Best Things To Do With Kids On Hilton Head | 20 Family Friendly Activities To Try

Hilton Head Island is an alluring vacation destination in South Carolina complete with sandy beaches, great golf courses, and a varied selection of activities. The island is intertwined with a substantial network of trails so that you can easily tour it by bike or on foot.

Hilton Head Island’s accommodations and attractions offer a pleasant and secure environment for family holidays. There’s always something fresh to do for every member of your family from interactive museums to eco-adventures, arts, games, and more, and (of course) days spent on some of the nation’s most breathtaking beaches. For the best family vacation in South Carolina head to Hilton Head Island.

Many families think that they might want to just spend every single day at the beach or the hotel pool. And that might be true for you! Many families do just that! However, sometimes it’s good to have some additional activities planned in case the kids (or you) get tired of the endless sun and water.

The Best Family Activities to Do on Hilton Head Island (no particular order)

Source: Flickr

Visit Coligny Beach Park

Coligny Beach Park is Hilton Head’s biggest beach. It resembles a picturesque seaside scene and boasts tasteful additions of eateries and shops in Coligny Plaza close to the beach.

Spacious changing rooms, clean bathrooms, outdoor showers, rubber matting for accessibility, and even free Wi-Fi make for an amazing experience on the gorgeous fine sand.

Gazebos, benches, swings, and rentable beach chairs and umbrellas give you plenty of places to lounge around.

Naturally, it gets pretty busy during peak season, but it’s worth a little crowd for the sake of the dazzling sand and surf.

Coligny Beach Park
1 Coligny Circle
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

The Ninja Warrior Course at The Zone

Visit The Zone: Indoor Family Amusement Center

Bluffton, SC, is a mere 10 minute drive from most of Hilton Head Island. The town is a destination in itself filled with historic and cultural attractions but for this article, we are going to Bluffton for one reason: to visit The Zone. This is your one-stop destination for indoor, family-friendly activities when visiting Hilton Head Island.

Just think: Batting Cages, Ninja Course, Escape Rooms, Laser Tag, Mirror Maze, Time Freak, Mini Golf, and a Mechanical Shark. All under one roof. Rain or Shine!

The Zone
108 Buckwalter Parkway Suite 2F
Bluffton, SC 29910
(843) 836-3701

Image from Island Explorer FB Page

3. Go on a Dolphin Cruise

Take a cruise with the Island Explorer and you’ll see plenty of dolphins frolicking in the water as well as herons and other wildlife. The company offers customized dolphin and eco-tours in groups of 12 or fewer, so it’s made for families. A long trip might not be right if you have small children, but options include one-hour, two-hour, and three-hour rides, plus a sunset cruise of Calibogue Sound.

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Island Explorer
101 Marshland Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
(843) 785-2100

Image from Pinckney Island FB Page

4. Explore the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

Located just off of Hilton Head Island, the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge offers up-close and personal encounters with alligators, turtles, deer, more than 250 species of birds, and other local wildlife. A system of 14 biking and walking trails meander through the property, which includes salt marshes, maritime forests, and other nature habitats. While parking is free, there is a quarter of a mile walk to the refuge entrance which is open sunrise to sundown. Note there are no on-site refreshments or restrooms, and be sure to wear sunscreen and stay on the main trails to avoid unwanted animal encounters.

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

Picture from Coastal Discovery Museum

Visit the Coastal Discovery Museum

The Coastal Discovery Museum is a fantastic educational center that’s fun for kids and adults alike. With 68 acres of land, this non-profit, community-centric organization was set up in 1985 with the goal of teaching visitors and locals about the heritage and natural history of the Lowcountry.

You’ll enjoy learning about such native tree species as the magnificent live oak, so named as they never completely lose their foliage, as well as a nearly 500-year-old southern red cedar.

There’s plenty of wildlife, too, including many species of birds and butterflies. Best of all, much of the property can be explored simply by following the network of well marked nature trails, including three marsh boardwalks along the tidal Jarvais Creek.

There is also the Bird’s Eye View Theater, an outdoor theater staging regular events and shows, dolphin cruises, guided kayaking adventures, a shell ring made from local shellfish, and a weekly farmers market.

Coastal Discovery Museum
70 Honey Horn Drive
Hilton Head, SC 29926
(843) 689-6767

Image from Harbour Town Lighthouse Website

Climb a Lighthouse

The Harbour Town Lighthouse is both beautiful and iconic; it’s been a symbol of Hilton Head Island for years. Even preschoolers will be able to manage the 114 steps to the top of the 90-foot-tall Harbour Town Lighthouse, one of the most beloved landmarks on Hilton Head Island. The lighthouse is the focal point of Harbour Town’s waterfront area of shops and restaurants. The lighthouse gift shop is also a favorite for island and lighthouse souvenirs.

