Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is a perfect destination for a day of fun in the sun. The sunny weather, wide beaches, and warm waters are perfect for a day trip. You can enjoy the beach, dining, fishing, shopping, golfing, and more. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy nature.

It’s summer and getting a day trip to the beach can be a lot harder than it used to be. Some people don’t have enough time off of work. And, let’s be honest, if you are planning to get to the beach you’re not going to want to be stuck inside all day. But, this is the season that the weather starts getting nice and you want to get out of the city.

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is a beautiful place to visit year-round, and it’s easy to see why it plays such a big part in the summer tourist destination.

12 Awesome Day Trips From Hilton Head Island

Looking for something to do outside of Hilton Head Island? Day excursions from Hilton Head Island to coastal locations like as Beaufort, Tybee Island, Jekyll Island, Charleston, Savannah, and beyond are listed below.

12 Awesome Day Trips From Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island is an ideal “home base” for exploring the Lowcountry area of South Carolina and Georgia, whether you’re taking a car trip down the Atlantic coast or flying into Savannah for a seaside vacation. You can enjoy Hilton Head’s well-known beaches and attractions, as well as a variety of neighboring day excursions.

All of these coastal locations provide distinct Low Country charm and peaceful beach moods, from historic cities like Savannah to charming villages like Edisto Beach to deserted regions like Ossabaw Island. And they’re all within 2.5 hours of Hilton Head Island.

These day excursions from Hilton Head Island are arranged according to their travel schedules. So, whether you just have a morning to spend sightseeing or want to make your trip a complete dawn to sunset excursion, finding a location that fits your travel plans is simple.

While all of these coastal locations are designed as full-day excursions from Hilton Head Island, any of these day trips may be readily completed from Savannah. 

The Best Day Trip Destination From Hilton Head Island in Under 30 Minutes

Bluffton, South Carolina, is a great day trip location just a short drive from Hilton Head Island.

12 Awesome Day Trips From Hilton Head Island

Bluffton, South Carolina

The town of Bluffton, South Carolina, may be found only a short drive west on US-278. This charming small Lowcountry village is steeped in history. The Old Town historic area, with its rich history dating back to the Colonial period and a plethora of historic sites such as the Heyward House, the Church of the Cross, and many antebellum-era houses, is a must-see for history lovers.

Itinerary for a day excursion from Bluffton, SC:

  • Drive from Hilton Head Island to Bluffton, SC between 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.
  • 10 am – 12:30 pm: House & Walking Tour at Heyward House (by appointment only)
  • Lunch at Corner Perk Café from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Check out the Bluffton SC Farmers Market from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Thursdays only)
  • Visit the Church of the Cross between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.
  • May River Dolphin Excursion, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. (make sure to book this in advance)
  • Calhoun Street Tavern serves meals and beverages from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Return to Hilton Head Island between 6:30 and 7:00 p.m.

A map for this Bluffton, SC day trip plan may be found here.

What is the distance between Hilton Head Island and Bluffton, South Carolina?

The distance between Hilton Head Island and Bluffton, South Carolina is 7.6 miles.

Between towns, your total travel time is about 11 – 15 minutes.

Day Trips from Hilton Head Island to Coastal Destinations in Under an Hour

Hilton Head Island is just a short drive or boat ride away from Savannah, Beaufort, and Daufuskie Island. These beautiful coastline locations are all excellent day trip choices from Hilton Head Island, whether for a full or half-day excursion. This is how a day trip to each of these places could look.

12 Awesome Day Trips From Hilton Head Island

Savannah, Georgia is a city in Georgia.

If you’re flying to Hilton Head Island, you’ll most likely arrive at Savannah International Airport. I’d suggest returning for a day trip – Savannah is a wonderful place to see! There are so many things to do in Savannah, between the central historic district and the Savannah Riverfront. While driving from Hilton Head Island to Savannah is simple, you may alternatively take a boat between the two cities. 

Itinerary for a day excursion to Savannah, Georgia:

  • Drive from Hilton Head Island to Savannah between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.
  • Take a walk around Forsyth Park between 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. to see the renowned fountain and live oaks.
  • Lunch is served in Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Visit the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.
  • 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.: Disembark from your Trolley Tour and visit the City Market. 
  • 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Stroll around River Street’s stores and galleries.
  • Dinner at Vic’s On The River (top-notch traditional Southern cuisine!) from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Return to Hilton Head Island between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

The Savannah Old Town Trolley Tour is a convenient method to see all of these attractions.

A map for this Savannah, GA day trip plan may be found here.

What is the distance between Hilton Head Island and Savannah, Georgia?

The distance between Hilton Head Island and Savannah, Georgia is 31.5 miles.

Between towns, your total travel time will be between 46 and 58 minutes.

