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Add Some Adventure to Your Hilton Head Island Vacation

Marie McAden Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.
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If you’re among the growing number of travelers looking for a little adventure on your vacation, you’ll find plenty to get your adrenaline flowing in South Carolina. All of the state’s top destinations offer an array of exciting activities and experiences, from hiking and kayaking to zip lining and shark fishing.

Visiting Hilton Head Island? For a big thrill, consider these six awesome adventures:


Dolphin Watching on a Zodiac Raft

Get closer to the action on a Zodiac raft and have a blast bouncing across the water in one of these small, inflatable, hardbottom rafts—similar to the boats used by the U.S. Coast Guard. Commander Zodiac offers a variety of guided private tours where you’ll have the opportunity to see dolphins and other wildlife, learn about the salt marsh, visit a “disappearing” island and go beachcombing on a secluded beach.

Zip Line, Ropes Course and Go-Karts, Oh My!

For one-stop fun and thrills, head to Adventure Hilton Head where you can zip line through the trees, challenge your strength and skills on a high-ropes challenge course and go racing around an outdoor track in an electric go-kart. Located on the banks of Broad Creek, the guided two-hour canopy tour includes seven zip lines and three suspended sky bridges; the challenge course features 50 activities of varying degrees of difficulty, many of them with a Lowcountry theme.


Bike Riding on Pinckney Island

You’ll feel like you’re a million miles away from bustling Bluffton and Hilton Head Island when you ride through Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge, a 4,053-acre preserve located between Skull Creek (the Intracoastal Waterway) and Mackay Creek. Renowned as a birding hotspot, the refuge is home to a pond that serves as a rookery for ibis, egrets and herons. It’s easy riding on the 14 miles of grassy trails and the flat gravel road that runs the length of the island. If you’re an avian fan and don’t want to cycle, consider taking a guided walking tour with one of the experienced bird watchers from the Coastal Discovery Museum.


Parasailing Over the Coast

If you think Hilton Head Island’s coastline is beautiful from the ground, try seeing it from hundreds of feet in the air. Several outfitters, including H2O Sports, Sky Pirate Parasail and Watersports and Island Head offer parasailing flights from the back deck of a boat. Flight time is usually 8-10 minutes with easy takeoffs and landings. Along with the beach, you’ll enjoy views of Daufuskie Island, Harbour Town Lighthouse and South Beach Marina.


Shark Fishing in Calibogue Sound

You’ll have a great fish tale to tell when you go shark fishing off the coast of Hilton Head Island, known for its large population of sharks. An experienced captain will take you to the best spots for blacktips, bonnet heads, bull sharks, lemon sharks and Atlantic sharpnose sharks among others. It’s catch and release, of course. Charters offering shark fishing trips include Live Oac Outdoor Adventure Co., Tail Tamer, Hilton Head Fishing Adventures and Capt. Hook


Shrimping on a Trawler

You’ll have a whole new appreciation for your favorite seafood dinner when you set off on a shrimp trawling expedition with Vagabond Cruise. This unique adventure takes place aboard an authentic shrimp boat in the crustacean-rich waters of Calibogue Sound. Once the day’s catch is hauled in, you’ll be invited to help pinch off the heads of the shrimp. Then the catch will be divided among the passengers to take home for their own fresh-off-the-boat seafood feast. The shrimp expeditions are offered mid-May to mid-January.

Marie McAden
A former staffer with The Miami Herald, Marie moved to SC in 1992. She is passionate about the outdoors, and enjoys exploring the state’s many natural treasures from the Lowcountry to the Upstate.