Outdoor Activities on Hilton Head

Locals and visitors alike know that the best part about the Lowcountry is being outside. Whether you spend an afternoon on the water, the links of exploring one of our many public parks, Hilton Head outdoor activities offer views and terrain unlike anywhere else. 

As we continue our coverage of COVID-19 in the Lowcountry, this article focuses on safe ways to enjoy outdoor activities in Hilton Head and Bluffton.

If you aren’t sure about what’s open, what regulations are in place, and other possible changes, we have you covered! Check out our top five list of Hilton Head and Bluffton outdoor activities below: 

Hilton Head Island Outdoor Activities

  1. Pinckney Island Wildlife Preserve

Looking for something steeped in nature and history? Look no further than Pinckney Island. Established in 1975 as a National Wildlife Preserve, this refuge is open to the public from sunrise to sunset daily. Find Pinckney Island on the north side of U.S. 278, between the two bridges that connect Hilton Head Island to the mainland.  

Wildlife commonly observed on Pinckney Island include waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, neo-tropical migrants, white-tailed deer, and American alligators, with large concentrations of white ibis, herons, and egrets.

You can enjoy recreational opportunities year-round including wildlife viewing, photography, hiking, bicycling, fishing, and hunting. Learn more about these opportunities here.

  1. Shelter Cove Boat Rentals

Calling all adventure seekers! Find your inner sailor as you cruise through the vast Hilton Head, SC waterways in style. From Pontoons to Sailboats to Cycle Party Boats, there is something for everyone at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina.

Want to fish? There are plenty of fish, crab, and shrimp to be caught and the fishing charters will have you reeling them in. How about a Dolphin Tour? Experienced captains know exactly where to take you to see the best wildlife.

Offering private charters OR the ability to captain your own vessel, Shelter Cove offers many options to explore the gorgeous island of Hilton Head safely. 

  1. Victoria Bluff Wildlife Preserve

Located only minutes from Hilton Head Island, the 977 acre Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve provides an escape from the crowds. It’s a novice hiker’s paradise and great for families with young kids.

Explore 4 miles of easy walking, crisscrossing trails and firebreaks as you discover the botanical wonders of this preserve, which includes pondspice, a rare plant established here.

Open from dawn to dusk, this preserve is located off 278 in Hilton Head. Find it by turning at the sign for Waddell Mariculture Center and heading 1.3 miles right. Complete directions can be found on their website. You should wear protective clothing and insect repellant to discourage the large number of ticks that also flourish in this lush forest.

Note: Since the preserve is primarily managed for hunting, the preserve is closed to hikers from October to December.

  1. Bluffton Oyster Factory Park

Located at 63 Wharf Street in Bluffton, SC, Oyster Factory Park has open spaces perfect for picnics and other outdoor activities with the family. 

The park offers a boat ramp with access to the May River, an open-air pavilion, picnic tables, restrooms, fire/oyster roast pit, and view of the May River.

Additionally, the park is adjacent to the beautifully designed Church of the Cross, one of Bluffton’s best known architectural attractions. 

At this time, public events are on hold. However, you can reserve the pavilion for a private family event based on availability by calling Julie Taylor at 843-706-4583. 

  1. Fish Haul Beach Park

This secluded spot for beachcombing and wildlife observation is one of Hilton Head’s best beaches. Fish Haul offers public beach access, beach matting, outdoor showers, and restrooms. The 31-acre preserve is a sanctuary featuring a shaded trail through the forest leading to the seashore.

Located near the end of Beach City Road (120 Mitchellville Rd) this beach has easy parking and is great for families and pets. This isn’t considered a swimming beach which is why it’s such a hidden gem. 

Unlike popular tourist beaches, you won’t find many umbrellas and beach chairs making it the perfect spot to go outside safely during a pandemic.

Hilton Head Outdoor Activities: Safety Precautions

It isn’t difficult to social distance at a park or beach if you avoid tourism-friendly locations. And chartering a boat for the afternoon is about as socially distant as you can get!

Just in case, let’s cover how to enjoy public outdoor activities safely: 


  • Consider quieter locations vs. popular attractions. 

  • If you’ll be sitting or enjoying a picnic for example, walk a bit farther from any groups you see. Simply give yourself some extra space.

  • Refrain from gathering with other families and groups outside of your household.


  • Bring your own sanitizing products. Many locations offer them, but they may run out and you don’t want to be unprepared. 

  • When using shared public items (especially bathrooms) use masks and gloves. Spray items you touch before and after use.


If you’re anxious to get outside and enjoy this beautiful weather, go for it (as long as you aren’t showing signs of illness)! You can keep yourself and others safe by maintaining social distancing, washing your hands regularly, and of course, bringing along sanitization products to clean up before and after you use shared items.

Here are five great places to go if you want to enjoy Hilton Head outdoor activities:

  1. Pinckney Island

  2. Shelter Cove Boat Rentals

  3. Victoria Bluff Wildlife Preserve

  4. Oyster Factory Park

  5. Fish Haul Beach Park

What are your favorite Hilton Head outdoor activities and why?

Share your opinion in the comments!


And don’t forget: If you’re interested, you can also catch up on all of our previous COVID-19 coverage here. Read about: 


Posted by Paige Rose on


Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

e.g. yourwebsitename.com
Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.