Hilton Head Summer: 7 Events That Encourage Fun, Community

Named in the top 10 Happiest Seaside Towns in the U.S. by Coastal Living, Hilton Head Island features a laid-back lifestyle that enables locals and visitors to relax and connect with one another. One of the best ways to experience the area is attending one of the dozens of Hilton Head summer events. From Southern culture to music and charity events, the island welcomes everyone to have fun and learn about Lowcountry living. To get started on your Hilton Head summer vacation, here are the top events for your group.

Top 7 Hilton Head Summer Events for Families, Friends

hilton head summer events bluffton

Photo: Lori Bee

Meet Locals at Bluffton’s MayFest

For more than 35 years, MAYFEST: Bluffton Village Festival has welcomed visitors to enjoy hometown fun and Southern charm. Held every year in May, this festival features locally made arts and crafts, live music, delicious food, and fun things to try. Guests also love entering contests such as the Ugly Dog, pie-eating and donut-eating competition for kids under 12.

This free Hilton Head summer festival occurs in Old Town Bluffton, an area that showcases Lowcountry culture. While at the event, see over 200 vendors selling arts and crafts, food, homemade goodies, souvenirs, gifts and local foods to take home. Mayfest also welcomes four-legged friends as long as they are leashed and well behaved around others. Note: Don’t forget to try the shrimp salad sandwiches.

Head to Harbourfest

Every week in mid-June to mid-August, Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina hosts Harbourfest. The festival runs Monday through Friday with a special fireworks show on Tuesday nights. Harbourfest has welcomed thousands of guests to enjoy live entertainment and family-friendly fun for more than 25 years. While hanging out, hear island-inspired tunes and meet Cappy the Clown, a local favorite. The fun kicks off around 6 p.m., so don’t miss the chance to party.

hilton head summer concerts vacation

Jam with the Best

Another top among Hilton Head summer events are the weekly summer jams held at Shelter Cove Community Park. Running from mid-June to mid-August, Island Recreation Association hosts families and guests from all over the region. This festive event features bounce houses and face painting for kids. Also plan to watch the fireworks, which begin around 9 every night. Feel free to bring lawn chairs to ensure everyone is comfortable.

Enjoy Brews and Blues

Looking to have a cold one with friends? Head to Brews and Blues on the Bluff in June. The event is part of the Sunset Party Series hosted by Bluffton Oyster Factory Park. Tickets are only $5 per person, and children under 12 get in free. Visitors will hear live music on the May River, vendors, a food court, and try both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Those with children should take them to the kids’ zone and have their faces painted. See the full summer party schedule.

hilton head summer marathon firecracker

Run for a Good Cause

Join locals and visitors at the Hilton Head Island Firecracker 5K, one of the top 10 races in South Carolina. For more than 30 years, this event has welcomed all ages to run for a good cause. Parents can watch younger ones race in an age group that suits them best. Kids 3 and younger have a 25-yard race, ages 4 to 5 can run 50 yards, and 6 to 8 race 100 yards.

No matter if attending the event or competing, all guests have access to local food, vendors selling refreshments, door prizes and more. The Hilton Head Firecracker 5K takes place at Shelter Cove Community Park, and make sure to bring some cash for purchases. A portion of the proceeds benefit Hilton Head Rotary Club, Hilton Head High School Cross Country Team and other local charities.

Watch Movies in the Park

Can’t make it to the 5K? Shelter Cove Community Park also hosts family-friendly movie nights in the park on select nights in June through August. Families can bring blankets, chairs and take-out from area restaurants, and watch popular movies on a 20-foot screen. Each movie begins at 9p.m., and admission is free.

Have Some Late-night Fun

Perfect for a friends’ activity or date-night idea, the Hilton Head Island Bar Crawl runs every Tuesday night in the Coligny area. For one price, groups gain access to the top bars in Hilton Head Island and spend 30 to 40 minutes at each one. This walking tour not only explores the best nightlife spots, but also includes free T-shirt, koozies, glow bracelets and more. Visitors should also wear comfortable shoes and bring cash for quicker service. Check available bar crawl dates.

Ready to go? Start planning your Hilton Head vacation.

Check out Hilton Head Island’s art scene and learn about Lowcountry culture.