Hilton Head Island’s Top Sights & Historic Landmarks

Hilton Head Island’s Top
Sights & Historic Landmarks

The list of Hilton Head awards and accolades are too long to mention, but one thing we know for sure – Hilton Head is America’s Favorite Island! Nestled on the southern tip of the South Carolina coastline, Hilton Head Island boasts 12 miles of pristine Atlantic coastline, the natural beauty and old-world charm of a bygone era, historical landmarks, beautiful barrier islands, and a long list of new experiences and fun things to do. 

Plan your Hilton Head Island vacation with Sunset Rentals. We offer a hand-picked collection of over 200 HHI vacation homes and villas in the top resort areas, first-class guest services for a hassle-free vacation, and local vacation specialists for a personalized experience on Hilton Head Island.

Top 5 Sights to See on Hilton Head Island


Coligny Beach Park & Plaza

Whether you’re looking to shop, dine, sunbathe, or simply mingle with the crowds, Coligny Beach Park & Plaza in the Forest Beach Area is the heartbeat of Hilton Head Island! There’s over 60 stores for shopping, oceanfront dining, beachfront tiki bars, year-round entertainment for all ages, and Lowcountry Celebration Park with an adventure playground and interactive museum for the kids. Steps from the Plaza is Coligny Beach, voted one of the best beaches in the US, stretching for five miles along the Atlantic coastline for a picture-perfect beach day on Hilton Head.

Sea Pines Forest Preserve

Sea Pines Forest Preserve is a top Hilton Head Island attraction with 605-acres of lush forests, eight miles of trails and boardwalks for hiking, biking and horse riding, stocked freshwater lakes with picnic tables and fishing docks, and the oldest known archeological site on Hilton Head Island, the Sea Pines Indian Shell Ring. The preserve offers fun family wagon rides, guided walks, alligator boat tours, and horseback rides through the Lowcountry landscapes with Lawton Stables.

Harbour Town at Sea Pines

Visiting Harbour Town in Sea Pines Resort is one of the top things to do on Hilton Head! Aside from upscale shopping, scenic dining and live entertainment on the marina, visitors can climb the iconic candy caned striped historic Harbour Town Lighthouse, embark on a pirate cruise on the one of a kind Black Dagger, book tours and water activities on the Calibogue Sound, or quietly soak up the Lowcountry scenery and watch the crowds and colorful boats sail by. A day pass is required for guests staying outside Sea Pines Resort Area.

Daufuskie Island

Daufuskie Island is a small, 5-mile barrier island nestled between Hilton Head Island and the northern shoreline of Georgia, only accessible by boat. It’s a must for your Hilton Head Island vacation itinerary! Daufuskie has 3-miles of pristine untouched beaches to discover, and the island is scattered with colorful beach homes, historic lighthouses dating back to the 1800s, quaint art galleries, seafood-inspired restaurants, and awe-inspiring scenery. Book a guided Daufuskie Island tour from Shelter Cove Marina or explore alone – hop on the ferry for a scenic ride with prime dolphin spotting along the Intracoastal Waterway, cruise around the island by bike or golf cart, discover the rich history of the Gullah culture on a walking tour, horse ride at Haig Point, and soak up the sun and scenery on the uncrowded, untouched beaches of Daufuskie.

Shelter Cove Marina & Village

Shelter Cove is a world-class marina and open-air village located on Broad Creek, across from the entrance to Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. Indulge in Mediterranean-style retail therapy, award-winning waterfront dining, seasonal celebrations with family-friendly entertainment and fireworks, and endless water activities with boat rentals, fishing charters, eco-tours, party cruises or sunset sails from the marina.

Hilton Head Island Top 5 Historic Landmarks


Stoney-Baynard Ruins

In the early 18th century, Revolutionary War hero Captain Jack Stoney built the Baynard Plantation in Sea Pines, only to be destroyed and burnt to the ground in the Civil War. The Stoney-Baynard Ruins are all that remain today with the preserved tabby ruins of the grand antebellum mansion, slave quarters and outbuildings nestled in an old maritime forest, easily accessible on a short hike in the Sea Pines Resort area of Hilton Head.

Mitchelville Freedom Park

Mitchelville was a town founded by freed slaves in the 1861 Battle of Port Royal. Today, visitors to Hilton Head can walk the quiet trails leading through historic Mitchelville Freedom Park with the original site of Battle of Port Royal, historical remnants of the town, and access to an off the beaten path beach overlooking the sound, a prime Hilton Head destination for birdwatching and wildlife viewing, and history!

Sea Pines Indian Shell Ring

Nestled in the heart of Sea Pines Forest Preserve lies one of the oldest known Native American archeological sites on Hilton Head Island, the Sea Pines Indian Shell Ring. This historic shell ring measures 150 feet in diameter, dates back over 4,000 years, and is one of only 50 Shell Rings known to exist.

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is a top Hilton Head landmark and a haven for both nature-lovers and history buffs! Nestled between Hilton Head Island and the mainland, this 4,000-acre untamed, coastal wildlife refuge is home to an abundance of wildlife, over 250 species of birds and over 100 prehistoric and historic archeological sites showing signs of life on the island as far back as 8,000BC. Hiking and biking trails weave throughout the reserve with historical markers at notable landmarks.

Coastal Discovery Museum

The Coastal Discovery Museum is located in a historic plantation home on 68 acres of forest and Lowcountry marshlands in Honey Horn. The museum is home to the Santa Elena Center highlighting the history of 16th century Hilton Head, nine historical buildings dating back to the 1800s and beautiful grounds with butterfly gardens, nature trails and an ancient 500-year old Southern Red Cedar. Hilton Head history comes alive for all ages at the Coastal Discovery Museum.

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