Hilton Head Island in South Carolina is one of those nostalgic places for me. I lived on the East Coast for a few years while growing up, and while everyone (and their dog) was booking it to the Outerbanks, we took a few family vacations to Hilton Head. Hilton Head is a pretty chill, laid-back beach town in South Carolina. 

In recent years, it’s become a more popular destination, but still has that quaint, charming feel to it.  It makes the perfect place for families to enjoy a few days or a week in this exciting beach town.

The main attraction is to just hang out on the beach. But if you want to fill your days with more activities and things to do in Hilton Head with kids, here are a few ideas.

Where is Hilton Head?

Hilton Head is an island in South Carolina. Known for beach getaways, it is pretty family-friendly and has a lot to offer, whether you’re looking to relax or looking for fun activities.

How do you get to Hilton Head, SC

The closest major airport to Hilton Head is the Savannah / Hilton Head International airport. From there, it’s just under an hour to drive to Hilton Head. 

Awesome Things to do in Hilton Head with Kidsthings to do in hilton head with kids coligny beach

1. Hang out on the Beach in Hilton Head

As already noted, one of the most popular things to do in Hilton Head is chill (or roast, depending on when you visit) on the beach. There are a few notable beaches to visit.

While it’s not the soft white sands of Mexico, Hilton Head offers beautiful beach areas, many with great amenities.  

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Coligny Beach in Hilton Head with kids

1 Coligny Circle

Coligny Beach is located at Coligny Beach Park, and it is the perfect place for the whole family. There’s a path to ride bikes or take a stroll, plus a playground and even a splash pad. The large beach area will have seasonal lifeguards for a little extra safety. 

You’ll find free parking nearby, a spot with easier access for strollers or wheelchairs, plus bathrooms for convenience. Also convenient are nearby shops and restaurants if you need a break midday.

Kids will love being on the watch for animals. Dolphins, different birds, crabs, and other animals have all been spotted near Coligny beach!

Folly Field Beach Park in Hilton Head with kids

55 Starfish Drive

Another popular beach area is Folly Field Beach Park. 

This is the perfect thing to do with kids in Hilton Head. Grab a ball or a frisbee and take advantage of the huge beach area to play. Kids will also love looking for shells along the beach. 

Parking requires payment and spaces do fill up quickly.

Mitchelville Beach Park in Hilton Head with kids

124 Mitchelville Rd

Show the kids what beach areas look like before any development is done to make them sparkle.

Mitchelville has been named one of the most natural beach areas on Hilton Head. It’s not fancy with all the amenities of the other parks, but it is gorgeous. 

You will get at least a bathroom, shower, and a large (FREE) parking lot.

Driessen Beach Park

64 Bradley Beach Rd

Driessen Beach Park is beautiful, and is a perfect way to spend a day at the beach. 

The conveniences include picnic tables, bathrooms, outdoor showers, water fountains, vending machines for when you need a snack, and a large parking lot. Parking is paid-parking, but at 25 cents a half-hour (weekdays), it’s not too bad. 

Kids will love that there’s a playground. It’s the best to be able to swim, slide, swim, swing all day long.

If you drove to Hilton Head (instead of flying), consider bringing an affordable SUP to paddle a while in the water.  It’s a great, relaxing, but adventurous way to spend an hour or two.

2. Family Kayak Outing in Hilton Head

Kayaking is one of those fun activities that any age can do. It’s adventurous, but also calming.

Harbour Town is the best place for kayaking.  It will take you to plenty of opportunities to see animals who call Hilton Head home.  As you paddle through, you’ll get a chance to spot dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles, and of course the famous Harbour Town lighthouse.  

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This kayak tour will take you and the kids through marshes and rivers. Amid these wildlife areas, you’ll be able to watch for dolphins, birds, and other animals. 

things to do in hilton head with kids boardwalk3. Hop on a Pirate Cruise, Matey!

Here’s a perfect thing to do in Hilton Head with kids – a pirate cruise! Geared up with pirate accessories, face paint, and (fake) tattoos, the kids will have a blast aboard the Black Sparrow.

The Black Sparrow boat was specifically made for this pirate experience, so the kids will feel like they’ve been taken aboard!

4. Take it to the Skies Parasailing in Hilton Head

Parasailing is a great experience. It’s a gentle ride up into the air where you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful ocean and island around you.

