My family has been going to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina for nearly two decades. It is such a joy to share my favorite vacation destination with our growing family. Each year it is even more fun as we discover new places and create new traditions and memories that build on the old ones.
We have found some amazing things to eat, drink and do over the years. However, I love that the island is always evolving and changing, and always adding new attractions and eats for us to check out. Obviously having a now two year old means every place we go has to be kid friendly as well. Here are some of our favorites:
We discovered One Hot Mamas last year. We had hardly unpacked this year before we headed here for our first dinner. We will likely never leave the island before slamming on some of their epic barbecue and mac & cheese. It’s delicious, reasonably priced and is a nice change of pace in between all of the amazing seafood options on the Island.
With multiple locations on and off the island, Salt Dog is easily one of Hilton Head’s most widely known restaurants. They have a little bit of everything on their menu, so whether you are looking for a quick hot dog or a full shrimp and grits entree you will find something delicious to eat. If you go to their main South Beach Marina location in the Sea Pines Resort (one of the many “plantations” that makes up the Island), sitting outside provides the perfect waterfront view while you dine.
Their ice cream is also life changing, so you’ll want to make sure to save a little room to swing by the ice cream shop after dinner.
If you’re like me, you’ll want to walk off your full stomach, so make sure to head to their general store just a short walk away in order to pick up a souvenir and visit the three parrots who live there. They were a HUGE hit for Quinn!
Harbour Town is also in Sea Pines. It costs $6 for a day pass onto Sea Pines property, so instead of paying to get in on multiple occasions, we typically visit Harbour Town before or after eating at the Salty Dog. The Harbour Town lighthouse is a sight to see, and there are lots of giant yachts that dock in the harbor. If going up into the lighthouse to eat or catch the sights isn’t your thing then you can check out many of the cute local shops or enjoy some live music on their outdoor stage. If you’re lucky, you can also catch a pretty amazing sunset on the pier!
Skull Creek Dockside is one of the newest restaurants in HHI, located right next to Skull Creek Boathouse. Whether you eat inside our outside on their large patio, you’re are sure to get an awesome glimpse of the water. Their seafood nachos, hush puppies and lobster mac & cheese were no joke! SO GOOD!
It is super popular so I would highly recommend making reservations ahead of time. But have no fear if you forget because your wait time will fly by in their amazing outdoor space which includes a large bar, giant wooden boat playground, corn hole sets, life-size games of Connect 4 and Jenga and more!
San Miguel’s is located in Shelter Cove Plaza and they have the most amazing Mexican cuisine. Their fish tacos are my go to! They don’t take reservations but that won’t be a problem as you can sit at their outside bar that overlooks the harbor and indulge in some of their fabulously fresh frozen drinks while you wait!
After you’ve filled up on San Miguel’s, make sure to stick around Shelter Cove for one of Shannon Tanner’s shows. Shannon has been entertaining Shelter Cove audiences young and old for three decades! I remember going to his concerts when I was little and now I have the joy of taking my own daughter!
He has two shows every week night: 6:30PM and 8PM from the end of May through the beginning of September. Tuesday Nights you can even stay after the 8PM show to enjoy fireworks all Summer long!
Hudson’s is one of our all time favorites in Hilton Head. It get’s really crowded at dinner so for the last few years we have gone during lunch instead. They have an amazing outdoor patio that overlooks the water as well as a spacious indoor dining area. With boats and wildlife constantly passing by, it provides the perfect backdrop for kids of all ages.
We had never been to Marley’s before but found out that one of my Aunt’s former students is the manager, so we couldn’t pass up the excuse to check it out. You can call your order in for pick-up or place a walk-up order, find a seat and stay a while! We ordered and had our food in 10-15 minutes. It was very reasonably priced and we weren’t disappointed in the least. Not only was their food mouthwatering but they have the most AMAZING frozen beverages for both adults and kids!
They also have a more formal sit down restaurant right next door called Marley’s Island Grille. They share an outdoor space that not only boasts plenty of seating but also an area for kids and adults alike to play life-size Connect 4 and corn hole while enjoying live music.
Hilton Head Ice Cream Shop
This is a must for any one with a sweet tooth! Kids won’t mind waiting in line as it is an excuse to observe the giant fish tank in the middle of the shop. The Cookie Monster ice cream is a crowd favorite (it is oreo and cookie dough ice cream dyed blue to match its namesake!). It may leave your mouth blue as well, but it is definitely worth it!
Old Oyster Factory is an oldie but a goodie for us! Not only does it have an amazing view, but the seafood is to die for. Though reservations are a must, I highly recommend going on the early end to avoid some of the crowd.
If you’ve never been to Hilton Head Island, hopefully this was enough to convince you to plan a visit. If you’re like my family and have been going for years, I hope that you discovered a new gem. Make sure to let me know if you have some HHI favorites of your own that didn’t make my list!