How To Have The Best Birthday EVER on Hilton Head Island!

Little Elise Photography, courtesy of the Oblinger Family.

My husband Joe has lived on Hilton Head Island for a little over 20 years. I’ve been a resident of the rock for 13, going on 14 years. We’ve proudly celebrated 4 birthdays on the Island for Graydon and can’t wait for the adventures our newborn Hale will allow us to have. So when I started thinking about celebrating birthdays on Hilton Head, I took a walk down memory lane. I thought about the birthdays I had in my 20’s and where I enjoyed so many celebrations…along with what we have done for Joe and Gray though the years. I hope you enjoy this list – and as always, I’m on twitter @heatherrath for any other suggestions you need to make your vacation to Hilton Head Island the best ever!

For the Littles

Throwing a kids birthday party on Hilton Head Island can be so easy and fun – here are some ideas to get you started!

Hit the Beach for a Photo Shoot! 

Start out the morning with a photo shoot at Coligny Beach and then let the little one celebrate in style by getting soaked at the Coligny Splash Pad.

Cute ideas for a photos shoot on Hilton Head Island below, right?

Little Elise Photography, courtesy of the Oblinger Family.

Little Elise Photography, courtesy of the Oblinger Family.

Photo from Pinterest

Dry off and head to Coligny Plaza for breakfast at Skillet’s Café – whipped cream on pancakes makes any birthday special – or stop in at the Coligny Ice Cream Cone – a throwback, old school ice cream store.

Coligny Ice Cream Cone

Coligny Ice Cream Cone

Want the Island’s best playground?

While Hilton Head Island is filled with awesome beach-front playgrounds, the three that I would choose from for a birthday party are the Sailing and Rowing Center at Skull Creek Community Park, Jarvis Creek Park and the new Shelter Cove Community Park and Playground.


Jarvis Creek Playground

The Sailing and Rowing Center has water access for fishing and kayaking, along with a pavilion, firepit and swings. Jarvis is perfect if you want to picnic or grill out with a huge playground. Shelter Cove Playground is located next to a number of restaurants – like Poseidon Coastal Cuisine and New York City Pizza – and a Kroger – where you can grab and go a picnic lunch. Or, grab an Orange Leaf and top with your favorite goodies for a walk to the park!

Use your Resort or Vacation Rental Company:

So many of Hilton Head Island’s resorts have phenomenal childcare resources, both in-house and through babysitting companies like Guardian Angels. Arrange a poolside party with the guest coordinator of your resort, they can deliver a party platter, cake, or even Elsa to your door!





The Sandbox Children's Museum

The Sandbox Children’s Museum

Indoor Fun:

The Sandbox, An Interactive Children’s Museum located off Pope Avenue is perfect for kids under 10 to celebrate a birthday. Arts and Crafts, an airplane to fly around the world with, a boat to sail in and more. Or, visit Adventure Cove, located mid-island, next to Carrabbas. Adventure Cove has an arcade, miniature golf course, batting cage and more. Great place to let loose!

adventure cove arcade

Adventure Cove Arcade


For the Teens


There are endless ways to throw your teen an amazing birthday on Hilton Head Island. Start the day by sleeping in (of course), then take them on an adventure route filled with ziplining, jetskiing, parasailing or by trying the new Hilton Head Island Jet Pack! Create your own Island-wide scavenger hunt or take them geocatching.

HHI jet pack

Photo from Hilton Head Island Jet Pack


Finish off the day with a treat from Sweet Carolina Cupcakes, sitting outside at Bomboras, listening to live music and munching on amazing small plates – then walk to Coligny Beach Park where the teenagers hang out. Need to feed a big party? You can never go wrong with Mellow Mushroom Pizza for your crew.

sweet carolina cupcakes

Sweet Carolina Cupcakes

In Your 20’s

Celebrating a 20 something birthday on Hilton Head Island? 2 words – Tiki Hut. Beachfront bar with the Island’s best people-watching by day and serious music and cocktail scene by night, The Tiki Hut is the place to be seen and to meet up before hitting the Hilton Head Island Nightlife. Watch some competitive (seriously) volleyball from the deck with in-season all day live music. Once you catch your second wind, head to the Barmuda Triangle or “The Triangle” at Reilley’s Plaza where you can bar hop between One Hot Mama’s, The Lodge, Reilley’s Grill and Bar and The Brew Pub.

Or, if you want to stay beachside, grab a mudslide or hurricane from The Frosty Frog and sit at their outside bar, or head upstairs to The Big Bamboo for live music with bands like Zac Deputy.

