A Travel Price Comparison for South Carolina Beaufort vs. Hilton Head Island for Families, Food, Beaches, and Couples

Should you visit Beaufort or Hilton Head Island?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

If you're trying to decide where to visit between Beaufort or Hilton Head Island, this travel comparison, which includes costs, can help. The overall cost of travel is usually a consideration when deciding where to go next, and the cost comparison down below can help you decide based on the average prices from other travelers along with your own travel budget.

Beaufort

Beaufort is a historic, character-filled, and southern town. It offers plenty of small town charm along with sights and activities, too. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. Because of its quaint atmosphere, it draws plenty of visitors, too. It's also popular because of the beaches, shopping, and museums.

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island is a beautiful, resort-filled, and family-friendly coastal town. It's a gorgeous place to visit. It's also known for food, beaches, and shopping.

Beaufort and Hilton Head Island: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular beach
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Small town charm
  • Quaint atmosphere
Things to Consider
  • Less family-friendly
Pros
  • Nice resorts
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Beaufort or Hilton Head Island?

Visitors will usually find more to do in Beaufort than Hilton Head Island, as it offers more sights, attractions, and activities. Beaufort is better known for its museums, food, nightlife, historical sights, small town charm, and quaint atmosphere, while Hilton Head Island is more popular for its resorts and beaches. Hilton Head Island is more touristy than Beaufort and is popular for its long sandy beaches, many golf courses, popular tennis camps, and accessible bike trails. Beaufort is well known for its Lowcountry cuisine and historic homes. Also, Beaufort is famous for Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

How is Beaufort different from Hilton Head Island?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Hilton Head Island and Beaufort. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Beaufort or Hilton Head Island?

Beaufort
Hilton Head Island

Beaufort is very good for its museums and history. However, Hilton Head Island does not have museums and landmarks.

If you're looking for an educational opportunity, there are a decent number of museums and historical sights around Beaufort. The town's museums highlight the region's past. There are four popular museums that you can visit - the Beaufort History Museum, Parris Island Museum, Verdier House Museum, and York W. Bailey Museum.

Hilton Head Island does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Beaufort or Hilton Head Island? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Beaufort
Hilton Head Island

Beaufort is a very popular place for its restaurants. Also, Hilton Head Island is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

Beaufort has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. Soak up the charming atmosphere by dining at one of the local restaurants. Many serve Lowcountry cuisine which includes She-crab soup, fried green tomatoes, shrimp burgers, and barbecue.

Hilton Head Island offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. The island has many famous restaurants but reservations during the summer are a must. Restaurants can get very crowded during peak times. For some of the best restaurants head to Shelter Cove or Harbour Town. Popular local dishes include fried seafood and oysters.

Is Beaufort or Hilton Head Island Better for Nightlife?

Beaufort
Hilton Head Island

Beaufort is a decent place to visit for its evening party scene. However, Hilton Head Island is lacking in good options for nightlife.

Those looking for nightlife will find a few places to hang out in Beaufort. You'll find bars, grills, and taverns in town, but most people don't visit for the nightlife scene.

Things get quiet in the evenings in Hilton Head Island. There are a few sports bars and comedy clubs, but nightlife isn't really a thing in Hilton Head. This is very much a family destination that shuts down with the sunset.

Is Beaufort or Hilton Head Island Better for Resorts?

Beaufort
Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island is notable for its resorts. However, Beaufort is not a resort destination.

Hilton Head Island is a popular resort destination that attracts visitors from everywhere. Most of the accommodation in the area is in the form of weekly condo rentals, which usually include a pool and outdoor space. Tennis and golf are also popular on the island so many resorts have facilities for each.

Beaufort is not a resort destination.


Is Beaufort or Hilton Head Island Better for Beaches?

Beaufort
Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island is notable for its beaches. Also, Beaufort is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for the beache.

You'll have a great beach vacation in Hilton Head Island. The island has nice beaches that are popular with families. They are great for swimming during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. While some beaches may get a bit crowded during peak holidays, they're usually pretty relaxed and less crowded than many nearby beaches.

