How To Spend The Perfect Weekend On Hilton Head
Whether you’re a longtime Hilton Head Area resident or just trying to hang like a local during a weekend, these are the things that everyone should check off their to do list while on Hilton Head Island. Mostly they involve eating, drinking, and natural beauty — because, that’s how we do it here in the Lowcountry. Our list has activities perfect for all ages and enough options to completely fill your entire schedule. So, if you’re looking for what to do on Hilton Head Island, you’ve come to the right place!
Explore The Island From The Water
Start your day off right….out on the water! Hilton Head Island’s marshes are some of the most stunning landscape you’ll ever see. They have endless inlets to explore and they change color with the seasons, from chartreuse green in the spring and summer to warm golden tones in the fall.
Varying wildlife also populate the marshes and waterways around Hilton Head Island. Turtles, crabs, friendly dolphins and so many beautiful types of bird life. A great way to really experience the flora and fauna of our island is from the water.
The best time to do this is first thing in the morning. What better way to start your day? We have many great options to choose that will get you out on the water. Outside Hilton Head has an excellent tour of Daufuskie Island available in the mornings.
These tours take you all through the backwater marshes and creeks, then they continue the tour of the historical sites on Daufuskie Island, from churches to schools to lighthouses that are hundreds of years old.
Of course for a more ’up close and personal’ view of the many inlets and waterways of Hilton Head, try a kayak tour…get your muscles ready! Another option to enjoy the water is on one of Captain Terry’s Dolphin Tours. He’ll take you way out onto the water to truly experience the dolphins (and sharks!) that swim our waters.
If you want to ‘catch’ more of the wildlife here, Captain Terry can also take you on a fishing trip.
Grab Some Lunch
After a busy morning on the waterways, you’ll definitely be ready for some food. Marleys Island Grille located just off the Sea Pines Circle is one of our many wonderful restaurants.
They have a tasty, fresh menu, with options ranging from kale salads, fried chicken, fish tacos to Southern pulled pork. Whatever wets your appetite can be found there for you to ‘chow’ on!
Hilton Head Shopping
One of the most entertaining ways to spend an afternoon on Hilton Head Island is to go shopping. Coligny Plaza has many unique shops for souvenirs you won’t get anywhere else. Visit the Shell Shop for many eye catching tropical gifts and shells.
Another place to visit is the Village at Wexford, with a wide variety of shops and markets to explore. It boasts over 30 local merchants, so you will be able to find lots to enjoy that will remind you of Hilton Head whenever you see it.
They also have an assortment of food choices to give you a little taste of the Island, including the very popular restaurant, Java Burrito.
Depending on what day you decide to shop, you might even be able to catch some live music or a summer fair.
Take In A Show
The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina always has something exciting happening. The local dance studios often have their spectacular performances at this facility where young and old can be inspired by the grace and beauty of the dancers. Theater groups perform highly enjoyable plays and musicals. Try to catch a matinee showing of whatever is going on while you’re on Hilton Head. They also have a beautiful art gallery featuring many local artists.
Where To Eat Dinner In Hilton Head
One great thing about Hilton Head is there are tons of restaurant options for dining in and taking out! Depending on where you have ended up in the afternoon, we have two fantastic recommendations for dinner.
If you are going to be on the North End of the Island, Il’Carpaccio serves up lighter Italian fare and has a wonderful atmosphere. Two of my personal favorite entrees are their authentic oven fired pizza and their delicious spaghetti carbonara. Il’Carpaccio also recently made the cut of best pizza on Hilton Head!
If you did catch a show at the Arts Center, then just across the street is another longtime Island favorite, Santa Fe Cafe. Perfecting the gourmet New Mexico experience, Santa Fe has a varied menu, great selection of wine, and a truly delightful ambiance. Be sure to check out their rooftop cantina and open kitchen where you have a clear view of the magic. Also visit their Facebook Page to see upcoming live music.
Save Room For Dessert
To finish off the night, get something sweet from one of our many local dessert places. Orange Leaf, is a favorite, especially for kids, with all of its many different frozen yogurt flavors, from coffee to orange to brownie batter.
Located in Shelter Cove, they have many toppings to make your dessert exactly to your taste. But the options don’t stop there! They also have a great selection of smoothies, cakes and milkshakes.
Another family favorite is the Frozen Moo, back in Coligny. They have a large variety of flavors as well: classic vanilla, strawberry cheesecake, espresso, key lime pie, and so much more! Also in Coligny is Sweet Carolina Cupcakes, if you’re looking for something that isn’t frozen.
Wherever you end up going, you’ll get a sweeter taste of the Island!
A Sunrise Stroll
Get a head start on day two bright and early with an energizing sunrise stroll. A common favorite among all visitors and full-time residents of Hilton Head is Pinckney Island National Wildlife Preserve.
It’s a perfect place to get your daily exercise! Set apart from the bustle of daily life, you can listen to the sounds of all of the hundreds of different kinds of birds there. As you walk or jog, you’ll get a great mix of the sunrise on the marsh and the beautiful greenery of the Island, from the native palms to all the unique driftwood.
Throughout the island, there are also smaller garden sections with various flowers and all the butterflies that come with them!
