Top 12 Things to Do in Hilton Head Island

September 30, 2020

This post is all about the top things to do in Hilton Head Island.

Hilton Head Island in South Carolina is a great spot for a low-key getaway trip for the girls, S/O, or the whole family! The best part isn’t even the beautiful beaches, but the lively and stunning atmosphere. Spanish moss hangs over almost every road, there are hundreds of ponds and lakes with crocodiles just under the surface, and you’ll catch sight of a couple of the gorgeous snowy egrets flying about.

Some of my favorite memories of Hilton Head were the morning walks on the beach with our pups, coffee overlooking the marsh, and chilling by the beach. I’ve been here several times throughout the years and now my parents even live here full-time! There’s truly no other place like it and there are so many fun things to do in Hilton Head Island.

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Walking & Biking Trails

Hilton Head Island Bike RIding

One of the most unique things about Hilton Head are the trails that span the entire island (60 miles of trails!). These bike paths expand into private communities, like Sea Pines or Palmetto Dunes, so that whether you’re at a resort or private rental, you have plenty of trail options. With the extensive paths, you can bike to the beach, shops, and restaurants! Plus, bike rentals aren’t too expensive, coming in at around $39 for 4-7 days at Hilton Head Outfitters & Bike Rentals.

Head to Daufuskie Island for a Nature Tour

Daufuskie Island Tour

A tiny, remote island off the shores of Hilton Head, Daufuskie Island is rich in views and history. Inhabitants of this island include Indians, European explorers, and the Gullah oyster community…sounds nuts, right? I love a bit of history, so this day-trip from HHI is perfect for me. There are several tours on the island- Daufuskie Island Eco Tour, History and Artisans Tour, Historic Horseback Trail Rides, etc. You can even just come and spend the day and get around the island by golf cart, which is the biggest form of transportation on the island. You can get to Daufuskie Island from Hilton Head Island via the ferry, which costs $35 round trip per person.

Grab a Scoop at Salty Dog Ice Cream

Salty Dog Marina Ice Cream

If you’re a local, you know the absolute best ice cream on the island is at the Salty Dog at South Beach! Mmmm…just thinking about that homemade ice cream is making the cravings kick in. We each have our favorite flavor, but take it from the ice cream queen- a scoop of oreo and vanilla is a 10/10.

Take to the Seas with a Dolphin Tour

Hilton Head Island Commander Zodiac

Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite experiences on the island. Every time we visit we end up taking a boat out to go see the dolphins in the area. Hilton Head has one of the largest populations of bottlenose dolphins, largely due to the fact that the environment is so incredibly healthy. The ocean is darker because it is so filled with nutrients that the sea life absolutely thrives…how cool is that? Commander Zodiac at the South Beach Marina is the tour we opt for every time- the guides are awesome and the boats are super unique which makes for a great experience.

Discover Harbour Town & the Lighthouse

Harbour Town Lighthouse

The most iconic landmark of Hilton Head Island is definitely the lighthouse located in Harbour Town. Shops and restaurants are located right at the yacht basin, where boats, jetskis, kayaks, and more are constantly setting sail. Hike up the lighthouse to see a 360-degree view of the island and then grab some oysters at the crab shack…what could be better?!

Wakeup Early for the Beach at Sunrise

Hilton Head Island Sunrise Beach

Maybe not an activity for everyday, but you definitely have to wakeup early to see the sunrise at least once on your trip! I love taking my pup, Ziggy, on a walk out on the beach and watching the sunrise with her. Take your pup or a friend out with you or head over there yourself, and clear your mind for a just a couple of minutes before the day begins.

Kayak the Marshes

Hilton Head Island Kayaking

Another activity that I try to partake in every time i’m on the island is kayaking around the marshes. Hilton Head isn’t all beach, there are tons of neat kayaking spots that you wouldn’t be able to get to by boat. Plus, the peaceful movement of the kayak doesn’t disturb the ecosystem as much as a boat would, so you all the critters and birds on the bank of the marsh. You can rent kayaks or choose a kayaking tour (which I would recommend if it’s your first time, as the guides are so knowledgeable and share interesting facts about the ecosystem around you).

Charter a Fishing Boat

Hilton Head Island On Shore Fishing

Being on the sea is one of my favorite pastimes, and a day out catching sharks and redfish is a fun day in the sun. I am not an avid fisher but it’s a great activity specific to Hilton Head for me. We stock a cooler with beers and spiked seltzers and head out for the day!

Paint Pottery

This may not be what you typically think of when you think of heading to the beach, but you’ve got to have a fun activity for a rainy day, right? This is fun for adults and kids, as food and cocktails can be served during your visit! The Art Cafe is where we’ve been going to forever and they’re open 7 days a week.

Have a Relaxing Spa Day

Another great rainy day idea is to unwind with a relaxing spa day. Massage and facial? Sign me up any day of the week! There are plenty of spas around the island, the most notable being the spa at the Westin Resort (which, can I say, wow?!). Marriott’s Barony Beach Club and the Sonesta Resort are also great options.

Take a Day Trip to Savannah

If you’re looking for another place to explore, Savannah is just a ferry ride away and a lovely day trip. There’s so many restaurants and shops, and the world famous saltwater taffy candy shops on the bank. The lovely atmosphere is great for a glass of wine on a rooftop right next to the ocean, check out Boars Head Tavern & Grill. Savannah has so much history, so definitely take a tour of the squares when you’re there.

Have Dinner at Marley’s

Marleys Island Grill

Finish off your day with one of my absolute favorite restaurants, Marley’s Island Grill. Marley’s is for tourists and locals alike, with some of the best food on the island. The cocktails and they apps are my favorite part of the night (the Spicy Tuna Sashimi is to. die. for.). End the night with the key lime pie for dessert!

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