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Sea Turtle Season on Seabrook Island

Sea Turtle Season has arrived in the South Carolina Lowcountry! 

Seabrook Island is a private gated resort community with world-class luxury amenities, Audubon-certified championship golf courses, award-winning tennis facilities, and exclusive vacation rentals immersed in tropical landscapes and nestled along the secluded Atlantic coastline. 

Seabrook Island is also a preserved wildlife sanctuary and critical habitat for sea turtles that migrate back to our coastline year after year, make their nests in the dunes, and wait patiently for their baby hatchlings to emerge and join them back in their journey through the ocean. 

Seabrook Island celebrated the first turtle nest of the season on May 10th and a second nest was found only 4 days later, with the mamma turtle still busy laying her eggs and building her nest on the beach. The excitement is real, and with the 2021 season breaking previous nesting records, we’re hoping to see lots of tiny hatchlings on Seabrook Island this season.

Sea Turtle Season

Sea turtle nesting begins in May. Loggerheads are world travelers – they mate in coastal regions and make long migrations swimming thousands of miles during breeding season to lay their eggs back home, where they first hatched. They navigate their way back home by sensing the invisible lines of the Earth’s magnetic field.

The males remain in the ocean and the female swims to shore laying an average of 4 to 5 nests with over 100 eggs at a time. After an incubation period of approximately 55-65 days, the tiny hatchlings begin to emerge, making their first tracks from the sand dunes down to the Atlantic Ocean. The peak time to view sea turtle hatchlings on Seabrook Island usually falls around July and August.

Where to See Loggerhead Sea Turtles on Seabrook Island

Seabrook Island boasts 3.5 miles of wild, tropical and uncrowded beaches, open only to visiting guests and residents of the island. Sea turtle nests are found above the high tide line from Pelican Beach near the mouth of the North Edisto River (top spot for a sunset!) to North Beach and Captain Sam’s Inlet at the Kiawah River. It’s highly likely time spent on the Seabrook Island beaches will result in a rewarding turtle experience. 

The beaches of Seabrook Island are pet-friendly, but your pet is a predator to nesting sea turtles! Please follow the color coded system and beach rules for pets to protect the sea turtles, otherwise your pooch has plenty to look forward to on pet-friendly Seabrook Island!    

Bohicket Marina is only a short drive (or bike ride!) from Seabrook Island with a wide variety of kayak and paddleboard tours, shrimping and fishing charters, dolphin excursions, and eco-adventures in the serene salt water marshes. With a local guide leading the way, getting on the waterways is one of the best ways to experience personal encounters with the wildlife of Seabrook Island. 

Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol

The Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol is a volunteer organization that protects and preserves the South Carolina loggerheads sea turtles that visit our beaches. The volunteers patrol the beaches daily during nesting and hatching season identifying, protecting, and taking regular inventory of our local Seabrook Island turtle nests and hatchlings.

In 1978, the loggerhead sea turtle was listed as threatened under the US Federal Endangered Species Act, and these magnificent gentle giants of the ocean are in danger of extinction. During your vacation on Seabrook Island, please help us maintain and preserve Seabrook Island’s wildlife habitat and natural resources and respect the rules. 

If you’re interested in learning more about our local sea turtles, the Sea Turtle Care Center at the South Carolina Aquarium on Charleston Harbor offers a unique and interactive experience of the rescue, rehab and release of South Carolina’s sea turtles. If you’re keen to get involved locally during your stay on Seabrook, the Turtle Patrol always welcomes enthusiastic volunteers.

Turtle Nesting Rules

If you find a sea turtle or eggs, please observe only from a distance. It is against the law to walk on the sand dunes, remove any vegetation, and touch or disturb nesting sea turtles, hatchlings or nests. Identified nests are marked with a white pole and orange DNR sign.

Avoid digging holes on the beach as you may uncover a nesting site. If the kiddies (or pooch), start digging, please fill ALL holes, unfilled holes can trap the hatchlings. Knock down your creative sandcastles after your beach day too, creating a clear path for the hatchlings to make their way to the ocean.

Artificial lighting disturbs and disorientates the nesting turtles and hatchlings – do not use flashlights, lanterns, or flash photography on the beaches. If you’re staying at the oceanfront, all lights visible from the beach must be turned off between 9pm and 8am from May and October.

Report any unmarked nests, emerging hatchlings, or injured, stranded or sick sea turtles to Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol at 1-843-310-4280.

Leave only footprints behind on our beaches!

Fun & Fascinating Facts about Sea Turtles

  • Loggerheads are the most common of four turtle species in South Carolina, rare green sea turtles, Kemp’s Ridleys and Leatherbacks also nest on the South Carolina coastline.
  • The name Loggerhead comes from the turtle’s massive head and powerful jaw.
  • Loggerhead sea turtles are the most abundant of all sea turtle species in the US, and the most widespread sea turtle species in the world.
  • Loggerheads are the largest of the hard-shell turtles, full size adults reach about 3-4 feet long and weigh approximately 250 pounds.
  • Loggerheads have a long life span of over 50 years.
  • Weather conditions determine the gender of a loggerhead. Warm summer temperatures result in more female hatchlings, cool summers produce more males.
  • Loggerheads confuse plastic bags in the ocean with their favorite food source, a jellyfish! As little as half a gram of ingested plastic can kill a baby sea turtle. Skip the single-use plastic on Seabrook!

Calling all turtle lovers! Stay oceanfront on Seabrook Island and experience the beauty of these majestic creatures making their way to and from the Atlantic Ocean from your private beach boardwalk. Seabrook Exclusives offers a hand-picked collection of 70+ vacation homes and villas with access to the Seabrook Island Club amenities and miles of secluded shoreline for memorable wildlife experiences on the South Carolina coastline.

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