After visiting Hilton Head for the first time ever I can understand why it has been chosen as America’s favorite island for the fourth year in a row by Travel & Leisure Magazine. While we have been to many places that are family-friendly, I’m here to tell you that Hilton Head Island ranks high on my list of family-friendly beach destinations. After spending a quick weekend in Hilton Head we soon realized that we needed to come back for a longer visit. With something for everyone in the family, we are going to share our favorite Hilton Head Island things to do with kids.
Of course one of the main reasons to go to Hilton Head Island is to enjoy the beaches. With access to nine public beaches, your family is sure to find a perfect fit for your beach needs. You can find a description of each of the beaches on the official Hilton Head Island website.
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, which was closest to Caligny Beach. Our hotel was close enough that we could have walked but with all of the kid accessories we were carrying we opted for the free trolley (really a golf cart). When you check in the reception will give you a brochure and/or business card for the trolley service. According to our driver, the trolley is provided courtesy of local hotels/timeshares. They were a very convenient way to get down to the beach. The trollies operate on the Southern portion of the island.
Considered the most popular beach on the island, Caligny Beach is definitely a great place to spend the day with kids in Hilton Head. You are welcomed to the beach with a fun splash fountain. My kids enjoyed having a break from the heat by splashing and playing in the fountain.
As you continue your walk to the beach you will find public restrooms and showers. A feature I thought was nice was changing stalls. The stalls are located right next to the showers which provide a convenient place to change. Just down from the showers, you will find several options for lounging. From a beautiful gazebo to bench swings, there are plenty of places to relax or escape the heat. Finally, as you enter the beach you will find one of our favorite features-a matted walkway down to the beach. While the walkway does not extend to the ocean shore, it does provide great stability on the sand for wheelchairs, strollers, coolers, etc.
Caligny Beach also provides seasonal lifeguards. We always appreciate beaches that include lifeguards since we have little swimmers with us. Another thing I appreciated about this beach was that there were families everywhere! As with any other beach, there is plenty of fun to enjoy both in the water and on the sand. We even had enough wind to play with our kite the day we were there 🙂
It becomes pretty apparent as soon as you enter Hilton Head Island that it is very bike-friendly. So next on our list of things to do in Hilton Head is rent a bike. With 60 miles of public pathways, a bike is a great way to get around and explore Hilton Head through the great outdoors. You can even take your bike down to the beach and ride.
Bike Rentals on Hilton Head Island
The most shocking thing we found when looking into renting bikes is the price. We found a daily rental for as low as $12. Most places offer 1 day, 3 day, and week rental options. My tip: research which place you want to rent from ahead of time to get even better deals. Many places offer coupon codes or BOGO if you purchase ahead of time online. Regardless of if you purchase ahead of time or once you get to the island, it’s a great deal for a day or week of family fun.
Most places have a variety of options to choose from. They have bicycles and/or attachments for babies, toddlers, and even bicycles built for two (how cute right?). Be sure to also research whether the rental establishment has helmets to rent. We were surprised to find that South Carolina does not have a helmet law and therefore some places do not offer them.
What is a family vacation without a friendly (ahem, or competitive 🙂 game of putt-putt golf? You’re in luck, next on our list of things to do in Hilton Head with kids is putt-putt golf. With three options to choose from you are sure to find a place that fits your families putt-putt personality (is that even a thing? 🙂
First up is Legendary Golf. A family-owned and built business, this course is a country club-style course. With two options to choose from you can play the 18-hole professional course or 18 hole Championship (harder) course. You can play per game or if you are a putt-putt connoisseur you can pay to play all day!
Pirates Island Adventure Golf
Ahoy me landlubbers. Grab your mates and head down to Pirates Island Adventure Golf for a pirate-themed putt-putt experience. Similar to the options at Legendary Golf you can purchase a one-game ticket or upsell for $5 for an additional game. Pirates Island Adventure Golf also offers a daily pass. Shiver me timbers. Be sure to print off the $1 coupon on their website or in brochures throughout Hilton Head. You can use it for up to 6 people in your party.
Last but not least you can head down to Adventure Cove where you can enjoy putt-putt golf or family fun in the arcade. I don’t know about your kids but my kids LOVE arcades. (let’s be honest we love(d) them too 🙂 Similar to the previous establishments, Adventure Cover offers two 18-hole golf courses. You can play the Paradise Falls course or The Lost Lagoon. The pricing options are the same as the previous two as well (1 game, 2 games, all day). Of course, what is a good arcade without tickets? Your kids can play and earn tickets to buy those toys we like to call in our house “trinket winkets”.
