It’s officially summer — and the Hilton Head/Bluffton area is once again celebrating being one of the top vacation destinations in the continental U.S. Here’s a look at some of the best events this month — from celebrating our nation’s independence with tourists and locals alike, to events geared at keeping the local kids busy during the school break.
Lowcountry 4th of July celebrations:
Parade at Harbour Town — 8:30 a.m. near the Harbour Town Lighthouse
Show off your red, white and blue spirit by decorating your bicycle, wagon, dog or kids for a fun-filled parade around Harbour Town! Meet at the parking lot adjacent to the Harbour Town Lighthouse at 8:30am to register and pick up decorating supplies. Parade line-up begins promptly at 9:30am, and entries will be judged on patriotism. Supplies limited to the first 100 registered. Following the parade, join us for some holiday fun and activities. More info.
Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina Harbourfest — Starting at 6:30 p.m.
Shelter Cove Harbour offers a HarbourFest celebration featuring special patriotic selections performed by Shannon Tanner at 6:30 and 8 p.m. The fireworks display will begin right after dusk. For the convenience of home and villa guests staying in the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, the Palmetto Dunes Buggy will continue operating until after the fireworks display is concluded. 800-827-3006 or palmettodunes.com.
Harbour Town — Festivities throughout the evening, fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
Harbour Town will celebrate the Fourth with a variety of festivities. Children’s activities, live music, food and beverage will be available as well as the fireworks display. The fireworks will start about 9:15 (dusk) from a barge in Calibogue Sound. There is a gate fee to enter the resort (unless you are a resident or guest staying on the resort) and a free shuttle service will be offered between Harbour Town and various parking lots in the Sea Pines Resort. No coolers. 843-785-3333 or seapines.com
Skull Creek Marina — Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
Skull Creek fireworks start around 9:30 p.m. The fireworks will be launched from a barge in the Intracoastal Waterway/Skull Creek. Join Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks, Skull Creek Dockside or the Skull Creek Boathouse for live, outside entertainment beginning at 6 p.m. Food and beverage will be available at all three locations. No coolers.
Firecracker 5K — Starting at 8 a.m. at Jarvis Creek Park
The 34th Annual Hilton Head Firecracker 5K Run and Family Fun Walk will be held on Thursday, July 4th 8:00am from Jarvis Creek Park on Hilton Head Island. The Hilton Head Firecracker Run is the largest and oldest road race in Beaufort County and one of the top ten races in the state of South Carolina. Over 1,700 runners and walkers from across the United States annually participate in this fun, healthy, family event.
The festive post-race celebration features a Children’s Fun Run, music, fresh fruit, ice cold refreshments, door prizes, and more! A percentage of proceeds from the event benefits local charities including: The Hilton Head Rotary Club, Hilton Head High School Cross Country Team, and other local charities.
Salute from the Shore — 1-3 p.m. at all area beaches
10th Annual Salute from the Shore 2019, 1-3 p.m. An opportunity to honor our armed forces during a military flyover along the entire coast of South Carolina. A synchronized salute that will be shared online across the nation and around the world. For the flyover schedule, visit www.salutefromtheshore.org.
Summer Jams — 5-9:30 p.m. at Shelter Cove Community Park
The Island Recreation Association is proud to bring you a fun-filled, festive atmosphere with the highlight of the night fireworks which start around 9 pm. Kids of all ages can enjoy inflatable bounce houses and face painting for a minimal fee. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the fireworks! More info.
Red, White and Beach — 4th of July Weekend at the Tiki Hut
Celebrate Independence Day with a weekend of live music on the beach, fire performers, specialty competitions, among many more activities and celebrations. Hit up Tiki Hut Thursday through Sunday for tunes from 1:00 PM – 11:00 PM and enjoy special acoustic sets at Porch from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM. The Porch will also be serving up late night snacks including hot dogs, sliders and street tacos until midnight. Life is always better at the beach, especially on 4th of July weekend. More.
