3 of the Best Family-Friendly Hikes on Hilton Head Island

Wild flower field in Sea Pines Forest Preserve
Wild flower field in Sea Pines Forest Preserve Zach Bjur
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Hilton Head Island has always been a great place to take a family vacation. The island’s beaches are calm and warm, and the quiet nights are great for catching up with loved ones. However, finding family friendly activities beyond time at the beach can be a bit trickier. With the challenge of many different ages and fitness levels within a family, finding that outdoor activity that suits everyone's needs can be tough, but not impossible.

Here are three great hikes on Hilton Head that the whole family will love:

1. Pinckney Island

Scenic Pinckney Island
Scenic Pinckney Island Zach Bjur

When it comes to hiking on Hilton Head Island, Pinckney Island is a no-brainer. Part of a beautiful 4,053 acre wild life refuge located directly adjacent to Hilton Head, the island offers scenic views, diverse wildlife, and a rich history. It is a treasured retreat for both locals and tourists alike as it offers unparalleled access to the Lowcountry’s natural wonders. There are over 14 miles of trails on the island, but you can tailor the hike to your needs and go as far as makes sense. It's only a short walk from the parking area before you have expansive views of Lowcountry marshland all around you. With wide and flat gravel covered trails, the terrain is easy going and accessible making it great for everyone in the family, young and old.

2. Audubon Newhall Preserve

A quiet pond in the Audubon Newhall Preserve
A quiet pond in the Audubon Newhall Preserve Zach Bjur

The Audubon Newhall Preserve is the perfect place for a scenic walk through Hilton Head’s natural beauty. It's not a long hike, but it's a good one. The preserve is centrally located and has plenty of parking. The trails are narrow and they snake through the trees in a way that truly makes you feel off the beaten path. Throughout the preserve you will find small placards giving the common and scientific name for local plant life making it a great place for young outdoor enthusiasts to whet their appetite, and learn about the Hilton Head ecosystem in the process. If you have family members who would rather relax while everyone else hikes, they can rest their bones on one of the benches situated around a beautiful pond. If you’re looking for an easy family outing outdoors, this is your ticket.

3. Sea Pines Forest Preserve

Wild flower field in Sea Pines Forest Preserve- Zach Bjur
Wild flower field in Sea Pines Forest Preserve- Zach Bjur

The Sea Pines Forest Preserve occupies a 605-acre plot of land located within the Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island. The preserve boasts four lakes, rice paddies teeming with wildlife, wild flower fields, and ancient Native American shell rings. The preserve’s well-maintained trails are situated in pristine Lowcountry forests and make it one of the best places to hike on the island—well worth the $6 entry fee.

Sea Pines is a family friendly resort and in many ways the Forest Preserve reflects that. The option to drive in to the forest preserve also allows those who may not be able to endure a long hike to immerse themselves in the outdoors all the same. There are a few paved bike paths through the forest preserve but the majority of the land is undeveloped with only foot trails running through it. You are guaranteed to not be disturbed by any wheeled traffic as you explore the rice fields and forests. Once you’ve had your outdoor fix,  you can bring the family to Harbor Town or South Beach Marina for great eats and entertainment.

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