If you looking for a quiet beach where nature abounds and people don’t, then Fripp Island on the coast of South Carolina is it! Just a little above 4 hours from Greenville near Beaufort and Hilton Head you’ll find this barrier island with miles of private beach and plentiful wildlife. Fripp Island is the perfect South Carolina retreat and we have all the information you need to travel there from where to dine, what to do, and where to stay.
About Fripp Island
Fripp Island is a private gated island on the South Carolina southern coast near Hilton Head. You may not visit the island or its beaches unless you are residing on the island. While Fripp does not have any hotels, Fripp does have a resort that offers condos and homes for rent that include resort amenities such as a pool, and you can also find private homes for rent via websites such as Airbnb and VRbo.
The animal populations teem on Fripp Island. We saw an alligator from our backyard when we arrived at our rental house and during the week we observed herons, raccoons, and deer all exploring our yard. Every walk to the beach included sightings of deer and the beach and marsh were full of crabs, herons, egrets, and seagulls. The shoreline was dotted with jellyfish, shells, and pieces of sand dollars.
Due to Fripp being a private island, the roads are quiet and mostly used by golf carts. Even small children can easily bike on the island with its numerous bike paths and sidewalks.
Things to Do on Fripp Island
Fripp Island is the perfect retreat for a family that enjoys biking, kayaking, restful excursions to the beach, and nature walks. If your rental includes resort amenities, you will also have access to public pools, an activity center with children’s programs, golf, and tennis courts.
We did learn that many of the bike and kayak rental companies are small privately owned businesses. If you would like to rent any type of equipment, we recommend calling ahead of your trip to ensure availability. Some of the home rentals include bikes, golf carts, or other amenities in their package.
When picking a beach spot, look for one of the 32 beach access spots for a quieter experience outside of the beaches right near the resort. While the beachfront near the resort was slightly more crowded, our nearest beach access (#7) was very tranquil with wide spans between groups. You’ll see various species of birds and potentially some loggerhead turtle nests during the summer.
Learn about local wildlife at the Fripp Island Activity Center: If you are staying near the Fripp Island Resort, then head inside the activity center to learn more about local loggerhead turtle conservation efforts, see a baby alligator, or check out one of the many activities available. They have several free activities, or you can pay to do one of the more interesting crafting activities and adventurous tours.
If you have a family who likes to golf, then you can head to the Ocean Point Golf Course to play a game with your older kids. This Fripp Island golf course is picturesque, and located near the marshes so you have a beautiful view while you play. They also have a Wee Links program so that little kids can play along with their parents.
What to Do Near Fripp Island
We have a full list of fun activities in the Beaufort region on Kidding Around Greenville that you can choose from. Some of my recommendations that are close to Fripp Island are:
Hunting Island: This popular state park is located right outside of Fripp Island. You can climb a historic lighthouse and enjoy nature walks. Hunting Island also has a nature center that is worth visiting.
Biking in Beaufort/Port Royal: My husband and I enjoyed an active date in Beaufort (half an hour outside of Fripp) where we biked the Spanish Moss Trail from Beaufort to Port Royal’s Sand Beach. Port Royal has an observation tower at the beach that you can climb to see a panoramic view of the surrounding islands.
Browsing through Beaufort: Beaufort has a small walkable downtown with cute, unique shops. If you want a place to sit, there is a park outside the water with plenty of swinging benches. For those who enjoy a brisk walk, Beaufort also has a bridge that spans the water with a walking path that is lovely to walk at sunset.
Where to Eat Near Fripp Island
While there is resort dining on the island, most of your dining options will be about 30 minutes outside of the island near Beaufort.
One of the closest restaurants is The Shrimp Shack, famous for its shrimp burger. Note that this restaurant does have very limited hours so it’s best to plan ahead if you want to dine there.
If you want a good old-fashioned burger, then Beedos is the place. It is located on St. Helena Island, just a short drive from Fripp. They have burgers, really good onion rings, and a delicious chocolate shake.
We chose to eat dinner at Lady’s Island Dockside where we were happy to find plenty of outdoor seating. Our dinner was delicious and the service was great. We actually walked there from downtown Beaufort which was a bit of a hike but the views over the bridge at sunset when we returned made it worth every extra step.
We ate lunch one day at Q’s Chicken Shack. One of the locals recommended that I order the sauced-up chicken tenders. I think I might need to visit Beaufort again just to eat those chicken tenders again. They were that good.
Where to Stay on Fripp Island
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For our stay on Fripp Island, we chose to rent a house to split with another family. Renting a home has many advantages for a beach vacation often including having a full kitchen, washing machine and dryer, backyard, and even bikes or beach equipment.
We stayed at “Shorely Blessed” at 722 Marlin Drive. The house was large with 5 bedrooms and 3.5 baths and easily housed two families with children. We booked our home through Vrbo but the home is now being rented directly by the owners. Some of our favorite parts of the house were its spacious backyard with a swing and the fact that the garage was stocked with bikes and sand equipment including chairs and a wagon. The home was about a 10-minute walk from the beach.
Fripp Island Resort
You can also rent condos or homes through Fripp Island Resort. The beach resort has amenities such as a pool and golf course that families would enjoy. Some of the rentals on other sites also include resort passes.
A Couple Last Tips for Visiting Fripp Island
- You will need to drive 30 minutes to get to the nearest Walmart or grocery store. There is a small grocer on the island but be prepared to pay a premium for the convenience.
- Most of the “beachfront property” is still separated from the actual beach by a large marsh. Be sure to check how far your property actually is from the beach when comparing properties.
- Golf carts are very popular on the island. We did not rent one but it would have made trips to and from the beach much faster.
- Alligators do live on Fripp. We had multiple sightings from our backyard as it had a canal right behind the yard.
Have you visited Fripp Island? Tell us where you stayed and your tips in the comments.
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