Another great option is the Sea Pines Forest Preserve. Here, you’ll see more of our huge, sprawling oaks or even some ruins from historic Hilton Head Island.
Wildlife abounds here as well, graceful herons, perky wrens, chattering squirrels, alligators in Lake Joe and many more. Wherever you decide to explore, your morning will be well spent.
Always Time For Coffee
If that doesn’t sufficiently wake you up, some coffee and brunch at Carolina Coffee & Crumbs should do the trick.
This local cafe’, across from Coligny Beach, has some of the best specialty brewed coffee and locally baked pastries on the island. A hearty breakfast from this cafe’ will certainly get you feeling ready for the day.
They even have some holiday options if you find yourself there during the holiday seasons. From a salted caramel latte to an americano, they have something for the tastebuds of every coffee fanatic.
If you don’t like coffee at all, they have many other options, such as flavored teas and even some wine. Since it’s conveniently located on the South End, you can take your coffee to go and meander around, seeing more of the Island or popping into some shops.
Take a walk by the water and enjoy the fresh ocean breeze.
Enjoy The Island By Bike
If you’re on Hilton Head Island during the summer, you can’t help but notice how many people are always biking around. It isn’t a popular choice for nothing!
One of the best ways to tour the Island is to rent some bikes and do some of your own exploring. Some of the favorite rental companies are Peddling Pelican Bike Rentals Inc., Sea Pines Bicycle Rentals, and Island Life Bike Rentals.
With your bike, you have many options. You can travel up and down our beaches, listening to the waves, feeling the wind, and seeing some of the beachfront resorts and homes.
The Island also is conveniently covered with miles of bike paths going every which way. You can take these paths and bike anywhere you want.
It is one of the best ways to get acquainted with Hilton Head Island and become familiar with the location of your favorite local places.
Hungry….Waterfront Dining On Hilton Head
You’ll certainly work up an appetite after all that biking and be ready for some lunch. Skull Creek Dockside is one of the best places on the Island for fine dining with a water view of Skull Creek.
You’ll get a real taste of Hilton Head Island here with their many seafood options: locally caught fish, shellfish, crab, shrimp, and much more. If you’re not a seafood fan, they have lots of other options such as: smoked pork, flatbread pizza, and many different salad choices..
Enjoy The Island & Relax On The Beaches
Of course, you can’t go to Hilton Head Island without spending time on one of our beautiful beaches.
You can bask in the sun and catch some rays and Vitamin D, although don’t forget the sunscreen! If it’s a little too hot for your liking, bring an umbrella and let the sound of the waves soothe you. Then go for a swim in the water, search for sand dollars, go body surfing, or just relax in the waves.
Bring some cold beverages and some your favorite snacks, but watch out for the pesky seagulls! Whether you decide to take a walk with your feet in the water or build a sandcastle, your afternoon will be delightful.
Another favorite activity here is mini golf, whether you have kids or are just a kid at heart! What better way to have fun than a little friendly competition? Pirates Cove Adventure Golf is one of the most popular.
With colored waterfalls, cannons, cooling mist, and pirate flags, you’ll definitely feel like a seafaring pirate as you challenge your friends or family and test your skills. They have two different courses, so if you think you’re more of a mini golf expert, you’ll be heading to the more advanced course.
With unique challenges at every hole, it’ll be swashbuckling fun for the whole family!
Dinner & Drinks….Outdoor Dining On Hilton Head
Another very scenic location is Shelter Cove. Here, you’re right on the water and can walk up and down the pier or relax and enjoy the view from a bench.
At Shelter Cove there are many different local boutiques to check out.
Purchase some of the best South Carolina style clothing, shoes, accessories, and more for both adults and children. We know one thing you are looking for, the best waterfront dining on Hilton Head. Well, right here at Shelter Cove, you can get dinner at Poseidon. They serve a diverse selection freshly caught seafood, which you can get steamed, chilled, boiled, fried, charcoal grilled, in a soup, on a salad, or by itself.
So many delicious options! They have great steaks, chicken, flatbread pizzas, and more.
Enjoy the best of Hilton Head Island dining with a beautiful view of the marsh.
After dinner, wander upstairs where they have a Rooftop Bar for the sunset happy hour. Finish out your visit with a variety of cocktails and beers.
On different nights they have live music and dancing. The sunsets from the rooftop are breathtaking. You can enjoy the vibrant colors from the balcony or inside. If you find yourself at shelter cove on a Tuesday, the Rooftop offers the best view of the summer fireworks to finish off your night.
Enjoy Fireworks From Shelter Cove
A Final Word…
There is certainly no lack of adventure, dining, or fun on Hilton Head Island. When we sat down to write this, the goal was to outline the perfect day. As you can see it turned into the perfect weekend….It almost became the perfect week! Don’t forget, you don’t have to stay on the Island, there are a ton of awesome day trips you can take from Hilton Head too! Check out this guide to five amazing day trips from Hilton Head!
As long time residents, we have experienced first hand, all the amazing things to do and see on the Island and at different times of the year. One thing we didn’t talk about was how close Savannah and Charleston are as well as Beaufort and Parris Island. Those make great day trips if you have the time.
We hope you have found our Ultimate Guide: To Things To Do In Hilton Head useful!