On the hunt for a family-friendly island vacation on the East Coast? Consider choosing Hilton Head Island, South Carolina! This island town is famous for its 12 miles of pristine white-sand beaches along the Atlantic Ocean. The beaches here are perfect for lounging and adventuring, especially from May through September.
What’s more, every corner of Hilton Head is brimming with stunning nature preserves and unique wildlife refuges. Your kids will have a blast hiking and biking, swimming, boating, and exploring all vacation long.
There are more activities at this one island destination than you’ll even know what to do with. But to help inspire ideas for what to do on your family vacation, here is our list of 15 things to do in Hilton Head with kids!
Marvel for hours at the Coastal Discovery Museum.
The Coastal Discovery Museum is so much more than just a museum. It’s a living, breathing world of exploration in natural beauty! Make sure your family dedicates at least half a day to this museum.
Covering over 68 acres of preserved nature, the Coastal Discovery Museum highlights Lowcountry wildlife with its native gardens, ancient oaks, horse stables, butterfly habitat, and special exhibits. Don’t miss out on the Kids Zone, which has interactive artifacts, books, and cool creatures.
Explore beautifully curated parks by the ocean.
Hilton Head has managed to achieve beautifully designed parks that blend modern convenience with immersion in coastal nature. At Coligny Beach Park, you can enjoy walking and biking paths and swings for the kids.
And the best part? Coligny has its own full beach park with showers, restrooms, and dedicated lounge spots. Similarly, Folly Field Beach Park and Driessen Beach Park also have their own beautiful beaches equipped with various amenities.
Challenge each other to a round of mini-golf.
If your kids love to play games, don’t miss out on Adventure Cove Miniature Golf & Arcade on Folly Field Road. This adventure center has a nice indoor arcade, where some big prizes (Xbox or PlayStation, anyone?) are at stake.
But the highlight of Adventure Cove is the two large mini-golf courses. Even these golf courses feel like gardens!
Zipline over the tree-tops.
In the mood for some blood-pumping action that’s still safe and fun for the whole family? Adventure Hilton Head offers epic adventures made for people of all ages. They have aerial high ropes courses with four different levels of difficulty.
Adventure Hilton Head also offers an exciting, scenic zipline tour! You’ll be able to enjoy the highest aerial view on the island and multiple ziplines, including a dual-racing zipline for the grand finale. It’s highly recommended you book your time here in advance online. Note that the zipline is made for those 10+ years old.
View the iconic Harbour Town Lighthouse.
Located at the Harbour Town Marina, the Harbour Town Lighthouse can’t be missed. This iconic white-and-red-striped lighthouse still serves as a beacon to guide ships to shore today.
For a $9 entrance fee, you can actually go inside and climb the 144 steps to the top. Not bad for an experience your kids are sure to remember.
Hang out at one of the many sandy beaches.
The beach is what you came for, right? Well, you won’t be wanting for options at Hilton Head. With over 12 miles of beaches on this island, there are probably a dozen different beaches to choose from. It just depends on what you’re looking for!
For the best all-around beach with plenty of high-quality amenities, Coligny Beach or Folly Field Beach might take the cake. For a popular beach close to all the action, Hilton Head Island Beach is a good choice. But if you’re all about an exclusive private beach experience, stay at the luxurious Westin Hilton Head, with its own private 0.5-mile stretch of beach.
Take young kiddos to the Sandbox Children’s Museum.
Are your kids still really young? Consider taking them to the Sandbox Children’s Museum on Nassau Street. This interactive, educative museum is designed for kids 8 and younger.
They can play, make friends, and get active in a safe environment. They can ascend the climbing wall, ride in a spaceship, or play pretend-chef in the kitchen. Admission for adults is $8, and $7 for children 1 year and up.
Shop and dine at Shelter Cove Harbour.
Ready to put on something dressier and make your way into town? Shelter Cove Harbour not only has a marina for enjoying water sport activities, but their shopping and dining center is a classy waterfront destination.
Journey into scenic nature at Sea Pines Forest Preserve.
At the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, you and your family can explore this stunning protected nature area. This scenic preserve highlights the best of native Lowcountry nature. There are so many ways to enjoy it too!
Walk the extensive network of boardwalk and bridle paths through marshlands, or see the blooming flowers in Warner W. Plahs Wildflower Field. And you won’t want to miss the 4,000-year-old Sea Pines Shell Ring – it’s an amazing archeological wonder!
Catch a family concert on a warm summer night.
South Carolina treasure Gregg Russell has been putting on family concerts in Hilton Head for over 40 summers now. He has performed hundreds of original children’s songs throughout the years under the Liberty Tree in Harbour Town.
If you’re here during the summer, don’t miss out on his magical nightly concerts, complete with fun games, sing-alongs, and musical entertainment. Concerts are Monday through Friday, starting at 8pm.
Ride bikes along the Hilton Head biking trails.
There are over 85 miles-worth of beautiful bike paths across Hilton Head Island. Many of these paths follow main roads, providing ample security and access to literally every corner of the island. It’s a fun and unique way for you and your family to get around!
One of the most scenic areas to ride bikes is in Sea Pines Forest Preserve, but there are endless options. Bring your own bikes or rent from one of the many bike rental shops around the island.
Treat your kids to homemade donuts.
Looking for a sweet treat to indulge in? Duck Donuts off William Hilton Parkway serves up freshly baked, made-to-order gourmet donuts. You can ask for your own wacky combination of flavors, or opt for one of the fan-favorite flavors. Bestsellers include donuts like “Bacon in the Sun,” “Beach Ball,” and “Chocolate Explosion.”
Take a fun boat tour and see if you can spot dolphins.
There is a myriad of boat tour companies to choose from on Hilton Head. For a unique, high-speed thrill ride, check out Blue Water Adventure boat tours. You can take a ride on a two-seater catamaran, a motorboat that will zip you around the Atlantic.
For a slower-paced but scenic boat journey, consider Kayak Hilton Head. These enjoyable kayak tours will lead you to dolphin hotspots!
Shop ‘til you drop in an oceanfront mall.
Similar to Shelter Cover Harbour, Coligny Plaza is a beautifully curated shopping and dining center next to the beach. Its extensive list of over 60 specially shops and eateries will keep your kids engaged for hours.
They’ll definitely enjoy the toy and souvenir shops, bookstore, and bakery. Grab a bite to eat and enjoy it on an outdoor dining patio in the sun.
Explore a vast, biodiverse landscape.
To get away from the tourist crowds of Hilton Head for a while, head for Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. This nature area spanning 4,000 acres is sandwiched between mainland SC and Hilton Head. Utilize its 14 miles of hiking and biking trails that wind through marshland, ponds, and lush forest.
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