Select from a variety of vacation rentals in Hilton Head, which is an island located just off the coast of South Carolina that boasts lush wetlands, towering trees, a quaint community, and miles and miles of beach and ocean. The island offers families everything they need for a relaxing vacation, from hundreds of restaurants—because nobody wants to spend their getaway in the kitchen—to golf courses, tennis courts, hiking trails, and wildlife preserves. Check out these top things to do during your stay.

1. Relaxing on the Beach

Hilton Head boasts 12 miles of beach and more than twice that of water access. This means plenty of sand for sunbathing and sandcastles. Plus, Islanders Beach and Driessen Beach both boast playgrounds, picnic areas, and bathrooms for the perfect place to pack up lunch for an afternoon of fun. Coligny Beach Park has outdoor showers and restrooms, as well as seasonal life guards, giving you peace of mind as your children play.

2. Dolphin Watching

Hilton Head’s dolphins are a great way to introduce a little education into your vacation. Drifter Excursions via the Gypsy can take the entire family on a tour of Calibogue Sound where Atlantic bottlenose dolphins play. You can also book a trip for your children on the Kids Cruise, a two-hour ride where the kids get hands-on experience throwing nets, pulling in a crab pot, fishing for shark, and viewing dolphins.

3. Kayaking

Rent kayaks from one of the many rental businesses in Hilton Head, and head out with your family to explore nearby waterways and inlets. Keep an eye open for birds that live in the wetlands, including sandpipers, wood storks, egrets, and osprey eagles. There are nearly 200 species of that nest along the marshes and lakes.

4. Sea Turtle Viewing

Endangered loggerhead sea turtles nest on the sandy beaches of Hilton Head. If you’re lucky, you and the kids will glimpse one of the 400-pound turtles lumbering onto shore to lay eggs, or the hatchlings waddling to the ocean. The Coastal Discovery Museum gives kids the opportunity to see these turtles, as well as alligators.

5. Hiking

Head over to Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge for a 3.5-miles hike along the island’s Main Trail. From here you can view dolphins, birds, and other wildlife. If you want to enjoy nature closer to your vacation rental, go to the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, just a few blocks from the beach. This protected area features forest, meadows, wetlands, and lakes. Take a hike up to the Indian Shell Ring, a 4,000-year-old relic of an ancient civilization, or tour the Old Lawton Rice Field on the boardwalk path.

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6. Zip Lining

Kids and adults alike enjoy soaring over tree tops for a rare aerial look of the land below. You also get a unique opportunity to view dolphins, birds, and alligators in their natural habitats. The ZipLine Hilton Head is a two-hour tour that crosses bridges, climbs an aerial sky staircase, and reaches heights of up to 75 feet. If zip lining isn’t your thing, you can still take the kids on the Aerial Adventure. This self-guided course is a playground in the air with swinging bridges and tunnels, hoops, nets, and other above-ground adventures.

7. Horseback Riding

Plenty of riding stables is available at Hilton Head so you can explore nature without the old fashioned way. Lawton Stables, for example, rents horses for a riding tour of Sea Pines Forest Preserve, which boasts trails threading through over 600 acres.

8. Visiting Coastal Discovery Museum

The Coastal Discovery Museum blends the fun of animals seamlessly with education. The museum offers exhibits on nature, history, and art. Explore local art exhibits and read up on the history of the island. Then, take the kids through a hike through the historic Honey Horn property where you can glimpse old buildings that once played an important role in the community, as well as ancient cedars, Marsh Tacky horses, and wildlife. Kids can really appreciate the history of the area at the Kids Zone where they can play games, do crafts, and view shells from the beach.

9. Exploring The Sandbox

Visit the Sandbox children’s museum for a mix of learning and interactive fun. Exhibits include Flight Deck, the cockpit of a plane where children can pretend to take off and fly the friendly skies. Learner’s Loft has a puppet theater, a Lego table for building, and game area. The No Fishing Aquarium shows life in a salt water environment that children can watch. The animals include starfish, crabs, and tropical fish. A popular exhibit is the Loggerhead Sandcastle, where kids can play in the sand while learning about endangered turtles.

10. Playing at the Adventure Cove Family Fun Center

Everybody in the family appreciates a little fun like a rousing hour in Adventure Cove’s arcade or a game of miniature golf. Two 18-hole courses boast caves, water features, and miniature buildings. Plus, Adventure Cove is right next to Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Chaplin Community Park for some more food and fun.

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