Hilton Head Island in South Carolina is one of those nostalgic places for me. I lived on the east coast a few years 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.
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The main attraction is to just hang out on the beach. But if you’re looking for 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.
Check out these awesome places to stay in Hilton Head with the family!
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. Don’t forget to reserve a rental car!
Awesome Things to do in Hilton Head with Kids!
And Here is the list… enjoy!
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.
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 playgound. It’s the best to be able to swim, slide, swim, swing…
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.
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.
3. 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
My daughter had been wanting to try parasailing for a while, so we finally took her when we found a company parasailing close to our hotel in Mexico. And she loved it.
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 Head
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
I loved dolphins as a kid. My kids love dolphins. Perhaps yours do, too. Being able to see wildlife in their natural habitat in action is alway 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 know 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
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 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, to salads and 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 Adventure at Adventure 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 Lighthouse
Last but not least, make sure to see the iconic Harbor Town Lighthouse. This light house 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 $6, 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.
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.
Whatever you choose, you’ll have a fabulous vacation to Hilton Head, South Carolina.