Our Favorite Outdoor Things to Do in Hilton Head

With the majority of the events in Hilton Head that were planned for this fall being cancelled or postponed due to COVID, we thought it would be a great time to share some of our favorite outdoor things to do in Hilton Head.

These activities will provide you and your family with loads of fun on your vacation, while also allowing you to social distance and avoid both indoor settings and large crowds.

Golf

Hitting the links is one of the most popular outdoor activities among both guests and locals in Hilton Head. Hilton Head is home to more than two dozen golf courses, including the world-renowned Harbour Town Golf Links, where the RBC Heritage is held each year.

Tours

There are tons of opportunities available to explore the island. Whether it be by land, water, helicopter, or even zipline, there are a wide variety of Hilton Head tours you can book to discover HHI.

Jetskiing

As long as the water is still warm, you really can’t beat the thrill of jetskiing. You can rent jet skis by the hour from one of the island’s many watersport companies or book an island jet ski tour to jet ski alongside a guide and travel to some scenic locations you likely wouldn’t find otherwise.

Biking

If you’ve been to Hilton Head, you know how prominent biking is on the island. There are bike trails throughout all of HHI and biking is actually the preferred method of travel for many around here. If you don’t have a bike to bring on your trip, don’t worry. There are plenty of places to rent bikes to use while on your vacation.

Fishing

Cast your rod right off the beach, or book a Hilton Head fishing charter and take your fishing skills out to sea. Fishing is always a fun and relaxing way to pass time and get out on the water.

Kayaking

Bring or rent a kayak to navigate the waters on your own or book a Hilton Head kayak tour to travel with a guide. There are plenty of waterways around the island to explore, and you may even spot a dolphin or sea turtle!

Scavenger Hunt

Explore Hilton Head like never before with Let’s Roam’s app-led outdoor scavenger hunt. Receive interactive challenges and work with your friends or family to solve riddles, answer trivia questions, complete photo challenges and try to claim your place atop their online HHI leaderboard.

Daufuskie Island

Daufuskie Island is truly an experience like no other. Daufuskie is just a short ferry ride from HHI but could be mistaken for a completely different country. There are no paved roads on the island, but there are quite a few luxury homes and even a couple restaurants. The majority of the island has remained preserved and some of the island’s Gullah culture still exists. Once you get off the ferry at Daufuskie, you’ll want to rent a golf cart or bike to travel around and explore the island.

Ghost Stories

For the brave souls out there, experience graveside storytelling of some of the island’s most famous haunted history tales at Zion Cemetery, the oldest burial ground on HHI. These storytellings are held regularly throughout the summer and fall, and are a fun (and spooky) way to spend your night in Hilton Head. You can check the times and reserve your spot here.

2020 RBC Heritage Golf Classic

18th hole at Harbour Town

No Spectators or Sponsors

The 52nd RBC Heritage is back! The PGA Tournament is scheduled for June 18-22 2020! Originally scheduled for April right after the Masters, the event was cancelled due to health and safety concerns caused by the COVID19 pandemic. This will not be the normal “Get Your Plaid On”event. For the first time since the tournament’s beginning in 1969, the Heritage will be played without spectators or sponsors.

The decision to proceed was made by the PGA Tour, the Heritage Classic Foundation, Hilton Head Mayor John McCann and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. There is still no guarantee that there will not be a second cancellation. But we are all very hopeful the virus will stay at bay and the tournament will go on as planned. The PGA Tour and the CDC will be closely monitoring the event in order to protect the safety of an expanded field of players.

Field of Players Expanded

The field of players is now expected to reach 144 instead of the normal 132. Many of the worlds top players are anxious to get back to competition after a long layoff. Some premier players, who normally forego the Harbour Town’s tiny greens and challenging layout may opt to play this year. This will be only the second event back after the tour shutdown. Masters fans are also very excited to learn that the Augusta National tournament has been rescheduled for November 9-15, 2020.

We are grateful for the RBC Heritage and all that it means to our community. Even without the fans, it will bring great exposure to Sea Pines Resort, Hilton Head Island and the State of South Carolina. In its fifty-two year history, over forty-four million dollars has been distributed to charities through the generosity of the Heritage Classic Foundation. Vacation Time of Hilton Head Island is proud to be a Patron Sponsor of the tournament.

St. Patrick’s Day In the South- Kiss Me I’m Irish

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day and there is no better place to celebrate than Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Hilton Head St. Patrick’s Day Parade

You can enjoy not one but two of the biggest and best parades and parties anywhere on the East Coast. First up would be the parade right here on our beautiful island. It starts on Sunday March 15 at 3 pm and the parties, well they last all night long. The Hilton Head Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade has become one of the Island’s most beloved and popular annual events.

30,000 spectators line Pope Avenue each spring to enjoy floats representing our fantastic local businesses,  marching bands, the U.S. Marine Corps Band , pipe and drum bands, a procession of local dignitaries, and the ever popular Shriners with their crazy antics.

Recognized as one of the Top 20 Tourism Events in the Southeast., the Hilton Head Parade has been graced with the majestic Budweiser Clydesdales, military jet flyovers, the Planter’s Peanut Nutmobile and the iconic Oscar Meyer Wienermobile (my personal favorite).

Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Tuesday, March 17,  head 45 minutes to the beautiful city of Savannah Georgia where one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the United States is held every year. Georgia’s “First City” knows how to do St. Paddy’s Day right!

The parade features pipe bands and Irish dancers from all over the East Coast. Visitors from all over the world come to Savannah to celebrate their heritage in this incredible port city. The fountains in the squares are dyed green, the beer is dyed green and just about everybody’s hair on Savannah’s famous River Street is Green.

Except for 2 wars, the Civil War and World War I, Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day parade has run every year for the past 188 years. This years 196th parade will begin at 10:15 AM and run for approximately 4 hours.

After the parades,  spend a couple of days relaxing and re-cooperating on Hilton Head’s  pristine beaches.

Everyone is  Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.  Come join the fun and festivities. You won’t be disappointed.

Kayaking on Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island and all it has to offer can be enjoyed strolling on it’s white sand beaches, playing one of its many exceptional golf courses, riding the miles and miles of bicycle trails or one of my favorites, kayaking. You can soak up so much nature by renting a kayak or taking a guided tour paddling one of our many tidal creeks and salt marshes that surround Hilton Head Island and the May River in Bluffton.

Girl kayaking in marshes around Hilton Head SC

If it’s dolphins you’re looking for, then Calibogue Sound is the perfect place to start your adventure. Bottlenose dolphin are plentiful in our area. They are intelligent and very friendly creatures that enjoy seeing you as much as you enjoy seeing them. We don’t have “Flipper” on the island (that we know of) but, we do have “Blackbeard”, “Nick”, “Choppy” and “Big Bob” to name a few. They feed and play in the area all along our coastline and creeks all year long.

Dolphins coming out of the water near kayakers in Hilton Head

Along with the dolphin, you are most certain to see Bald Eagles nesting and circling overhead in search of their dinner. We also have mink, otter and manatee. The manatee travel up to South Carolina from Florida during the warmer months and can be seen watering around the local shrimp boat docks. There are twelve species of heron, ibis, egret and many other beautiful sea birds. Sea turtles can also be seen making their way to our beaches to lay their eggs.

Kayaking on Hilton Head Island is safe for the whole family and will sure to be one of the most memorable experiences you will have on our beautiful, nature filled island. Bring your own kayak or arrange a kayaking tour from one of the many water sport rental companies . Don’t forget your camera! You will want to have plenty of pictures to share with the folks back home.

Sea birds seen by Hilton Head kayakers

Check out more Hilton Head activity guide for more fun things to do on HHI!

It’s Turtle Time on Hilton Head Island

Something magical happens in late summer and early fall on the beaches of Hilton Head Island. The “Ancient Mariner of the Sea”, the endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtle, emerges from the ocean to nest and lay her eggs.  Their nests or “clutches” will have as many as 100 eggs each.  They incubate in the warm sand for 50-60 days and then the hatchlings dig towards the surface when the sand temperatures are cooler and daylight fades. There have been a record number of nests on Hilton Head, close to 500 recorded in this 2019 turtle season.

We have had a rare Green Turtle the second largest of the Sea Turtles species build her nest here. She was 4’ long and 3’ ½’ wide and this week a hatchling was born with 2 heads. It was dubbed Squirt and Crush by the turtle patrol after the 2 adorable turtle characters in Disney’s “Finding Nemo”

We can help protect Hilton Head Sea Turtles in a number of ways:

  • Keep our beaches dark at night by turning all exterior lights off after 10 PM
  • Remove all items from the beach. Tents, chairs, trash, etc.
  • Fill in all holes
  • Do not walk on turtle tracks

If you are lucky enough to see the babies hatch, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you will never forget it.  This phenomenon gets locals and visitors excited every year.  Book your Hilton Head rental for this fall, and come see for yourself!

Sea turtles coming on shore in Hilton Head SC

Summer Fun on Hilton Head Island

Summer Fireworks at Shelter Cove Hilton Head Island

I can’t think of any place I’d rather spend my summer, than on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Families from all over the world come to vacation and enjoy our beautiful beaches, our lush green landscape, our fabulous restaurants, the wildlife, golf, bicycling or just relaxing with a great summer read.

One of the family favorites is Harbour Fest in Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina. Harbour Fest is an all summer long celebration with fireworks, spinning hats, carnival games, face painting, music and much, much more. 

Summer Fireworks at Shelter Cove Hilton Head Island

The headliner is our very own Shannon Tanner. He has been entertaining crowds on Hilton Head Island for over 30 years with his unique blend of ’60s standards, sing-a-longs, original ballads and children’s favorites.  Children are invited on the stage to perform as well. I have taken my kids and now my grand children to sit on his knee and sing.

Come stroll the harbour, have dinner al fresco in one of the many wonderful eating establishments. Get your face painted and your picture taken with Cappy the Clown.

Kids having fun on Memorial Day in Hilton Head SC

The festival events begin on Memorial Day weekend and will continue through Labor Day. 

Tuesday and Thursday nights will hold a special flair, with fireworks glistening over the water.

See you there!