Looking for a more secluded section of beach on Hilton Head Island? Try Chaplin Community Park, a huge recreational facility with basketball and tennis courts, walking trails, multi-purpose playing fields, a picnic pavilion, playground and dog park. What many people don't know is that it also has a nice, sandy trail leading to the beach.
Located mid-island off Burke's Beach Road, the beach access features 13 metered parking spaces just a few feet from the trail that leads to the ocean. It's 25 cents for 15 minutes, so bring lots of quarters. Change is not available. If you're willing to haul your beach chairs a bit farther, you can park for free inside the park.
As you walk along the trail, you'll cross a foot bridge over a tidal creek. At high tide, you might see locals trying to catch blue crabs in the creek using the old chicken-neck-on-a-string method.
Unlike many of the more popular Hilton Head Island beach parks, the Chaplin beach access is not equipped with a rubber mat path, making it trickier to navigate with a stroller, wagon or bikes.
But the extra effort is worth it when you get to the shore. It's the same beautiful sandy beach you'll find at Coligny, only with a lot less people.
Because it is frequented by fewer beach-goers, it has become a favorite with ocean-loving pooches and their owners. During the busy summer season, dogs are allowed on the beach before 10 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
During the prohibited beach hours, you can take your dog to Chaplin's Best Friends Dog Park, a well-maintained fenced-in area offering shady trees, a separate section for small dogs and fresh drinking water for both pets and their pals.