Plenty of visitors enjoy relaxing on the beach in Beaufort. The town has a nice waterfront, but you have to head about half an hour out of town for a real beach. One of the best options is Hunting Island State Park.

Is Beaufort or Hilton Head Island Better for its Old Town?

Beaufort
Hilton Head Island

Beaufort is a very popular place for its historic old town charm. However, Hilton Head Island does not have a historic old town.

There is a nice variety of sights in the old town of Beaufort. Historic homes, some that were built before the Civil War, offer a glimpse into the past. Beaufort is the second oldest town in South Carolina and it holds on to much of its charm and character.

Hilton Head Island does not have a historic old town.

Is the Shopping Better in Beaufort or Hilton Head Island?

Beaufort
Hilton Head Island

Both Beaufort and Hilton Head Island are notable shopping destinations.

Beaufort is a great destination for shopping. Head downtown for some souvenir shopping or to check out the art galleries or fashion boutiques.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Hilton Head Island. The area has upscale shopping with designer names and local venues. Popular shopping areas include Shelter Cove Town Center and Harbor Town.


Is Beaufort or Hilton Head Island Better for Families?

Beaufort
Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island is renowned for its family-friendly activities. However, Beaufort is a mediocre town for its kid-friendly activities.

Hilton Head Island is an amazing family-friendly coastal town to visit. This area is a popular family-friendly beach destination with a number of summer events for the whole family, peaceful beaches, and family-friendly restaurants throughout. Older kids will enjoy cycling around the island's many bike trails or attending a popular tennis camp.

Beaufort is not always a place people visit with their families. There are parks and outdoor activities in the area, but one of the best options is to head out of town to the beach.

Is Beaufort or Hilton Head Island Better for Couples?

Beaufort
Hilton Head Island

Beaufort is a very popular place for couples. Also, Hilton Head Island is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for romance.

Beaufort makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. There are many charming and romantic spots around town as well as historic inns where you can stay. Couples will enjoy the waterfront area or exploring one of the nature parks that are nearby. There are also quaint local restaurants that make for a nice date night.

Hilton Head Island is a nice destination for couples. While the area is most popular with families, it is a fun place to explore as a couple because of the many high end restaurants and the beautiful setting. Couples can rent bikes to explore or play a friendly game of tennis.

Is Beaufort or Hilton Head Island Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Beaufort
Hilton Head Island

Neither Beaufort or Hilton Head Island offer decent public transit.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Beaufort. There is no reliable public transportation system in the area.

Public transit is quite limited in Hilton Head Island. You must have a car to get most places on the island, unless you bike. Rush hour during summer months can have intense traffic.


Is Beaufort or Hilton Head Island a more walkable city?

Beaufort
Hilton Head Island

Beaufort is a very popular place for its ease of walking around. However, Hilton Head Island is lacking in good options for its walkability.

Beaufort is a very walkable destination. The quaint downtown is walkable and offers easy access to art galleries, restaurants, and shops.

Hilton Head Island is generally not very walkable. You really need a car to get around, but for those who are motivated, there is a great network of bike trails. It's mostly used for recreational purposes though.

For even more information, also check out Is Beaufort Worth Visiting? and Is Hilton Head Island Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Hilton Head Island or Beaufort?

How long in Beaufort or Hilton Head Island?

Both Beaufort and Hilton Head Island have a number of activities to choose from. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Hilton Head Island than in Beaufort. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Beaufort, and 5-7 days is enough time in Hilton Head Island.

Families should spend more time in Hilton Head Island than Beaufort. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Hilton Head Island, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Beaufort than Hilton Head Island. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Beaufort that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Beaufort than Hilton Head Island if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Beaufort.


  • How many days in Beaufort or Hilton Head Island? Ideal Length of Stay
    Beaufort 1-3 
    Hilton Head Island 5-7

One day in Beaufort or Hilton Head Island?

Beaufort might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. This town offers something for everyone. Exploring the old town is a popular activity. This would be the perfect place to spend one day, as it has just the right amount of activities.

The coastal town of Hilton Head Island offers shopping and food. Most people come for the beaches. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

A weekend in Beaufort or Hilton Head Island?

