You haven’t been to Hilton Head Island unless you’ve been to the top of the Harbour Town lighthouse, sampled a bowl of crab soup and Frogmore Stew, golfed at Harbour Town or visited the Coastal Discovery Museum.
Take a sunset cruise that arranges encounters with the local landscape, from million-dollar mansions to untouched islets.
If you’re in town, check out the PGA Tour’s Heritage Tournament.
Set sail with your little mates on the Black Dagger with Pirates of Hilton Head. Once they take the oath of allegiance, they get to help look for the loot.
Visit the Harbour Town marina with its candy-striped lighthouse and water sports. It’s easily the most-frequented waterfront on Hilton Head, and it’s still a can’t-miss landmark.
Launch over Calibogue Sound on a parasail adventure.
Go horseback riding at Lawton Stables.
Enjoy the sights and sounds of paradise as you play through caverns and around lush garden lagoons, then test your skills in the island’s largest arcade atAdventure Cove, which offers excitement for all ages with 36 challenging holes of adventure golf on two Caribbean style courses.
Tee up on a variety of golf courses that make Hilton Head famous. There are links/courses from every skill level and lessons for beginners.
Enjoy Hilton Head’s only sunset dinner cruise aboard The Spirit of Harbour Town.
For the patriotic, visit the Zion Cemetery and Baynard Mausoleum, built in 1846 and the final resting place of those who fought in the Revolutionary War.
Join the crew of the America’s Cup 12 Meter Yacht Stars & Stripes for an exciting sailing experience.
See how the island used to be at the Coastal Discovery Museum.
Jump on a Jet Ski and explore the many waters of Hilton Head.
Join expeditions on a number of water-sports adventures as well as memorable sunset cruises.
Catch the best sunset view from the westward-facing portion of Harbour Town.
Near the modest Broad Creek, stop for a bite to eat at the seafood shack, Up the Creek Pub and gander on the deck, which has killer views of the water and nightly music.
Stop by the laid-back South Beach Harbor, which is characterized as New England meets Caribbean cool, topped off with Southern charm. Dancing is optional but music ranges from Jimmy Buffett and Bob Marley by the DJ to jamming local bands.
Mingle at the popular, open-air, Salty Dog Café at the South Beach Marina, for some late afternoon cocktails and hot-boiled shrimp. Arrive early, as they fill up quickly.
Take a journey with Low Country Nature Tours, which specializes in personalized, eco-friendly trips of Broad Creek and Calibogue Sound—and hopefully some dolphin spotting.
Enjoy a delectable brunch on the patio at Black Marlin Bayside Grill at Palmetto Bay Marina.
Reserve a spot on the Pau Hana or Flying Circus catamarans for a bring-your-own-picnic twilight cruise through the Sound.
Catch the local fish and shrimp boats unloading their nets along the piers at Skull Creek, where there’s also a trio of restaurants, all with waterside dining, so you can take advantage of the seasonal catch.
Navigate the narrow channels lined with spartina grass by kayak. It’s a challenge for your arms, but you’ll come close to herons, egrets, cormorants and even dolphins.
Climb aboard the low-impact Commander Zodiac, a motorized inflatable at South Beach Marina. Treat-seeking dolphins usually swim right up to the boat.
On weeknights from mid-July to October, enjoy natural emergence with the Coastal Discovery Museum, which leads walks to the nests of the threatened loggerhead turtle. Illuminated by a red-filtered flashlight, small clumps of sand begin to hop and jump and the surface sinks and caves in, revealing a mass of tiny brown loggerhead turtles furiously churning their flippers. The hatchlings, no more than three inches long, pause for a moment then scurry to ocean safety. It’s a rush but one in five to catch, so tour reservations are recommended at least two weeks in advance.
Grab your binoculars and take a guided walks at the mid-island Audubon Newhall Preserve for terrific bird watching—about 250 species have been sighted on Hilton Head. Check out ibis, tri-color herons and many more. In summer, you might also see nesting ospreys and their young.
Charter a daytrip to Daufuskie Island, a residential “sea island” about 2.75 miles (4.43 km) offshore of Hilton Head. Only 8 square miles, the island is a place of surpassing natural beauty, quiet beaches, whispering marshes and ancient, moss-draped forests and three of the best golf courses on earth.
Amble the BRAVO Arts & Cultural Festival, an annual festival of the Arts celebrated throughout the month of May.
Discover Hilton Head’s flourishing cultural community of fine art, music and theatrical venues. Island offerings include cultural exhibits, galleries and performances at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Hilton Head Playhouse, Reparatory Theatre, Hilton Head Orchestra, Hilton Head Dance School, Coastal Discovery Museum and the Cole-Heyward House Historic Center in Bluffton, S.C.