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17+ Things To Do In Hilton Head Island With Kids

Whether it’s the faint scent of salt water that excites you or the plethora of island shopping and dining options, Hilton Head Island is one of South Carolina’s premier tourist destinations for good reason. It feels like a suburban world but with the joys of the beach. There’s so much to do on the island, beyond the beach, that makes it an excellent destination for families with young kids. After multiple family trips to the island with my kids, I’m sharing the best things to do in Hilton Head Island with kids.

The beach is beautiful and wide, but the enchantment of oak-lined bike pathways will also take your breath away. While some travelers seek remote islands, Hilton Head appeals to us as a family because of the amenities. You’ll find the comforts of home around the corner, alongside discoveries that will keep your vacation itinerary exciting. 

It’s not your neon-light beach stuffed with shops to buy cheap shirts and dive bars. Hilton Head Island caters to a sophisticated traveler. It’s an active community with many local families. So, if you’re traveling with young kids, you won’t feel out of place. I think that’s why Hilton Head Island attracts multi-generational travel. Grandparents love the island just as much as the grandkids. 

Best Things To Do In Hilton Head Island With Kids

Have A Beach Day

Of course, I’ve got to start with the island’s biggest attraction: the beach! The island has over 12 miles of sandy beaches protected by natural dunes. Bikes and dogs are allowed on the beach, which feels very wide, without much overcrowding. With an average air and water temperature of around 70 degrees, that’s about as perfect as beach life gets. The beaches are very kid-friendly, and the oceanfront resorts cater to families. 

Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort was named in the top 25 World’s Best Family Getaways by Travel + Leisure and has 3 miles of Atlantic Ocean beach on one side and a sheltered Intracoastal Waterway marina on the other. The resort offers easy beach access from all of its vacation rental locations. 

Hilton Head Island’s beaches are great, even in the winter. This is our February trip.

Family Fishing Excursions On Hilton Head Island

Anglers of all ages will love the excursions out of Shelter Cove Marina. Cast a line with one of the experienced locals who accept private fishing excursions. They will ferry you to the best spots to catch everything from king mackerel to giant tarpon. I like the private excursion options for families, so it’s a relaxing experience without the stress of other guests who might be more serious. 

Biking In Hilton Head Island

Go from biking on the beach to biking around the town. It’s easy to bike on Hilton Head Island with kids and safe since the paths keep families off the main road. Don’t stress about bringing a bike from home. Rent one from Hilton Head Outfitters. They’re the island’s largest bike rental shop with over 3,000 rental bikes. Let them know your family size and ages; they’ll set you up with the appropriate gear to enjoy cruising around on bikes as a family. They have kids’ bikes and adult bikes with carriers for toddlers. 

Tee Off As A Family

Hilton Head Island is a haven for golfers. There’s every type of golf you can imagine. Teens can enjoy the world-class golf courses alongside mom and dad. The Toptracer Range at Palmetto Dunes will bring out the competitive side of family golf and analyze your shots in real-time. Head to Pirate’s Island Golf for mini-golf if you want a stress-free golf experience.

Toptracer Range in Palmetto Dunes is perfect for all ages. Photo Credit: Palmetto Dunes


Hilton Head Outfitters is also the place to rent a kayak and put it in at their salt-water lagoon system inside Palmetto Dunes. Tandem kayak, enjoy the golf course views and watch for local nature. It’s a relaxing way to connect with nature on the island. 

Hilton Head Island Kayaking
Kayak around Palmetto Dunes Resort as a family. Photo Credit: Palmetto Dunes

Visit the Harbour Town Lighthouse

The iconic HHI red and white stripe lighthouse is the Harbour Town Lighthouse. You’ll need to drive through the Sea Pines gates to access the lighthouse, which is $9 per vehicle. Additionally, lighthouse visitors pay to climb, but it also doubles as a museum with fascinating local artifacts. Kids 5 and under are free to climb. Otherwise, it’s $7 per person. Fair warning, though: there is a gift shop at the top of the lighthouse with souvenirs that kids will want. 

Gregg Russell Harbour Town Playground

Next to the lighthouse is the Gregg Russell Harbour Town Playground. The playground is built amongst the old oak trees and offers a great shaded spot for kids to play. There are a few shops in Harbour Town and places to grab a scoop of ice cream. If you’re parking to climb the lighthouse, leaving your car parked and letting the kids enjoy the playground afterward is easy. 

