20+ Family-Friendly Things to Do in Hilton Head With Kids

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Traveling to Hilton Head Island with your family? There are lots of things to do in Hilton Head with kids! We came up with a list of the best activities on the island to ensure an awesome family trip while you visit Hilton Head Island. From dolphin watching to becoming a pirate, to playing mini-golf, to secluded beaches, and enjoying ice cream, there is no shortage of fun things to do on the island.

Admission and tickets were provided to Kidding Around for some of the activities but all opinions are those of the author.

I had heard of Hilton Head Island long before I even moved to South Carolina and wanted to go. I heard it wasn’t as commercialized as other beaches, that the pace of life is slow and enjoyable, and that the beaches were pristine. Having spent a week there with my family, I can confirm that my expectations were exceeded. While we enjoyed the beach immensely, we also did a ton of other activities that really made our time there spectacular. Here are my favorite things to do on HHI.

Adventure Cove Arcade

Raining during your vacation on Hilton Head Island?

Things to Do Indoors on Hilton Head Island!

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Things to Do in Hilton Head With Kids

Pirate Cruise with Pirates of Hilton Head

Having never been on a pirate ship before, I couldn’t wait to do this with my kids. It’s one of the most highly-rated activities on the island and one that our readers most enthusiastically recommended as well.

Pirates of Hilton Head did a fantastic job of coming up with a storyline that even younger kids could follow. Aboard the Black Dagger, your kids will learn to talk like a pirate, find the treasure, and get the keys from Stinky Pete by blasting him with water from canons on the ship.

They really engage the kids in the fun, starting before you even board the ship with face paint, a pirate name, a tattoo, and a pirate vest and sash. It was so much fun. The season runs from March to November with multiple cruises per day during summer. Read my full review of Pirates of Hilton Head to get the whole story.

Pirates of Hilton Head
149 Lighthouse Road, Hilton Head Island

Vanishing Island Dolphin Tour

I love, love, love dolphins. Fortunately, they are everywhere in the Lowcountry islands and salt marshes and dolphin cruises are offered everywhere. I’ve gone on a dolphin cruise with Island Explorer before and really wanted to do their Vanishing Island tour because not only do you get to see dolphins but you are taken by boat out to an island only visible during low tide and get to hunt for sand dollars.

Island Explorer is the oldest dolphin tour company on Hilton Head and the Vanishing Island tour is a favorite because it’s so unique and enjoyable. I’d highly recommend this dolphin cruise if you’re looking for something unforgettable – read all about it in my review of Vanishing Island Dolphin Tour.

Dolphins swimming off of Hilton Head Island.

Check out our KA Review of Vanishing Island Dolphin Tour in Hilton Head, SC

Vanishing Island Dolphin Tour
101 Marshland Road, Hilton Head Island

Adventure Cove Mini Golf in Hilton Head, SC

Adventure Cove Mini Golf & Arcade

We passed several miniature golf courses on Hilton Head but really loved Adventure Cove because there are two courses – Paradise Falls and Lost Lagoon, the latter is the harder course. There are waterfalls everywhere and fun holes, especially where you have to climb stairs to do a couple of them. My kids loved the two holes that are in a little cave on the Paradise Falls course.

They have clubs for all ages as well, making this a great place for the whole family. After you golf, be sure to get a bunch of tokens for the arcade, which has lots of games, like my all-time favorite: skeeball! I may have sneakily grabbed a few tokens from my kids to play that game. We only planned on spending maybe an hour here but ended up leaving after almost three hours because it was so much fun!

A single round of 18 holes of mini golf is $15/adult, $11/ages 12 and under and kids 3 and under are free. Unlimited golf for the day is $21/adult, $17/ages 12 and under. Birthday party packages start at $300 for ten kids.

Adventure Cove Mini Golf and Arcade
18 Folly Field Road, Hilton Head Island

Kayak Hilton Head

Kayak with dolphins and other wildlife on a Dolphin Kayak Tour with Kayak Hilton Head.

