David Lauderdale

‘Day-trippers’ to Hilton Head: Be polite. You need us — discounts, plungers and all

“Day Tripper” sticker at Cooper’s Lighthouse in the Bluffton Promenade.
“Day Tripper” sticker at Cooper’s Lighthouse in the Bluffton Promenade.

Hilton Head Island might want to hold off on the “Wish You Weren’t Here” postcards.

They’ve been beaten to the punch by the proud “Day Tripper” oval car sticker.

The public hasn’t taken too kindly to recent laments by town leaders that the island is being overtaxed by day-trippers, even getting the feel of a “discount island.”

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Yes, Hilton Head has a problem finding beach access for all the day-trippers as the mainland population explodes.

But that’s a much different problem from appearing to be snooty.

“My husband and I are happy residents of Bluffghanistan,” a reader emailed this week, “but do enjoy the occasional day trip to savor the forbidden fruits of the island. But our passports are up to date, just in case!”

A letter to the editor said:

“I suggest a sticker for island residents’ autos and a surcharge for those leaving Hilton Head to come to our mainland paradise to visit Sam’s Club, buy gas at Parker’s, stop at Home Depot or Lowe’s, to purchase a car or get that car serviced. We have lots of parking, theaters and other wonderful stuff for the enjoyment of the islanders.

“We will welcome you, even if you do not welcome us.”

Well, yes, you may welcome the first 1 million of us, but it’s that second million that gets you every time.

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Another letter-writer noted that it’s apparently fine for day-trippers to come to the island — as long as they are coming with plungers to fix the toilets.

And one sent in this clever suggestion: “Create a PayPal account where we day-trippers can just send our money instead of visiting. It’s easier on everyone, and saves gas and wear and tear on our cars.”

Terry Gibson of Lady’s Island had a real brainstorm:

“I have a solution that has not yet been mentioned: Divide the island into two halves. Build a big gate to separate them (gates seem to be very popular).

“Move everyone who wants to go back to the 1960s to the northern half. Move everyone who wants Myrtle Beach II to the southern half.

“Any bridges built to the mainland will be built on the southern half. More bridges will be needed but the Myrtle Beach II crowd won’t mind. Make sure the developers don’t waste even one inch of vacant land. I’m sure with effort, the developers will comply.

“Keep giving the Chamber of Commerce several million dollars each year to promote Hilton Head Island’s southern half. As a result of this effort, there should be even more hordes of day trippers. It might get to the point that all movement in the southern half will come to a dead halt. This might not be a bad thing.”

We’re pretty much there already, so maybe we won’t need that gate.

In Bluffton, shop owner Tricia Cooper quickly came out with one of those oval destination stickers so day-trippers can glide with pride to Hilton Head.

It has big green letters: “DT,” and says “Day Tripper” and “Hilton Head Island, SC.”

They sell for $3 at Cooper’s Lighthouse in the Bluffton Promenade.

She posted on Facebook:

“Due to the recent articles relating to ‘day trippers’ invading Hilton Head’s beaches, we would like everyone to know that we love our locals, tourists, and day trippers! We do not discriminate here at Cooper’s Lighthouse! If you are a day tripper and proud of it, stop by and get your official ‘Day Tripper’ sticker to proudly display while visiting Hilton Head Island!!”

She said “Day Tripper” beach bags are in the works.

It’s all in good fun. She’s a Hilton Head resident who actually takes a day trip to Bluffton to work.

She proves that we’re all in this together. We need each other.

Hilton Head needs to remember that.