What to do on Hilton Head when it rains

There are certain times of the year when it seems to rain every single day on Hilton Head Island. The good news? 

Luckily, our rainstorms also tend to be pretty short-lived — so you’ll be back on the beach and bike trails before you know it. There are still plenty of fun things to do on the island when it rains.

Go shopping!

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the many great shops on Hilton Head, rainy days are a great time to do so. There are a ton of options to choose from, but some of our favorites include the shops at Coligny Plaza, Shelter Cove Towne Centre and, of course, The Shops at Sea Pines Center

Another great option is to cross the bridge and visit the Tanger Outlets in Bluffton.

Let the kids play

To keep the little ones entertained, you could visit The Sandbox — an interactive children’s museum located in the new Lowcountry Celebration Park (which also features the awesome pirate ship-themed playground, perfect for when the sun comes back out!)

Another option is to take the kids to the arcade at Adventure Cove; if the rain stops while you’re there, you can also head outside and enjoy some mini golf!

Dance in the rain

Seriously! If it’s just a rain shower and not a thunderstorm, there’s nothing wrong with dancing in the rain! Or really, letting the kids play in the rain. On those hot summer days (and even random 80+ degree Fall days), the rain will actually feel pretty good. Bring some towels and an extra change of clothes, and let the kids play at the playground, splash in some puddles or run along the beach in the rain. Then dry them off, change their clothes and take them to get something warm to drink.

Stay active

Want to make sure you don’t laze around all day — or need a way for the kids to burn some energy? Visit the Island Rec Center!

The Rec Center has gym equipment, an indoor walking track, basketball, volleyball and pickleball courts, and a pool. If you’re a local, you can sign the family up for annual or monthly passes — and if you’re just visiting, they do offer day and week-long passes.

Visit a museum

Did you know the famous Harbour Town Lighthouse is also a museum? You can check out the exhibits and learn the history of the iconic lighthouse while you climb to the top! (Just bring a raincoat or poncho so you can still check out the views at the top!)

The Coastal Discovery Museum is another cool place to check out rain or shine. They offer multiple permanent exhibits as well as a rotating art gallery, and tons of educational activities for kids. You can also explore the gardens and the rest of the property when the weather clears up.

Check out a local coffee shop or restaurant (even if you just grab to-go!)

What’s better than a hot cup of coffee or tea on a chilly, rainy day? Not much, except maybe a bowl of gumbo from Kenny B’s or shrimp and grits from A Lowcountry Backyard.

There are so many great restaurants and little coffee shops on the island that a rainy day is a great time to check them out — especially if you’re free on a mid-week afternoon, when places aren’t usually very crowded.

This is also a great time to check out a waterfront restaurant — you can still enjoy the views, but stay dry and try some great food while doing so! (If the Salty Dog Cafe in Sea Pines is on your list to visit, a rainy afternoon is the perfect time.). 

Stay in!

Don’t feel like venturing out in the rain? You can still have fun at home! 

Have a movie day/night! If you want to make it more fun, try:

  • Build a blanket fort! Go crazy and gather as many pillows and blankets as you can find, and create the coziest fort for the family to cuddle up and watch movies from! You can even decorate it with twinkle lights, and move the TV to the floor if needed.

  • Order your favorite take-out to pair with the movie

  • Spend the afternoon baking together or making some fun, movie-themed snacks to eat during your movie night (Here are some ideas!)

  • Make it a sing-along! Just pick out your family’s favorite Disney movie or other musical, and belt out the words you all know so well.

  • Have an at-home spa day

  • Curl up with a book: Pick a new book out from the Hilton Head Library or Barnes & Noble!  Make (or grab) a hot drink — hot apple cider, coffee, tea, hot chocolate. If your home or vacation rental has a covered porch, balcony or deck, then bring some blankets outside and curl up with your book and hot drink and enjoy the rain! How relaxing does that sound?

  • Play some board games!  Like with the books, you could also bring some blankets out on the covered porch, balcony or deck and play outside as long as it’s not raining sideways! (So you can still enjoy those views)

Family craft day

Put those beach finds to good use! Use pieces of broken shells, sea glass and any other beach treasures to create picture frames, jewelry boxes and more! You can probably find most supplies at Walmart on the island, or make a trip to Hobby Lobby or Michaels in Bluffton. Check out this blog for some ideas! (This is also a great way to create souvenirs to take home if you’re here on vacation!)
Lindsay Bunting
Lindsay Bunting
PO Box 3087 Hilton Head Island SC 29928