The first piece of advice I’m going to give you is this: don’t let your weather app scare you. More times than not, the scary-looking week filled with thunderstorms that will “surely ruin your vacation,” might turn into two afternoon-long bursts of weather that will help knock out some humidity and keep the island looking as green as ever. That is unless your weather app is tracking a hurricane–then, yes, definitely take the weather seriously. Here’s my second piece of advice: rain in the forecast or not, it’s always a good idea to pack a rain jacket when you’re visiting the island, especially in the summer months.
So if your beach day does get rained out, the good news is that there are plenty of indoor activities around the island and surrounding areas to choose from. Here are a few of our favorites:
Stop by the Coastal Discovery Museum
A Smithsonian affiliate, this museum captures Hilton Head’s heritage and wonderfully showcases the island’s history and natural landscape. Sitting on a piece of history itself, the Coastal Discovery Museum is located on Honey Horn Plantation, 68 acres that are filled with trails, gardens, and fascinating exhibits. Visiting the Coastal Discovery Museum is always a great way to keep your group entertained and out of the rain for about an hour or two. This activity is free of charge, but donations are always appreciated.
Although the entire property might be a little harder to explore when it’s raining, you can always return to walk the boardwalks through the Jarvis Creek salt marsh and stop by to say hello to the Marsh Tacky horses. The Honey Horn property also hosts the island’s farmers market every Tuesday from 9 am-1 pm.
Visit the Sandbox Children’s Museum
The Sandbox has become one of Hilton Head’s favorite destinations for both visiting families and locals. The Sandbox has two convenient locations: one on Hilton Head Island and one at the Tanger 2 Outlets in Bluffton. Both locations offer children a hands-on, interactive experience they won’t soon forget. Children of all ages will love the flight simulator where they can “navigate the friendly skies” in a real jet, listen to commands from air traffic control through their captain’s headphones, and even don a pilot costume to complete the experience. Transition from air to sea as you explore their 48” saltwater aquarium filled with unique sea creatures. Little artists will love the rhythm and hues art room, and no visit is complete without a stop in the Loggerhead Sandcastle where children are surrounded by sand, sea, and sky. Kids can put on hard hats and construction gear while working with giant lego blocks or take a trip to their grocery corner. There’s something for everyone at this family-centered attraction (you’ll want to check it out even if it’s not raining)!
Make a Reservation at The Art Cafe
The Art Cafe is a paint-your-own pottery studio that promises to be a family favorite activity. The Art Cafe is open Monday – Saturday and a reservation is required. When your family arrives, you’ll have the opportunity to pick out a piece of pottery to paint, and their friendly staff will help get you started. Upon completion, the team will glaze and fire your artwork for you. Try to plan this activity during the early days of your visit because your piece won’t be finished until 3 days later (don’t worry though. They’ll arrange to have your pieces shipped if you’re leaving soon after your visit). Enjoy food and drinks while you paint including beer and wine for the grown-ups!
Catch a Movie
Hilton Head has 3 theaters for your movie-viewing pleasure ensuring that no rainy day is a washout! Relax in electric reclining lounge chairs while enjoying something from the beer and wine bar during a trip to Northridge Cinema 10. If independent films are your thing, visit Coligny Theater. Hilton Head Island’s first theatre caters to an upscale adult audience. If you’re hoping to catch a new release while relaxing in luxurious reclining seats, Park Place Cinema is just what the doctor ordered. The cafe & lounge has a full food menu and offers beer, wine, coffee, and ice cream.
Do a Little Shopping
Coligny Plaza is the perfect destination for some rainy day shopping. There’s plenty of cover as you wander from store to store and there’s something for everyone.
Here are some must-see shops:
- Island Girl – clothes, accessories, and footwear for women
- Coastal Sunglasses–wide selection of name-brand sunglasses
- HH House of Jerky – Over 60 varieties of jerky!
- HH House of Popcorn – Over 75 flavors of gourmet popcorn!
- The Island Fudge Shoppe – Homemade fudge, hand-dipped chocolates, candies, and more.
- Mingles Gifts & Collectibles – easy-living clothes and jewelry, hand-crafted items, home accents, wall art, garden decor, special souvenirs, wine accessories, pet gifts, shell crafts, gourmet foods, and year-round Christmas.
- Haskins & Co. – stylish, designer dresses, jewelry, bags, and much more.
- Hilton Head Toys – Surfer Dudes, Spike Ball, and a large assortment of other beach toys and games.
- Camp Hilton Head – wide variety of t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, pants, hats, glassware, trinkets, jewelry, picture frames, and other collectibles.
Atomic VR Virtual Reality Arcade
Fun for everyone 8 and over! Atomic Virtual Arcade offers players an unlimited amount of entertainment. With 4 VR gaming stations available, you can explore the virtual experiences with your friends and family, go online and play with others around the world, or take on your own battles. Become immersed in a virtual reality video gaming world.
Adventure Cove Mini Golf & Arcade
Even if you can’t play a round of mini golf due to the rain, this miniature golf course has a trick up its sleeve: an arcade! A fun spot to keep the friendly competition going, this arcade has a variety of games and of course, a counter full of great prizes. Plus, you can always revisit to play a round or two of putt putt when the sun comes out.
Check out the Lowcountry’s first indoor golf and multi-sport simulation sports bar. Choose from over 100 golf courses and 13 other sports to play from the comfort of your own bay/living room area. Use their top-of-the-line Srixon and Cleveland golf clubs and Full Swing Simulators.
Catch a Ride on The Breeze Trolley
Guests love “catching the breeze” to connect to some of the island’s favorite destinations. Access shopping and groceries, the best island restaurants, any of the Hilton Head beaches, and all of the island activities. The 2 Breeze Trolley routes promise to connect you to your favorite on island destination hassle-free! Download their route map and schedule here.