Kayaking with dolphins at Kayak Hilton Head

Learn how to up close with dolphins with our KA Review of Kayak Hilton Head!

Kayak Hilton Head
18 Simmons Road, Hilton Head, SC

Mermaid of Hilton Head Boat Tour

Mermaids exist in Hilton Head Island and you can see one on a mermaid cruise on a Mermaid of Hilton Head Boat Tour. This is one of the more memorable things to do in Hilton Head with kids! While you’re searching for a mermaid, you’ll learn a lot about ocean creatures and how to protect them!

Learn how to make your mermaid dreams come true in our KA Review of Mermaid of Hilton Head Boat Tour!

Mermaid of Hilton Head Boat Tour in SC

Mermaid of Hilton Head
43A Jenkins Road, Hilton Head Island

Paddleboarding with Lowcountry Watersports in Hilton Head, SC
Paddleboarding with Lowcountry Watersports

SUP Tour with Lowcountry Watersports

If you are wondering about things to do in Hilton Head with kids that are older, a SUP tour is perfect! I tried out a standup board (SUP) last summer and was hooked. The board is wider than shoulder width and long like a surfboard. You use a paddle to move around and either stand up or sit on the board.

I went on the SUP tour with Lowcountry Watersports and it was a blast. Our tour guide was knowledgeable about the local creek and its inhabitants and the history of where we were paddling and the island itself. We got to paddle around Broad Creek, a salt marsh with hardly any wake from boats, so it was calm water. And we saw dolphins!

One HHI also has creek cats, which only fit two people and are perfect for zipping around the marshes and checking out Daufuskie Island, the last island in South Carolina, and local wildlife, as well as kayak tours, dolphin tours, jet ski rentals, and another pirate cruise, which leaves from Palmetto Bay Marina. Paddleboarding cost $45 per person. I could have easily spent another hour on the water as it was so awesome.

Lowcountry Watersports
86 Helmsman Way, Suite 101, Hilton Head Island

Mitchelville Beach, Hilton Head Island
Mitchelville Beach, Hilton Head Island

Hidden Beach

I had heard of Mitchelville Beach but didn’t know much, just that you kind of had to search around for it. It’s on the very northern end of Hilton Head Island and it takes a little navigation and time on a gravel road to get there. The beach is secluded because there aren’t resorts or beach houses nearby, just a sand dunes and a large expanse of water and shells to check out. It was perfect and beautiful.

We went maybe an hour before dusk, the “golden hour” as photographers say because the light is ideal for stunning images, and it was beautiful. There weren’t many people there and I was able to grab some gorgeous shots while my kids explored the beach.

Be sure to wear shoes though because there are a lot of shells and it’s easy to step on them and cut your feet if you’re not paying attention. There are bathrooms and an outdoor shower available.

Mitchelville Beach
124 Mitchelville Road, Hilton Head Island

The Sandbox Children’s Museum

My kids (ages 8 and 5) absolutely loved this hands-on children’s museum right in the heart of the island. Everything about The Sandbox invites children to use their imaginations and play freely. With two floors of more than 11 hands-on exhibits, plan to spend at least a couple hours here.

They also have free family fun nights in the spring, fall, and winter and Parents Night Out during the summer months. My full review [this review was done before they moved to their new location on Nassau Street] of The Sandbox gives all the details on the indoor pirate ship, derby racetrack, and infant and toddler space.

Sandbox Children's Museum on Hilton Head Island, SC

Learn more about The Sandbox Children’s Museum in our KA Review!

The Sandbox Children’s Museum
80 Nassau Street, Hilton Head, SC

Ice Cream at Hilton Head Ice Cream

Ice Cream

What’s a summer vacation without ice cream? We loved Hilton Head Ice Cream, right near Coligny Park, with its eclectic décor and delicious flavors like Chocolate Cayenne. HH Ice Cream has over 40 flavors, which are all made in-house and has been open since 1982.

