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Free Things To Do in Hilton Head

If you have extra time, Mitchelville Beach is worthwhile.

#1

#1 in Hilton Head

Free
Coligny Beach is by far the most popular beach in Hilton Head. The shoreline is scenic as can be and the adjacent beach park features a wealth of amenities perfect for beachgoers of all ages. Not only are there restrooms and showers but also separate changing rooms, plenty of benches and gazebos with swings to shade yourself from the sun. There's also loads of eateries just a stone's throw away from the sand (think coffee shops, ice cream shops and seafood restaurants) and should you forget an umbrella, you can rent that here in addition to beach chairs. What's more, parking is free.
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Beaches Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Coligny Beach
Coligny Beach is by far the most popular beach in Hilton Head. The shoreline is scenic as can be and the adjacent beach park features a wealth of amenities perfect for beachgoers of all ages. Not only are there restrooms and showers but also separate changing rooms, plenty of benches and gazebos with swings to shade yourself from the sun. There's also loads of eateries just a stone's throw away from the sand (think coffee shops, ice cream shops and seafood restaurants) and should you forget an umbrella, you can rent that here in addition to beach chairs. What's more, parking is free.
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#2

#2 in Hilton Head

Free
Daufuskie Island offers Hilton Head vacationers a getaway within a getaway. The island, located west of Harbour Town across the Calibogue Sound, feels like a world away thanks to its remote nature. Daufuskie is only accessible by ferry, has few inhabitants (around 300 full-time residents), is almost completely devoid of cars and is awash in hundreds-year-old Spanish moss oak trees and crowdless beaches. The island is also a historical hub, so much so that it was added to the list of National Registry of Historic Places in 1982. 
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Beaches Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Daufuskie Island
Daufuskie Island offers Hilton Head vacationers a getaway within a getaway. The island, located west of Harbour Town across the Calibogue Sound, feels like a world away thanks to its remote nature. Daufuskie is only accessible by ferry, has few inhabitants (around 300 full-time residents), is almost completely devoid of cars and is awash in hundreds-year-old Spanish moss oak trees and crowdless beaches. The island is also a historical hub, so much so that it was added to the list of National Registry of Historic Places in 1982. 
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#3

#3 in Hilton Head

Free
If you're looking for a quiet shore in Hilton Head, you'll no doubt fall in love with Mitchelville Beach (also known as Fish Haul Beach Park). Located on the northeastern end of the island near Hilton Head Island Airport, Mitchelville Beach is more secluded and more rugged than its southern counterparts (think Coligny and Folly Field). Here, crowds are few and far between, pathways are unpaved and the coastal flora extends down well into the shoreline, creating an enchanting beach experience. What's more, in the area surrounding the beach, you'll find restrooms, an outdoor shower and some picnic tables.
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Beaches Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
Mitchelville Beach
If you're looking for a quiet shore in Hilton Head, you'll no doubt fall in love with Mitchelville Beach (also known as Fish Haul Beach Park). Located on the northeastern end of the island near Hilton Head Island Airport, Mitchelville Beach is more secluded and more rugged than its southern counterparts (think Coligny and Folly Field). Here, crowds are few and far between, pathways are unpaved and the coastal flora extends down well into the shoreline, creating an enchanting beach experience. What's more, in the area surrounding the beach, you'll find restrooms, an outdoor shower and some picnic tables.
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#5

