Hilton Head & Bluffton Full Family Travel Guide-{lowcountry family travel south carolina}

Finally, I’m able to sit down and do a full post on our Hilton Head/Bluffton overnight trip.

Small town, good food, family fun and a beautiful beach-it’s a must go to with the fam!

We left early one Tuesday during spring break in April and heading south on 17.

We went through Parris Island, crossed the broad river by Lemon island to get there. The route was so serene and pretty +a nice change from just going interstate 95.

We first stopped in adorable Bluffton to eat at a cute place called Squat and Gobble. They serve breakfast all day which the rest of my family ordered, but I of course chose the fried chicken.

My husband is a huge omelet snob and he gave theirs 2 thumbs up so that’s a big deal!

When we walked in, you could tell it was a locals type of place, family owned and everything. I love that. They had funny decorations all over and plenty of cute photo ops.

We rode through some of Bluffton after eating, but totally missed the main town area. It’s ok though b/c we rode back through on our way out and I got some great shots to show you the town.

Here are a few cell snaps of the Bluffton Oyster Co.


This church in Bluffton, The Church of the Cross, is on the national historic register and it’s beautiful. The grounds around it remind me of Alhambra Hall in Mount Pleasant being right along the waterfront and having the most wonderful breeze.

I highly enjoyed walking around and just taking it all in.

Calhoun Street-Bluffton, SC

*As you head into Hilton Head, be aware there is a toll booth! You’ll need cash for this so have your 1.25 handy or look up wha the going rate is. We were not aware of this toll road so we were scrounging up change in a hurry.*

We were able to check into our hotel quickly. We stayed at a place called The Best Western which was fine, BUT if I went again, I’d probably look for somewhere closer to Coligny Beach OR just stay in Sea Pines Preserve. If you stay in Sea Pines, bring bikes(or look into renting some). Hilton Head seemed to be a ‘bike wherever you go’ town. I love that, but we didn’t get the memo.

You’re also allowed to bike ON the beach and who wouldn’t love a good beach bike ride?

Let me start with Coligny Beach.

This area reminded me more of IOP here in Charleston or Folly. It felt more like a beach community, and the beach access had a nice spray fountain for the kids. There were ice cream shops, shopping and plenty of restaurants and live music along this area.

If we ever go back to Hilton Head, this is the area we will do more activities in. We only spent one evening here and it was quick enough to watch the sunset and shop in one store.

I’m a lover of mexican food and did notice they had a pretty crowded one(must’ve been good) called Aunt Chiladas you could check out.

You may also like: Family Vacation to Blowing Rock, NC

Sea Pines Preserve:

You could easily spend an entire day here. You’ll have to pay to enter the gate and it was something cheap like $2.

Our first stop was Lawton Stables by accident, but since we were there, we got out and explored. They had a small farm with animals like goats, rabbits and pigs for the kids to check out. They also offered horse back riding that started at this area, but for kids 8+ so we were out of luck there.

Our kids did do the pony ride which was only 2 laps for $20, say what now?? I’m not sure I’d suggest that as the lady who led the pony was incredibly unfriendly and didn’t make it fun for them whatsoever.

After that, we found our way to a trail by Lake Joe. We were so excited for this part as this is what our son was most excited for and once we got going, we realized the trail was actually closed due to construction :(. No signs anywhere to tell us this so this was a disappointment. We did see the Oyster shell ring though and got to do the other end of the trail/boardwalk over the disappearing swamp. Hallie loved this the most.

After this, we found the lighthouse so we’d know where to come back to and headed back to our room to change for the night.

Harbor Town

I will say, I was so bummed that the usually red and white lighthouse was wrapped in plaid for the RBC Heritage golf tournament, but I guess that just means I’ll need to go back sometime to snag that shot I wanted.

That evening we went to Harbor Town, which is in Sea Pines. The good news is, once you pay once for the day, you don’t have to pay again to re-enter the park.

We easily found parking near our restaurant but we were somewhat early(about 4:30ish). It appeared they have a trolley service to take you down to the lighthouse area if you have to park far away but we didn’t need to use it.

We ate at The Crazy Crab and it was excellent! I got my usual, fried shrimp and my husband got the lowcountry boil which was tons of food, but what lowcountry boil isn’t?

The kids both ate theirs up with almost no peep until they were done. We highly enjoyed this restaurant and the service.

After we got full, we walked along the waterfront on their boardwalk, stopped and people watched a little in the red rockers and then slowly made our way to the lighthouse. The climb was super easy even for the kids. There’s a gift shop you first enter in, of course right?, but the view from atop was nice and went all the way around. We enjoyed the breeze from up high and pretty sunset view.

As we were leaving there was a HUGE kids playground that was totally fenced in and in the shade(for those hot summer months). We let the kids burn some extra energy off here. There was plenty for all ages, but mostly for the younger ones around 5 and under.

We got up in time to check out the sunrise. We had short walk to a public beach access near our hotel and boy was it beautiful and so worth getting up early for.

We were ready to call it a trip by now so after we walked back to our hotel for a lovely hot breakfast, we packed up and headed back to Bluffton and then made the trek home. What a quick 24 hours, but we packed it full and had a wonderful time.

The shops were all closed of course, but we got to take in the sights with almost no people out so that made it worth it.

I’m sure on Thursdays from 1-6, the town is hopping! I’d love to go to a farmers market there.

I loved the feel of Bluffton, but I got the vibe it’s maybe for an older crowd and not so much for families with young kids. The shops seemed to cater to an older crowd, but they did have  storybook shop that we would have gone into had it been open.

To sum it all up:

~Take bikes! Or plan to rent some

~Stay at/near Coligny OR in Sea Pines Preserve

~Catch a Sunrise

~Plan some time to explore Bluffton on your way in or out

~Eat at The Crazy Crab and spend a nice evening at Harbor Town along the water. Plenty of red rockers and shops/icecream and a HUGE playground

It’s close enough to Savannah, GA AND Beaufort so if you’re visiting for a while, plan a day trip to either for something different. There’s even a ferry from Hilton Head to Savannah! 😉


Tickle– Sunrise at the beach

Tangle– the ‘long’ drive there. >2 hours 😉


Tickle-walking through the swamp boardwalk at Sea Pines and looking for ‘Wally Kazam’

Tangle-missing the blue house(home) before bed.


Tickle-Squat and Gobble- that omelet y’all!

Tangle-the rude pony ride lady at Sea Pines


Tickle-Coligny Beach at sunset & the red rockers and ocean breeze at Harbor Island(I can’t choose btw)

Tangle-the walking trails being closed at sea pines, but no signs saying so or info at the gate.

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