Hilton Head Island Activities

Recommended Things to Do in Hilton Head

Hilton Head Island is much more than a beach destination! When you stay in one of our vacation rentals on Hilton Head, you will see that the resort town has many opportunities for fun and relaxation. There are endless places to shop, dine, play outside, and adventure – it’s no wonder why Hilton Head is rated a top vacation destination. Here are some of our favorite activities and recommendations!  

History & Culture

Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park: History buffs and curious minds will be fascinated to learn about the rich history of the island and historic Mitchelville, which was the first self-governed community of enslaved African descendants known as Gullah people. Today, the Gullah culture is strong in Hilton Head and influences much of our religion, food, art, and music.  Explore Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park with self-guided tours and curated ones. 


Gullah Museum of Hilton Head: You can also visit the Gullah Museum to explore the native culture and history of the original inhabitants of Hilton Head Island. 


Arts Center of Coastal Carolina:  The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina boasts an impressive list of shows each year.  With world-class ballet, singer/songwriters, musicians, comedians, bands, and theater, experience a show at the Arts Center. 

bird in wildlife refuge

Wildlife & Nature

Coastal Discovery Museum of Hilton Head: Hilton Head is home to an array of coastal wildlife and history; there’s no better way to explore it than to visit the Coastal Discovery Museum. The Smithsonian-affiliated museum provides education through land and water-based tours, historical buildings, and school programs. You can visit the museum and learn about turtles, alligators, snakes, and other wildlife, and don’t miss the butterfly farm!


Pickney Island Wildlife Refuge: As you cross the bridge from Bluffton to Hilton Head, you’ll pass Pickney Island, which is a collection of 5 small islands that act as a haven to many shorebirds, wading birds, white-tailed deer, American alligators, bobcats, and more creatures. The Wildlife Refuge has several trails that can be explored carefully on your own via bike, or you can take a tour through the Coastal Discovery Museum.  


Dolphin Cruises: Dolphin is abundant here in our waters of Hilton Head, and you are likely to see a lot of them as you head out onto the water. There are several tour operators that are specifically designed to see dolphins. 

Be sure to visit our post with a roundup of the best dolphin cruises on Hilton Head, too! 

people on the beach for a surf lesson

Watersports & Outdoor Adventures

From surfing, kayaking, boat rentals, sailboat rentals, and cruises along the waterway, there are hundreds of ways to get out on the water.  


Here are 5 ways to get the most out of water sports on Hilton Head! 


Surf lessons and board rentals

Hilton Head isn’t known for big waves, which is great for those looking to learn! Call to schedule a lesson with a local professional or schedule a time for a board to be dropped off at your rental to use at your leisure. Reach out to Forest Beach Surf and Cycle for rentals and lessons.

And when it comes to exploring the great outdoors, there's never a dull moment in Hilton Head. 

Adventure HHI:  Adventure Hilton Head has been completely revamped and now offers go-carting, a ropes course, and extensive zip-lining – all right here on Hilton Head. 

Biking: Hilton Head is loaded with bike trails all over the island, and we think it’s a great way to get around! Biking is one of the most popular recreation activities on the island – partly because bike rentals are so easy. 


Visit this post to learn 4 of the Best Hilton Head Bike Trails! 

decorative page divider with logo in center

Fishing Charters

Regardless of your skill level, a whole host of fish can be caught nearby on the waters of Hilton Head. You don’t need to go far! From cobia to shark, you will catch it. 


Here’s our guide to the best fishing charters in the area and visit these tour operators for chartering a fishing boat on Hilton Head! 

Dinner Cruise:  What a great way to experience Hilton Head at sunset for dinner. Enjoy several options, from a 2-hour sunset cruise to a full dinner!

Boat Rentals:  Whether you are interested in a sailing boat, pontoon boat, or power boat, Hilton Head offers boat rentals.

Sailing Rentals:  If Sailing is your thing, Hilton Head Island offers many sailing options. Feel the breeze and take in the intercoastal waterways with a sailing adventure. 

Kayak Rentals: Experience Hilton Head with kayak rentals!

Cruise to Savannah: Savannah, Georgia is closer than you think, especially by water.  Cruise on over to Savannah by boat with Vagabond cruises. Enjoy a full bar and happy hour specials on the way home, calm waterways, docking on River Street and 4-hour opportunity to explore historic Savannah. Plus! You will even receive discounted trolley tour tickets, should you choose to take one.  

fishing reels on a boat
folded towel and candles in a spa

Entertainment & Nightlife 

Movie Theaters: Enjoy a laid-back activity and catch the latest films in any one of our 4 movie theaters in our area. 

Bars & Nightclubs: The extensive number of bars and nightclubs are not to be missed in Hilton Head and offer something for every age and interest. Visit our nightlife blog post here to see your options! 

Spa & Wellness

Treat yourself to one of the many spa options on Hilton Head; from the resorts/hotels to independent locations, there is something for everyone. Visit the wellness center, Restore, where you can get a liquid IV drip or cryotherapy to bounce back and feel well-rested.  The Westin offers a 5-star spa experience from massages, facials, body wraps, and more.  


