Activities on Hilton Head Island

Wide sandy beaches, world-class hotels, and famous golf courses. Hilton Head Island has it all for the tourist. A great place to kick back and enjoy the sun and warmth, Hilton Head is also filled with activities and adventures for all ages.

Boating, bike riding, and horseback riding are just a few of the fun things to do while you are on the Island. Even on a rare rainy day, there is entertainment and enlightenment to be found in the Lowcountry.

Hilton Head is located in Southeastern South Carolina. A barrier island is located just off the Atlantic Coast north of Savannah, Georgia. From Interstate 95, use Exit 8, U. S. Route 278. A half hour drive with bringing you to a four-lane bridge, which covers the short distance over the Intracoastal Waterway to the Island.

To help you establish a mental picture of the Island, Hilton Head is best described as a shoe on a map. The ankle is near the mainland and the toe furthest south, with the Atlantic Ocean running along the sole of the shoe. Maps are in most tourist publications, which are available at stores, restaurants, and visitor centers.

Water fun

Hilton Head is truly an island, and water is the focus for much of the fun and entertainment. The ocean beach is twelve miles long, and runs the length of the island, facing the Atlantic and Port Royal Sound. The beach is public, but access is limited, and many access points are in private, gated communities called Plantations.

On the other side of the island are several marinas, with dolphin watch trips, sightseeing cruises, sailing, and fishing charters. Shelter Cover Harbor, located mid-island, Broad Creek Marina, and Palmetto Bay Marina all have several choices for an all-day fishing trip or a short excursion.

Sea Pines Plantation has two locations for boating fun, South Beach Marina and Harbour Town. Sea Pines does charge a gate fee for day visitors, but there are many attractions to make the investment worthwhile.


Bicycles can be rented in several places on the Island, and some offer delivery. There are many miles of bike and walking paths, which cover virtually the entire island.

The beach can be an excellent place to ride. All but official vehicles are prohibited on the beach, but the hard-packed sand is perfect for bikes. For those unfamiliar with the area, there are a few things to note. The size of the beach varies during the day, as the tides ebb and flow. The water advances hundreds of feet in some areas and can cover most of the beach. Be sure that you are able to return when you need to. The tides cycle every twelve and a half hours.

The winds on the beach can be quite strong, and easy riding in one direction may be very taxing on the return trip. It can take almost twice as long to pedal into the stiff ocean breeze. Consider starting your ride into the wind, and enjoy the tailwind on the way back.

Hilton Head Island Fishing

Hilton Head Island fishing is the ultimate experience! If you love fishing then there is no better place to go than Hilton Head. There are many options to suit anyone’s taste. If you prefer Open Ocean fishing you can charter a boat and go deep sea fishing. Going fishing off your local pier is always a favorite but sometimes crowded.

Hilton Head has so much more to offer, and since Hilton Head is a barrier Island there is a sound directly behind the island filled with fish. Its quiet, small (compared to the ocean), and perfect for anyone who wants to be able to cast out and just relax with some Hilton Head Island fishing without having to bother with the open ocean.

There are some rules you need to adhere by in order to go fishing here. You must get a fishing license, and here you are able get a temporary one. This will allow you to fish for the duration of your visit. These are available for purchase at Wal Mart and True Value Hardware. When you are there you can go over what type you will need. You are not allowed to catch and keep, pregnant female crabs, crabs less than 5 inches across, or any type of shark.

If you happen to catch a shark simply cut the line and let it go if it is too big to be unhooked. Also if you happen to catch a stingray the wise thing to do would be to cut the line. Fishing is prohibited in any swimming areas, so please don’t cast out where people swim even at nighttime. Hilton Head Island Fishing Hilton Head Fishing at it’s finest!

When fishing at Hilton Head Island, this isn’t an optimum place to find any freshwater fishing spots. If you are really itching to do some fresh water fishing you will have to look really hard to find fresh water. You need to watch any lagoons, lakes or rivers for tidal fluctuations to make sure that it isn’t salt water. This means when the tide comes in you need to make sure that the water level doesn’t rise or sink.

Almost all creeks or rivers are fed by the ocean or let into the ocean so they have some level of salt in them. so it is hard to find a truly salt free fishing area. It is very simple to charter a boat here and go deep sea fishing. This means you can rent out a boat and a captain for a day and go out and catch big fish. The options are endless, and you can even try to catch tuna, swordfish or many other big fish out in the deep sea.

Children can have fun out on the open ocean and possibly catch a big fish themselves. If you aren’t open for deep sea fishing then just simply go out to the pier and cast one out.

Shrimp catching does not require a license to do unless you are baiting a net. If you are just simply casting a net you will not need one. The opportune time to catch shrimp is between September and November.

Crabbing, and collecting oysters are all permitted here. You just need to abide by all the rule and regulations which you can go over when you get your license. There is nothing better than eating your own catch, so I hope you have fun and enjoy your stay at Hilton Head and be sure to take in some Hilton Head Island fishing.

