What are the five best things to see and do in Hilton Head Island?

People flock to Hilton Head Island to enjoy the long stretches of pristine beach and a vacation that can be a combination of active and relaxing pursuits. Here are our five recommendations for what you should see and do during your stay on Hilton Head Island:

1. Go to the beach. With miles of coastline, large beach areas and extreme high and low tides that change the way the shore looks throughout the day, you and your family will enjoy lots of waves, sun and fun at whichever beach you choose.

2. Play a round. Golfing is a huge draw to Hilton Head Island. Make sure to bring your clubs and reserve a tee time at renowned courses such as the Harbour Town Golf Links, home to the famous Heritage PGA tour stop, located on the Sea Pines Resort. Many of Hilton Head Island’s golf courses boast ocean views, providing magnificent scenery to marvel at between holes and a sea breeze that cools the island year-round.

3. Explore by bike. There’s no need to bring four wheels along to Hilton Head Island — you will see bicyclists everywhere taking advantage of the more than 35 miles of wide biking trails that wind around the island. Some accommodations provide free or discounted bike rentals, so take advantage of the freewheeling island lifestyle.

4. Pick up something new. Shopping is another popular vacation pastime for Hilton Head Island visitors — and a good way to give your arms a break from swinging the golf club. The popular Tanger Outlets include a wide variety of stores such as Nike, Black House White Market and Columbia, so there should be something for everyone. The island is also sprinkled with cute boutique stores and souvenir shops to help you find the perfect gifts for your loved ones — or just yourself.

5. Get in (or on) the water. A vacation at Hilton Head is about the ocean, so take advantage of the plethora of water activities available. Fishing charters, Jet Ski rentals, boat rentals and kayaks, are all available for you to enjoy the island by sea, and you should consider visiting some of the small nearby isles like quiet Daufuskie Island. Dolphins and other sea life abound in these coastal waters, and no visit to the island is complete without some aquatic exploration.

  • On February 21, 2013
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    Where on Hilton Head Island is the RBC Heritage golf tournament?

    The RBC Heritage Tournament is played on the Harbour Town Golf Links in the Sea Pines resort. The tournament has changed sponsors and names several times, and used to be the MCI Heritage, followed by later telecom iterations WorldCom and Verizon, but it is one of the older events on the PGA Tour, since 1969, just two years after the course opened. Sea Pines is a big resort with condos and homes for rent, a luxury hotel (The Inn at Harbour Town), a full service marina, three golf courses, a world class tennis center, half a dozen bars and restaurants, and a shopping area.
  • On February 21, 2013
    Larry Olmsted answered the question: Larry Olmsted

    What are the best places to play golf on Hilton Head Island?

    The top public course on Hilton Head is definitely Harbour Town Golf Links in the Sea Pines resort. When opened in 1967 its two designers, Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus, were virtually unknown as course architects – now they are world famous. Its neo-links design, beautiful coastal holes and famous finish with dramatic lighthouse make it one of the most coveted rounds on the east coast. If you can wrangle an invite, or can have your course pro call on your behalf, the private Long Cove Club is even better, but generally not open to the public. The other top two choices on the island are the Pete Dye’s Heron Point, a six year old complete rebuild of the old Sea Marsh course, also in Sea Pines, and the Robert Trent Jones Course at the Palmetto Dunes Resort, one of the only courses with true oceanfront exposure. But after Harbour Town the next best choice sits just over the Hilton Head bridge in Bluffton, at May River, a stellar Nicklaus Signature Design in the luxury Palmetto Bluff resort.
  • On June 19, 2012
    Bluffton Buffaloes answered the question: Bluffton Buffaloes

    Where can I go to watch sports in Hilton Head Island?

    The Bluffton Buffaloes Minor League football team is live action played in Hardeeville sc check em out on facebook!
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  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is Hilton Head Island’s restaurant scene like?

    Hilton Head has a thriving restaurant scene that continues to expand and evolve with plenty of well-established and loved eateries to enjoy. With over 250 restaurants to choose from— and more being added continuously—you can find a wide range of cuisines from all over the world right here on this small Southern island. Of course, many restaurants take advantage of the coastal surroundings and serve a seafood-heavy menu that features fresh catches of the day. Many chefs also honor the Southern staples such as fried chicken, she-crab soup, and shrimp and grits. You can find casual beachfront beach bars to high-end romantic restaurants and everything in between, with most restaurants categorized as kid-friendly since Hilton Head Island is a popular vacation spot for families. Some of these Hilton Head Island restaurants are sprinkled along the coast and waterways to provide you with a great view while you dine. Whether you go out for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or brunch, you can find something for everyone on this charming Southern island.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best Hilton Head Island nightlife?

