Discover the Best of Hilton Head: 55 Can’t-Miss Activities and Attractions
Hilton Head Real Estate
Hilton Head Island is home to eleven distinct communities, formerly known as plantations.
Sea Pines, on the southern tip of the island, is the oldest settlement on Hilton Head. Sea Pines real estate includes oceanfront estates, single family homes with golf course views and townhouses in quiet, wooded neighborhoods.
Palmetto Dunes is on three miles of sandy beaches on the eastern side of the island. Palmetto Dunes homes for sale are primarily condos and single family homes.
Forest Beach is located between Sea Pines and Palmetto Dunes. Real estate includes condominiums for sale, ocean-front homes along Lawton Beach and more affordable options in the Palm Forest neighborhood.
Wexford is a private, gated waterfront community on the Northwest side of Hilton Head Island. Wexford homes for sale include large estates and single family homes.
North of Wexford is Long Cove, a newer development on the Island. Homes for sale in Long Cove consist of large single family properties, but there are also undeveloped land plots available.
On the northeast tip of the island is Port Royal. Port Royal homes for sale include moderately priced condos and single family homes.
The remaining communities are Indigo Run, Palmetto Hall, Shipyard, Spanish Wells, and Windmill Harbour.
Residents and tourists alike will always find lots of things to do in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Accessing Hilton Head activities is easy due to an island-wide trolley and interconnected bike trails. Here are 55 of the best things to do in Hilton Head.
Discover Local History and Ecology
1. Coastal Discovery Museum
The Coastal Discovery Museum is a 68-acre sanctuary with hands-on exhibits, marsh trails, wildlife viewings and educational programs.
2. Daufuskie Island
Visit Daufuskie Island, accessible only by boat, and located between Hilton Head and the mainland. Less developed than Hilton Head, there are miles of beaches to explore and forested bike trails to make exploring an adventure.
3. Harbour Town Lighthouse
The red and white striped Harbour Town Lighthouse is one of the island’s most well-known landmarks. Visitors can climb to the top and enjoy 360 degree views of the island and ocean. Learn more about the history of the lighthouse at the adjacent museum.
4. Stoney-Baynard Plantation Ruins
Step back in time while visiting these protected and well-preserved ruins of an 18th-century plantation.
5. Gullah Heritage Trail
The Gullah People were West African slaves that lived in Hilton Head in the 19th century. Their descendants and volunteers manage guided tours, a freedom village and a museum.
6. Parris Island Museum
Learn about the history of the U.S. Marines at the Parris Island Museum. It is home to many artifacts, archival records and in-depth exhibits.
7. Mitchelville Freedom Park
This historic site was home to the first self-governed society of slaves who escaped before the Civil War. Learn about the powerful history here through guided tours and comprehensive exhibits.
8. Tour the Kazoo Factory
Visitors to the Kazoo Factory can make their own kazoo and learn about the history of this tiny musical instrument.
9. Explore Fort Howell
Visitors to Fort Howell can enjoy a serene forest walk and learn about the history of this historic fort.
Connect with Nature
10. Sea Pines Forest Preserve
Within the 600-acres of Sea Pines Forest Preserve, visitors can fish, hike, and bike among scenic coastal forest.
11. Hilton Head Island Bike Trails
Getting around the island by bike is part of the laid-back atmosphere of Hilton Head. Rent a bike and hop on a nearby bike path to enjoy miles of scenic trails.
12. Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge
Located just off-island, Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is 4,000 acres of hiking and biking trails through beautiful, preserved landscape. It’s a great place to catch a glimpse of wildlife, birds and even alligators.
13. Audubon Newhall Preserve
Hike the trails or take a guided tour to explore the forests and marshes within the Preserve. Abundant wildlife sightings are possible, including butterflies, owls and alligators.
14. Explore by Kayak
Palmetto Dunes has an 11-mile lagoon that is a great place to explore by kayak. Elsewhere on the island are estuaries, salt marshes and ponds that also offer tranquil waters great for kayaking.
15. Horseback Riding
Lawton Stables offers guided horseback tours through Sea Pines Forest Preserve as well as riding lessons for adults and teens.
Enjoy the Beach
The best time of year to visit Hilton Head is during the summer and one of the best activities is to go to the beach.
16. Coligny Beach Park
Coligny Beach Park is a popular beach with showers, bathrooms and lifeguards. It is also part of Hilton Head’s only boardwalk that connects to Coligny Shopping Plaza.
17. Burkes Beach
Burkes Beach is a beautiful beach with smaller crowds.
18. Mitchelville Beach
Mitchelville Beach is a more natural beach on the island’s northern shore. With few amenities and far from the center of the island, this beach tends to be less crowded.
19. Folly Field Beach Park
This popular beach has public parking, showers, restrooms and a snack bar.
Hit the Links for Some Golf
Hilton Head is perhaps best-known for its world-class golf experiences.
20. Destination Golf Courses
Hilton Head takes its golf seriously, with 39 courses located throughout the island. The most famous courses include Harbour Town, Atlantic Dunes, Palmetto Dunes, and the Arthur Hills Course. All offer varying levels of challenge, but all share the beautiful coastal scenery and landscape.
21. RBC Heritage Golf Tournament
The Harbour Town course hosts the annual RBC Heritage Golf Tournament, a favorite stop on the United States PGA tour.
Experience Arts and Entertainment
22. Nash Gallery
Shop for unique, hand-made gifts by North American and local artists that are largely inspired by coastal living.
