Hilton Head Island boasts lots of family things to do, such as swimming, boating, hiking, shopping, dolphin watching, birding, wildlife viewing, and many more exciting activities to enjoy. We’ve put together a list of some of the best activities listed with their locations and broken down by activity age requirement for your next family vacation. Guaranteed you won’t hear any “I’m bored” with this list!
TODDLER THROUGH 12 YEARS OLD
Sandbox Children’s Museum / Shipyard
The interactive Sandbox Children’s Museum has been one of the premier family destinations in Hilton Head because of the kinds of kids activities it offers. Exploring the 11 interactive exhibits at the Sandbox Children’s Museum is perhaps one of the best things to do in Hilton Head with kids. Teach the kids about art, society, and the world through the Sandbox’s fun and educational exhibits: An International Bazaar, Flight Deck, Builders of Tomorrow, Rhythm and Hues Room, Grocery Corner, South State Bank, are just some of the attractions for kids.
AGES 4 AND UP
Commander Zodiac / Sea Pines
Commander Zodiac in Sea Pines has been offering nature excursions, sailing lessons, and boat rentals for over 35 years. Climb aboard hard-bottomed rafts and watch dolphins follow you around. Choose among a one-hour dolphin tour, a 90-minute dolphin and salt marsh excursion, a two-hour dolphin and beachcombing tour. Aside from friendly, intelligent dolphins, you get to meet birds and other animals as well. Commander Zodiac’s tours have been featured by National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, and the BBC.
AGES 5 AND UP
Adventure Hilton Head—Ziplines and Go-karts! / Marshland
Hilton Head’s only zipline is just 15 minutes away from Shelter Cove Harbour in Marshland. Challenge yourselves above the treetops with sky bridges, rope courses, and various other obstacles facilitated by trained rangers. This echo park and aerial adventures will give you a whole new view of Hilton Head as you fly above the ground with its selection of adventure courses and 7 ziplines. And for those of you who wish to stay on the ground, there’s the new go-kart track! Twists and turns are yours to take in your single or double rider electric go-kart. Be sure to check their website for height and weight requirements for each adventure.
AGES 7 AND UP
Bristol Sports Arena
If you’re a family of athletes and sports enthusiasts, the Bristol Sports Arena is perfect for you. In addition to fencing, karate, kickboxing, and pickleball, there’s also tennis, aquatics, a fitness center, a skate park and multipurpose rink, baseball field, basketball field, and soccer field. The rink is open to the public and hosts an adult roller hockey game to watch every week. Whatever your sporting interest is, you’ll be sure to find it here or else learn a new one!
AGES 10 AND UP
Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge
The National Wildlife Refuge was once included in the plantation of Major General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, a Revolutionary War veteran, delegate to the Constitutional Convention and two-time presidential candidate in the early 1800s. Unfortunately, few traces of the island's plantation exist today. From 1937 to 1975, when it was donated to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pinckney Island was privately owned and managed as a game preserve. The over 4,000-acre Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is home to wildlife waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, neo-tropical migrants, white-tailed deer, American alligators, white ibis, herons, and egrets.
Connect with nature by hiking, fishing, biking, or birding across this wide expanse of salt marsh, forestland, brushland, fallow fields, and freshwater ponds. Saltwater fishing is allowed in the waters surrounding the refuge, and a one-day hunt for white-tailed deer is held annually in the fall. There may be reptile encounters beneath the overgrowths and along the ponds, so stay on the graveled paths and leave the animals alone. This refuge does not have any visitor centers.
Shelter Cove Harbour
Located at the heart of Hilton Head, Shelter Cove Harbour is among the most popular places to visit in Hilton Head. Shelter Cove Harbour offers family dining, shopping, entertainment, tours, and water activities. Enjoy all kinds of water sports year-round from boating and crabbing to fishing, sailing, cruising, and dolphin watching.
Located in the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, Lawton Stables boasts over 600 acres of Hilton Head Forest preserve you can ride through on one of their horses or ponies. Their guided western-style trail rides will take you through beautiful Lowcountry at a pace comfortable for riders of all abilities. There’s also an animal farm to visit making it one of the interactive places to take kids in Hilton Head. Pet and feed (provided) their collection of goats, miniature donkeys, cows, pot-bellied pigs, alpacas, ponies and chickens. The Lawton Stables’ trail rides are for children ages eight and up, while the pony rides are for little ones at least 18 months old. The animal farm, however, is open to everyone.
Experience the sights and sounds of a mini paradise at the Adventure Cove, with its caverns and lush garden lagoons, as you test your skills in golf and arcade games. The entertainment center has two 18-hole Caribbean-style courses—Paradise Falls and Lost Lagoon. Their arcade includes both classic and modern interactive games too. If you collect enough tickets, you get to win great prizes from their redemption center, such as an Xbox, a Play Station, a pair of Beats headphones!
The Gregg Russell Family Concerts
Spring and Summer nights (and Thanksgiving and Christmas too!) you’ll find Gregg Russell singing his own songs under the old Liberty Oak tree in Harbour Town for millions of people across all ages. Enjoy a night of family fun with special antics for the kids... games, interviews, sing-a-longs and great entertainment. Most families come night after night because they know the show is always different and always exciting.
Coastal Discovery Museum
Discover natural science, history, and culture through hands-on activities at the Coastal Discovery Museum in their 2,000 square feet of indoor exhibits and 68 acres of outdoor exploration. There are costumes, puzzles, puppet shows, murals, and scavenger hunts to enjoy as children explore. The Coastal Discovery Museum opened in 1985 and was officially recognized in 2015 as a Smithsonian Affiliate, joining 200 institutions around the country. The land is also home to ancient trees as old as the 1500s! Start your visit at the Discovery House and let the museum inspires you to care for and preserve the region’s environment and history.
Coligny Plaza has been around offering families dining, shopping, and entertainment in Hilton Head’s downtown area for over 65 years! There are over 60 stores to explore at Coligny Plaza ranging from restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and bars to clothing, jewelry, gifts, rentals, toy stores, hardware stores, and anything you can think of. There is also a theater open from Monday to Saturday. Best of all, the plaza is close to the beach and boasts lively events perfect for families. If you’re looking for an event at the plaza during your visit, check their calendar on their website.
Shelter Cove Towne Centre
Dining, shopping, live music, movies—all in one space spanning 290,000 square feet. Shelter Cove Towne Centre overlooks Broad Creek and is a perfect mix of shops, residences and restaurants. Residents and visitors alike enjoy the natural beauty of a community park with its events and shows, playground, pavilion, picnic spots, and breathtaking water views.
Driessen Beach Park
Driessen Beach Park is the place for you if you like the beach but not a huge fan of crowds—it’s open to the public but is also relatively isolated. Driessen Beach Park has picnic shelters, grills, a vending machine, beach rentals, playground, bathrooms, water fountains, and outdoor showers. Stroll the boardwalk that winds through a natural environment to the beach. The beach park also has beach matting to help persons in wheelchairs or with other ambulatory disabilities navigate across the sandy surface.