Beautiful beaches may be Hilton Head Island’s big draw, but playing in the surf and sand isn’t the only way to have fun outdoors. With the increasing popularity of eco-tours, more and more visitors are venturing beyond the seashore to explore the area’s other natural attractions—its rich tidal marshes, moss-draped forests and winding rivers.
Wildlife abounds in sanctuaries like Sea Pines Forest Preserve, Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge and the Audubon-Newhall Preserve. More than 220 species of birds make their home on the island and the surrounding coastal area.
If it’s Atlantic bottlenose dolphin you’re looking to spy, take a dolphin cruise into the creeks, rivers and ocean where they feed and frolic. A number of outfitters also offer kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding excursions into Calibogue Sound and Broad Creek—popular hangouts for everyone’s favorite marine mammal.
Prefer to keep your feet dry? Rent a bike and set off on your own. With more than 100 miles of multi-use trails crisscrossing the island, you can pedal almost anywhere you want to go, viewing vistas and wildlife you can’t see from your car window.
Adventure-seekers have lots of options, too. The island offers virtually every water sport and activity under the sun, including boat and Jet Ski rentals, sailing, parasailing and fishing, as well as Zipline tours and an aerial challenge course.