30’s and Over – just remember, there are no hills on Hilton Head Island

Elegant Dining – Treat yourself to a divine meal at The Old Fort Pub, 843 or Vine in Coligny, then head to a concert with the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra or a world class broadway play at The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina.

Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra

Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra

Happy Hour – I’ll let you in on a little secret. For happy hour, the fire pits and outdoor couches at The Chart House are just divine. With martini specials and small plates, this is a great way to celebrate your special day in luxury, without breaking the bank. Excellent food, wine and spectacular sunsets.

Adventure on land – Stroll through the grounds at The Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn and spend time with the Marsh Tacky horses on site. Take a history tour at the Zion Chapel on 278 with The Heritage Library. Enjoy the walking trails of Pickney Island. All perfect places to relax, reconnect and rejuvenate on your birthday.

Marsh Tacky Horses at Coastal Discovery Museum

Marsh Tacky Horses at Coastal Discovery Museum

Zion Chapel - The Heritage Library

Zion Chapel – The Heritage Library

Adventure at Sea – Rent a boat and head to Daufuskie Island and Freeport Marina for an afternoon of fun. Or hit up the May River Sandbar. Freeport often has local favorite band Cranford Hollow on their outdoor stage during weekends, so check schedules and tides and celebrate with an Island-hop!

Forrest Gump meets Hilton Head Island Birthday – Book a tour on the Tammy Jane and experience a true shrimp boat! Leaving from Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks, take a guided tour of our waterways and find out the secrets to shrimping and oystering. Finish off the day with some of Hudson’s locally cultivated Lowcountry oysters on the dock overlooking Skull Creek with an absolutely amazing sunset each night!

Progressive Dinner – Enjoy a progressive dinner with a hint of Hilton Head history with the Savor The Lowcountry food tours at Coligny. Restaurant hop as you discover local flavors and meet with local chefs.

Savor The Lowcountry Coligny Tour - Photo from Yelp

Savor The Lowcountry Coligny Tour – Photo from Yelp

Everyone Deserves Fireworks On Their Birthday – Tuesday nights at Shelter Cove Community Park offer an awesome view of the fireworks. Dine early and secure a table at Poseidon Coastal Cuisine where small bites and awesome cocktails are served on the rooftop. Or if you’re with the family, grab a pizza from New York City Pizza and eat in the park.

Sea Pines Birthday Bike Ride – Secure a Sea Pines pass and take a ride through the amazing Sea Pines Forest Preserve. Visit Lake Mary and Lake Joe and the Indian Shell Ring. After, cruise to Harbour Town for a drink at the Quarterdeck, overlooking the Calibogue. Next stop can be South Beach for a treat from The Salty Dog Café and then finish off your day at the brand new Sea Pines Beach Club with sunset and dinner overlooking the ocean!

Spa Birthday – Hands down my number one choice. Take a break from the hustle and bustle (translate husband and kids) and book yourself at one of the Island Resorts Spas. I’m personally obsessed with The Westin and The Omni, the relaxation rooms are the perfect place to snuggle into your robe with a glass of wine and enjoy a book (in silence) before or after your treatment.

My best friend Andrea from Wyoming during our spa day

My best friend Andrea from Wyoming during our spa day

My toes at the Westin Spa on Hilton Head Island

My toes at the Westin Spa on Hilton Head Island

After your spa appointment, treat yourself to lunch at one of their oceanfront dining facilities.

westin lunch

Awesome tapas at the Westin on the outdoor sofas overlooking the ocean

Get Up & Get Down at The Jazz Corner – No wait, THIS is my number one choice. Tucked away in The Village at Wexford is one of the top Jazz clubs in the entire world. No, seriously…Yes, here on Hilton Head Island. And the best night to go? Sunday. You see, Sunday nights at the Jazz Corner feature Deas Guys, one of the best bands in the entire southeast. I love going and sitting at the bar and listening to both sets. It makes for the best entertainment on the Island in a quaint, energetic environment. The food is the BEST and the martinis are superb.

deas guys

Deas Guys at The Jazz Corner – they play every Sunday


Me and my bestie Emelie, visiting from Colorado at The Jazz Corner

Make sure you book far in advance as The Jazz Corner on a Sunday night is the hottest ticket in town. You can sometimes get on the last minute wait list or show up at the door between the first and second set hoping to grab a table that (foolishly) leaves early. And rarely, there’s a barstool available too. There’s also a little itty bitty space where you can stand on the far side of the bar, kinda tucked away but still good enough to get up and dance with the band and enjoy a glass of wine. These are some serious local secrets here 😉

I hope this will help you in planning the best birthday ever on Hilton Head Island!


Places to get a birthday cake on Hilton Head Island – several offer photo cakes and custom designed cakes too!


Ice Cream Shops

Grocery Stores