Hilton Head Plantations

Hilton Head Plantation? I recall asking where we were staying as we headed towards Hilton Head and a plantation was the answer I received. Are you serious was my initial thought. I knew we were in the south and very near Savannah, GA when the word plantation came up. I guess I instantly thought of Savannah because of the deep history of the south or because a relative lived there and I knew all about plantations. It was a pretty cool idea to be staying on what Hilton Head called plantations.

Now what we discovered is these aren’t huge estates like you may envision in other parts of the South or from movies. A typical Hilton Head plantation features restaurants, hotels, golf, and expensive homes & villas.

Simply put, a Hilton Head plantation is a gated community with associations, made up of property owners.

Each of the plantations has it’s own character and it’s quite an adventure to tour each one to the fullest. Personally we have stayed in Palmetto Dunes and absolutely loved it. However, we also stayed near Coligny Plaza on South Forest Beach (between the plaza and Sea Pines). Great spot by the way.

Dunes are just one part of beauty within the Hilton Head Plantations. Sea Pines Hilton Head is one of our favorites to visit. Typically it costs to get in to the area unless you have a pass. This is where you will find Hilton Head Island favorites such as Harbour Town and Salty Dog Cafe. Two iconic spots that you must enjoy when you travel to Hilton Head.

Palmetto Dunes is another of the great plantation areas you are sure to enjoy. Our visit to this part of the island consisted of staying in a luxurious Marriott Hilton Head timeshare resort overlooking the Atlantic Ocean while enjoying our own private deck amidst a very spacious two bedroom condo with a jacuzzi, kitchen, and more. (Timeshares are huge in this area and may be a worthwhile investment).

Being mid island puts you close to spots like Shelter Cove Harbour where my son and I enjoyed a couple of mornings staring at yachts. Not to mention some excellent dining and shopping choices surround the area. Did we mention there is plenty of golf? Palmetto Dunes is first class all the way and nestles right up to the ocean shores. Perfect for golf lovers, families, or romantic vacations.

Shipyard Plantation is right in the heart of the island. This makes it perfectly located to all of the attractions Hilton Head has to offer. The Crowne Plaza Resort is located in this area and you are sure to find a great mix of travelers and locals who are year round habitants. Picturesque tree lines centered with long and winding bike paths allow you to take in the majesty of the island like no other area can offer.

If you are looking for a great spot off the beach (yet close) and want to have an extended stay, Shipyard is a highly recommended spot because it caters to a particular type of guest.

Other Activities

Hilton Head attractions, things to do, places to go, and more. Whether you want to sip margaritas at a tiki bar, grab some ice cream, take in a movie, spend a few dollars shopping, explore the island, or hit the open waters for some fun, you will find it in Hilton Head.

In Sea Pines, Lawton Stables offers trail rides through the live oaks and along the marshes on docile and well-mannered horses. Championship golf can be played at dozens of courses in the area. The courses are immaculate and challenging, and the prices are premium. Check the tourist publications for specials.

If the rain requires you to take cover, there are three movie theaters on the island, a shopping mall, and the Coastal Discovery Museum. The showers are often intense but brief, and the skies clear in time for a lovely sunset over Broad Creek. Enjoy the view, after a fun day on the Island.

  • Hilton Head Restaurants and Bars – Choosing great eateries and watering holes on and off the island is not hard to do. We’ve never not been recommended a great spot, but we will uncover some fan favorites!
  • Island Shopping – Literally hundreds of shops and plenty of great areas to enjoy this part of the trip (indoors and out) – Coligny Square, the Mall, and other local hot spots.
  • Water Sports – Boating, surfing, swimming, parasailing, jet skis, and just about anything you want to do on/in the water
  • Spas & Fitness – a way of life in Hilton Head!
  • Jet Skis in the Atlantic Jet skis are one of many water sports to take part in!
  • Golf – Golf in Hilton Head is a must if you love to hit the links. The hard part is choosing from the many excellent courses. We’ll help you pick Hilton Head golf courses that fit your game and your budget.
  • Movies & Nightclubs – For great evenings out you may want to catch a movie you’ve been dying to see or hit up a nightclub and let loose a little. We’ll tour this part of the island so you know your options.
  • Day Trips – This will uncover a lot of the great spots both well known and hidden gems that you must see/visit. Examples would include nature preserves, specific island spots, expeditions, and more!
  • Events – we’ll certainly keep you up to date on all Hilton Head events! This section will be an ongoing blog so you know the most up to date events going on during your time in Hilton Head.
  • Hilton Head Island Fishing – if you love to fish or want to experience a cool adventure then there are plenty of charters to choose from and this is one of our recommended Hilton Head Island activities to choose from!
  • Hilton Head Bicycle Rental – the best way to see the Island & get around is on a bicycle. Renting one for a day or a week is the perfect way to tour the specified areas, venturing into hidden treasures, or riding the beach. Bike on Hilton Head beaches Biking is great fun around Hilton Head
  • Hilton Head Oceanfront – you will definitely not want to miss out spending time on the beautiful Hilton Head beach!
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