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Holiday Events for the Whole Family

By Hilton Head Insider

Start stringing lights around the palm trees and digging your toes into the snow-white sand. Here on Hilton Head Island, it’s officially time to enjoy the fresh air and lovely “winter” weather as we get into the holiday spirit!

December is in full swing, and while shopping and decorating are great ways to get into the festive mood, there are plenty of events and experiences waiting for you on America’s Favorite Island®. From dazzling displays of lights and inspiring craft shows to a visit from Santa himself, there’s no shortage of holiday cheer this year! 


You may have visited Shelter Cove, but have you ever walked the harbor and marina beneath the sparkling holiday lights? Stroll the docks and marvel at the colorful, lit-up vessels while you sip on hot chocolate during A Coastal Holiday. The festive atmosphere brings joy to the waterfront, offering the perfect backdrop while wandering through the locally owned boutiques, shops, and galleries. Stay a little longer and dine at one of the seven waterfront restaurants for a true, coastal holiday experience.


With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, parents are often just as busy as Santa’s Elves! On December 10th, the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina will transform into Santa’s Workshop. It’s the perfect opportunity to get in your last-minute shopping, while also taking part in a day of fun with the whole family! So get ready to make some Santa-approved, hand-crafted holiday gifts for your loved ones, including ornaments, cards, gifts, and more.


While visiting the Arts Center, embrace your inner elf and take in the adventures of Buddy at Elf the Musical! Playing from December 8th to January 2nd, the holiday classic has been recreated on a live stage. Called, “Splashy, Peppy, Sugar-Sprinkled Holiday Entertainment” by the New York Times, this side-splitting comedy is filled with toe-tapping music, flashy dance numbers, and a whole lot of Christmas spirit!


Now, is the Holiday season really complete without a visit from the Big Guy? With the reindeers at home resting for the big night, our local Fire Rescue team has stepped up to escort Santa through Hilton Head Island. Fire Rescue Station 3 has been working tirelessly to support the community – fostering joy and holiday spirit by collecting unwrapped toys for Deep Well, an organization that digs wells to provide clean, safe water to Hilton Head Island. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled and ears open until December 16th because that Ho Ho Ho could come at any time! For more details, keep an eye on the real-time Santa Tracker Map.


Sometimes, the best holiday memories come from the simplest of plans. As you stroll along Harbour Town, enjoy the dazzling display of holiday lights, live entertainment, and vendors. Ooh-and-aah at the illuminated Christmas Tree and be nothing short of amazed at how the harbor and marina are transformed. This is the closest you’ll get to a winter wonderland In Lowcountry, minus the snow and cold weather — sounds perfect to us! 

On December 31st, watch as the ball drops from the top of the Harbour Town Lighthouse. Filled with food, entertainment, live music, and dancing — this is a New Year Eve event that you will not want to miss!


Did someone say, “Sleigh Ride”? Well, close enough anyway! Our friends at The Sea Pines Resort have turned their forest into the North Pole, offering festive wagon rides fun for the whole family. Listen to the timeless story of the “Polar Express” as you sip on hot chocolate while aboard the Polar Pines Wagon. Make your very own conductor’s hat while enjoying Santa’s favorite snack — chocolate chip cookies! Be sure to make a reservation because this is a must-do event!


There’s nothing quite like wandering under a sea of twinkling lights, surrounded by family and friends, and warmed by the magic of the holiday season. After over a decade-long break, the beloved Lights on Dove Street have finally returned to Hilton Head Island! Members of the community came together, spending over two weeks putting up all the decorations to ensure that this year’s display shines as brightly as possible. It’s the 30th anniversary of this joyful celebration, Island locals and tourists will be flocking to Dove Street now until December 31st. Make your Christmas dreams come true with a holiday experience that will be remembered forever. Only a Scrooge would miss this!

A Hilton Head Island Holiday truly is the most wonderful time of the year! So join us in celebrating the holidays island style, where you can soak up sunshine and holiday cheer all in the same place.

Make sure to visit our Hilton Head Island Event Calendar so you can start mapping out your Hilton Head Island holiday adventure.  

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