There are so many things that make Hilton Head Island one of the most supreme vacation destinations you could select. Each year, thousands of families travel here with the hope of spotting one of our community’s most treasured residents—the Hilton Head Island sea turtles. If you have ever encountered one of these beautiful creatures around the island, you know just how special the experience is. As these creatures are commonly known to be a threatened species, we see it as our responsibility to educate our guests and help ensure that these animals continue to treat us with each magical sighting.
There’s so much to see and do on Hilton Head Island. You’ll want to fill your time with only the very best our area has to offer. Check out our specially curated Seven-Day Itinerary to get started planning your dream vacation!
Here’s What You Should Know About the Hilton Head Island Sea Turtles
There are many different species of sea turtles, but you’re most likely to spot a certain few around here. Leatherbacks are the largest species you will find swimming around Hilton Head. Keep your eye out if you’re planning a visit for April or May, although it’s unlikely that you’ll find them nesting here.
Loggerhead encounters are most frequent in Hilton Head. These creatures weigh in at around 300+ pounds and can be identified by their large heads, strong jaws, and brownish skin tone. You might find them by the water crunching down on their favorite crustacean snacks!
Nesting and Hatching
Nesting season is a particularly exciting time of year around the island. Locals and visitors keep their eyes peeled for newly laid nests (about 120 eggs) and mother Loggerheads emerging from the waves to nest at night. If you arrive at the beach early in the morning, you may even discover turtle tracks left in the sand! This season begins in early May, and by August, hundreds of hatchlings have made their way back to the sea by following the moon’s reflection and the slope of the beach.
Respect the Sea Turtles
Loggerhead Sea Turtles are registered as a threatened species with both the state of South Carolina and the federal government. While this problem may seem out of your control, you can do a few things as a visitor to protect these animals.
- Turn off any lights that may be visible from the beach after 10 p.m. from May through October.
- Never leave items on the beach. Things like sand buckets, beach umbrellas, and shoes can hinder the turtles on their journey to reach the ocean.
- Everyone loves a good sandcastle but be sure to refill any holes made in the sand and level the castle before leaving the beach. We want each turtle to have the best chance possible to make it to safety.
- Keep our oceans clean, and these small turtles safe by eliminating single-use plastic and litter. This is true in all areas of the world, but especially when you find yourself near a coastline.
Rescue Groups in the Area
Here are a few organizations and programs that you can get involved with to assist in impactful conservation efforts.
- Coastal Discovery Museum’s Adopt-a-Nest Program
- Volunteer as a Turtle Tracker
- Become a Sea Turtle Guardian
Stay in One of Our Private Luxury Rentals
We’re sure that you’ll want to be close to the shore to catch all this action! Luckily, Beach Properties has a vast portfolio of luxury, seaside rental properties perfect for every family vacation. Indulge the whole family in high-end amenities, a private pool, and ocean views. Contact us today to book the getaway of a lifetime.