4th of July Children’s Parade — 10:30 a.m. on Calhoun Street in Bluffton
The 4th of July Children’s Parade has been a loved tradition for almost 40 years thanks to Bluffton’s own Babbie Guscio.
Children of ALL AGES are invited to gather at the end of Calhoun Street near Church of the Cross on America’s Birthday morn in their finest American gear. Decorate your bikes and scooters – even your well behaved dogs – and bring your best American spirit!
We’ll Yankee Our Doodles down to Lawton Street for the short. but sweet way to begin your #American celebration. Patriotic costumes encouraged! More.
4th of July Oyster Roast — 6-9 p.m. at Palmetto Bluff
With its five story tree house and expansive views of the May River, Moreland Landing is hard to rival for celebratory outdoor dining. We invite you to become a part of the party. Enjoy a Lowcounty Oyster Roast with a host of other southern classics, fixins’ and sweet treats.
Tickets: $85 for adults; $39 for children ages 5-12, Reservations required: Call 833-232-0854, More info.
Independence Day at Parris Island — Starting at 5 p.m.
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island will host a free celebration July 4, 2019 at the Weapons Battalion PT Field in honor of the Independence Day Holiday.
The celebration event is open to the public and begins at 5 p.m. The event will include a performance by the MCRD Parris Island Band at 6:30 p.m. and a fireworks display at 9:15 p.m.
Food and beverages will be for sale as well as glow sticks, bracelets and headbands.
For safety purposes, please do not bring any coolers, pets or outside fireworks. Signage on base will direct visitors from the MCRD Parris Island gate to the event.
The Sands at Port Royal — Starting at 5 p.m.
4th of July Celebration & Fireworks at The Sands of Port Royal. Event begins at 5 p.m. Fireworks around 9 p.m. Hosted by the town of Port Royal and Historic Port Royal Foundation, the Independence Day celebration will include food booths, refreshments, vendors, entertainment, face painting, a water slide, bounce houses and more. What to bring/what to leave at home: Bring your own lawn chairs. Bug spray is recommended. No coolers, golf carts or pets allowed. Tips: There is free public parking at the Sands and along city streets. portroyal.org.
Hilton Head Island:
Christmas in July — 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. July 17 at The Village at Wexford
To celebrate the year-round spirit of giving, VAW invites the public to celebrate “Christmas in July” – providing an exciting day of holiday-themed food, fun, entertainment, and crafts, while benefitting the Child Abuse Protection Association (CAPA.)
The event will turn the Market into a festive Holiday Village featuring holiday crafts and snacks, Christmas music, games, and entertainment – all with a fun beach/surf theme. In addition to the Market at VAW being adorned with flamingos in Santa hats, “Sand Snowmen”, watermelon Christmas trees and pool noodle candy cane games, “Christmas in July” will feature photos with a surf-attire “Sand-a” — complete with swim trunks, surfboard backdrop, and fun Christmas flare.
To benefit CAPA, the event will collect items needed for summer to provide to the organization. Attendees are encouraged to bring diapers, teen books, bug spray, teen snacks, and summer clothing. CAPA will be onsite at the event to receive the donations, complete with a Christmas tree and decorations.
For more information about “Christmas in July” at the Village at Wexford, visit www.villageatwexford.com or the VAW Facebook.
Henry Cho — 5 & 8 p.m. July 15 at The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina
This beloved comedian -the self-proclaimed Asian with a Southern accent – is back at the Arts Center with so much more to laugh about! Henry’s one-hour Comedy Central Special, “What’s That Clickin Noise?” is currently on Netflix.
Cho’s screen credits include NBC’s The Tonight Show, CBS’s The Late Show, and more! His work can be heard nationwide several times weekly on XM Radio’s Channel 151, Laugh USA, Sirius Radio’s Blue Collar Radio Channel 103, and Pandora Radio’s PG Comedy Radio Channel.