12 Awesome Day Trips From Hilton Head Island

Daufuskie Island, South Carolina

Daufuskie Island is a wonderful marine island for a day excursion, but make sure you prepare ahead! The only way to get to this island is via ferry or water taxi from Bluffton, Hilton Head, or Savannah. While on the island, you should consider renting a bike or golf cart. (Be aware that many of the bike routes are dirt, so be prepared for a challenging ride.)

With a population of just 400 people, the whole island is a historic area, so you’re in for a pleasant day away from the hustle and bustle of larger towns like Savannah.

Itinerary for a day excursion to Daufuskie Island:

  • Take the Daufuskie Island Ferry from Hilton Head Island between 9:30 and 10:30 a.m.
  • Enjoy a beach horseback ride on Daufuskie Beach from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Stop by Lucy Bell’s Café between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. for some traditional Southern comfort cuisine.
  • Visit the Daufuskie Island Rum Company for a sampling tour from 1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
  • 2:45 – 4:00 p.m.: Visit the Oyster Union Society Hall and the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation to learn about the island’s history.
  • 4:00 – 6:00 p.m.: Stop by the Daufuskie Crab Company for an early supper (amazing seafood!).
  • Return to Hilton Head Island by the Island Ferry between 6:00 and 7:00 p.m.

A map of the Daufuskie Island day excursion itinerary may be seen here.

What is the distance between Hilton Head Island and Daufuskie Island, South Carolina?

8.2 miles separate Hilton Head Island from Daufuskie Island.

Total One-Way Travel Time Between Destinations: It takes around 40 minutes (on the ferry from Hilton Head Island)

12 Awesome Day Trips From Hilton Head Island

Beaufort, South Carolina

Beaufort, a seaside town with lots of southern charm, is a great place to visit. Hunting Island Beach has the finest swimming, but the remainder of Hunting Island State Park is also worth a visit. It’s no surprise that you’ll see lots of animals on your walks here, given the diversity of coastal woods and marshy wetlands.

St. Helena Island is very near to Beaufort, South Carolina, making it a wonderful chance to visit one of the ancient sea islands. 

Itinerary for a day excursion from Beaufort, SC:

  • Drive from Hilton Head Island to Hunting Island State Park between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m.
  • See Hunting Island Beach, walk the trails, or visit the lighthouse between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
  • On your journey through St. Helena Island, stop for lunch at the Shrimp Shack between 12:00 and 1:30 p.m.
  • 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.: Visit St. Helena’s Church (an amazing architectural marvel!)
  • Take a Docent-led tour of the historic John Mark Verdier House museum from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
  • 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.: Take a stroll around Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. 
  • Plums Restaurant (ideal for seafood lovers!) offers happy hour and supper from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Return to Hilton Head Island between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

A map for this Beaufort, SC day trip plan may be found here.

What is the distance between Hilton Head Island and Beaufort, South Carolina?

The distance between Hilton Head Island and Beaufort, South Carolina is 34.5 miles.

Between towns, your total travel time is about 40–60 minutes.

Destinations within a 2-hour drive of Hilton Head Island for a day trip

Tybee Island, Edisto Beach, St. Simon’s Island, Jekyll Island, Ossabaw Island, Sapelo Island, Darien, and Charleston are all located just outside of Hilton Head Island.

Because of the longer travel time, you’ll want to give each of these day excursions from Hilton Head Island a full day. It’s time to get on the road with a breakfast sandwich from one of Hilton Head’s finest breakfast places! Here’s a sample itinerary for a day excursion to each of these seaside locations.

12 Awesome Day Trips From Hilton Head Island

Tybee Island is a small island off the coast of Georgia.

If you want a varied combination of beach time, historic sites, and exciting outdoor activities, Tybee Island is the place to go. This lovely barrier island has three kilometers of white sand beaches. You’ll want to bring your beach bag for this day excursion since there are five public beaches to pick from!

Itinerary for a day excursion to Tybee Island:

  • Drive from Hilton Head Island to Tybee Island from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
  • Stop at Fort Pulaski National Monument from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (a relic of the Civil War)
  • Check see Georgia’s oldest (and tallest!) lighthouse, Tybee Lighthouse, from 11:00 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm: Lunchtime snacks and a stroll at Tybee Island Beach Pier & Pavilion
  • 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.: Spend the day at North Beach reading a book.
  • Sundae Cafe (make reservations!) is open from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. for supper with the locals.
  • Return to Hilton Head Island between 6:30 and 8:00 p.m.

A map of this Tybee Island day trip plan may be seen here.

What is the distance between Hilton Head Island and Tybee Island, Georgia?

From Hilton Head Island to Tybee Island, the distance is 48.8 miles.