They won Best Ice Cream in South Carolina just a few years ago – quite the honor given the number of ice cream shops in the state! HH Ice Cream also offers ice cream to go so you can bring the goodness to go. Make sure you hit up the bathrooms at HH Ice Cream because it’s totally bedazzled and full of mermaids.

Hilton Head Ice Cream
55 New Orleans Road, #114, Hilton Head Island

Celebration Park

If you are in need of things to do in Hilton Head with kids that is free, then Celebration Park is an great option. This pirate ship themed park is a blast for kids. It’s right near Coligny Beach and there is parking nearby. The pirate ship is a lot of fun plus they have a water feature over the summer, a smaller play area for little kids, a big sandbox, and misters.

Celebration Park, Hilton Head Island, SC

Celebration Park
94 Pope Avenue, Hilton Head Island

Coligny Beach Park

Coligny Beach Park is an excellent public beach on Hilton Head Island with outdoor showers, changing rooms, bathrooms, and splash pad. Free parking is available in the lot across the street from the beach and there are gazebos with Adirondack chairs and bench swings for relaxing.

Lifeguards are stationed at this beach and you can rent lounge chairs and umbrellas for all-day use. Perhaps my favorite part of this beach was the access mat from the park to almost the ocean – it allowed for us to easily carry out chairs and towels to the water, and for wheelchairs to get to the beach and for people with wagons to also get all their stuff to the beach easily.

Across from the park you’ll find Coligny Plaza, with shops and restaurants, perfect for when you need a beach break.

Coligny Beach Park
1N Forest Beach, Hilton Head Island

Adventure Hilton Head

If adventure is what you seek while on your vacation, check out the aerial ropes course at Adventure Hilton Head. These high ropes courses offer over 50 in-the-tree challenge adventures through 6 different courses that even your five-year-old will love.

Adventure Hilton Head
33 Broad Creek Marina Way, Hilton Head Island, SC

Date Night at Rock Fish Restaurant with Built-In Babysitters

The owners of Rock Fish Seafood and Steak at Bomboras and the Art Cafe came up with the genius idea of Kids Night Out so parents could have a date night at the restaurant while kids painted pottery upstairs and had dinner at the Art Cafe.

Kids Night Out is held during the summer on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and reservations are required. We tried it out and it was a huge hit! Here’s our review.

Learn more about having an awesome date night at Rockfish Restaurant while the kids play at the Art Cafe!

The Art Cafe on Hilton Head Island, SC

The Art Cafe
5 Lagoon Road, Hilton Head Island

Get Local Seafood

When my family goes on vacation, we almost always stay in a rental home with a kitchen to save on eating-out costs. For this trip, we wanted to take advantage of local seafood and cook up some Carolina shrimp. I was set on finding a roadside stand and came across Benny Hudson Seafood.

We got shrimp and cocktail crab claws, which were delicious and made for an outstanding meal! They also sold swordfish, salmon, wreckfish, clams, mussels, crab, scallops, and oysters.

Benny Hudson Seafood
175 Squire Pope Road, Hilton Head Island

Eat & Play on Hilton Head Island

Wherever we went on Hilton Head Island, it seemed like needs of children were taken into consideration. We found this especially true when it came to eating out. Because we were staying in a home with a kitchen, we didn’t eat out much, but when we did, every restaurant we chose had crayons and a coloring page for kids.

Two of the places – Fishcamp and Giuseppi’s Pizza – had games outside for the kids to play. We saved money by going to restaurants during happy hour and looking at daily specials. Marley’s Shrimp Shack had $6double griddle burger day on Monday. Fishcamp on Broad Creek had $2 off their bar menu during happy hour so we ordered from there – again, so good – and the kids enjoyed Connect4 and corn hole.

