Hilton Head doesn’t have Myrtle Beach’s nightlife, but there’s plenty to keep you entertained—much of it located in hotels and resorts. Casual dress (but not swimming attire) is acceptable in most clubs.

Cultural interest focuses on the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, in the Self Family Arts Center, 14 Shelter Cove Lane (tel. 888/860-2787 or 843/842-2787; www.artshhi.com), which enjoys one of the best theatrical reputations in the Southeast. The Elizabeth Wallace Theater, a 350-seat, state-of-the-art theater, was added to the multiplex in 1996. The older Dunnagan’s Alley Theater is located in a renovated warehouse. A wide range of musicals, contemporary comedies, and classic dramas are presented. Showtimes are 8pm Tuesday to Saturday, with a Sunday matinee at 2pm. Adult ticket prices range from $45 for a musical to $75 for a play. Tickets for children 16 and under range $18 to $37. The box office is open Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm, and on performance days it’s open 10am to curtain time.

The Quarterdeck (tel. 843/842-1999; www.seapines.com), at the base of the Harbour Town Lighthouse, is always a solid bet for a good night out. This waterfront lounge is open daily 11:30am to 9pm with nightly entertainment 5 to 9pm (later in high season).

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The island abounds in sports bars, far too many to document here. I recommend Callahan’s, 49 New Orleans Rd. (tel. 843/686-7665; www.callahanssportsbar.com), and Casey’s Sports Bar & Grill, 37 New Orleans Rd. (tel. 843/785-2255; www.caseyshhi.com).

The Triangle & How Not to Get Lost Within It

Hilton Head’s hottest nightlife spot goes by many names—the Triangle, the Golden Triangle, the Barmuda Triangle, and most officially of all, Hilton Head Plaza. Set beside Greenwood Drive, very close to the Sea Pines traffic roundabout, the area resembles a shopping center without any shops. Instead, it contains the busiest  and best nightclub venues and bars on Hilton Head.

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Relying on word-of-mouth buzz for their ongoing success, these bars and restaurants include Reilley’s Grill & Bar (tel. 843/842-4414; www.reilleyshiltonhead.com), open daily 11am to 2am; the island’s Green Bay Packers headquarters Jump & Phil’s Bar & Grill (tel. 843/785-9070; www.jumpandphilshhi.com), open daily 11:30am to 10pm; and One Hot Mama’s (tel. 843/682-6262; www.onehotmamas.com), open daily 11:30am to 1am. In a close tie for the least formal establishments and best places to drink beer are South Carolina’s first microbrewery, the Hilton Head Brewing Company (tel. 843/785-3900; www.hhbrewingco.com), and the Lodge (tel. 843/842-8966; www.hiltonheadlodge.com), another craft beer specialist. Of these two, I prefer the Lodge with its pool tables. But they’re all so close together that if one place isn't to your liking, you can just move on to the next one. The Brewing Company is open daily from 11:30am to 2am, while the Lodge is a nighttime-only affair, open daily from 7pm [‘]til sometime after midnight every night. None of these bars begin to get busy until after dark.

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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.