No trip to Hilton Head, SC is complete without seeing some of the island’s signature wildlife! Whether you venture out on the water or stay on dry land, there are numerous opportunities for viewing the Low Country’s incredible animals. To help you make the most of your next vacation, we have put together a guide to five of the best places for spotting Hilton Head wildlife.
1. Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge
Pinckney Island is a gorgeous 4,053-acre nature preserve that was once part of a plantation owned by Revolutionary War veteran Major General Cotesworth Pinckney. The refuge is blessed with a variety of animal habitats, including salt marsh, tidal creeks, fallow field, brushland, forestland, and freshwater ponds. When you visit Pinckney Island, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for alligators, white-tailed deer, fiddler crabs, bobcats, herons, egrets, ibis, and many other species of birds. Admission to the wildlife refuge is free, but donations are accepted.
2. Sea Pines Forest Preserve
Sea Pines Forest Preserve is another one of our favorite places for viewing Hilton Head wildlife. This lovely 605-acre park is home to miles of breathtaking hiking and biking trails that pass by freshwater ponds, Spanish moss, and beautiful trees. Some of the animals known to frequent the preserve include turtles, alligators, herons, egrets, eagles, osprey, snakes, and lizards. Please note that Sea Pines charges a daily admission fee of $6 per car.
3. Island Explorer Dolphin & Nature Tours
A dolphin tour with Island Explorer is the best way to see Hilton Head’s most popular animals. Participants will enjoy an up-close look at the island’s famous dolphins from a twelve passenger boat. During the summer, visitors will have the chance to sign up for a special tour to watch dolphins “strand feeding,” a phenomenon in which dolphins herd fish onto mud banks and come up on shore to eat their prey. Hilton Head is one of the only places on the planet where dolphins strand feed!
4. Coastal Discovery Museum
In addition to its wonderful indoor exhibits, the Coastal Discovery Museum is also home to an enchanting outdoor area featuring live oak trees and marshfront boardwalks. Visitors to the museum will have the chance to see marsh tacky horses, a rare breed of horse native to South Carolina, and a great butterfly house. Naturalists from the museum also offer excellent Beach Discovery Tours at Fish Haul Beach along Port Royal Sound.
5. Kayak Tours with Outside Hilton Head
Outside Hilton Head describes its kayak tour as “a nature hike on the water!” These 2-hour guided tours take visitors through the island’s salt marshes to look for dolphins, fish, mink, oystercatchers, osprey, herons, and eagles. No prior kayaking experience is needed to enjoy one of these awesome tours.
When you stay with Hilton Head Properties Realty & Rentals, you will have the perfect home base for viewing Hilton Head wildlife. Our vacation rentals come with your choice of stellar amenities, including fully equipped kitchens, outdoor grills, internet access, flat screen TVs, and private swimming pools. With everything from 1 bedroom properties to 7 bedroom properties, we are sure to have the ideal accommodations for your escape. To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of Hilton Head vacation rentals!