Fishcamp on Broadcreek: 11 Simmons Road, HHI; 843.842.2267
Marley’s Shrimp & Burger Shack: 35 Office Park Road, Suite #2, HHI; 843.686.5800
Giuseppi’s Pizza & Pasta: 50 Shelter Cove Lane, HHI; 843.785.4144

The Coastal Discovery Museum in Hilton Head, SC
Coastal Discovery Museum, Hilton Head Island, SC

Coastal Discovery Museum

I visited the Coastal Discovery Museum on the end of our trip but I’d recommend visiting instead at the beginning because you can learn all about the local ecosystem and what you will be seeing on the island. They have a kids room with an adorable replica of a loggerhead turtle nest plus books, educational toys and fish tanks.

There is an enclosed butterfly garden similar to the one at Roper Mountain Science Center except it’s freestanding and you can see the cocoons of various species of butterflies. There is a beautiful walking path that goes into the adjoining marsh, lined with oak trees and Spanish moss.

Admission is free, but they have several tours and events, like Sea Turtles for Kids, with associated fees.

Coastal Discovery Museum
70 Honey Horn Drive, Hilton Head Island

Harbor Town in Sea Pines

Located in Sea Pines, Harbor Town is a quaint little spot on the southernmost tip of the island where you can shop, get ice cream, and take all kinds of water tours or test your bravery parasailing. Fishing charter boats take guests out on the water to try their luck and guests can admire all the gorgeous yachts docked in the harbor and daydream about sailing the world.

It’s also where the famous red and white striped lighthouse sits on the island (you can climb it for a fee). Be sure to check out the Sea Pines forest preserve while there. The preserve is home to over 600 acres of undisturbed land, so is a wildlife haven! Harbor Town is also home to the majestic Liberty Oak. This stunning oak tree is massive and forms a natural gazebo that is covered in moss.

You will also find tons of events at Sea Pines. There is a shaded playground and public restrooms plus parking, which gets crowded during the busy season. If you’re not staying at Sea Pines, you’ll need to pay a small fee for a daily pass ($9).

Harbor Town at Sea Pines
140 Lighthouse Road, Hilton Head Island, SC

Ride a Bike Around Hilton Head Island

HHI is very bike-friendly with trails everywhere (plus you can ride on the beach) with plenty of easy parking around the island for two wheels. Plus, its one of the fun and free things to do in Hilton Head with kids!

Most bike rental places will drop off bikes wherever you are staying and have kid bikes and trailers available, making this the perfect way to see the island without having to worry about parking your car. Pelican Cruisers is a good option but be sure to reserve your bikes ahead of time, especially during the busy summer months.

Free Family Entertainment

The Shannon Tanner Summer Family Show is a much-loved show for his entertaining personality and sing-a-longs. Shannon performs at Shelter Cove Harbor several days during the week over the summer at 6:30 and 8 pm. We got through half the performance and then got drenched by a surprise thunderstorm. But he was amazing and we had so much fun!

Another popular family entertainment show are the Gregg Russell Summer Concerts at Harbor Town in Sea Pines under Liberty Oak from 8-9:30 pm every Monday-Friday during the summer months. 

Workout on a Stand Up Paddleboard

I love SUP (stand up paddleboarding) and Fit Fusion offers the option to have fun working out while on vacation on top of a board. It’s a great way to have some time yourself if you can swing it while on HHI as well. Classes are $40/person and are held usually on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Fit Fusion
75 Wharf Street, Bluffton, SC

Other Fun Things to Do Near Hilton Head Island

Kazoobie Kazoos

The only Kazoo factory that imprints kazoos (like for companies, events, and fundraisers) and one of only two in the entire country. They make around 5,000 kazoos per day! You can take a tour of the factory and then make your own kazoo. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the instrument that dates before the First World War. The tour is really neat – they show you all kinds of different kazoos and whistles (my kids loved this part) and a short video about the history of kazoos. Then you get to see the inside of the small factory and then, of course, make your own kazoo.

