Sea Pines Forest Preserve

Sea Pines Forest Preserve


Area name

Sea Pines Forest Preserve

Area Location

Sea Pines Forest Preserve

Area Map


  • Daily visitors to Sea Pines can enter by paying an admission of $6 per car at either of the two security gates.
  • The Preserve has three entrances:
    • West Entrance – through the Sea Pines Greenwood Security Gate go one mile on Greenwood Drive south to the turn to a parking area. There is a sign marking the parking area.
    • East Entrance – through the Sea Pines Ocean Security Gate go one-half mile to Lawton Road and turn right. On Lawton Road turn right and pass the Hilton Head Prep School’s Fraser Field House. Look for the shelter in the parking area for the Preserve.
    • Lake and Picnic Area Access – through the Sea Pines Ocean Security Gate go one-half mile to Lawton Road and turn right. On Lawton Road take the right toward Hilton Head Prep School’s Fraser Field House but turn left on Lawton Canal Road. A sign indicates the road right to the lakes.
  • Sea Pines is a private residential community, accessible to resort guests, property owners and their guests.


  • Both the Greenwood and Lawton entrances have boxes containing trail guides and maps.
  • Forest Preserve’s fishing lakes, have portable toilets, picnic facilities and an informational kiosk.


  • Maps are available at informational boards at the lakes.
  • There is a 3-acre wildflower field next to the picnic area at Fish Island, which has a good display of wildflowers in spring and summer. This is a good area for Killdeer, Eastern Meadowlarks, Eastern Bluebirds, Purple Martins and Mourning Doves.
  • Beyond the wildflower field lie open fields and forest edge that may be the best passerine-watching location on the Island, particularly during migration or nesting season. The area contains diverse habitat, with many small trees and shrubs.  Morning birding is optimum with the sun behind when facing the forest edge.
  • The East entrance is via Lawton Road off North Sea Pines Drive one-half mile beyond the Sea Pines Ocean Gate. Turn right on Lawton Road, take the third right after the Hilton Head Prep’s Fraser Field House, and park adjacent to a shelter on the left.  The trailhead is just past the shelter.
  • The West entrance is located on Greenwood Drive, one mile south of the Sea Pines Main Gate. Maps are available showing a path along a lagoon to trails following a boardwalk, a restored rice dike along the marsh edge, and a woodland trail.  Beyond the boardwalk the trails lead to the Preserve lakes.
  • The third entrance is also via Lawton Road and is the access to the Preserve’s lakes, wildflower garden and picnic pavilion. Approach as per the East entrance, but turn immediately left after turning off Lawton Drive.  Follow the asphalt road along the canal to the sign directing a right turn toward the fishing lakes.  There are 3 lakes in a row, all of which might have numerous wading birds and waterfowl.  There is a rookery at Lake Mary.

Key Birds


Pied-billed Grebe, Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Cattle Egret, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, White Ibis, Wood Stork, Wood Duck, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Clapper Rail, Sora, Killdeer, American Oystercatcher, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Belted Kingfisher, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker, White-eyed Vireo, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebird, Yellow-throated Warbler, Pine Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Seaside Sparrow, Eastern Towhee, Eastern Meadowlark.


Green Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Purple Martin, Barn Swallow, Tree Swallow, Bobolink, warblers in migration.


Yellow-crowned Night-Heron.


Warblers in migration.


Ring-necked Duck, Ruddy Duck, Hooded Merganser, Double-crested Cormorant, Wilson’s Snipe, Eastern Phoebe, Cedar Waxwing, Bonaparte’s Gull.