Henry was the keynote entertainer for The 59th Annual Radio & Television Correspondents’ Dinner and has worked extensively with Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Willie Nelson, Carrie Underwood, Reba and many, others. Henry’s clean comedy is so versatile that he can headline Vegas and then tour with Michael W. Smith in the same month. Charmingly hilarious.
Tickets: $46, More.
Ongoing July events on Hilton Head:
Discover Hilton Head history:
Fort Mitchel Tours — every Monday at 10 a.m. in Hilton Head Plantation
Immerse yourself in the fascinating Civil War history of Hilton Head Island with a visit to Fort Mitchel. The site contains the remains of a coastal defense battery erected in 1862 to protect the Port Royal Sound by way of Skull Creek from incursions by Confederate gunboats based in the Savannah River.
Costumed characters and an expert tour guide will demonstrate the vital historic importance of this place and the role the fort and its namesake, General Mitchel, played in shaping Hilton Head history, including historic Mitchelville.
Cost: $15 per adult, $10 per child; Registration required.
Historic Bike Tours — every Wednesday at 10 a.m. starting at Squire Pope Community Park
Explore the historic district of Hilton Head! Visit historic plantations, understand fishing and farming life post-Civil War, view Tabby Ruins and enjoy a meet and greet with volunteers from the Gullah Museum of Hilton Head Island. Bring water, sunscreen & bug spray.
Cost: $15 per adult, $10 per child (ages 10 & up only) if you bring your own bike OR $25 per adult, $20 per child to include a bike rental
Forts of Port Royal Tour — every Wednesday at 10 a.m. starting at Port Royal Golf Clubhouse
During the Civil War, Hilton Head Island was occupied by Union forces early in November 1861. The island’s proximity to Charleston and Savannah made it an important strategic location for the Union and was occupied throughout the War. On this guided history tour, learn about the Battle of Port Royal and the historic sites of Fort Walker and a later era Steam Cannon used for coastal defense.
Not recommended for children under 7 years old.
Duration: 1.5 hours, Cost: $12 per adult; $7 per child, Registration required.
Hilton Head Haunted History Tales — every Wednesday at 9 p.m. at the Zion Historic Cemetery
After dark, in the eerie setting of the Island’s oldest burial ground, come and hear spine-tingling tales of Hilton Head’s shadowy past. More history than horror, our tales involve real events that have occurred in Hilton Head’s 500+ year history and real people who once lived here … who are still reported to roam the Island from time to time!
Cost: $20 for children ages 8-16; $25 per adult; Registration required.
Zion Living History Tours — every Thursday at 10 a.m. at the Zion Historic Cemetery
Meet historical characters who lived on the Island during the Antebellum period and see inside the oldest existing structure on Hilton Head Island. Tour where Revolutionary War soldiers are buried and explore the location of the planter’s antebellum church and muster house.
Cost: $15 per adult, $10 per child; Registration required.
Civil War Era Tours — every Thursday at 3 p.m. at the Coastal Discovery Museum
The Civil War is one of the most important events in the history of our country. South Carolina played a key role in the development and ending of the war. Hilton Head Island was home to thousands of Union soldiers during the Civil War. Find out why they were here and how they spent their time. Historic photographs, maps and artifacts tell the story of Hilton Head from 1861-1865.
Duration: 1 hour; Not recommended for children under 7 years old; Cost: $7 per person; Registration required.
Learn about Lowcountry creatures at The Coastal Discovery Museum:
Discovery Lab Open House — Mondays & Wednesdays from 2-4 p.m.
Drop in and explore the Coastal Discovery Museum’s Discovery Lab!! Visiting the lab is a fun educational experience for all ages. Get a closer look at some live lowcountry animals like fish, horseshoe crabs, hermit crabs, frogs, lizards, snakes, and a friendly alligator. Discover unique and fascinating stories about the lowcountry’s history and environment through hands-on, interactive displays and games.
Cost: Suggested $2 per person donation.
No reservations required. Learn more.
Reptiles & Amphibians of the Lowcountry — Tuesdays from 1-2 p.m.