Kazoo injection molds at the Kazoobie Kazoo factory near Hilton Head, SC

Learn more about kazoo’s and how to make your own in our KA Review of Kazoobie Kazoos!

Kazoobie Kazoos
12 John Galt Road, Beaufort
$14.50/adult, $11.50/kids, ages 3 and under are free
Tours are Monday-Friday 9 am – 5 pm

Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Aquarium

A totally free aquarium sits on the Port Royal Sound and features all kinds of fish, baby alligators, turtles, and a vast amount of really neat history behind the surrounding waters. It’s not that big, which is great for the smaller kids, but is packed with interesting exhibits and a little area where kids can color.

Port Royal Sound Foundation Maritime Aquarium
310 Okatie Highway, Okatie, SC
Open Tuesday-Saturday 10 am – 5 pm (closes 4 pm on Saturday)

Old Sheldon Church Ruins

This place was not on my original list of things to do but as I was browsing Instagram, I came across a local explorer who had posted a photo of these ruins and decided to go check it out. The old church was burned twice – once during the Revolutionary War and another during the Civil War. An old graveyard is on-site as well. The Spanish Moss trees make this place seem otherworldly. I loved it and my kids really enjoyed checking it out as well. It’s about 30 minutes from Beaufort and a unique experience. Park across the street from the ruins in a gravel lot.

Old Sheldon Church Remains
Old Sheldon Church Road, Yemassee

Remains of Old Sheldon Church in the Lowcountry of SC
Remains of Old Sheldon Church, Yemassee, SC

HWY 21 Drive-In Movie

The reviews on this place were enough for me to want to try it out but it wasn’t meant to be for this trip. They have a double-header every Friday and Saturday night for just $8/adult, $4/kids 5-12, free/4 and under. You can’t bring your own food but they have concessions available for purchase, which are cheaper than actual movie theaters.

Hwy 21 Drive-In Movie
55 Parker Drive, Beaufort, SC

Chocolate Tree

Word is that Tom Hanks used to love to come to the Chocolate Tree when he was filming Forrest Gump in Beaufort. This chocolate is heavenly. The scent alone, when you walk into the shop, is delightful. We grabbed a few pieces and headed to the historic Beaufort Waterfront to enjoy the treats. Most chocolates are $22/pound but they also sell gift baskets and other things.

Chocolate Tree
507 Carteret Street, Beaufort, SC

Port Royal Sands

Port Royal is a small island with access to rivers and salt marsh estuaries and the enormous Port Royal Sound. The Sands and Boardwalk at Port Royal is the best place to get your feet wet though. There is a long boardwalk, a three-story tower to climb and watch the sunrise or sunset, and lots of places to cast your line if you like to fish (we saw a fisherman catch baby black tip sharks).

The beach is a small area where you can drive your car onto, which makes it easy when you have more than a few beach toys and chairs to lug around. And this beach is known for it’s shark teeth, which kids and adults love to find.

Things to do in Port Royal Sand
Sands Beach Road, Port Royal

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

If you are looking for some nature time during your visit to Hilton Head Island, head to Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge offers hiking, biking, and the chance to see some beautiful wildlife.

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge
694 Beech Hill Lane, Hardeeville, SC

What are you favorite things to do on Hilton Head Island?

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About the Author
Kristina Hernandez is a mom of two girls, freelance writer and photographer. Originally from New Jersey, she is in love with the Upstate and could not imagine raising her kids anywhere else. She enjoys hiking to waterfalls, kayaking, camping, cooking, and exploring all that Greenville has to offer. And she really loves baby goats. Follow her on Instagram at @scadventurer.

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4 years ago

I enjoy the Spartina Marine Education Charters with Captain Amber Kuehn on the May River! 843-338-2716

3 years ago

okay okay, I’m coming down there ASAP!!! : ) Seriously though, what a beautiful town with SO many things to do! I love it so much I’m even excited to work there!!