Visit the 90 feet tall candy striped Harbour Town Lighthouse open daily from 10 AM to sundown. Admission is $3 (kids under 5 years of age get in for FREE) but you can get free passes from the Harbour Town concierge desk. If interested to see more of the legendary Sea Islands lighthouses read this post.
The Marina is the place for adrenaline water activities: parasailing, jet skiing, even shark fishing. Or you can hop on one of the dolphin watch cruises: Vagabond and Spirit of the Harbour.
The main kid attraction is the playground behind the Harbour Town Marina. Best of all is FREE (don’t you love when that happens? ). Children go crazy about the tire swing and will rub elbows to climb the odd shaped oak tree next to the bicycles rack. Let them do it. It burns energy and you get a cute photo once they’re up.
Say Hello! to Sea Pines’ “Odd Couple”, the baby alligator and turtle at the Nature Center located across from the playground. If you ask nicely the lady inside the Center may let you pet the snakes! Admission is FREE yet be prepared to spend a few bucks on the souvenirs.
• The one hour Alligator Boat Tours run every hour 8 – 11 AM and 5 – 8 PM Mon through Fri, 9, 10 AM and 5 and 6 PM in the weekends. Cost is $21 for adults and $17 for children (12 and under). $2 discount for Sea Pines Resort guests.
• Two-hours guided kayak tours through salt marshes on single or double kayaks. Cost is $30 for adults and $20 for children (5-12 years). $2 discount for Sea Pines Resort guests.
• Guided kayak fishing expedition, $220.
• You can rent kayaks ($20/hour for double, $10/hour for single) and go on your own.
You can enjoy some yummy cookies and lunch at the Bakery Cafe next to the Center. This is a historic building: an 1880 Leamington House Lightkeeper Cottage brought to Palmetto Dunes during WII to monitor German submarines activities.
Treat your kids to a horseback and pony rides or a fun petting zoo at the Lawton Stables. One hour western style horse back rides through Sea Pines Forest Reserve are offered daily at 9:30, 11:30, 2 and 4 PM for $60 per person. Must be 8 years or older. Call (843) 671-2586 for reservations.
There are several places to eat at the Harbour Town Marina. By far the most popular and very family friendly is the Crazy Crab. Steamed shellfish, Sandwiches, burgers, soups and salads are ~$8.95. Fish plate ~$12.50 (includes French fires and coleslaw). Seafood pot $15.95. Boiled crab legs at market price. Crazy Crab also serves late lunch (mostly fried stuff) from 3 to 4 PM.
Enjoy a self-guided walk through the Stoney-Baynard Ruins. The mansion house, built in 1790s, had a colorful history: lost at a poker game only to have its owner’s William Baynard die from yellow fever, then burned down during Civil War. Currently the ruins are believed to be haunted by William Baynard’s ghost!
Interesting Facts about Sea Pines Resort and Forest Preserve
• 50 years ago, an oceanfront lot in Sea Pines could be purchased for $7,500. Today this will go for 3-4 millions!
• In 1959 the Fraser family set aside 572 acres for the Sea Pines Preserve. First trails were built in the early 1970s, followed by four lakes – Joe, Thomas, Mary and Chapin – the largest open freshwater ponds on the island.
You can get a fishing permit at no charge from the CSA Security Office located at 175 Greenwood Drive. Swimming is not allowed.
• The Verizon Heritage is the South Carolina’s only PGA Tour event
• The Indian Shell Ring inside the Sea Pines Forest Preserve is the site of a 4,000 years old nomadic Indians village.
Here you can see an elliptical mound of shells and materials used around their huts.
• Over 200 species of birds have been spotted in the Preserve and the area has been recognized as an “Important Bird Area” by the National Audubon Society.
Check out this bike trail map with most of the attractions inside Sea Pines Resort:
More fun things to do at Sea Pines and Hilton Head
Here are more ideas of affordable things to do with kids while on vacation in beautiful Hilton Head, “the Gem of the Lowcountry”:
• Go to the Public Library. It’s FREE and kids will have a blast reading with you.
• Be a pilot, a movie director, a ship captain or a painter at The Sandbox Interactive Children’s Museum ($6)
• Visit Fort Pulaski near Savannah to see live cannons and musket firing, learn about Immortal 600 tragedy and the Waving Girl legend, and become a Junior Ranger ($3).
• Learn about the Hilton Head island history, the rich Gullah culture and sign up for some fun family programs at the Coastal Discovery Museum (free museum admission; guided tours, cruises and beach walks are $5-$30)
• Visit Beaufort an art, architecture and movie-making heaven and historic Port Royal home of the first settlement in the New World.
Soak in the sun, play, learn and always have fun at the serene Hilton Head island beaches!
Filed under: Biking, Boating and Fishing, Canoe and Kayak, Hilton Head, Hilton Head - Savannah, Historic Carolina Sites, Walking and Jogging Tagged: | Harbour Town cruises and tours, Harbour Town lighthouse, Harbour Town playground, Hilton Head fun weekend activities, Hilton Head just for kids, Hilton Head things to do with kids, Sea Pines family and kids attractions, Sea Pines free things to do, Sea Pines horseback riding price and schedule, Sea Pines Nature Center eco tours, Sea Pines Resort and Forest Preserve history facts, what to see and do with kids at Sea Pines