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Date Night: Hilton Head Island

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 30 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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Let’s begin with the obvious: It’s hard to mess up a date night when you’re staying on Hilton Head Island. Just being in a place so rich in natural beauty, outdoor adventure, entertainment venues and amazing restaurants means the options are practically endless for experiencing a memorable night out with your honey.

And therein lies the problem. Having so much from which to choose requires you invest precious vacay time on planning and less time on having fun and enjoying each other’s company. Reclaim every sweet second of your special night together by following these three suggestions for one perfect evening out, island style.

Seek out a stunning sunset with a stroll or bike ride along Folly Field Beach.

Share a Sunset

Set the mood for your date night by sharing one of Hilton Head’s most prized perks: witnessing the spectacle of a gorgeous sunset over the water. While there are plenty of beautiful spots to enjoy the sunset, you can enrich the intimacy of this activity by choosing a locale that is less likely to be brimming with human traffic, so to speak. Folly Field Beach Park, known to be favored by locals, fits the bill with a generous shoreline that is rarely overcrowded as it is located on the island’s northernmost end. Take the boardwalk to the sand and embark on a leisurely stroll or, if you and your sweetie are so inclined, bring your bikes and wend your way along the shoreline. This is a great place to whip out your phone for a keepsake sunset selfie. There are also restrooms and showers for sandy feet.

Tip: There is a fee for parking, so note your space number and deposit the required coins/bills into the meter at the boardwalk entrance before you hit the beach.

Park Plaza Cinema knows how to set the stage for a fun date night.

See a Show

You’ll forgive the obviousness of this suggestion once you walk into the Park Plaza Cinema, a small movie theater with a BIG focus on customer experience. Your first clue this isn’t your garden variety cinema comes in the form of a friendly greeting by Antoinette, the theater dog. (Selfie-must.) You may also notice patrons arriving with their own canine babies as well-behaved pups (up to 20 pounds) are welcome to take in a flick from their owners’ laps. Ambient lighting gives the Parlez-Vous? Lounge a warm glow just right for sipping a glass of fine wine or beer. Movie munchies surprise as well, so go ahead and spring for dinner and a movie. Stop by the Cine-Café and place an order for everything from a Greek platter to freshly made Italian flatbread to a variety of vegan offerings delivered to your theater seat so you don’t miss a minute of the show. And about those seats, well, this is where things get really comfy. The "VIP” luxury recliners can be enjoyed loveseat style and boast cool features like swivel trays to hold your concessions and impressive reclining action. No wonder Cosmopolitan magazine named Park Plaza the coolest cinema in South Carolina.

Tip: For a totally no-fuss experience, purchase tickets online and select your seats before you ever walk through the doors—no lie. 

Cocktails at WiseGuys set the right tone for a date night finish.

For a Fine Finish …

Ease into the night’s finale for a late-night bite and cocktail at WiseGuys. You’ll find a sleek, urban vibe that invites cozy conversations, handholding and under-the-table footsie sessions. “Serious Cocktails” are a draw here, so get your sip on with a pomegranate pear martini with fresh pear puree or Carolina mule with fresh peach. Of course, you won’t be breaking any laws if you lean toward the spicy Misdemeanor Margarita infused with pineapple, chili pepper tequila and agave nectar. For bites, go small with tapas-size portions of delicious dishes like shrimp and lobster wontons, steak carpaccio and wood oven-roasted oysters, or satisfy a heartier appetite with wild mushroom and pea rigatoni, shrimp and grits, or one of WiseGuys' famous steaks seasoned with your choice of rub. Craving something sweet? You’re in the right place. The New York-style cheesecake is a solid choice as are the bourbon break pudding and flourless chocolate torte. Of course, a date night dessert doesn’t get more romantic than a creme brulee—two spoons, please. 

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 30 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.