When it comes to family vacations, it’s all about location. Choose a place that has great restaurants, gorgeous beaches, plenty of outdoor activities, and friendly to all ages. It’s no surprise that Hilton Head Island is among America’s favorite islands with its white sand beaches, wildlife preserves, and gorgeous coastal views where there’s plenty of fun for everyone. Here are favorite spots and things to do on Hilton Head from a local.
What to Pack
Packing for this trip is easy! First, a pair of comfortable sandals that will take you around island and on the beach, the ever so obvious bathing suit, and shorts to cover it up. Make sure to bring your sunglasses and sun hats for those long days out in the sun along with a versatile beach tote that can handle the sand. Add an athletic look for walking through preserves or running on the beach, and an easy sundress for dinner, walks along the beach, or family pictures.
Hilton Head Kid-friendly Experiences
In this day and age, kids need things to do other than enjoy a relaxing day on the beach. Put down the devices (theirs and yours) and plan a few special days to experience the Island. Every adventure exists including a Pirate Cruise (make sure to watch for the washable tattoos before pictures!), Turtle Talk Beach Walk, and Kayaking through Shelter Cove Marina.
Take a Dolphin Tour
There’s something simply magical about dolphins which you have the opportunity to see lots of on Hilton Head. A dolphin tour offers the best way to get close to Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins in their natural habitat. You may also spot a variety of shore birds such as pelicans, egrets, and herons.
Visit Lawton Stables
No trip is complete without visiting Lawton Stables. This beautiful farm offers an animal petting zoo, pony rides, and trail rides through Sea Pines Forest Preserve. It’s home to Callie the Deer and several beautiful ponies. If you’ve never been horseback riding, no problem! Lawton Stables is for every level of rider and also has riding lessons.
Enjoy Some Ice Cream
Because no beach vacation would be complete without a trip to the local ice cream shops, there are some you’ll want to check out on your visit. The Ice Cream Cone in Coligny Plaza is perfect for grabbing ice cream after long days on the beach. With flavors like Triple Chocolate, Blue Monster, and Krazy Cookie Dough, and their special flavor Sea Turtle, even your pickiest child will find a flavor to their liking.
Explore Hilton Head Island’s beautiful coastal habitat with Outside Hilton Head. A guide will lead you through the tidal creeks and salt marshes, where you’ll have a front row seat. If you’re looking for another option, Kayak Hilton Head offers sunup and sundown tours.
Cruise Along Hilton Head Bike Trails
Hilton Head has 60 miles of public bike trails for you to explore. Whether it’s a ride to the beach or a favorite lunch spot or just a scenic tour, you’ll see people of all ages riding around the island at almost any time of day and during low tide, cyclists can even be seen cruising down the beach. You can check out a map of the island’s bike paths here — and can even get rental bikes delivered to your doorstep. There are several Hilton Head bike rental companies that would be happy to rent different types of bikes, including kids beach cruisers and baby gear.
Harbour Town Lighthouse
A visit to Hilton Head Island isn’t complete without a trip to the Harbour Town Lighthouse. Visitors are invited to explore the rich history of the island as they climb the steps of this iconic structure.
Pro-Tip: Go at sunset! Not only is it cooler as you are climbing the staircase, but once you’ve reached the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Lowcountry’s sunset.
Enjoy Fresh Seafood at Hudson’s
You can’t leave the island without visiting Hudson’s Seafood House. This place is amazing and you won’t want to miss it! Hudson’s is world-renowned for good reason. Everything is fresh-caught, homemade, and guaranteed to delight your taste buds.
Pro-Tip: Wear stretchy pants, and don’t forget to order the peanut butter pie for dessert.