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Harbour Town Lighthouse
149 Lighthouse Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(866) 305-9814

Note: Harbour Town is located inside the gated Sea Pines Resort which requires a day pass to visit.

Read Our Story On Mitchelville History Here

Tour Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park

For history lovers, Mitchelville Freedom Park is one of the most compelling educational sites in the Lowcountry. Once home to the first self-governed town of formerly enslaved people in the United States, the park has interactive exhibits and tours that bring the past alive in a convergence of history, culture, and nature at the northern end of Hilton Head Island. The park is open daily from 6am to 9pm, and visitors are encouraged to bring their own picnics to enjoy on the property.

Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park
229 Beach City Road
Hilton Head Island SC 29926

Read: Best Places To Rent A Bike On Hilton Head

Pedal Across the Island

With more than 100 miles of shared-use pathways and 6 miles of dedicated bike lanes, Hilton is a cyclist’s paradise.

Ditch the car during your stay and pedal across boardwalks and beaches, along sandy marshes and wetlands, through maritime forests, and to and from top destinations across the island.

You can bring your own, or rent one from your hotel, resort, or any one of the numerous bike rental locations that have sprung up.

PIcture from Audubon Newhall Preserve FB Page

Walk the Paths at the Audubon Newhall Preserve

On the south side of the island sits a beautiful 50-acre nature preserve – a favorite spot for bird watchers with more than 140 recorded species. Guided bird walks are available from October to May. While there are no admission fees, donations are encouraged to maintain the preserve, a non-profit organization run by volunteers.

Audubon Newhall Preserve
55 Palmetto Bay Road
Hilton Head, SC 29928
(843) 842-9246

Picture from Saltmarsh Paddle Tours

Meander Through the Marshes

Standup paddle boarding (SUP) is now one of the most popular outdoor activities on Hilton Head Island and in the surrounding Lowcountry, and Salt Marsh Paddle Tours has the gear and expertise you need to give it a try. In addition to SUP tours, they also offer kayak tours and both are super ways to savor and explore the stunning beauty of Hilton Head Island

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Saltmarsh Paddle Tours
102 Marshland Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
(843) 422-3965

Image from Reel Job Charter Fishing

Book a Fishing Charter

Many believe that Hilton Island has the best fishing on the Atlantic coast. If you’re a fishing fanatic, or just want to enjoy a day on the water with your family, then booking a fishing charter with a reputable and experienced company is the way to go. 

Reel Job Charter Fishing will provide the tackle and clean your catch. They can fit six fishermen comfortably. A unique and memorable experience.

Reel Job Charter Fishing
88 Helmsman Way Unit 100
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 384-8236

Picture from Skull Creek Boathouse Website

Chow Down At Skull Creek Boathouse

Known for its fresh seafood dishes (such as shrimp and grits and she crab soup), the restaurant also serves sushi and Lowcountry boils.

Favorites from the Little Shuckers menu includes fried shrimp, a crispy ice cream sundae with a cherry on top, and a Funky Monkey banana and pineapple drink. Kids can enjoy playing at the pirate ship playground and sprawl out on the green lawn. After dinner, families can gather around the fire pits and play life-size Jenga, cornhole, giant Connect Four, and more. The sunsets are unbeatable!

Skull Creek Boathouse
397 Squire Pope Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
(843) 681-3663

Picture from Adventure Hilton Head Website

Have Fun in the Sky – Zipline & Aerial Adventure

Your family will be flying high among the trees of Hilton Head. You’ll race through the trees on eight interconnected ziplines as high as 75 feet in the air from tower-to-tree platforms on a 2-hour adventure. Aerial Adventure is a playground in the sky with 50 in-the-tree challenges and activities on multiple courses. With courses designed for all ages and abilities, families will not only have a great time but burn off some energy before a relaxing and restful evening.

Adventure Hilton Head
33 Broad Creek Marina
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
(843) 682-8000

Image from The Sandbox Children’s Museum

Help Your Kids Discover the World at the Sandbox Children’s Museum

If you’re looking for some fun activities designed especially for kids, the Sandbox Children’s Museum features eleven hands-on, interactive, kid-friendly exhibits that will teach your children about the world around them. Some of the exhibits include Builders of Tomorrow, Grocery Corner, the Rhythm and Hues Room, and much more in 2500-square-foot space.