#5 in Hilton Head

Free
If you're wanting a break from the beach, or need a family-friendly activity to keep your kiddos on their toes, make time for a visit to the Coastal Discovery Museum. The museum aims to educate visitors on Hilton Head's ecological and cultural history, offering up educational exhibits, expert lectures, live animal presentations and more. The museum can be found on the 68-acre Honey Horn property, where visitors will also be greeted with trails, gardens and beautiful live oaks as well as a butterfly habitat, where you can find a flurry of native butterflies from May to October. For a real adventure, consider joining a tour, some of which include guided kayaking excursions, dolphin cruises (bottlenose dolphins are known to swim through some of the island's salt marshes) or take a trip to the museum's barn, where you'll get a meet and greet with rare Marsh Tacky horses.
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Hiking Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Coastal Discovery Museum
If you're wanting a break from the beach, or need a family-friendly activity to keep your kiddos on their toes, make time for a visit to the Coastal Discovery Museum. The museum aims to educate visitors on Hilton Head's ecological and cultural history, offering up educational exhibits, expert lectures, live animal presentations and more. The museum can be found on the 68-acre Honey Horn property, where visitors will also be greeted with trails, gardens and beautiful live oaks as well as a butterfly habitat, where you can find a flurry of native butterflies from May to October. For a real adventure, consider joining a tour, some of which include guided kayaking excursions, dolphin cruises (bottlenose dolphins are known to swim through some of the island's salt marshes) or take a trip to the museum's barn, where you'll get a meet and greet with rare Marsh Tacky horses.
... more

#6

#6 in Hilton Head

Free
When locals want to escape the crowds of Coligny Beach, they often retreat to Driessen Beach. Located on the northeastern end of the island, Driessen offers a wide shore that stretches as far as the eye can see. The beach is so big that even if it's crowded, you'll still likely find a roomy patch of sand to plant your towel. And just because the beach does see fewer visitors than Coligny doesn't mean it skimps on amenities. Here, you'll find restrooms, outdoor showers, a picnic pavilion, a playground, grills, bike racks and lifeguards during summer. Plus, resorts line Driessen so if you're in need of refreshments, you can always dip inside one of the hotels' restaurants for a bite to eat.
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Beaches Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Driessen Beach
When locals want to escape the crowds of Coligny Beach, they often retreat to Driessen Beach. Located on the northeastern end of the island, Driessen offers a wide shore that stretches as far as the eye can see. The beach is so big that even if it's crowded, you'll still likely find a roomy patch of sand to plant your towel. And just because the beach does see fewer visitors than Coligny doesn't mean it skimps on amenities. Here, you'll find restrooms, outdoor showers, a picnic pavilion, a playground, grills, bike racks and lifeguards during summer. Plus, resorts line Driessen so if you're in need of refreshments, you can always dip inside one of the hotels' restaurants for a bite to eat.
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#7

#7 in Hilton Head

Free
Hilton Head doesn't have a zoo, but that doesn't mean it's lacking in wildlife. To catch a glimpse of some of the island's longtime residents in their natural habitat, head to the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. Spread out across 4,053 acres, the refuge comprises Pinckney Island, Corn Island, Big and Little Harry Islands, Buzzard Island and many small hammocks. It's important to know that Pinckney Island is the only island open for public use, though there's no shortage of things to do. On Pinckney, visitors are treated to 14 miles of scenic hiking and biking trails that weave through freshwater ponds, salt marshes and maritime forest. While here, you'll likely spot a variety of birds (the refuge houses 250 species) as well as alligators, turtles and deer, among other wildlife. While here, be on the lookout for the White Ibis, and if you're visiting during the summer, the multicolored Painting Bunt, the latter of which is a species at risk of endangerment. 
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Hiking Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge
Hilton Head doesn't have a zoo, but that doesn't mean it's lacking in wildlife. To catch a glimpse of some of the island's longtime residents in their natural habitat, head to the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. Spread out across 4,053 acres, the refuge comprises Pinckney Island, Corn Island, Big and Little Harry Islands, Buzzard Island and many small hammocks. It's important to know that Pinckney Island is the only island open for public use, though there's no shortage of things to do. On Pinckney, visitors are treated to 14 miles of scenic hiking and biking trails that weave through freshwater ponds, salt marshes and maritime forest. While here, you'll likely spot a variety of birds (the refuge houses 250 species) as well as alligators, turtles and deer, among other wildlife. While here, be on the lookout for the White Ibis, and if you're visiting during the summer, the multicolored Painting Bunt, the latter of which is a species at risk of endangerment. 
... more
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