Eat At The Salty Dog Cafe

The Salty Dog Cafe is an iconic local restaurant with a great menu and a cute story. The family-friendly restaurant is also in Sea Pines, so take advantage of the vehicle admission price and dine at Salt Dog Cafe. They offer seafood favorites, sandwiches, and famous hushpuppies. Purchase a shirt at their t-shirt shop with their famous logo and stop by to see their macaw birds after your meal. It’s more than a restaurant and feels like a destination unto itself. 

Salty Dog Cafe Birds
Kids love the birds at The Salty Dog Cafe.

The Sandbox Children’s Museum

The kids will let their imaginations run wild when they play at The Sandbox Children’s Museum. Focusing on creative play, kids of all ages will enjoy the museum. They offer dedicated spaces for older kids, like an art room and reading area, but other exhibits are perfect for younger kids who want to play freely. My kids love the dress-up area, grocery store exhibit, and art rooms. Select from two playtime windows throughout the day, morning or afternoon, when you reserve your tickets online. The only downside is trying to get your kids to leave.

The Sandbox Childrens Museum: things to do in Hilton Head with kids

Low Country Celebration Park

Right beside The Sandbox Children’s Museum is the Low Country Celebration Park. This playground offers all the bells and whistles of a new play area. The Adventure Playground features a ship design, playground, wading pool, and sandbox area. The Perimeter Walk is lighted for evening strolls around the park and looks over the pond areas.

LowCountry Celebration Playground

Coastal Discovery Museum 

Of all our favorite things to do, Hilton Head Island with kids, the Coastal Discovery Museum is one of the best free attractions. Visitors can learn about the natural history of South Carolina and visit historic buildings throughout the museum. Kids will leave with a better understanding of the island’s unique wildlife and environment. Plan your visit when the weather is nice to enjoy the museum’s 68 acres outside, where you can walk the boardwalks, see carnivorous plants, and visit a butterfly garden (open May through October). Be sure to pick up a scavenger hunt form for older kids and submit it for prizes before you leave.

Learn About Hilton Head Island’s Gullah History

While kids may not fully understand Gullah’s history, they can certainly learn about the Gullah culture. Head to the Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island, where family-friendly events regularly occur. Events like their Gullah Christmas will help kids understand the Gullah heritage in ways they can relate to.

Stoney Baynard Ruins

The historic site and ruins of Stoney Baynard Ruins are located between Baynard Park Road and Plantation Drive within Sea Pines. The site consists of below-ground archaeological remains covering just under six acres and a series of four ruins. It’s the ruins of a grand antebellum plantation. Younger kids will see it as an area to run around, but teens will be fascinated by the ghost-like ruins. The teens might also find the area to be Instagram-worthy for photos.

Coligny Beach Park

If you want public beach access without a resort, head to Coligny Beach Park. It’s an entire beach park with outdoor showers, changing rooms, restrooms, and various lounging options. Chairs and umbrella rentals are available on the beach. Coligny also has swings and wooden chairs under shaded gazebos, perfect for picnics. There’s FREE parking available for cars right across the street and places to secure your bike.

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

Hilton Head is full of wildlife, and kids love it. Head to the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge to glimpse some of the island’s wildlife in its natural habitat. The nature preserve is spread across 4,053 acres and offers 14 miles of scenic hiking and biking trails that weave through freshwater ponds, salt marshes, and maritime forests. Keep your eyes open for birds, alligators, deer and turtles. The refuge is open daily, free of charge, from sunrise to sunset. 

Bird at the wildlife refuge in the water

Attend a Shelter Cove Marina Fireworks Show

HarbourFest is a must-do event featuring the island’s only weekly fireworks shows. The show occurs every Tuesday and includes family entertainers Shannon Tanner & Cappy the Clown from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The Shelter Cove Marina restaurants offer to-go drinks for guests to enjoy during the show. Parking is free. 

Visit The Hilton Head Island Farmer’s Market

Support local farmers year-round at the Hilton Head Island Farmer’s Market every Tuesday from 9 am to 1 pm. It’s a family-friendly market where kids are welcome, and occasionally, there’s live entertainment to enjoy. 

Lawton Stables

Book a family horseback riding tour with Lawton Stables. They offer gentle rides that meander through the forests of Hilton Head Island. Guests experience an authentic feel of the untouched Lowcountry on horseback beneath a canopy of Palmettos and moss-covered oaks. For kids under age 7, they have pony rides. It’s a great way to see the island in a natural setting.

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