Alligators, snakes, and turtles oh my! Take a closer look at the fascinating and unique characteristics of local reptiles and amphibians. Interact with a few live critters and discover the importance of these often misunderstood animals. Learn how to protect these amazing creatures and safely enjoy sharing the lowcountry with them.
Cost: $10 per adult, $5 per child aged 4-12. Children under 4 are free. Reservations recommended.
Blue Crab Discovery — Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
The blue crab’s life cycle begins with millions of microscopic eggs that eventually develop into active predators with powerful claws. Learn all about the intriguing life of the Atlantic Blue Crab and the important role they play in the coastal ecosystem and lowcountry history. Experience recreational harvesting, cooking, cleaning, and eating of the blue crab! (This is a hands-on learning experience and includes just a taste of blue crab meat).
Cost: $15 per adult, $10 per child aged 4-12. Children under 4 are free. Register online.
Critters Meet & Greet — Wednesdays & Fridays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
This is a casual “Meet and Greet” to learn about the alligators, snakes, and other critters that share Hilton Head Island with us. Take this opportunity to walk-in and see these animals up close, gets hands-on and hold a critter or two, take pictures of or with your favorite critters, and learn more about these amazing animal and how to safely share the Lowcountry with these important critters.
No reservations required. Cost: $10 per adult; $5 per child aged 5-12. Children under age 5 are free. Register online.
Sea Turtle Life — Thursdays from 1-2 p.m.
Sea turtles live an extraordinary life. Explore the amazing journey of Loggerhead Sea Turtles from egg to adulthood. Discover just how easy it is to help protect these fascinating sea creatures.
You will not see live sea turtles but this is a hands-on, eye-opening, experience filled with unique educational materials to see, touch, and interact with.
Cost: $10 per adult; $5 per child aged 4-12. Children under 4 are free. Register online.
Marsh Critters Preschoolers Program — Thursdays from 10-10:30 a.m. and 11-11:30 a.m.
The salt marsh is an important and unique habitat that is full of life! Get up close and hands-on with several marsh critters as your guide shares a fun short story about the many critters you might encounter while spending a day in the salt marsh.
Preschool programs are designed for ages 4-6 and require at least one registered adult. Other family and friends are welcome to register too. Only registered participants will be admitted into the program area.
Cost: $10 per child & adult; $5 for additional humans ages 3 & up. Children under 3 are free. Register online.
Under the Sea — Fridays from 1-2 p.m.
What lives under the sea? There is an amazing world of marine life under that sparkling blue ocean. Take a closer look at some of the smaller marine creatures. Find out what lived in those shells you find on the beach, feed a horseshoe crab and watch it chew with its legs, help a hermit crab find a new home, and much more!
Cost: $10 per adult; $5 per child aged 4-12. Children under 4 are free. Register online.
Marsh Tacky Horse Tour — Fridays from 2-3 p.m.
Descended from horses brought to the Lowcountry in the 1500s, there are now around 300 Marsh Tackies left in existence. Learn about the history of these adaptable horses and take a trip to our historic barn. There you will meet the museum’s two resident horses Comet and Hawk and learn about their care and conservation.
Cost: $10 per adult; $5 per child aged 4-12. No children under age 4 please. Register online.
Beach Discovery Tour — Tuesdays at 10 a.m. at Fish Haul Beach
Join a museum naturalist on a nature tour of the wonders and creatures that inhabit our local beaches. Ever wonder who lives in those holes in the sand? Or, when sea turtles come ashore to nest on Hilton Head Island? Learn about the horseshoe crab that has been lurking in our coastal waters for millions of years.
Come explore our ever-changing marine environment at hidden Fish Haul Beach along Port Royal Sound. With its mud flats and sandy areas, this beach is ideal for finding beach creatures, shorebirds, and sea shells. Learn about how our beaches are formed and changed with each cycle of the tide.
Meet docent at the picnic tables near the beach pathway for an orientation before heading to the beach.
Cost: $12 per adult; $7 per child aged 4-12; Children under 4 are free. Register online.
