Memorial Day in Hilton Head

As the sun-drenched days of late May approach, travelers seeking the perfect blend of relaxation and remembrance can find no better destination than Hilton Head Island. Nestled off the coast of South Carolina, this heavenly island offers a Memorial Day experience unlike any other, 

Visit the island and experience pristine beaches and poignant tributes to fallen heroes. Here’s everything you need to know to make the most of your Memorial Day getaway to Hilton Head.

Why Hilton Head?

Hilton Head Island embodies the essence of a Southern coastal paradise. Its 12-mile stretch of sandy shores, lush maritime forests, and diverse wildlife create a serene backdrop for both leisure and reflection. This is a time to appreciate the island’s natural beauty while honoring the sacrifices of those who served.

Memorial Day Events

Memorial Day weekend in Hilton Head is a time of commemoration and community. The island hosts several events to honor veterans and military personnel.

Memorial Day Ceremony

The primary Memorial Day event on the island is the Memorial Day Ceremony at Veterans Park in Shelter Cove. This moving tribute features a military flyover, guest speakers, musical performances, and a wreath-laying ceremony. 

On May 29th, at 9:30 AM, join the island in remembering those who have given their lives for our country and thank the veterans and military personnel still with us. This event is free and open to the public. 

Hilton Head Island Art Festival

For those seeking a more lighthearted experience, the Hilton Head Island Art Festival offers a diverse showcase of local and regional artists. This three-day event — held on Memorial Day weekend at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina — invites visitors to browse and purchase unique artwork while enjoying live music and delicious food.

Sponsored by Nash Gallery, this art festival is a great way to support local artists while enjoying the beauty of Hilton Head Island. The schedule for the 2024 festival will be as follows:

  • Friday, May 24th: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Saturday, May 25th: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Sunday, May 26th: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

This event is free and open to the public.

Hilton Head Choral Society’s “America Sings!” Concert

Another highlight of Memorial Day weekend on Hilton Head Island is the emotional and uplifting “America Sings!” concert performed by the Hilton Head Choral Society. Scheduled for Sunday, May 26th, from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM at First Presbyterian Church on 540 William Hilton Parkway, this event promises an evening of musical tribute to the courage and sacrifices of the armed forces. 

Celebrated for capturing the spirit of Memorial Day, the concert invites attendees of all ages to come together in a casual setting adorned in the nation’s colors to honor the memory of those who laid down their lives for freedom. This Lowcountry tradition offers a perfect opportunity for locals and visitors alike to partake in a custom that resonates with the community’s heart and soul. 

Charity Walks and Runs

Take part in a good cause during your Memorial Day weekend on Hilton Head Island by participating in charity walks or runs. Many local or national organizations host events on the island to raise funds for various causes. The most well-known charity run and walk event is the Hilton Head Freedom 5K.

The Freedom 5K is in its ninth consecutive year and has become a Memorial Day weekend tradition for many. The event will take place on Memorial Day, May 27th, 2024, at the Port Royal Plantation. Participants can run or walk the 5K route and enjoy a post-race picnic and award ceremony. All proceeds from this event go to the Semper Fi & America’s Fund, which supports wounded veterans and their families.

Other Ways To Spend Memorial Day Weekend in Hilton Head

Beyond official events, visitors can find solace and joy by experiencing the rest of what Hilton Head Island has to offer.

Beach Activities

No visit to Hilton Head is complete without a day spent on its pristine beaches. Pack a beach bag with sunscreen, towels, and a good book, and head to one of Hilton Head’s renowned beaches like Coligny Beach Park or Driessen Beach Park. Enjoy swimming, sunbathing, or simply strolling along the sandy shores while soaking in the ocean breeze.

Nature Exploration

Hilton Head’s natural beauty is best experienced outdoors. Rent a kayak or paddleboard to explore the island’s intricate waterways and marshes. Nature enthusiasts can also visit the Sea Pines Forest Preserve or Audubon Newhall Preserve for guided hikes and wildlife spotting. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning scenery and local wildlife, including alligators, deer, and various bird species.


Hilton Head is a golfer’s paradise, with over 40 world-class golf courses designed by legends like Pete Dye, Davis Love III, and Robert Trent Jones. Tee off amidst lush greens and ocean vistas at courses like Harbour Town Golf Links or Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. Book a round or two to experience the island’s premier golfing destinations.

Recreation and Relaxation

Hilton Head Island is also home to numerous recreational activities, including tennis, biking, and water sports. Rent a bike or take advantage of the island’s miles of paved trails for a scenic ride. For those seeking physical activity and relaxation, visit the island’s many fitness centers, spas, and yoga studios. Indulge in a massage or facial to rejuvenate both body and mind.

Dining and Nightlife

Hilton Head boasts a diverse culinary scene with a focus on fresh seafood and Lowcountry cuisine. Indulge in local favorites like shrimp and grits or she-crab soup at waterfront restaurants such as Skull Creek Boathouse or Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks. After dinner, head to one of the island’s many bars or live music venues for a nightcap and entertainment.


For those looking for some retail therapy, Hilton Head Island offers a variety of shopping options. Browse the unique boutiques and specialty stores at the Harbour Town Yacht Basin or Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina. You can also hit the many shops at Coligny Plaza. Don’t miss the local farmers’ markets for a delightful taste of Hilton Head’s fresh produce and artisanal goods.

Where To Stay

Accommodations at Hilton Head cater to every preference, from luxury resorts to cozy beachfront rentals. While many hotels and resorts are available, there’s nothing like staying at a beach house or villa to truly experience island living. Plus, you’ll have the place all to yourself! 

Beachside Hilton Head offers a wide range of vacation rental homes across the island, including beachfront condos and homes with private pools. Our rental homes are situated near the island’s most popular attractions and provide easy access to beaches, restaurants, and shopping. Enjoy all the comforts of home in a beautiful, natural setting. 

Practical Tips

To ensure a smooth Memorial Day weekend on Hilton Head Island, here are some practical tips to keep in mind:

  • Book Early: Memorial Day weekend is a popular time to visit Hilton Head, so booking accommodations and activities well in advance is best to secure your preferred dates and avoid last-minute rush.
  • Stay Hydrated: May temperatures in Hilton Head can be warm, so stay hydrated, especially if you’re spending time outdoors. While there are plenty of places to purchase water, bringing a reusable bottle to refill is an excellent idea.
  • Respectful Remembrance: While enjoying the festivities, remember the true meaning of Memorial Day and show respect during solemn events. Follow any memorial protocols and etiquette, such as standing during the National Anthem or observing a moment of silence.
  • Bring Sun Protection: Protect yourself from the sun with sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses to protect yourself while enjoying outdoor activities. It’s also a good idea to have an umbrella or beach tent for some shade on the beach.
  • Arrive Early: If you’re attending events, arrive early to secure a good viewing spot and avoid traffic. Many events have limited space, so it’s best to arrive early to ensure entry.

Have a Memorable Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day on Hilton Head Island is a unique blend of celebration and reflection, where the island’s natural beauty serves as a backdrop for honoring America’s fallen heroes. Whether you prefer peaceful beach days, outdoor adventures, or lively community events, Hilton Head offers something for every traveler. 

Plan your Memorial Day getaway to Hilton Head and create lasting memories in this captivating coastal haven. When you need a place to stay, Beachside Hilton Head has you covered with our ideal vacation rental homes. We guarantee you’ll have an experience you’ll never forget. 

Mark your calendar and get ready to make the most of this long weekend on Hilton Head Island! Book now for an unforgettable holiday weekend.