Looking for ways to maximize your vacation in Hilton Head? Whether you’re going alone or with your family, visiting museums and attending tours will make your vacation full of fun, memories, and learning. Keep scrolling to learn about which museums and tours you shouldn’t miss while in HHI, recommended by Beachside Hilton Head Island.

Coastal Discovery Museum

At this incredible 68-acre Honey Horn property, you will learn about Hilton Head’s cultural and ecological history. Both indoor and outdoor exhibits are waiting for you or your family. The wide space features salt marshes and live oaks that are centuries old. You’ll also fall in love with the gorgeous gardens and the butterfly habitat.

The Discovery House features permanent exhibits, including a station for identifying seashells, a section for Native American poetry, and interviews with Hilton Head’s most prominent people. With the Sea Turtle exhibit, you’ll understand the journey of loggerhead sea turtles from an egg to becoming an adult. Meanwhile, the reptiles of the Lowcountry exhibit will give you a close encounter with alligators, snakes, and turtles.

The museum offers free admission, but it’s recommended to make a $5 donation. Coastal Discovery Museum also offers guided tours and talks throughout the year. For example, the Salt Marsh Discovery lets you witness a world of live oysters, shrimps, crabs, and more as well as see how marsh plants thrive in a saltwater environment.

There’s also a Kids Zone, where your children can explore various Native American artifacts, play games, and solve puzzles. Apart from the tours on land where you’ll learn more about the beautiful creatures around Hilton Head’s beaches, the museum also provides tours on the water. You can enjoy a boat cruise from HHI to Daufuskie Island. Expect to see some wading birds and dolphins along the way!

The Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island

Another museum worth visiting while you’re taking your vacation in HHI is The Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island. This museum aims to promote and preserve Gullah culture. The Gullah people have built one of the oldest communities in Hilton Head. They are descendants of enslaved West Africans who have kept their traditions intact for almost 300 years. The Gullah Museum showcases the culture and history of the Gullah people since the 1700s.

Tours are available on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The Gullah storyteller and museum’s founder, Louise Cohen, conducts the tours. Join this tour to get a glimpse of life in Hilton Head before they built a bridge connected to the mainland in 1956.

Harbour Town Lighthouse Museum

The Harbour Town Lighthouse Museum will make your Hilton Head vacation even more memorable. This iconic red and white tower offers a fun and educational experience through the Lighthouse Legends Tour. Climbing the 114 steps to the lighthouse means seeing beautiful artifacts and photos that showcase how the island has developed throughout the years.

You can also enjoy authentic Lowcountry music. Moreover, you’ll learn some fun facts about the local wildlife. Of course, making it to the top of the lighthouse also means enjoying the stunning views of the Lowcountry.

The Harbour Town Lighthouse Museum hosts the Coast Guard Exhibit. A 16-foot hand-built scale model of the historic cutter “Eagle” is featured. While you’re there, have a unique shopping experience at the Shoppe at the Top. You’ll surely find impressive local arts and crafts as well as perfect souvenirs. There’s also a live webcam, so why not smile and wave to your family and friends? By the way, the sunsets from there will also take your breath away!

The Lighthouse is open every day starting at 10 AM to sundown. Admission to the lighthouse is $5.75, while children who are five years old and below get free admission.

The Sandbox: An Interactive Children’s Museum

If you’re spending a Hilton Head vacation with your adorable kids, then The Sandbox is the place to go! In this interactive children’s museum, your kids will have fun playing while learning. The 2500-square foot facility features almost a dozen exhibits, like Builders of Tomorrow and The Loggerhead Sandcastle with play centers intended for children who are eight years old and below.

From becoming a pilot of a realistically designed airplane to going grocery shopping on the island, there are a lot of activities that will nurture your children’s creativity and imagination. Your kids might love the activities too much that you’ll end up extending your Hilton Head vacation.

Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation

From Hilton Head Island, you can also head over to Daufuskie and visit the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation. Established in 2001, the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation aims to protect and promote Daufuskie Island’s history and culture.

The Island History Museum also includes collections from pre-Colonial days to the mid-20th century. For example, you’ll see an early 19th-century family bible, a copy of George II’s original land grant, military buttons, and a recovered organ in the 1890s. They also display Indian arrowheads and photos from plantation days.

The museum is open on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 AM to 4 PM You can catch the Daufuskie Island Ferry at Hilton Head’s Buckingham Landing to experience meaningful historical tours.

Final Thoughts

From the Coastal Discovery Museum and the Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island to the Harbour Town Lighthouse Museum and The Sandbox, there are several museums and tours in and around Hilton Head. Make the most out of your Hilton Head vacation by joining these tours! Check out our page to learn more about places to explore in Hilton Head.