No matter which course you choose, I’m pretty sure there will be laughter and fun involved. Some of my best family trips as a kid involve putt-putt.
Pirate Boat Excursions
While there are many things to do while on Hilton Head Island, you likely will want to get out on the water. One of the most family-friendly trips is the pirate boat excursion. There are three companies to choose from but the main experience is pretty similar between them. It is recommended for children up to age 10.
The three companies to choose from are: Pirates of Hilton Head, Pirates HHI, and Shannon Taylor’s Most Excellent Pirate Expedition. All three companies ask that you arrive early to have your child tattooed (fake ones of course) and ready for the excursion. During the boat ride, your children will become pirates and have swashbuckling fun.
Some things to consider when choosing which company you will go with. The ships are seasonal so be sure to look online before you go to make sure there are trips available. Be sure to look at Groupon. There is likely to be a coupon you can use for one or more of these excursions. Some of the excursions leave from Harbour Town. You have to pay $8 to get into Harbour Town (which is located in the Sea Pines Resort-which we will discuss more below).
No matter which Pirate ship you choose you are likely to create a lifelong memory for your little pirate.
Our family really enjoyed our time at Harbour Town. Harbour Town is located inside the Sea Pines resort. Inside the resort there are several things for your family to do. There is an $8 fee to park inside the resort.
Sea Pines Trolley
There are a couple of different places you can park when you come into Sea Pines. I believe you can park right at Harbour Town but we chose to park at the Sea Pines Beach Club. By parking here we were provided the opportunity to ride the trolley. There is no fee to ride the trolley. So if your family is like ours and you have transportation loving little boys you definitely want to take the time to ride the trolley 🙂
Gregg Russell Playground
Also located in Harbour Town is the perfect place to run around and play-the Gregg Russell Playground. We loved the nature-themed structures throughout the park. The ground is sand inside the park so be ready to either empty out shoes or dust off your toes 🙂
Harbour Town Lighthouse
If you make it out to Harbour town the lighthouse is a must-see. Built in 1970, the Harbour town lighthouse was designed in hopes that it would generate interest in the seaside town. With 144 stairs to the top, I was unsure if the little man would make it. Thankfully he had no problem. The lighthouse is designed to go about 10 steps up and then there is a platform where you can read interesting information about the lighthouse and other local facts. The children enjoyed seeing the artifacts and learning more about the lighthouse.
While my children enjoyed all of Harbour Town, the one thing they cannot stop talking about (and singing about) is Gregg Russell. For 43 years Gregg Russell has been entertaining both children and parents alike under the Liberty Oak in Harbour Town. With fun songs like “is there a booger in your sugar?” Gregg Russell appeals to the humorous side of children. Not only does he sing fun songs for the children but he also uses them in his show to bring humor to the parents. We purchased his cd and the rest is history. We are now loyal members of the Gregg Russell fan club. This summer he performed from 8-9:30 pm Monday-Friday. When you visit be sure to pick up a local visitors guide which will tell you his performance times.
Bonus Things To do In Hilton Head With Kids
I originally wrote this article a couple of years ago. My kids and I returned this past weekend and there have been some changes since we last visited that we want to share with you. Both of these activities on Hilton Head Island are geared towards families with kids.
Adventure Hilton Head
Located not far from the hustle and bustle of Hilton Head, Adventure Hilton Head is the perfect place to head to experience thrill. Adventure Hilton Head has go-carts, zipline tours, and aerial adventures.
Each of these activities has different requirements of age, height, and weight so you want to be sure to head over to their website and check those out before visiting. My son and daughter were old enough to the go-carts. My son could go on the two-seater go-carts. You will have to sign a waiver (for all activities) so if you can get that done before you go that will save you some time.
We only did the go carts but they were super nice. They were quiet when they ran and I felt like they gave sufficient time for the ride. My son got off and said “that was awesome, I want to do it again!”
Low Country Celebration Park
There is a new park in Hilton Head which opened in December 2020. Included in the park are walking trails, two fitness stations and the super fabulous Adventure Playground.
Adventure Playground has a fantastic ship which has mist shooting cannons and fabulous slides and nets to climb upon. The playground also features a small splash area for the kids to play in. The floor is made of rubber which makes it nice and safe for the kids to play on. My kids really enjoyed playing at this park!
Two days on Hilton Head Island simply wasn’t even time to even touch on all the wonderful things this charming little island has to offer. We hope to visit again in the future and try out some of the other family-friendly experiences they have to offer. If you have questions about Hilton Head please jump over to our YouTube page and leave a comment there as that is where I frequently check my comments and I’d be happy to help! Stay Peachy!