Escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. This charming spot exudes a fun, laid-back vibe, so you can focus on being with your family and having fun. Whether you want to sunbathe on the beach, learn about the local landscape and history, or immerse yourselves in the ocean, the island offers an abundance of activities no matter your mood. Include these family-friendly attractions in your itinerary, which are conveniently located within a quick drive of many Hilton Head Island vacation rentals.
1. Head for the Beach
With more than 12 miles of beautiful beaches, Hilton Head Island is the perfect spot to soak up the sun. Head to Coligny Beach Park, and stop at the splash pad to let your little ones cool off. Rent beach chairs and umbrellas, and spend the day swimming and enjoying the white sand. Fish Haul Park and Folly Field Beach Park are two other great family-friendly beaches.
2. Rent Bikes
Explore Hilton Head Island and stay healthy with a bike ride. More than 30 outfitters offer bike rentals, so it’s a breeze to find one near your vacation rentals. The island’s extensive trail system offers safe, car-free riding for your little ones. Take the multi-use paths all over the island, making stops at the beach and local wilderness area along the way. If you want to bring education into the mix, learn about the history of the island on a fascinating Heritage Library Foundation biking tour.
3. Go Fishing
Make the most of Hilton Head Island’s location with a fishing trip. Catch redfish and trout in the Palmetto Dunes lagoon, or head to Jarvis Creek Park to fish for bass in the stocked freshwater pond. The Charles C. Haigh Jr. fishing pier is a popular local saltwater fishing spot. For older kids, surf fishing is a fun challenge; just be sure to stay away from swimming areas where fishing is prohibited. Kids under the age of 16 can fish without a license.
4. Take a Dolphin Cruise
Watch the pods of dolphins that frolic off of Hilton Head Island with a dolphin-watching cruise. Book a family tour with island outfitters such as Adventure Cruises, Inc., Advanced Sail, Inc. Catamarans, or Dolphin and Nature Cruise. The experienced staff at each company navigates to the dolphins, so your little ones can watch the animals swim and play. For a customized experience, book a private boat; for a more affordable option, choose a group tour.
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5. Try a Slow Water Sport
Navigate Hilton Head Island’s waterways with a canoe, kayak, or paddle board. Broad Creek is the best place to bring kids; the lack of motorized boats creates still, safe waters. For a more challenging flatwater paddle, check out Skull Creek. If your kids are more experienced, head to Burkes Beach or North Forest Beach for kayak-surfing or paddle-surfing.
6. Get up to Speed
Enjoy an exhilarating ocean adventure with a high-speed water sport. Rent Jet Skis from a local company, and head out onto the waves, or opt for a motorboat and water skis. If you want to fly through the air closer to land, consider renting surfboards and trying your luck in the waves. The best spot on the island is Burkes Beach, which is frequented by local surfers. For little ones, Hilton Head Beach has gentler waves.
7. Spend an Evening at the Theater
Treat your kids to an evening at the theater with a trip to the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, which puts on family-friendly musicals throughout the year. If you’re traveling with teenagers, check out one of the theater’s comedy shows, plays, or concerts. At Christmas, stop in for the tree lighting, and check out A Taste of Gullah each February. In March, head to the theater for the kid-friendly workshops, performances, and classes at Youth ArtsFest.
8. Soar Through the Treetops
Get a bird’s eye view of the island at ZipLine Hilton Head, an exciting facility that offers spine-tingling tours. The tour includes instruction and is open to kids 10 and up. For families with smaller children, the Aerial Adventure ropes course offers thrilling activities that can be customized to suit adults and kids as young as 5.
9. Visit a Kid-Friendly Museum
Keep your kids busy on a rainy day at The Sandbox, an interactive children’s museum. Each of the 11 different rooms accommodates kids up to age 8 in a fun, engaging setting. Practice flying a plane in the Flight Deck, play in the sand in the Loggerhead Sandcastle, and construct a house in Builders of Tomorrow. In the Learner’s Loft, little ones can create their own toy railroad or build creative structures with blocks. For tiny artists, the Rhythm and Hues room provides a wealth of arts and crafts supplies.
10. Coastal Discovery Museum
Learn about the plants and animals of the Lowcountry at the Coastal Discovery Museum. Get close to native wildlife, and attend one of the frequent discovery tours for an in-depth experience. In the Discovery Lab, kids can examine hermit crabs and alligators. Set your little ones free in the Kids Zone for hours of fun dressing in costume, playing games, and learning about local history.
11. Go Shopping
When you need a break from adventuring, take the kids to the Village at Wexford, a collection of shops and restaurants. Pop into stores to purchase a souvenir, or let your little ones explore the pedestrian area. The area features a variety of restaurants, so it’s easy to grab lunch or a snack. If you’re traveling with your dog, be sure to stop in Tail Wiggles for a treat.
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