Beaufort is a popular place to visit. Even though Beaufort is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. A weekend is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Beaufort has to offer.

Hilton Head Island is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than a weekend exploring. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.


Five days in Beaufort or Hilton Head Island?

Since Beaufort is a small town, it's easily explored when your time is limited. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips.

Hilton Head Island is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Hilton Head Island, five days is sufficent for most. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

A week in Beaufort or Hilton Head Island?

Beaufort is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. Visiting the old town is also a must. It offers something for everyone. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

Hilton Head Island is a great place to explore. It is common to spend one week here. It's also a great beach destination, too. One week is a great amount of time to relax and see the many things that Hilton Head Island has to offer. This coastal town offers something for everyone.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 10-Day Tours in United States of America, The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in United States of America, The Best 2-Week Tours in United States of America, and The Best 3-Week Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Hilton Head Island or Beaufort?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Beaufort is $131, while the average daily cost in Hilton Head Island is $243. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Beaufort and Hilton Head Island in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Beaufort $100
    Hilton Head Island $129
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Beaufort $200
    Hilton Head Island $258
Compare Hotels in Beaufort and Hilton Head Island

Looking for a hotel in Beaufort or Hilton Head Island? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Beaufort


Hotels in Hilton Head Island


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Beaufort Hotel Prices and Hilton Head Island Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Beaufort -
    Hilton Head Island $34

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Hilton Head Island

Also for Hilton Head Island, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Hilton Head Island, SC to Savannah Hilton Airport - Departure Private Transfer: $91

Is it cheaper to fly into Beaufort or Hilton Head Island?

Prices for flights to both Hilton Head Island and Beaufort change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Beaufort $31
    Hilton Head Island $60

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Hilton Head Island

For Hilton Head Island, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Dolphin Watching 3-Course Dinner Cruise: $70
  • Sunset Hibachi Dinner Cruise : $102
  • Hilton Head Sunset Dinner Cruise: $106
  • Sunset Dinner Cruise: $106

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Beaufort -
    Hilton Head Island $23

Tours and Activities in Beaufort

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Beaufort are as follows:

  • Beaufort Tipsy Tour: $55
  • Gullah Heritage Tour: $49
  • Historic City Tour by Bus: $29
  • Pat Conroy's Beaufort Tour by Golf Cart: $40

Tours and Activities in Hilton Head Island

For Hilton Head Island, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Kazoo Factory Tour & Museum : $15
  • Tybee Island Ghost Tour: $30
  • Historic Walking Tour of Tybee Island: $30
  • Historic Tour of Tybee Island: $30
  • Walking Tour in Beaufort: $30
  • History and Movie Tour of Beaufort by Golf Cart: $32
  • 90-Minute Dolphin & Nature Tour: $35
  • Beaufort City Minibus Tour: $35
  • Beaufort’s #1 Horse & Carriage History Tour: $35
  • #1 Historical Horse Drawn Carriage Tour: $35
  • Kids Crabbing Adventure from Hilton Head Island: $39
  • Tybee Island Bike Tour: $39

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Beaufort -
    Hilton Head Island $26

Sample the Local Flavors in Hilton Head Island

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Hilton Head Island:

  • Hilton Head's ONLY Distillery Experience: $55


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Beaufort and Hilton Head Island, we can see that Hilton Head Island is more expensive. And not only is Beaufort much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Beaufort would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Beaufort and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Hilton Head Island would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Hilton Head Island than you might in Beaufort.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Beaufort Expensive? and Is Hilton Head Island Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Beaufort or Hilton Head Island?

Hilton Head Island has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Beaufort. When comparing the sizes of Beaufort and Hilton Head Island, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Beaufort or Hilton Head Island?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Beaufort or Hilton Head Island in the Summer?

Both Hilton Head Island and Beaufort during the summer are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Beaufort for the beaches, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Furthermore, the summer months attract visitors to Hilton Head Island because of the beaches and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Beaufort is generally around the same temperature as Hilton Head Island. Daily temperatures in Beaufort average around 82°F (28°C), and Hilton Head Island fluctuates around 82°F (28°C).

