While Hilton Head Island’s beaches remained officially closed, that didn’t stop locals and vacationers from taking advantage of the 80-degree weather Sunday.
The town is hoping to reopen Coligny Beach, the island’s most popular, sometime early this week, town manager Steve Riley said.
In the meantime, he discouraged folks from visiting until further inspection.
Sun City resident Cynthia van Savage, who typically hits the beach at least a couple of times a week, held out this past week out of respect for the utility and power crews.
But she couldn’t wait any longer Sunday.
After church, she drove to Folly Field Beach. The two parking lots, filled with debris, were roped off and the parking meter wrapped in a sign that read, “park closed.”
Still, she said, “it doesn’t look that bad.”
As she approached the ocean, she lightly gasped.
“Oh, it got a shave,” she said.
A majority of Folly Field’s beach dunes are gone.
Sea Pines security director Toby McSwain reported similar conditions with the dunes “completely washed away.”
Without the iconic dunes, the beach reminded van Savage of the flat Jersey shore where she spent her summers as a child.
For Mike Fagan and his wife, of Sun City, the beach is a constant in their lives with five to six visits a week.
The couple visited Burkes Beach on Wednesday where the parking lot was not closed, he said.
Two joggers were the only other people they saw that day.
Folly Field was busier with at least two dozen spread out across the sand Sunday.
It was Fagan’s first hurricane — and hopefully his last, he said.
Like van Savage, Fagan shook his head at the lost dunes.
And while it’s a shock to locals, it didn’t hold back vacationers.
Bykiia Frederick, her husband and two children spent the weekend vacationing on Hilton Head.
She called her hotel, Park Lane Suites, to see if it would be open this weekend. A receptionist told her they reopened last Thursday, just in time for the family’s Friday to Sunday vacation from St. Matthews near Orangeburg.
The hurricane didn’t hinder their plans.
“It’s been great weather today,” she said.