You may already know that our long stretches of sandy beaches are perfect for enjoying summertime, but did you know this habitat is ideal for nesting sea turtles? Throughout the summer, Fripp Island sea turtles lay eggs, hatch, and return to the ocean. The unique phenomenon is essential to South Carolina’s coastal conservation and requires various protection efforts to ensure this dwindling sea turtle population can complete the journey successfully! If you’re curious about what Fripp Island has to offer, everything you need to know is inside our free Vacation Guide. Take a look, and start planning the best beach vacation yet!
Everything You Need to Know About Fripp Island Sea Turtles
Did you know that Fripp Island is one of 50 beaches in South Carolina that monitors and surveys the nests of Loggerhead sea turtles? Loggerheads are our state reptile and, according to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ sea turtle nest monitoring system, their population has declined three percent every year since they began monitoring them in 1980. Local volunteers and state officials work tirelessly every summer to take inventory of the Loggerhead nests. They carefully track where the Loggerhead mommas lay their eggs and monitor them until they are ready to hatch and head back out into the ocean!
When Do Sea Turtles Lay Eggs on Fripp Island?
While it is a fantastic experience to witness baby loggerhead sea turtles crawl towards the ocean, their return to the beach can be equally fascinating. Believe it or not, the same Fripp Island sea turtles that hatched on our shorelines decades ago return to our beaches years later as mother loggerheads to dig their nests from May through August. The females typically nest four to seven times each season, and the eggs incubate for approximately 56 days.
What Is the Best Way to Observe Sea Turtles on Fripp Island?
July through October is an amazing time on Fripp Island. During these four months, loggerhead sea turtles begin to hatch and embark on their journey back to the water. The best way to spot hatchlings on the shores of Fripp Island is through our nature programs. Our turtle walks are led by an expert naturalist and help teach visitors the appropriate turtle watching etiquette.
Lastly, if viewing sea turtles, there are some rules that need to be followed. If you witness a mother walking onto the beach to nest, please stay at least 20 feet away and do not move in front of her. Also, if you are lucky enough to see a mother at night, do not shine a light on her and instead rely on the moonlight to view her. The same rules apply to juveniles in terms of distance and lighting. However, if you see a hatchling moving away from the ocean, DO NOT pick it up, as it is against federal law to touch a sea turtle without the proper permit. If you see a hatchling and are worried about the direction in which it is moving, please call Fripp Island Security or the Activity Center at (843)-838-1516.
Local tip: Lights on the beach deter mother sea turtles from nesting, and they can confuse hatchlings into moving away from the sea. To ensure all baby sea turtles make a safe return to the ocean, avoid using flashlights on the beach at night, and turn off all lights in beachfront homes by 10 p.m.
How to Help Sea Turtles on Fripp Island
If you want to help with the sea turtle conservation efforts on Fripp Island, join the Fripp Island Turtle Nest Protection Program every morning at beach access #15, beginning at 6:15 a.m. Additionally, guests can tear down sandcastles and fill in holes before leaving the beach for the day. Sandcastles, holes, chairs, and other items create additional obstacles for mothers and hatchlings, so these obstacles must be removed to keep the beach as clear as possible.
Stay Near the Sea at Fripp Island Resort
If you want to stay close to the nesting action, Fripp Island Resort has the perfect vacation home for you! We offer a varied selection of oceanfront rentals that feature beautiful, sweeping views of the beach, along with exclusive access to all the resort amenities you love.
Book your stay in an oceanfront rental to enjoy all the perks of a beach vacation. You can sit and watch the sunrise in the morning or enjoy the glistening moonlight over the water during the night. No matter how you choose to spend your days by the sea, be sure to do it on Fripp Island.
Browse our array of vacation rentals, and book your stay today. We can’t wait to meet you!