Total One-Way Travel Time Between Destinations: It will take about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Darien, Georgia

Darien, which is close to St. Simons Island and Jekyll Island, is rich in historic sites going back to the Colonial era and the Civil War. If you’re seeking for a combination of cultural and historical sites as well as waterfront vistas, Darien is a fantastic day trip option. You’ll also need some seafood. Darien was previously known for its wild shrimp and oysters!

Itinerary for a day excursion to Darien, Georgia:

  • Drive from Hilton Head Island to Darien, Georgia, from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.
  • Visit Fort King George State Historic Site from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to see the oldest surviving English fort.
  • Pack a picnic lunch to eat in the park between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. 
  • 1:30–3:30 p.m.: Take a stroll around the historic site paths, paying particular attention to the local birds (you’re on the Colonial Coast Birding Trail!).
  • 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.: Visit St. Cyprian’s Church to see some historical architecture.
  • Skipper’s Fish Camp is open from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for your shrimp supper (or oysters!).
  • Return to Hilton Head Island between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

A map for this Darien, GA day trip plan may be found here.

What is the distance between Hilton Head Island and Darien, Georgia?

The distance between Hilton Head Island to Darien, Georgia is 95.1 miles.

Total One-Way Travel Time Between Destinations: It will take about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

Edisto Beach, South Carolina

This charming small hamlet is tucked within the eastern shore of Edisto Island, one of South Carolina’s coastal islands. You’ll discover lots of small-town Southern charm and more outdoor adventure options than anybody could expect to fit into a single day in this town near Charleston. 

Itinerary for a day excursion to Edisto Beach, SC:

  • Drive from Hilton Head Island to Edisto Beach from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Shelling along the beach at Edisto Beach State Park from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.: Bring a picnic lunch to the park. 
  • Play a game of golf at Edisto’s Plantation Course from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.: Pressley’s at the Marina serves a seafood meal with a waterfront view.
  • Return to Hilton Head Island between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

A map for this Edisto Beach day trip plan may be found here.

What is the distance between Hilton Head Island and Edisto Beach, South Carolina?

The distance between Hilton Head Island to Edisto Beach, South Carolina is 96.6 miles.

Total One-Way Travel Time Between Destinations: It will take about 1 hour and 50 minutes.

12 Awesome Day Trips From Hilton Head Island

Charleston, South Carolina

If you’re searching for those truly “Southern” cobblestone lanes and antebellum period homes, a trip to Charleston is in order. Because Charleston is South Carolina’s oldest and biggest city, it offers a wonderful combination of sandy beaches, well-preserved historical buildings, and excellent restaurants.

With miles of beaches and islands including Isle of Palms, Sullivan’s Island, Seabrook Island, Folly Beach, and Kiawah Island, you may find yourself wishing your day vacation to Charleston was a bit longer!

Itinerary for a day excursion from Charleston, SC:

  • Drive from Hilton Head Island to Charleston from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Take a Charleston Harbor History Tour to see the sites and learn about the city’s history.
  • 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.: Stop by 167 Raw on King Street for some of Charleston’s finest raw seafood.
  • 2:30–3:30 p.m.: Take a walk around Waterfront Park (don’t miss the famous Pineapple Fountain!)
  • 3:30–5:00 p.m.: Visit The Battery for a view of the seawall and Fort Sumter in the distance (as well as a closer look at all of the beautiful antebellum homes)
  • 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.: At FIG, indulge in some Southern comfort cuisine for supper.
  • Return to Hilton Head Island between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

A map for this Charleston, SC day trip plan may be found here.

What is the distance between Hilton Head Island and Charleston, South Carolina?

The distance between Hilton Head Island to Charleston, South Carolina is 97.8 miles.

Total One-Way Travel Time Between Destinations: It will take about 1 hour and 55 minutes.

Ossabaw Island is a small island off the coast of Georgia.

The cultural heritage of this beautiful, unspoiled paradise stretches back over 4,000 years. This boat-access only island, now administered by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Ossabaw Island Foundation, is accessible to individuals engaged in study, research, and education. If you want to see the marine woods and tidal wetlands, you’ll have to schedule one of the TOIF-hosted excursions. If you simply want to spend a day at the beach, you may do so on a chartered trip that has been authorized.

Ossabaw Island day excursion tour groups suggested:

  • Drive from Hilton Head Island to Savannah’s Isle of Hope Marina between 9:00 and 10:00 a.m.
  • Ossabaw Island Day Trip with Savannah Coastal EcoTours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Driftaway Cafe serves seafood meals and beverages from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
  • Return to Hilton Head Island between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m.

A map for this Ossabaw Island day excursion plan may be found here.

What is the distance between Hilton Head Island and Ossabaw Island, Georgia?