Hilton Head offers plenty of parasailing as well. Kids as young as 6 are allowed to embark on this thrilling ride in the sky. This is a memory your kids won’t forget. Book your parasailing adventure here.

5. Explore the Coastal Discovery Museum in Hilton HeadCoastal Discovery Museum

70 Honey Horn Dr

This is no ordinary museum. The Coastal Discovery museum has an indoor component where you can get up close with a few creatures, like Myrtle the Turtle. But it also is a great place with an outdoor component. 

After you finish your experience inside (Want to go Under the Sea? Close up with a snake or crab?), you can head outside and stroll around. Outside you’ll find the butterfly enclosure, and you’ll have a chance at spotting turtles, birds, and all sorts of plants. 

There are plenty of specific tours you can sign up for as well, like Blue Crab tours, marsh tours, or even tours on the water.

This natural wildlife area is the perfect place to bring kids in Hilton Head.

 

6. Go on a Dolphin Tour in Hilton Head

Many kids love dolphins and observing their gentle, playful behavior.  Being able to see wildlife in their natural habitat in action is always awesome.

For the perfect thing to do in Hilton Head with kids, take them on a dolphin tour. Book a family-friendly tour where the captain knows just where to go during what times to get your best chance at wildlife spottings. The guide will even share info about the ecosystems and wildlife within.

7. Check out the Sea Pines Forest Preserve

Entrance on Greenwood Dr, just east of Governors Rd

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Another of the fun things to do in Hilton Head with kids is to head to the Sea Pines Forest Preserve. This is another opportunity to see live animals in their natural habitat.

It’s 400 acres of swamp, but don’t worry, you’ll be up on a boardwalk as you stroll. 

  • Make sure to see the Wildflower Field if you visit in spring. 
  • Stroll through the Vanishing Swamp (on a safe boardwalk) and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. 
  • Visit the Sea Pines Shell Ring, the oldest archeological site in Hilton Head. (It’s made from oyster, clams, and mussels!)

Tip: There is an entrance fee and if you are not staying in the Sea Pines Plantation area, you must enter by car.

8. Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

1/2 mile west of Hilton Head Island on highway 278

With over 250 species of birds alone, there are plenty of chances to spot wildlife at Pinckney Island. You can also be on the lookout for deer, fox, bobcats, and alligators (around the pond areas).

The entire refuge is over 4,000 acres, made of 5 islands. 

FREE entrance, but note there are no facilities on site (no bathrooms!)

9. Grab a Bite at The Iconic Salty Dog Cafethings to do in hilton head with kids salty dog cafe

232 S Sea Pines Dr

Depending on where you live, chances are good that you’ve seen the classic Salty Dog Cafe t-shirt worn by someone in your town.

Now is your chance to dine and grab your own t-shirt. 

Not only is it popular, but it’s good food as well. The menu has something everyone in the family will like. Taste locally sourced seafood, salads and/or sandwiches, and bring it outside to dine on the docks. This is one stop you have to make while in Hilton Head with the kids.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner served.

10. Family Fun at Adventure Hilton HeadAdventure Hilton Head

Choose from go karts, aerial ropes course (with different difficulty levels for everyone), or head to the ziplines for a scenic ride. This is a fun way to spend the day as a family in Hilton Head. Head here for more information and reservations.

11. Climb to Great Views at the Harbor Town LighthouseThings to do in Hilton Head Harbor Lighthouse

Last but not least, make sure to see the iconic Harbor Town Lighthouse. This lighthouse is half-a-century old and has become a classic part of Hilton Head Island. It’s a worldwide known symbol of the island, as well.

Take the kids for a fun lighthouse trip. For around $7, you can climb to the top and catch some great views of the island and beyond. You’ll find the museum interesting and an information tour as well.

*Note- if you are not lodging in Sea Pines, there is an entrance fee to enter the area.

Where to Stay in Hilton Head

 

What to do in Hilton Head with Kids

Hilton Head is a great beach town and if all you want to do is relax on a beach for your family vacation to Hilton Head, go right on ahead! There’s plenty of beaches to choose from to do that. 

If you’d like some family-friendly activities in Hilton Head, there’s plenty of those, too. Hop aboard a pirate ship, go parasailing, or check out some natural areas nearby.

Whatever you choose, you’ll have a fabulous family vacation to Hilton Head, South Carolina.

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