Summer Camps for the kiddos hosted by The Island Rec Center
The Island Rec Center hosts a variety of summer camps for kids of all ages. This includes:
The All-Day Summer Camp — for kids in Kindergarten through 8th grade
This camp helps your child develop character, learn valuable life skills, make new friends
and discover new interests.
- Daily activities include arts & crafts, swimming, games and sports. Morning and afternoon round-ups are the perfect time for campers to get energized with a fun-filled, action-packed day of camp activities.
- Each week of Summer Camp is a different theme with the week will be centered around. The weekly field trips, activities and daily rotations will be based around the theme of the week.
- Please have your child bring a lunch, swimsuit and a towel. Two snacks a day for each camper will be provided. The Island Rec also offers an inclusive camp for children with special needs. The full day rate for Summer Camp is less than $3 an hour. ASK about our reduced rate for multiple children.
Summer Sports Camps:
- Surf Camp (Ages 7&up, adults welcome)
- Jr. Golf Camp (Ages 6-18)
- Fast Track Youth Tennis (Ages 6-14)
- Boys Lacrosse Camp (Grades 2-8)
- Gator Cheer Camp (Girls ages 5-12)
- Girls Lacrosse Camp (Ages 6-14 & Ages 14-18)
- Tormenta FC Academy Soccer Camp (Half day for ages 3-14 & and full day for ages 7-14)
- Jesse Eddy Basketball Camp (Ages 7-14)
- Gator Football (Boys ages 5-12)
- Karate (Ages 5-12)
- Swim Lessons
- Sailing Camp
- Outdoor 2-day Camp
Summer Concert Series:
Greg Russell Summer Concerts — Every week night from 8-9:30 p.m. in Sea Pines
Over the years, Gregg Russell has become a Sea Pines classic. You’ll find him under the Liberty Oak in Harbour Town entertaining adults and children alike. His concerts are not to be missed. More.
Summer Jams at Shelter Cove — Every Tuesday from 5-9 p.m. in Shelter Cove Community Park
The Island Recreation Association is proud to bring you a fun-filled, festive atmosphere with the highlight of the night fireworks which start around 9 pm. Kids of all ages can enjoy inflatable bounce houses and face painting for a minimal fee.
Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the fireworks! More.
Sunset Celebration at Shelter Cove — 7-10 p.m. every Friday starting June 14 in Shelter Cove Community Park
Join us on the banks of Broad Creek for a picnic and a sunset serenade at the pavilion in Shelter Cove Community Park. Bring a beach chair, blanket, and pick up take-out from one of our local merchants. Sunset Celebration, featuring live local music and laid back family entertainment, is brought to you every Friday each summer by the merchants of Shelter Cove Towne Centre. More.
Parrot Palooza — Thursdays starting June 13 at 7 p.m. at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina
Enjoy entertainment from Shannon Tanner and the Oyster Reefers on Thursdays during the summer playing a live Caribbean concert featuring all your favorite island tunes.
Other family-friendly, ongoing summer fun:
Kids Water Fun day — Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at South Beach Marina in Sea Pines
A fun-filled morning of sail and power boat rides on Calibogue Sound to see the Dolphins, crabbing, beach games, water balloon toss, and a scavenger hunt.
Tom Doyle, owner of Commander Zodiac, directs the camp. Tom has been operating Kids Water Fun Day for over 25 years.
Please bring/wear: bathing suit, flip flops, sunscreen.
For children ages 4-12. Cost: $45. More.
Harbourfest Fireworks — Tuesdays from 6-11 p.m. at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina
HarbourFest at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina on Hilton Head Island is a weekly celebration during the summer with live music featuring Shannon Tanner, kids activities with Cappy the Clown, bouncy houses and more. Tuesday nights during HarbourFest are the traditional fireworks nights featuring a spectacular show that lights up the summer nighttime sky at dusk. This family-friendly event has been enjoyed by thousands of visitors for the last thirty years!
