Hilton Head Island, South Carolina may have a pricey reputation but there are plenty of affordable things to do in Hilton Head that are great for families! Our family has been going to Hilton Head several times a year for decades; some years our budget has been tight while other times we’re a bit more extravagant. We have found plenty of affordable things to do!
Hilton Head is an easy drive from Atlanta or just about anywhere in the southeast but it’s also a popular destination for midwesterners, as well as people from the northeast and even Canada. It’s about 300 miles and four and a half hours from Atlanta depending on which part of the island you’re going to. The island is divided into communities called Plantations; Sea Pines Plantation is at the southernmost point of the island and is one of the most popular.
Renting a condo, or what islanders typically refer to as a villa, is usually easier on the budget than staying in a hotel but not always. There are a few hotels with rooms priced at around $120 per night but the more luxury hotels are more than double that. LastMinuteTravel.com is a great website to shop for Hilton Head hotel deals. If you don’t find the accommodations you want there, try EasyClickTravel.com. For condos and villas, Vacation Rentals by Owner and HomeAway will usually have lower prices than renting through one of the resorts.
A day at the beach is a must-do on Hilton Head Island, but there is plenty more family fun to be had.
Here are our family’s Top Ten Picks for Affordable things to do in Hilton Head Island:
1- Visit Harbour Town! Check out the lighthouse and all the beautiful yachts at Harbour Town in Sea Pines Plantation. If you’re not staying in Sea Pines you can buy a daily pass for $6 per vehicle. If you’re up for a workout consider climbing to the top of lighthouse. It’s $4 per person and the view is incredible!
2- Go for a Bike Ride! The island has miles of bicycle paths that take you through the woods, alongside the golf courses and to the various beaches. Bike rentals are around $25 per day. You can also rent by the week. There are coupon books available that offer discounts, you can usually find them in the grocery stores.
3- Play some Golf! While the exclusive golf courses like Harbour Town can cost hundreds of dollars per round, there are dozens of affordable courses as well. If you are playing with kids, call around to see what courses offer a reduced price youth rate. We have taken our boys to both Port Royal and Palmetto Dunes golf courses for around $100 for the four of us for nine holes. Greens fees will be more during the peak season. Most courses also have rental clubs. (When playing with kids I recommend securing the last tee time of the day since the pace of play can be slower than molasses, at least with my kids!)
If you don’t want to play a full length course, there are several miniature golf places in Hilton Head as well. Definitely one of the more affordable things to do in Hilton Head!
4- Ride a horse or a pony! Lawton Stables in Sea Pines has reasonably priced horseback riding. The stables are also home to a small petting zoo and a community garden. Pony rides for kids are only $10.
5- Go fishing or crabbing! No license is required for kids under 16 years old. Surf fishing is permitted in many areas and there are also plenty of lagoons to fish in. Shark fishing is not permitted in many areas. Crabbing is free as long as you don’t have more than two traps. It’s one of our favorite affordable things to do in Hilton Head.
We often stay in a villa that’s a few blocks from the beach, so our beach wagon is an essential item! Amazon has some great ones on sale.
6-Visit the Harbour Town Playground! Kids (and grownups) can blow off steam as they run, swing, climb and play on the sandy playground that has a great climbing tree and fort.
7- Take the kids to see Greg Russell Greg Russell provides nightly entertainment for kids during the summer season under the Liberty Oak in Harbour Town. His comedy show starts most nights around 8 p.m. and your children just may end up on stage with him. Be sure and wear insect repellent because the summer nights can be buggy!
8-Take a cruise! We have taken the kids on both a Pirate Ship Cruise and a Dolphin watching cruise through Calibogue Sound. You can also often spot dolphins right from the beach! The Pirate Ship cruise is about $30 per person.
9- Look for alligators! There is a certain thrill that comes from seeing an alligator in the wild, especially the big guy who’s often spotted sunning himself just inside the Ocean Gate entrance to Sea Pines. Just keep a safe distance, and NEVER feed or bother the gators. Gator spotting is one of our favorite affordable things to do on Hilton Head Island. You can also see alligators in the Sea Pines Nature Preserve. This photo is actually taken from at least 30 feet away from the alligator on the other side of the lagoon; I just took the photo from an angle that makes it looks like he’s close!
10- And finally, eat lots and lots of seafood! Hilton Head Island has so many great restaurants that feature all different cuisines but I find myself craving seafood every night.
Some of the seafood is locally caught, such as shrimp and oysters. And many restaurants feature Low Country Boil, also known as Frogmore Stew. It’s a mix of various types of seafood plus corn on the cob, potatoes and sausage. She-Crab Soup is another island specialty you simply have try!
What are your favorite affordable things to do in Hilton Head? Share your comments below!!