    The best Hilton Head Island nightlife area is arguably what’s called the “Barmuda Triangle.” This area is located on Greenwood Drive and houses a variety of bars that make for a fun night out post-golf or bike ride. This collection of bars are all steps away from one another, and share patio areas complete with live music, DJs, or large screen televisions—whatever your preference, you will find a spot here to sip a beer or a cocktail and drift off to your island “happy place”. If you prefer a smooth beer over a martini, this area is home to the Hilton Head Brewing Company, the only microbrewery on the island, along with The Lodge, a craft beer sports bar. One Hot Mamas and Reilley’s round out this fun-filled “Barmuda Triangle” that is sure to lure you here during your stay on Hilton Head Island.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where are the best places to hear live music in Hilton Head Island?

    Live music is not a huge attraction on Hilton Head Island, although you do have some options. Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra has been playing on the island for over 30 years. The well-loved musician and storyteller Gregg Russell has been playing for over 25 years, and can be found under the huge Liberty Oak tree in Harbour Town. For jazz entertainment, check out Jazz Corner for live jazz nightly, or for a unique piano experience—think high energy dance party—visit Electric Piano. For larger concerts and more live music options, consider driving to Savannah, Georgia, located about an hour away where you’ll find an abundance of live music venues as well as a large Civic Center that draws large touring musicians.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best five kid-friendly restaurants in Hilton Head Island?

    Hilton Head Island is an extremely kid-friendly destination, so many of the restaurants on the island will work for toting the youngsters along. Here are five kid-friendly restaurants we recommend:

    1) Mellow Mushroom. This pizzeria has a wildly decorated interior, with bright colors and crazy paintings to make any meal a fun experience. The restaurant offers a variety of pizzas, calzones, and other kid-friendly choices sure to please even the pickiest eater.

    2) The Salty Dog Café screams cool with its waterfront dining and charming dog logo, plus children’s activities such as face painting and magicians on hand to entertain. The menu is easy with staples such chicken fingers, burgers, and fried shrimp.

    3) Take your kids to Frankie Bones, which not only has pasta, corndog, and small steak choices, but also a Campfire S’mores dessert that lets you and your kids cook s’mores right on your own tabletop grill.

    4) The Quarterdeck and Topside at the Quarterdeck offers stunning views of the Calibogue Sound, Harbour Town Marina, and Harbour Town Golf Links, all sights geared towards keeping your little ones entertained with plenty of scenery. One of the best parts about eating here is the children’s menu that indicates whether each dish is gluten, dairy, or nut-free in case your kids have any food allergies.

    5) Kids love ice cream, and a trip to Hilton Head wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the famous Hilton Head Ice Cream. The joint offers over 35 flavors and many of the local restaurants use its ice cream for the dessert menus.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What should I pack for a trip to Hilton Head Island?

    For a trip to active, sunny Hilton Head Island, be sure to pack items that will help you take advantage of the beautiful outdoors that make this island a popular vacation spot year after year. Sunny with warm to hot temperatures year-round, make sure to pack your SPF, beach necessities, and swimwear so you can lounge on the miles of pristine beaches located around the rim of Hilton Head. If you like to golf, you’ll find plenty of courses to test your skills such as the famous Harbour Town Golf Links, home to the Heritage Golf Tournament, so be sure to bring appropriate golf attire and shoes. With 35 miles of trails to bike, run, or walk on throughout Hilton Head Island, you’re definitely going to want to bring comfortable clothes and shoes that lend themselves to an active day exploring the island via bicycle. Also, there more than 250 restaurants of varying formality and cuisine located on Hilton Head Island, so bring appropriate garb for those tasty outings as well. The outdoors will beckon you in Hilton Head, so clothing and accessories that will help you enjoy nature should find their way into your luggage too.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best places to stay in Hilton Head Island?

    The best place to stay on Hilton Head Island is The Inn at Harbour Town, the only Forbes Four-Star hotel on the island. This luxury hotel is part of the Sea Pines Resort, a 5,000- acre resort that offers an abundance of activities for adults and kids alike. You can enjoy miles of beaches, a Forest Preserve, three popular golf courses, and many restaurants and stores right on the resort grounds. In addition, Sea Pines Resort is home to lakes, Lawton Stables, and Harbour Town, a quaint seaside village with its own bakery, marina, and famous Harbour Town Lighthouse. If you lean towards a more independent island experience, you can also rent villas and homes throughout Hilton Head Island. In fact, some of the rentals will give you access to private beaches that are perfect for large families or groups.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best way to see Hilton Head Island in two days?

    If you have two days to spend in Hilton Head, you should take advantage of seeing the island by land and by sea. For day one, opt for a trolley tour— where you can learn first-hand from a professional guide— the history of the island dating back to 1663, including all the must-see shops, sites, and restaurants that you are sure to want to revisit. For day two, take to the water and enjoy a boat tour to gain a different perspective of the island, perhaps even visiting Daufuskie Island, a nearby, more remote island off the shore of Hilton Head for another viewpoint. While on your boat tour, be sure to lookout for dolphins, birds, and the varied scenery such as marshland, coastline, and forest that can be found on Hilton Head Island.
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