23. Arts Center of Coastal Carolina
This hub of creativity on Hilton Head Island offers rotating art exhibitions as well as live performances. Check their schedule to catch a theater production, musical or comedy show.
24. Hilton Head Symphony
The Hilton Head Symphony offers diverse performances in classical, pops and jazz. They also organize youth performances and programs as well as a local piano contest.
25. The Jazz Corner
The Jazz Corner offers live music and gourmet dining.
26. Comedy Magic Cabaret
This intimate club offers stand-up comedy almost every night as well as magic shows for private audiences.
Play Tennis and Pickleball
27. Stearns Smith Tennis Academy
The Stearns Smith Tennis Academy offers private lessons, group classes and junior camps for players of all abilities. It is led by Stan Smith, a former WImbledon and U.S. Open winner, and B.J. Stearns, a former internationally-ranked player.
28. Palmetto Dunes Resort Pickleball and Tennis Center
The Center has 24 dedicated pickleball courts and 17 tennis courts available for day and night play until 10pm. The Pickleball and Tennis Center offers courts, clinics, lessons and tournaments to resort guests and visitors.
29. Shelter Cove Towne Center
Shelter Cove Towne Center is a great place to buy unique gifts and clothing in boutiques and locally-owned shops. When finished, enjoy a delicious meal at one of the area’s great restaurants.
30. Shops at Harbour Town
Spend the day visiting the more than 20 independently-owned shops in Harbour Town. Buy gifts, souvenirs and one-of-a-kind artwork in his bustling social hub located in Sea Pines.
31. Coligny Plaza Shopping Center
Spend the day enjoying over 100 shops and restaurants at Coligny Plaza Shopping Center. Located across the street from Coligny Public Beach, visitors can shop for everyday staples, souvenirs, clothing and unique gifts.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
32. Hilton Head Brewing Company
Visit the Hilton Head Brewing Company for a guided tour or enjoy samples of their latest brews.
Hilton Head offers restaurants to suit any mood or palette, from snack bars and burger joints to fine dining establishments. Some well-known restaurants include Hudson’s, Michael Anthony’s and The Omni.
34. Take a food Tour
Sign up to get a taste of many food establishments across Hilton Head Island.
35. The Island Winery
Carefully selected grapes are imported for this winery to turn them into delicious wines. Visit for a tasting or to buy a bottle or two for home.
36. Hilton Head Distillery
Visitors can take a tour of the distillery process or sample some of their whiskeys and bourbons.
37. Bar and Club Scene
Several restaurants on the island allow you to extend the evening drinking and dancing in their rooftop bars. Party at Poseidon Rooftop Bar with live DJ’s almost every night. The Ocean Lounge at Sea Pines Resort also offers stunning views and great atmosphere past sundown.
Play on the Water
38. Rent a boat at Shelter Cove Harbor and Marina
No matter what your experience or activity, you’ll find a boat to rent in Shelter Cove Marina.
39. Charter a fishing trip
Head into the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean on a guided fishing trip for an exciting day on the water.
Explore the tranquil waters of Hilton Head on a stand-up paddleboard, looking for wildlife and enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. Rentals can be found at Hilton Head Outfitters.
41. Sail on an America’s Cup boat
Spend the day cruising off the shore of Hilton Head in a former America’s Cup sailboat.
42. Take a dolphin tour
Choose from one of the island’s many tour companies and set out for a close-up of the many dolphins that live in the ocean waters that surround Hilton Head.
43. Rent a wave runner
Zip across the ocean waves in your own rented wave runner. Stop and jump in for a swim, then continue your ride and explore new destinations.
44. Creek Cat Boat Tour
While these are guided tours, guests drive their own Creek Cat boat designed for marsh and shallow water exploration. Gaining access to remote areas allows for unique wildlife sightings.
Adventure in the Air
Sail through the trees on an unforgettable adventure through Hilton Head’s beautiful coastal forest.
See Hilton Head from a new perspective with a parasailing tour along the shoreline.
47. Take a helicopter tour
Get a birds-eye view of Hilton Head and the South Carolina coast on a private helicopter tour.
Engage the Kids
48. Pirates of Hilton Head
Step aboard and help crew a proper pirate ship. Kids can dress up in pirate costumes, hunt for treasure and travel back in time to the age of pirates.
49. Lawton Stables
Kids age 7 and up can enjoy pony rides at this full boarding stable located in Sea Pines. There is also a petting zoo open to the public.
50. Greg Russell Playground at Harbour Town
Kids will enjoy hours of play in this nature-inspired playground named for a famous local children’s singer. The park includes a treehouse in a live oak tree, swings, slides and climbing structures.
51. Greg Russell summer concert series
Greg Russell’s concert series under an ancient oak tree in Harbour Town are a family favorite and longtime island tradition.
52. Sandbox Interactive Children’s Museum
Younger kids will enjoy interactive exhibits, imaginary play and hands-on experiences with local wildlife like crabs and starfish at the Sandbox.
There are two courses on the island, Adventure Cove Mini-Golf and Legendary Golf both with challenging and fun designs.
Take a Day Trip
Bluffton is a coastal town, home of the Heywood House Museum, lovely restaurants, boutiques and the Palmetto Bluff gated community.
Georgia’s oldest city is also the closest major city to Hilton Head. Savannah has museums, music, restaurants and historic architecture only 45 minutes from the island.
Welcome to Sea Pines real estate for sale – where the modern era of Hilton Head Island, SC as a destination all started. Sea Pines is not only the original, but also the largest private gated community on HHI, SC at about 5,200 acres.