Hilton Head Parks: Scenic and Educational Places to Play

Home to one of the best beaches in the U.S. according to Trip Advisor users, Hilton Head features scenic beauty that beckons nature lovers. From spacious beaches to covered hideaways, the top Hilton Head parks not only encourage outdoor exploration but serve as a wildlife haven. Some even aim to educate and entertain. Read on for more information.

Top 7 Hilton Head Parks for Outdoor Activities

hilton head parks public beaches

Coligny Beach Park

A popular hang-out spot is Coligny Beach Park on the island’s south end. The park features an almost ‘town-like’ atmosphere with buildings dedicated to changing rooms and showers, benches for sitting, swings, and wooden chairs. Even the entrance will impress guests, with its brick splash pad and shallow pool filled by nearby fountains.

To access the beach, follow the boardwalk to the ocean. From there, set up beach chairs, swim, splash or simply relax. Coligny Beach Park also has free parking, Wi-Fi, a gazebo and offers access to nearby shops and restaurants.

Folly Field Beach Park

Known to residents and frequent guests as a local’s beach, Folly Field Beach Park features ample space for spreading out and playing in the water. Once parked, walk the short boardwalk — set among forest — to the beach.

Visitors enjoy lots of space and water that remains moderately shallow suited for swimming, wading and body-boarding. Due to the area’s low winds, they don’t have to worry about many rip current or large waves. In fact, the tide produces a selection of tidal pools perfect for small children. Other amenities include showers and restrooms, and Folly Field Beach Park welcomes dogs as well.

hilton head park nature family

Mitchelville Freedom Park

Famous Mitchelville Freedom Park showcases history and nature. Mitchelville – which served as America’s first pre-Civil War settlement for slaves who escaped area plantations – is now a place to learn and explore.

This historic park offers guided tours where visitors learn about the fight for freedom, Civil Rights movement, and notable figures such as Harriet Tubman and Colonel James Montgomery. While touring, see historic buildings, photos, landing docks and natural surroundings. Mitchelville Freedom Park is part of the Mitchelville Preservation Project, which aims to educate the public on brave people who fought for future African-American rights.

Driessen Beach Park

Some may think Driessen Beach Park is a little hard to find, but it’s worth the effort. This park remains uncrowded — even during summertime — and welcomes visitors to relax, swim, wade and body-board. Conditions can change depending on stormy weather, but most times waters remain calm.

In addition to water recreation, families have access to a playground, picnic tables, grills and walking paths. Those who prefer beach-combing benefit from restrooms, outdoor showers, and seasonal gear and lifeguards. No matter how visitors spend the day, they enjoy a relaxing beach environment known as a hidden gem in Hilton Head Island.

hilton head parks birds wildlife

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

Looking for a place to bike or hike? Spend time at Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. This favorite among the best Hilton Head parks features a prime location for wildlife watching, photography, fishing and limited deer hunting in November. The refuge houses nine hiking and biking trails, ranging from 1.2 miles to 7.8 miles round-trip.

While exploring, look for over 250 animals that live in the park. Bird-watchers should visit, and see seasonal migrations, wading birds and raptors. Other animals include white-tailed deer, red fox, bob cat and American alligators.

Due to preservation efforts, Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge does not allow pets or include public restrooms or showers. Pack plenty of fresh water and sun protection.

Sea Pines Forest Preserve

For over 45 years, Sea Pines Forest Preserve has served wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts. This top among Hilton Head Parks allows visitors to plan their own adventure. Activities include: hiking, guided boat tours, fishing, walking and wagon tours, and horseback riding.

Sea Pines Forest Preserve is divided into four different ecosystems: forest, freshwater wetlands, wildflower fields, and lakes and ponds. While roaming the area, stop at Sea Pines Shell Ring, the oldest archaeological site on Hilton Head Island. The mysterious ring measures 150 feet across and stands between 1 and 2 feet. Additionally, it consists of thousands of oyster, clam and mussel shells that Native Americans placed over 3,000 years ago.

Shelter Cove Community Park

One of the newer parks in the area, Shelter Cove Community Park sits in Shelter Cove Towne Centre, a destination for dining, entertainment and shopping. This community-friendly park hosts year-round festivals and has a playground, picnic areas, walking paths and scenic views.

In the summer, don’t miss special events in Shelter Cove Community Park. Top picks include free outdoor movies in the park, classic car meets, live concerts and charity events. This park ranks as the go-to spot for socializing and entertainment.

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