From Hilton Head Island to Ossabaw Island, travel 43 miles to Savannah, Georgia’s harbor, then take a 45-minute boat trip.

Between destinations, your total travel time is about 2 hours.

Sapelo Island is located in the state of Georgia.

Another state-protected island, Sapelo Island, needs some additional preparation for a day excursion. This barrier island, like Ossabaw Island, must be visited on a guided trip. It’s also only accessible by boat or aircraft. You may also pay a visit if you’re a guest of a local (but there aren’t many!). The state of Georgia owns 97 percent of the island. 

Itinerary for a day excursion to Sapelo Island:

  • Drive from Hilton Head Island to the Sapelo Island Visitor Center in Darien, GA, between 6:45 and 8:15 a.m.
  • Take a public guided tour with the Sapelo Island Visitor Center from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (this also gets you on the ferry to Sapelo Island)
  • Lunch at Lula’s Kitchen in Hogg Hammock from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
  • 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.: Rent bikes or take a private tour with a Hogg Hammock resident to see Nanny Goat Beach, Sapelo Lighthouse, and Reynolds Mansion up close.
  • 4:30 – 5:00 p.m.: Return to Darien via boat from Sapelo Island.
  • On your way home, stop by Clay’s Sapelo Station between 5:00 and 6:30 p.m. for some southern comfort cuisine. 
  • Return to Hilton Head Island between 6:30 and 7:00 p.m.

A map of the Sapelo Island day excursion itinerary may be seen here.

What is the distance between Hilton Head Island and Sapelo Island?

The distance between Hilton Head Island and Sapelo Island is 92.6 miles, with a 20-minute boat trip in between.

Total One-Way Travel Time Between Destinations: It will take about 1 hour and 50 minutes.

12 Awesome Day Trips From Hilton Head Island

Georgia’s St. Simons Island

St. Simons Island offers something for everyone, whether you’re searching for waterfront eateries, historic monuments, gorgeous beaches, or a little retail therapy. The biggest of these barrier islands, St. Simons, is located in the Golden Isles.

Itinerary for a day excursion to St. Simons Island:

  • Drive from Hilton Head Island to St. Simons Island from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Stop at Fort Frederica National Monument between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. for a stroll around the grounds (wonderful big oak and pecan trees draped in Spanish moss!).
  • Head over to Gascoigne Bluff for a midday picnic between 12:30 and 2:00 p.m.
  • 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Visit St. Simons Island Beach for some sun or to see the local lighthouse.
  • Dinner at Iguanas Seafood Restaurant (try the fried shrimp!) from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Return to Hilton Head Island between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

A map of this St. Simons Island day trip plan may be seen here.

What is the distance between Hilton Head Island and St. Simons Island, Georgia?

120 miles separate Hilton Head Island from St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Total One-Way Travel Time Between Destinations: About 2 hours and 5 minutes

12 Awesome Day Trips From Hilton Head Island

Jekyll Island is a small island off the coast of Georgia.

Jekyll Island is located near St. Simons Island, only a few miles along I-95 S. Jekyll Island, like St. Simons Island, is full of southern charm and has a wonderful tropical feel. You’ll find everything on Jekyll Island, whether you’re searching for a beach day, an outdoor adventure, or a little history.

Itinerary for a day excursion to Jekyll Island:

  • Drive from Hilton Head Island to Jekyll Island from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Spend the morning at Driftwood Beach from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Lunch at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel (try the crab cakes!) from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.: Visit the Georgia Sea Turtle Center to see the local sea turtles.
  • 3:30–5:00 p.m.: Visit St. Andrew Beach for some birding.
  • 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.: The Wharf offers food, beverages, and live music.
  • Return to Hilton Head Island between 6:30 and 7:00 p.m.

A map of this Jekyll Island day trip plan may be seen here.

What is the distance between Hilton Head Island and Jekyll Island, Georgia?

126 miles separate Hilton Head Island from Jekyll Island, Georgia.

Total One-Way Travel Time Between Destinations: About 2 hours and 5 minutes

Day Trips from Hilton Head Island to the Best Coastal Destinations

Whether you’re looking for an isolated barrier island with limited access or a buzzing, bustling historic metropolis, these day excursions from Hilton Head Island offer something for everyone. Now all you have to do is decide which day trip location you’ll go to first!

Are you ready to start arranging your trip to Hilton Head Island? Here’s where you can start looking for the finest hotels.

Hilton Head Island is a wonderful place to visit in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, and it features a huge variety of attractions. In fact, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States for a reason: a truly beautiful place with some of the most luxurious resorts on the entire planet.. Read more about things to do in hilton head and let us know what you think.

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • things to do in hilton head
  • charleston to hilton head
  • hilton head to charleston
  • hilton head to charleston ferry
  • charleston to hilton head by boat
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