9 Best Hilton Head Water Activities (2023)

Hilton Head

Hilton Head is one of the most beautiful places in North America. It invites millions of tourists every year. Because it is an island, you can enjoy many fun water activities. In this article, we’ve listed all of the activities you must try when visiting Hilton Head.

The activities you can enjoy at Hilton Head include kayaking, skiing, catboat sailing, yacht cruising, sunset cruising, dolphin-watching, a crabbing expedition, or a shrimp trawling cruise.

There are many other fun water activities that you can do at Hilton Head, so read on for more details!

Every Water Activity at Hilton Head

Kayaking Tour

A personal kayaking journey will help you appreciate Hilton Head Island’s natural splendor. After a brief safety meeting, you can join your guide and paddle off into the Broad Creek Wildlife Area. 

While investigating salt marshes, tidal rivers, and streams, keep an eye out for the island’s birds and dolphins. Your wildlife guide can tell you about the area’s ecology and history. No prior kayaking knowledge is required. You can also fish while on the kayaking tour as shown in this YouTube video.

If you want to bring a kayak, here are some top picks from Amazon check out

Private Dolphin Tour

Hilton Head Island is among the best places in North America to see dolphins in their natural habitat. Throughout this private boat tour, venture onto the lake and enjoy breathtaking views of these witty, lively creatures. 

As your captain and guide, a Lowcountry Master Naturalist will teach you everything you need to know about Hilton Head’s ecosystem while you observe dolphins and other animals, including rays, sharks, and marine turtles.

Dolphin Boat Cruise

Dolphin-watching trips can be taken from Hilton Head Island’s coast. With the aid of an onboard guide, you’ll increase your chances of seeing dolphins and other sea animals in this family-friendly experience. 

You’ll also learn about the surrounding marine wildlife. Additionally, you’ll secure a desirable time frame by scheduling in advance, particularly during the peak summer months.

Sunset Cruise

Take a leisurely sunset sail around the island and coastal waters in Hilton Head to round off your day. 

As you join your private boat, take in the vistas of Harbour Town and the island’s amber glow as you cruise calmly through Calibogue Sound. Watch for other wildlife habitats, such as the fascinating Atlantic bottlenose dolphin.

Yacht Sail

Take a leisurely sunset sail from around the island and waterways in Hilton Head to cap off the day. As you embark on your private yacht, take in the vistas of Harbour Town and the area’s brilliant light as you cruise calmly through Calibogue Sound. 

Watch other wildlife species, such as the amusing Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, while you sail.

Cat Boat Cruise

You can access smaller wetlands and wildlife-rich places when touring Hilton Head aboard a “creek cat” boat, and you can go at your own rate. Travel over 25 miles around the island at speeds of up to 30 mph (48 kph). 

View the main attractions and get the opportunity to travel to back streams where dolphins and other marine life can be found.

Shrimp Trawling Cruise

With this shrimping excursion from Hilton Head Island, experience real low-country travel. Join a group and set out on a fishing boat to explore the salt marshes in search of shrimp and fish while learning about the local fauna and ecosystem. 

After your journey, relax and take advantage of a Sea Pines Resort Day pass.

Private Water Skiing

With this scenic jet ski cruise, you may observe the Shelter Cove fireworks from the ocean. Just before dusk, grab a boat and go out into Broad Creek to witness nature and lovely residences. 

Witness the fireworks display from the ship’s deck as the sun goes down and the hues of the sky fade. During the journey, make sure to keep an eye out for dolphins.

Crabbing Expedition Cruise

Join marine biology enthusiasts on this low-country crabbing excursion from Hilton Head as they forage for crabs. Your skilled guides provide a wealth of knowledge while you sail out on the renowned salt marshes of the low country and witness some of the animals for yourself, including whatever you catch in your crabbing pots. 

If you have any leftover catches, you can bring them home. You can find durable crabbing nets on the spot or order them online from here.

Fun Facts about Hilton Head

Cycling Trails

Hilton Head offers more than one hundred miles of cycling trails despite being less than five miles long and twelve miles long. It’s a terrific idea to rent cycles to tour the island.

Small Population

Less than 40,000 people live year-round at Hilton Head, yet 2.5 million people travel there annually.


The region’s famous Sea Island Cotton was grown on two dozen estates before the Civil War. These days, when someone on Hilton Head refers to “plantations,” they refer to the sizable resort communities that use the name.

The first and most well-known resort community on the island, Sea Pines Plantation, was planned and built by Charles Fraser in the same year that tourist development was underway. During the American Civil War, the freed slaves who worked the island’s plantations created Mitchelville, the first autonomous freedmen’s community on Hilton Head Island. 

The Harbor Town Lighthouse

The Harbor Town lighthouse has never been operational with red and white stripes. It was constructed as a tourist destination and gift shop. 

It was once dubbed “Fraser’s Folly” by commentators in honor of the developer who established it, but it has since grown to be recognized as a revered landmark in Hilton Head.

Toe-shaped Map

Have you ever heard somebody refer to Hilton Head Island’s toe and wondered what on earth they meant? The island has a foot-like form. When discussing locations, people often use the terms “heel,” “toe,” or “ankle” of the island.

No Neon Signs

Hilton Head is devoid of any neon signs. All of the signage is in natural, neutral hues, and there is no blinking neon anywhere on the island because it was designed to attempt to live in peace with the natural environment.

Gullah Culture

The Gullah culture originated at one of the Sea Islands, Hilton Head. The freedmen of the Sea Islands developed their own society while cut off from the mainland. 

When exploring Hilton Head, discover more about the dishes, dialect, art, and other aspects of this unique and dynamic culture. Starting your education at the Coastal Discovery Museum is a wise decision.

Final Thoughts 

You can do many water activities in Hilton Head, and the variety of options can be overwhelming. We’ve listed some of the best water activities so that you can have a great vacation at this serene place.

If you’re going to Hilton Head, try checking out these local gems too:

Visitors’ Website for Hilton Head

Vacation Rentals at Hilton Head Island

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