Movie Night in the Park – Thursdays at 9 p.m. at Shelter Cove Community Park
After the sun sets over Broad Creek, join us waterside at Shelter Cove Community Park for a summer full of blockbuster hits! Watch all your favorites under the stars on a 20′ movie screen.
No admission fee! Beach chairs, blankets and take-out food from Shelter Cove Towne Centre merchants recommended! For a full schedule of films, visit here.
Summer Mondays Family Magic Show — 8-9:15 p.m. at Comedy Magic Cabaret
Family magic show suitable for all ages. Doors open at 7:15 with showtime starting at 8:00 PM.
Cost: $16.00 per person. Children under 3 are free. More.
The First Tee of the Lowcountry Summer Golf Camps — Monday-Thursday 9-11:30 a.m. at First Tee
* Note: Excluding week of July 4th.
The First Tee of The Lowcountry emphasizes Nine Core Values: honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment. Through golf and our core values, kids and teens will learn life skills. Register online.
Learn to Fish & Crab with Mr. Ben Green — Saturdays at 4 p.m.
Learn to fish and crab and experience the living history and Gullah culture of Hilton Head Island each week with Mr. Ben Green, from 4-7 p.m. at the Rowing and Sailing Center off Squire Pope Road. Volunteers on-site to teach cast net throwing, fishing and other skills. All equipment provided. Free and open to everyone, donations of bait and line always accepted. Held each week during fishing season – Spring, Summer and Fall. In addition, each month we host a community picnic on the 4th Saturday. Free and open to everyone. Donations welcome for this all-volunteer effort as well. Check this facebook events for updates and changes as this is an all-volunteer effort. More.
2019 Gullah Reunion Festival — July 4-7, Sam Bennett Sports Complex
The Gullah Reunion Festival is a four day fun-filled festival of art, food, music, storytelling, cultural demonstrations and more. An annual cultural heritage event celebrating an American cultural treasure, the Gullah Geechee Culture! A family friendly festival set in the picturesque town of Bluffton, South Carolina,’
Grand Opening of The Sandbox Museum — 12-5 p.m. July 6 at Tanger 2
Join us as we celebrate the grand opening of our brand new Sandbox Children’s Museum at Tanger 2 on Saturday, July 6th from 12 – 5 PM! FREE grand opening festivities include face painters, a bounce house, Lillipop the Clown twisting balloon animals, a children’s DJ, lawn games and more! Be sure to stop by the Tanger tent during the grand opening to enter for your chance to win a $100 Tanger gift card.
Enjoy introductory discounted admission to the museum throughout the month of July 2019 of just $5 per person for those 1 year of age and over!
The Sandbox Children’s Museum at Tanger 2 will serve children up through 12 years of age. The space will include STEAM and Makerspace exhibits as well as dedicated space for toddlers, a party and programming room and an art studio. The new museum is designed to reflect the local Lowcountry culture with a shrimp boat as the main play exhibit!
Sunset 5K Run & Walk — 7:30 p.m. July 10 at Oyster Factory Park
Sunset 5K Run & Walk, presented by Bluffton Trading Company, will take place through the streets of Old Towne Bluffton. More.
May River Shrimp Festival – July 11 & 12 at Oyster Factory Park
The May River Shrimp Festival will be held at The Bluffton Oyster Factory Park on July 11 and 12 as part of the Bluffton Sunset Party series. The event takes place Thursday from 5:30-9:30 p.m. and Friday from 4:30-9:30 pm. Entertainers scheduled to perform include “Pinckney Island Boys” and “Groove Town Assault” on Thursday with “Bobby Magyarosi and “The Hornan Brothers” on Friday night.
This family-friendly event also welcomes your pooch! But please keep your dogs on a leash. Lawn chairs are also permitted — but please, no outside food or drink. Local restaurants and caterers will be selling food at this event, plus there will be a craft beer garden, wine bar vendors and more.
Come by boat, golf cart or bike — free parking is also available on site.
A portion of the proceeds benefit local Bluffton charities.
Tickets: $5 for adults; Children 12 & under are free. More.