Visit this post to learn more about the best spas in Hilton Head. 

couple shopping outdoor


There are five main areas in Hilton Head to shop, each of which offers a unique experience and different stores. 

  • Shelter Cove Towne Center: The newest shopping center on Hilton Head, Shelter Cove Towne Center, offers a collection of locally-owned stores and national department stores and chains. Find Belk (Men/Home and Women), Lululemon, AT&T, and J-Jill.  You will also find more boutiques owned by locals like Coastal Bliss and Birdie James.  Visit this blog post to see more about shopping at Shelter Cove Towne Center. Visit this post to learn more about shopping at Shelter Cove! 
  • Shelter Cove Marina: Shelter Cove Marina offers great shopping ranging from boutiques/gift stores, jewelry, and men’s clothing. Don’t miss Southern Tide, a favorite of ours.
  • Main Street Plaza: On the northern end of the island, close to Hilton Head Plantation’s entrance, you will find Main Street shopping plaza.  You will find several gift stores and women’s clothing stores.
  • Coligny Plaza: The heart of Hilton Head and the original downtown for Island visitors, Coligny Plaza offers hundreds of retail shops, souvenirs, kiosks, ice cream shops, and restaurants.
  • Tanger Outlets: All the big name stores are at Tanger Outlets 1 & 2 and offer discount pricing.  You will find Gap, Banana Republic, JCrew, Nike, Under Armour, Coach, Kate Spade, Polo, Sunglass Hut, Le Cruset, Saks 5th Avenue, Hanes, Bath & Body Works, and so many more in these two shopping mall outlets.  Situated as an outdoor mall, you can meander from shop to shop for the afternoon on a hot or rainy day.

View Our Recommended Businesses Below

Baby Rentals

Baby's Away-Baby Supply Rentals


(843) 681-8722


Bike Rentals

Forest Beach Surf and Cycle


(843) 384-3727


Fishing Charters

Shadow Sportsfishing, South Beach

(843) 671-3060


Gullah Gal Fishing Charters


(843) 422-3430


Palmetto Bay Marina: Charter Ofc Charter & Rentals


(843) 785-7131


Tammy Jane Charters


(843) 384-7833


Gypsy-Drifter Boats


(843) 363-2900


Bonnie Rae Charters


(843) 683-6060


Bonanza Sport Fishing


(843) 689-5873


Stray Cat Charters


(843) 683-5427


Mighty Mako Sport Fishing


(843) 298-0366


Harbour Town Yacht Basin: Fishing


(843) 671-4534



Oyster Reef Golf Club


(843) 681-2184


Palmetto Dunes Golf Courses


(843) 785-1138


Golden Bear Golf Club Hilton Head: Nicklaus Design

(843) 689-2200


Daufuskie Island Resort and Spa

(843) 842-2000


Sea Pines Country Club Golf


(843) 671-5081


Golf Club at Indigo Run

(843) 689-5666


Moss Creek Golf Club


(843) 837-2231


Country Club of Hilton Head


(843) 681-2582


Shipyard Golf Club


(843) 686-8802


Palmetto Hall Golf & Country Club


(843) 342-2582


Sea Pines Resort: Heron Point by Pete Dye

(843) 842-8484


Sea Pines Resort: Ocean Course

(843) 842-8484


Sea Pines Company Inc: Harbor Town Golf Links

(843) 842-8484


Movie Theaters

Northridge Cinema 10


(843) 342-3801


Coligny Theatre


(843) 686-3500


Park Plaza Cinemas


(843) 785-5001



Coastal Discovery Museum of Hilton Head


(843) 689-6767


The Sandbox Children's Museum


(843) 842-7645


Harbour Town Lighthouse

http://harbourtownlighthouse.com/ 866-305-9814

Nature and Boat Tours

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

http://www.fws.gov/refuge/pinckney_island/ 843-784-2468

Live Oac Outdoor Adventures




Island Explorer


(843) 785-2100


Adventure Cruises Inc: Dolphin Watch Cruise

(843) 785-4558


Dolphin & Nature Cruise

(843) 681-2522


Pirates of Hilton Head

(843) 363-7000




Kate Morrison Photography




Shipyard Van Der Meer Tennis


(843) 686-8804


Port Royal Racquet Club


(843) 686-8803


Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center


(843) 785-1152


Player's World of Sports


(843) 842-5100


Sea Pines Company Inc: Sea Pines Racquet Club

(843) 842-5498


Van Der Meer Tennis Center


(800) 845-6138


Hilton Head Beach & Tennis

(843) 842-0026


Hilton Head Shopping

Coligny Plaza Shopping Center

http://www.colignyplaza.com/ 843-842-6050


Main Street Village

http://mainstreetvillagehhi.com/ 678-372-6659


Roy's Place


Hilton Head Nightlife

Comedy Club of Hilton Head




The Jazz Corner




The Electric Piano Bar




Black Marlin Hurricane Bar