The Sandbox Children’s Museum
80 Nassau Street
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
(843) 842-7645

Source: Hiltonheadislandsc

Get Some Exercise at the Bristol Sports Arena

If you’re a family of sports enthusiasts, the British Sports Arena is the perfect spot to exercise your athleticism. There’s a skatepark for any skateboarders in your family as well as a multipurpose rink for skating or playing roller hockey. The arena also features courts for basketball and fields for baseball and soccer. For the younger kids in your family there’s also a fun playground.

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Bristol Sports Arena
4 Helmsman Way
Hilton Head, SC 29926

Picture from Hilton Head Helicopter Website

See Hilton Head Island Island Like Never Before

One of the most unique Hilton Head attractions is offered from the sky. Multiple types of helicopter tours are available depending on what your family would like to see and your price range. All ages are welcome.

Take a simple tour from the air of the beaches or the ocean and the lighthouses, or take a longer tour over a remote island which is home to Rhesus Monkeys. Some packages even land you on Daufuskie Island to go horseback riding.

Hilton Head Helicopter
38 Gateway Circle
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
(843) 505-7182

Source: Houfy

Treat Your Family to Some Ice Cream

Ice cream is a must on any family vacation. For the best on Heilton Head Island, head to Frozen Moo. There is no way kids will complain about the flavor choices. Why? There are over 90 flavors to choose from. Plus, there are also sugar free and low fat yogurts to fit different dietary restrictions. Plus take your ice cream outside and enjoy all that Coligny Plaza has to offer. There are often special events and shows going on in the evenings.

Frozen Moo
1 North Forest Beach Drive
(Located in Coligny Plaza Shopping Center)
Hilton Head, SC 29928
(843) 842-3131

Picture from Vagabond Cruise FB Page

Go Shrimping Aboard a Trawler

Join the crew aboard the shrimp trawler Tommy Jan and see what daily life is like for local shrimpers. Start off with an introduction to the boat and the shrimping gear aboard. Then the boat will make its way to shrimping waters off the coast of Daufuskie Island. Watch as the nets drag across the seafloor. After this comes the real fun as you help the crew sort through the day’s catch on the sorting table. There will be a big catch of shrimp or other fish, sharks, and even sting rays that get caught in the net. The crew will go over what type of bi-catch to look for and will safely return these creatures to the waters. You get to take the freshest, locally caught shrimp with you to cook. The amount of shrimp isn’t guaranteed (this is fishing) but it will be divided evenly among the parties aboard.

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Vagabond Cruise
149 Lighthouse Road
Hilton Head Island, SC
(843) 363-9026

Note: Location is located in Sea pines Resort. If you are staying outside the resort there is a fee per vehicle (cash) This pass is good for an entire day

Photo credit: Hiltonheadislandsc

Have a Picnic at Burkes Beach

Burkes Beach is one of the island’s best kept secrets. It’s quieter than its rivals yet has the same golden sand waiting to charm your socks off.

Spending a morning here is one of the most relaxing things to do on Hilton Head Island. Take a dip in the warm ocean, stroll along the soft shoreline, and enjoy a picnic lunch.

Burkes Beach
60 Burkes Beach Road
Hilton Head, SC 29928

Picture from Pirates of Hilton Head Island FB Page

Take the Family on a Pirate Cruise

If your kids, or even just the adults love pirates, then you want to take the Pirate Cruise on the Black Dagger. On the cruise you’ll learn how to be a pirate. The tour guides (called the pirate crew) will teach you how to talk like a pirate and give you a new pirate name. You’ll even get a tattoo to complete your transition from landlubber to seafaring pirate. Once you’ve been turned into a fearsome pirate, you head out to the water.

While out on the water, everyone will get to search for sunken treasure. You’ll be racing “Stinky the Pirate” to get to the treasure first using a treasure map. While you race, the crew of the ship will use water cannons to get the treasure chest key from Stinky. Once you and your crew have the key, you’ll be able to enjoy your hard won treasure. Your family will love this unique and immersive Hilton Head activity.

Pirates of Hilton Head
149 Lighthouse Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

Note: Located in Sea Pines Resort. If coming from the outside there is a vehicle pass fee.

We hope you enjoy our list filled with things to do on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It’s a unique southern isle that is full of history and adventure. Whether you want to spend a day at the beach or fill your day with activities, Hilton Head is a great place to visit.

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