Hilton Head offers more than 14 miles of pristine, sandy beaches. While most of it is along the Atlantic Ocean coast, some is along the Calibogue Sound, some on the Port Royal Sound at Port Royal plantation and Hilton Head plantation has a small beach next to Dolphin Head, also on Port Royal sound. The recently opened Fish Haul Creek Park offers a little known beach access to a beach on the Port Royal Sound. The beach there is quite private (NO, not that private!) and offers gentle waves instead of pounding surf.
The sand below the mid tide line is usually hard packed enough to support a bicycle with wide tires, and biking on the beach at or near low tide is a popular pastime. Be aware, though, that hitting a patch of soft sand will bring you to a sudden stop. Beach bikers have learned to check the wind direction before heading out—riding into the wind is like riding uphill, and vice versa.
There are seven "public access" beach areas popular with visitors (most are attended by life guards from Memorial weekend to Labor Day). Pay parking is available at all but the Islander's Beach Park, and there are reserved parking spots for those who purchase annual beach tags (available to Hilton Head property owners only).