Sailboats at sunset in the Harbour Town Marina on Hilton Head Island

Seven Water Activities You Have to Try on Hilton Head Island

Sunrise strolls on our sandy shores. Bike rides along Spanish moss-draped pathways. Afternoons on the links. A Hilton Head Island getaway is a no-brainer. But, did you know that our inland activities are only half the story? To really experience Travel + Leisure’s #1 Island in the Continental U.S., you have to get out on the ocean blue. From private tours to yacht parties, dive on in and keep reading to find out Hilton Head Island’s must do water activities!

1. Come Sail Away

Hilton Head Island was built for boating. That’s a fact. Everything on Hilton Head Island is a little sweeter when you experience it from the sea: Sunsets, fireworks, date nights, family fun, and more.

There are a number of ways you can set sail on Hilton Head Island: from catamaran cruises, to sailing lessons, to sunset sails and more. Nothing says #LowcountryLife like a sunset cruise on the Atlantic with fresh seafood, good wine, and a few good pals. Dine away on as you watch the sunset and take in the spectacular Hilton Head views. Now these are the vacation memories you will cherish together.

Sail boat at sunset off the coast of Hilton Head Island
Sailboats in the marina on Hilton Head Island

2. Gone Fishin’

Fishing on Hilton Head Island is good. “Reel” good. Renowned for our fresh seafood, Hilton Head Island is the perfect place to continue the age-old tradition of “from the sea and to your table”. Join some of the most experienced fishing captains on the Island for a private fishing charter either inland or head offshore to the Gulfstream. Whether you want a fun filled afternoon fishing, or an overnight excursion to the Gulf Stream, you’ll be front row and center for the perfect catch.

Wondering where and when is best to cast your line? Get our guide to fishing on Hilton Head Island.

Man fishing at sunset with a dog on Hilton Head Island

3. Up, Up, And Away 

Thrill seekers, this one’s for you. Sometimes, the best way to see a destination is go up, waaay up, on a zero-gravity adventure. It’s time to parasail! Slather on your sunscreen, grab some comfortable clothing, strap in, and glide through the air as you’re towed by a motorboat below. With an open parachute, so you won’t fly away, of course! There are a number of parasailing excursions available on Hilton Head Island and they offer an adrenaline rush AND some of the best views of the Island.

Soar up to the skies with either single, tandem (you and a friend), or even triple rides! A bird’s-eye view of Lowcountry will create lifelong memories. Come fly away on Hilton Head Island.

Couple parasailing over Hilton Head Island with purple parachute
Photo: @suzycupps on Instagram

4. Ahoy, Mateys!

It’s time to visit Hilton Head Island’s ”pirate” ships. Get ready for non-stop family friendly action as you join a pirate adventure. Grab some face paint, tattoos, a pirate name, and pirate-themed digs to wear. You’re now ready to hunt for treasure and join the fight against the villainous pirates who have the key!

The whole family will man the water cannons and blast. Sing, dance and bond together no matter the age. From ages 1 to 101, everyone is a kid or a kid at heart. Plunder and pillage the afternoon away. 

5. Paddle Power

Take in the beauty of nature by kayak. Take a private paddle through Hilton Head Island with a certified guide and find yourself immersed with local wildlife. As you make your way through the salt marsh, you’ll see the many stunning million-dollar homes and famous Harbour Town Lighthouse. Through the creeks and inlets of waters find yourself one with all that is around you. Feel peace.

Let’s bring the water sports up a notch. Literally! Stand-up paddle boarding is a favourite on Hilton Head Island. It’s so popular, you can even take a yoga class from a paddle board! Get a great core workout surrounded by Hilton Head Island’s natural wonder. Skull Creek and Broad Creek are great places to paddle board solo, or you can schedule your own guided Tour. It’s the perfect hybrid of kayaking and surfing. This is one sport you’ve got tons of time to master during you Hilton Head Island stay.

Kayaking in a lagoon on Hilton Head Island
Four kayakers paddling along the coast of Hilton Head Island

6. Meet Hilton Head Island’s Friendly Locals

And by locals, we mean our wildlife, of course! Take a nature and dolphin cruise to see beautiful, wild Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins in their natural habitat. Travel through the waters and meet ospreys, egrets, pelicans, bald eagles, minks, otters, and other friendly faces along the way.

Not only will you be delighted by the Hilton Head Island’s marine life, prepare to be dazzled by the scenic views of Broad Creek, Spanish Wells Plantations, the Atlantic Ocean and…fireworks? Finish your day of laughs, love and friendship with a cruise towards the Shelter Cove Marina to the fireworks. Can you think of any other way to end this day with a bang?

7. Let’s Give ‘Em Something to Yacht About

In Hilton Head Island, you can live like a celebrity without the celebrity price tag. Board your own personal yacht and create a summer of high luxe and opulence. Charter off for an overnight memory or a weeklong beach bum stay. Sail off for an extended excursion or grab the finest wines and spirits for a dock party you and the Island won’t soon forget. The ideas are endless! 

Dive into Nautical Fun on Hilton Head Island  

Some of the warmest waters on the Eastern Seaboard are calling your name. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up to become a Hilton Head Insider or browse our travel deals to kick-start your vacation planning, and you’ll be cruising the ocean blue in no time. Did you see a dolphin on your morning paddle or sunset cruise? Don’t forget, when you visit Hilton Head Island, be sure to share your videos and photos with us on Instagram using #LowcountryLife. 

Man fishing at sunset with a dog on Hilton Head Island

Find Your Island Time

Hilton Head is America’s favorite island, offering 12 miles of pristine beaches and everything you need for the ultimate retreat. Enjoy easy days relaxing in the sun, sand and surf on some of the best beaches in the country.
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