. For more information, visit pedalhiltonheadisland.org.



Burger, Bacon & BBQ, Oct. 7



Held along the beautifully updated Creekside shores of Shelter Cove Community Park, this carnivorous bacchanalia is all about bringing great things together. What used to be separate events, “Burgers & Brew” and “Beer, Bacon and Music” have now merged to this celebration of the gastronomic wizardry that occurs when meat meets heat.

The Lowcountry’s best restaurants will be on hand to demonstrate their superior grillmanship in a festive atmosphere that will include a beer garden, two stages of live music and plenty of activities for the kids. Come hungry.


Where to stay: You know what goes together better than burgers, bacon and barbecue? Lagoon views, golf views, and luxurious opulence. You’re going to find all three at 176 Mooring Buoy, located in Palmetto Dunes just across the street from Shelter Cove. The inspired design of this spacious vacation palace means you can take in the lush scenery from every room in the house. But the best views are from the resort-style pool deck, where you and the whole party can unwind in style. For more information, please visit islandreccenter.org.



Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival, Oct. 14-22

Courtesy of blufftonartsandseafoodfestival.com.

The heart of Bluffton is its Old Town, and for one week in October you can enjoy all the things that make it beat. Up and down Calhoun Street and beyond, you can enjoy a calendar full of art shows, exhibitions, tours of the May River and historical sites, and special dinners brimming with mouth-watering seafood.

It all culminates in the street festival on Saturday and Sunday, where artists line the sidewalks of Calhoun Street and live music fills the air. Feast your eyes on works from some of the region’s most inspiring artists, and then simply feast on the bevy of local crabs, shrimp, oysters and more from local restaurants.


Where to stay: Just as Bluffton is defined by its connection to area waterways and its vibrant arts scene, Hilton Head Island is defined by its lush sandy beaches. Enjoy the best of both worlds by capping off your visit to Bluffton with a stay at 1897 Beachside Tennis. Located amid the elegance of The Sea Pines Resort, this lush villa is located just steps from the water and enjoys mesmerizing fourth-floor views of Calibogue Sound and Daufuskie Island. For more information, visit blufftonartsandseafoodfestival.com.

To read more about the greatest places to eat, stay, play and shop in the Southsubscribe now or pick up the August/September issue of South magazine.