Mitchelville Beach is one of the quietest beaches on Hilton Head Island. It’s also the prettiest, in my opinion! It’s the perfect spot for photographers who like shooting wildlife scenes and for anyone who loves long walks on the beach.

Sunset hues of pink, yellow, and blue reflected in a tide pool on Fish Haul Beach

Is Mitchelville Beach the same as Fish Haul Beach?

Mitchelville Beach is the official name of the beach. However, you can access it via Fish Haul Beach Park or Mitchelville Freedom Park.

Since most people park their cars at Fish Haul Beach Park, it’s nicknamed Fish Haul Beach. I use both names interchangeably, so you’ll see both throughout this post!

What to Photograph?

In addition to birds, here are some other good photo opportunities at Mitchelville Beach:

  • Wildlife: I’ve spotted everything from deer to horseshoe crabs to jellyfish. I’ve yet to see any alligators, though. That’s not to say they aren’t there, I just haven’t had an encounter. The sign on the path to the beach warns against feeding them, and the SC DNR will remove and kill any alligators reported as a nuisance. They were on the island long before we were, so please leave them be and enjoy them from a distance.
  • Sunrises and Sunsets: The beach faces the northeast and overlooks Port Royal Sound, so it offers pretty sunrise and sunset views. During the winter season there’s a good chance you’ll have the beach all to yourself, but expect to have people in your shots during the summer months. I suggest downloading a golden hour photography app to time the sunsets just right.
  • The (mini) Jetties: The main north-end jetty is further east, but there are a few small piles of rocks I refer to as the “mini jetties” on Fish Haul Beach. They make good photo ops when they’re exposed.
  • The Pier: There’s a private pier on the beach belonging to a nearby condo complex, but beachcombers can walk under it to take photos. The boards have been replaced recently, but once they age they’ll pick up a pretty green-tinted hue from the seaweed and algae.

Mitchelville Beach Photos

Here are a few shots I’ve taken of Mitchelville Beach and in nearby Fish Haul Park through the years. This first photo is of a horseshoe crab, for those of you that haven’t seen one before.

A small horseshoe crab takes on golden hues from the sunset along the sandy shores of Mitchelville Beach on Hilton Head Island
Wavy layers of pluff mud on Mitchelville Beach in the foreground with hues of a yellow and lavender sunset reflected in the ocean in the background
Close-up of pluff mud on Mitchelville Beach with hues of yellow and lavender from the sunset reflected in the tide pools

Fish Haul Beach is loaded with pluff mud, so it’s not a good beach for swimming. You can sink down to your knees in the mud, and it contains sharp oyster shells in many areas.

This pareidolia-style image of a Hi Spy Viewfinder resembles a cartoon metal robot overseeing the sunset on Mitchelville Beach
The sunset casts a warm glow over the green and brown marsh grasses in the Fish Haul Beach Park section of Mitchelville Beach
Sun flares cast a golden glow over an image of dried marsh grasses in Fish Haul Beach Park. Autumnal pops of orange and green are visible in the trees in the background
Macro shot of weeds that are daisy-like in appearance, with a blurred green and brown background

If it isn’t obvious, fall is one of my favorite seasons to visit! I love the colors during that time of year, but the entire area really looks spectacular in any season.

A pile of dried reeds or sea grass -- also known as wrack -- forms a brown pile of sticks along the high-tide line of the beach

This phenomenon of sticks washed up on the beach is called “wrack.” It’s made from dried sea grasses and is a habitat for many of the critters that live along the shore. You can find it piled up at the high tide line where the sand meets vegetation.

One of the things that makes Mitchelville Beach different from most other Hilton Head beaches is that the trees come very close to the high tide line in many areas! Some of the trees (Iike the ones below) look really striking in photos.

Lots of deer live in those woods, so it’s fun to look for their tracks in the sand.

A dark forest of white-trunked trees intersects with a row of yellow flowers before reaching the sand on Mitchelville Beach
This pareidolia-style image of a Hi-Spy Viewfinder resembles an angry cartoon metal robot with tiny white dots in its "eyes" from the reflection of the full moon over the beach

The Hi-Spy viewing glass is located at the end of a boardwalk in Fish Haul Beach Park. If you’re a fan of pareidolia, I love that the glass looks like a little robot face when you catch it at the right angle. In the photo above I was viewing a full moon through the lens, so that’s causing the white circle in the “eyes.”

To learn more about the incredible history of Mitchelville, I highly suggest a visit to The Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island. The land is the site of the first town for Freedmen in the entire country, so it’s a very special place.

Where is Mitchelville Beach located?
Address: 124 Mitchelville Road, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
Beach Hours: Open year round
Parking: Free in Fish Haul Beach Park and Mitchelville Freedom Park
Restrooms: Located at Fish Haul Beach Park, which is open 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. (winter season) and 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. (summer season)

What cultural landmarks are located in the area?
Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park | 0.2 miles
Cherry Hill School | 0.7 miles

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Do you have any questions about Fish Haul Beach? Feel free to ask in the comments below.