In Hilton Head Island, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Beaufort. In the summer, Beaufort often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Hilton Head Island. Beaufort gets 267 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Hilton Head Island receives 267 hours of full sun.

Hilton Head Island gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Beaufort. Beaufort usually gets around the same amount of rain in July as Hilton Head Island. Beaufort gets 7.9 inches (200 mm) of rain, while Hilton Head Island receives 7.9 inches (200 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Beaufort 82°F (28°C) 
    Hilton Head Island 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Beaufort or Hilton Head Island in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Beaufort and Hilton Head Island. The autumn months attract visitors to Beaufort because of the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area. Furthermore, the shopping scene and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Hilton Head Island this time of year.

Beaufort is around the same temperature as Hilton Head Island in the autumn. The daily temperature in Beaufort averages around 68°F (20°C) in October, and Hilton Head Island fluctuates around 68°F (20°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Hilton Head Island this time of the year. In Beaufort, it's very sunny this time of the year. Beaufort usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Hilton Head Island during autumn. Beaufort gets 223 hours of sunny skies, while Hilton Head Island receives 223 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Beaufort usually receives around the same amount of rain as Hilton Head Island. Beaufort gets 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain, while Hilton Head Island receives 2.8 inches (71 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Beaufort 68°F (20°C) 
    Hilton Head Island 68°F (20°C)

Should I visit Beaufort or Hilton Head Island in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Beaufort as well as Hilton Head Island. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Beaufort this time of year. Additionally, many travelers come to Hilton Head Island for the shopping scene and the cuisine.

In the winter, Beaufort is around the same temperature as Hilton Head Island. Typically, the winter temperatures in Beaufort in January average around 48°F (9°C), and Hilton Head Island averages at about 48°F (9°C).

In the winter, Beaufort often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Hilton Head Island. Beaufort gets 176 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Hilton Head Island receives 176 hours of full sun.

Beaufort usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Hilton Head Island. Beaufort gets 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain, while Hilton Head Island receives 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Beaufort 48°F (9°C) 
    Hilton Head Island 48°F (9°C)

Should I visit Beaufort or Hilton Head Island in the Spring?

Both Hilton Head Island and Beaufort are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Beaufort for the beaches, the small town charm, and the natural beauty. Also, many visitors come to Hilton Head Island in the spring for the beaches and the natural beauty.

In April, Beaufort is generally around the same temperature as Hilton Head Island. Daily temperatures in Beaufort average around 67°F (19°C), and Hilton Head Island fluctuates around 67°F (19°C).

It's quite sunny in Hilton Head Island. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Beaufort. Beaufort usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Hilton Head Island during spring. Beaufort gets 275 hours of sunny skies, while Hilton Head Island receives 275 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Beaufort usually receives around the same amount of rain as Hilton Head Island. Beaufort gets 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain, while Hilton Head Island receives 2.9 inches (74 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Beaufort 67°F (19°C) 
    Hilton Head Island 67°F (19°C)

Typical Weather for Hilton Head Island and Beaufort

Beaufort Hilton Head Island
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 48°F (9°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 48°F (9°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm)
Feb 52°F (11°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 52°F (11°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Mar 58°F (15°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm) 58°F (15°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm)
Apr 67°F (19°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm) 67°F (19°C) 2.9 inches (74 mm)
May 73°F (23°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm) 73°F (23°C) 4.2 inches (107 mm)
Jun 80°F (26°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm) 80°F (26°C) 5.9 inches (150 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 7.9 inches (200 mm) 82°F (28°C) 7.9 inches (200 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 6.5 inches (164 mm) 81°F (27°C) 6.5 inches (164 mm)
Sep 77°F (25°C) 5.6 inches (141 mm) 77°F (25°C) 5.6 inches (141 mm)
Oct 68°F (20°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm) 68°F (20°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Nov 59°F (15°C) 1.9 inches (49 mm) 59°F (15°C) 1.9 inches (49 mm)
Dec 52°F (11°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm) 52°F (11°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)