With miles of Atlantic windswept beaches, tranquil waterways and marshes, ample outdoor activities and a wide choice of hotel and vacation rental options, Hilton Head is an alluring vacation destination for anyone seeking to get away. Here are 9 Ways to unwind on the island:
1. Climb a Lighthouse
On the southern end of the island you will find the candy-cane-stripped Harbour Town Lighthouse. It’s a manageable 114 steps to the top of this beloved 90-foot landmark. Each landing of the lighthouse has information about the history of the lighthouse itself and Hilton Head Island. Once at the top you can take in the spectacular view of Calabogue Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Afterwards enjoy the enclave of surrounding shops and restaurants. Harbor Town is located inside the gated Sea Pines Resort, which requires a $6 per day pass to visit. (149 Lighthouse Rd., Harbour Town) $4.25 per person; free for children 5 and under.
2. Relax on the Beach
Hilton Head has over 12 miles of breathtaking beaches. Explore the sandy shore, take a dip in the refreshing water or simply set out your beach chair and watch the waves roll in. One of the coolest parts of the beach experience at Hilton Head is the dramatic difference between high and low tide. Be sure to enjoy it at different times of the day for the full island experience. Note that while the island’s beaches are public, access is limited. The solution is to choose a resort with beach access or head to one of the public beach parks. The most popular spots for public beach access are: Coligny Beach Park (access of Coligny Circle near the Holiday Inn), Folly Field Beach Park (access off Folly Field Road) and Driessen Beach Park (access at the end of Bradley Beach Road) which offer parking and amenities such as food vendors, chair and umbrella rentals and playgrounds. But you can’t really go wrong no matter where you go.
3. Ride Bikes
Leisurely peddle your way from place to place while enjoying stunning vistas. Miles and miles of easy, flat and paved bike paths crisscross over the entire island. There are sixty miles of bike lanes and more than two hundred miles of shared paths. About a quarter of the streets on Hilton Head have designated bike lanes or shoulders. It couldn’t be more reasonable to rent bikes either! Call Patriot Bike Rentals (843-842-3464) and they will deliver a bike with basket and lock for $20.95 for the week right to your doorstep.
Tip: You can even ride your bike right on the beach.
4. Pamper yourself at the Spa
There’s nothing quite like some time at the spa to rejuvenate and revitalize. You’ll find more than a few skilled massage therapists and facialists who earn rave reviews on the island. Many Hilton Head resorts have integrated spa experiences right into their amenity packages. You can also find day spas dedicated to taking care of you from head to toe. So simply say ‘’ahhh” and enjoy.
A perennial favorite spa on Hilton Head, Spa Soleil, offers a wide assortment of massages, facials, body treatments (One Hotel Circle; 843-686-8420)
5. Connect with nature
Hilton Head, which takes its name from a headland near the entrance to Port Royal Sound, is home to a wide variety of wildlife. You can encounter egrets and anhingas and even spy an alligator. Explore Driessen Beach’s wooden boardwalk to take in the island’s tidal marsh and sand dunes. Keep an eye out for sea-turtle nests and even dolphins. To see dolphins up close take an excursion available by boat or kayak. The Sea Pines Forest Preserve is another great habitat to explore. Located in the preserve you will also find Lawton Stables, where you can go horseback riding or hike one of its many trails.
6. Eat All the Things
Ohhhhh the food this island! With over 250 restaurants Hilton Head offers an array of delicious dining options.
Begin your day with breakfast at the family owned and operated Stack’s Pancake’s. Here’s you’ll find traditional breakfast fare with a little something extra like the crème brûlée French toast, shrimp & grits using South Carolina shrimp and crab benedict. The hardest part will be deciding what to get. (2 Regency Highway; 843-341-3347)
For feasting on fresh seafood, you can’t go wrong with Skull Creek Boathouse. The waterfront restaurant and bar set on a sprawling terrace beneath live oaks and industrial outdoor fans, typifies Hilton Head’s casual vibe. The menu is extensive and has mouth-watering items, but don’t miss the hush puppies with cinnamon butter. (397 Squire Pope Road;843-681-3663)
Hudson’s Seafood House should also be one of your stops. The restaurant overlooks the port and offers spectacular views of the catch of the day as it comes in on one of the restaurants own boats. They operate the largest fishing fleet on Hilton Head Island. (1 Hudson Road; 843-681-2772)
Tip: Stop by for Sunday brunch, or visit in the early evening to take advantage of happy hour specials.
For lowcountry cooking it doesn’t get any more southern or more delicious than Lowcountry Backyard. Try the shrimp and grits or the mouthwatering fried green tomato sandwich with applewood bacon and pimento cheese. Be sure to have the heavenly grits and wash it all down with peach moonshine sweet tea too! (32 Palmetto Bay Road;843-785-YARD)
Tip: Be there at four thirty when they open to avoid a long wait! It’s worth waiting for though if you aren’t an early bird.
7. Indulge in Ice Cream
As if all that were not enough, Hilton Head also has several fantastic ice cream shops. None is more beloved than Hilton Head Ice Cream, the island’s first micro-creamery, which has been serving delicious homemade ice cream on the island since 1982. The banana pudding flavor is the best! (55 New Orleans Road; 843-842-6333)
8. Catch an outdoor concert
Hilton Head Island is not just about the beach and golf courses. The Island has an abundance of high caliber local lowcountry musical talent to enjoy at reasonable prices, and some totally free. HarbourFest at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina is a weekly celebration during the summer (every Monday – Friday) with live music featuring Shannon Tanner, and the Oyster Reefers playing an island-inspired live concert featuring all your favorite island tunes as part of Parrot Palooza. (1 Shelter Cove Lane; 843-842-7001)
Tip: Tuesday nights during HarbourFest even features a fireworks show.
9. Go Parasailing
See Hilton Head Island from 500 feet up in the air! Board one of Sky Pirate’s 12 passenger parasail boats in South Beach Marina and let their USCG captains take care of the rest as you experience a safe and exhilarating flight above the Calibogue Sound. You can get wet or stay dry, the choice is yours but either way the experience is one you won’t forget. (18 Simmons Road; 843-842-2566)
Whatever ways you choose to unwind don’t forget to live it up and enjoy your vacation; go outside your comfort zone and indulge. You’ll never regret that delicious meal you enjoyed or the time you spent simply relaxing.
You can see video from our relaxing Hilton Head trip HERE!
Disclosure – Any and all opinions expressed are that of Mom Abroad. No compensation was received for this post. However please note that this article may contain affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn as small commission if you click through and make a purchase using the link. This helps me keep investing into travel and memory making with my family, so I can in turn bring you more great travel tips and vacation inspiration. If you have any questions about the products or companies I promote, please e-mail me and I’m happy to answer your questions.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this article, please save it to Pinterest by clicking the ‘P’ button on any image.
Subscribe to my Newsletter below so you don’t miss more travel tips and vacation inspiration from Mom Abroad!