A trip to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is bound to be one of your family’s most memorable beach vacations. The shallow water, soft white sand, and natural beauty of the island make it the perfect destination for families with young children.
Hilton Head Island is unique because of the aesthetic restrictions placed on all businesses on the island. All restaurants and businesses conform to understated, noncommercial codes, meaning the island has a classy, natural feel to it. Bikers are as common as cars, and the mood of the island is relaxed and indulged. Hilton Head Island exudes the feeling of “true vacation” from the moment you cross the bridge onto the island.
When should you visit Hilton Head Island?
While hardy vacationers start frequenting the island as early as March and as late in the season as October, the prime vacation season is May through September, when the beach weather is the best. Temperatures range from the 70s-90s during those months, resulting in perfect days for building sand castles and catching rays of golden sunshine.
What activities are available for families with young children?
Beach fun – With twelve miles of white sand beaches, you’ll have no problem finding a plot of sand for your family. Check with your hotel for a map of public beach access points. Beach chair and umbrella rentals are available on all the beaches. (Just ask a lifeguard about rental terms.) Dolphin sightings are common from the beach, so keep an eye out for dolphins, seabirds, pelicans, crabs, and sea stars. Make sure you bring lots of suntan lotion and beach toys, and lounge on the beach while your child explores nature at its best!
Biking – If you’re looking to get in some exercise and entertain your toddler at the same time, consider renting a bike and exploring the island with your baby in a kiddie cart or on a tandem. Hilton Head Island has over fifty miles of paved biking paths. The island itself is rather low-key, so riding a bike on the main streets is also a fun way to check out shopping and sightseeing opportunities. Riding through Old Town Bluffton (beautiful historic section of the island) or to Harbour Town and the Lighthouse (located in the heart of the Sea Pines Resort) will provide you great visual entertainment while your child will enjoy a ride.
Dolphin Tours – Consider getting a closer look at the marina life through a chartered dolphin tour. Ask your hotel or resort management for recommendations of good tours. Check out Broad Creek Marina Hilton Head Island tours as a starting point.
Play at a Park – Hilton Head Island has twelve parks sprinkled around the island. Many of these parks have playgrounds, restrooms, boardwalks, and interpretative trails. If you’re new to the South, you may get a kick out the possible alligator sightings in the marshes (and the signs warning you not to feed them!)
The Sandbox – If the day turns rainy or you get tired of the beach, check out The Sandbox, Hilton Head’s children’s museum.
Coastal Discovery Museum – This hands-on museum has both indoor and outdoor exhibits, a sea-island classroom, a history time-line exhibit, and a butterfly garden. Experience the “getting to know a gator” show or watch a traditional Gullah basket weaving. Coastal Discover Museum is known for the 11 different tours around the island it sponsors.
Coligny Plaza Kiosk Area – Enjoy free puppet shows, clowns, story telling, juggling, and music every day. Morning (around 10 A.M.) and evening shows (around 6:30 P.M.) daily.
Day Camps – There are many day camps available for children ages 3 and up sponsored by a variety of organizations. Prices and activities vary, but you can expect your child to be entertained and supervised with crafts, puppets, art and other kid-friendly activities.
If you’re looking for a relaxing, family beach vacation, you just can’t beat Hilton Head Island. Bring along your beach toys and camera and settle in for a memorable experience!