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With all the opportunities for outdoor recreation, even the most restless children will find plenty to do in Hilton Head. The entire coastline is public beach (though some entrances are private), with several designated swimming areas that have lifeguards on duty during the summer. The calm waters of the Intercoastal Waterway also makes sports such as sailing, boating, kayaking and water-skiing possible. You can also rent a boat for a family excursion, though you will need a license to do any fishing.
If weather does not permit outdoor activities, there are two excellent options for families with young children in The Sandbox Museum and Island Playground. The Sandbox has several creative play areas (a pirate boat, airplane cockpit, market, etc.) and an upstairs devoted to arts and crafts. Island Playground is a more active option with multiple bouncy houses, inflatable slides, a castle with dress-up costumes. It also has an arts and crafts area, market & kitchen, train table and ride-on toys. For parents, there is internet access, wide-screen tv, and seating throughout the facility with periodicals to browse. Don't forget to bring socks, as shoes are not allowed in the play area.
Other ways of exploring the natural beauty of the island include dolphin watch cruises, crabbing excursions, guided beach walks and eco-tours. You can also look for loggerhead turtles, which come onshore during the summer to lay eggs. However, be aware that there are severely enforced preservation laws protecting these and other beach animals from human disturbance. The Coastal Discovery Museum conducts a Sea Turtle Protection Project, which patrols beaches during the summer to make sure nests remain safe. The museum also offers excellent exhibits on local history and regional flora and fauna.
For parents who want some time away from the kids, there are many day camps for children during the summer. These offer a wide variety of activities, including cruises, sports, arts and crafts, reading programs and ecology expeditions.While children are very welcomed at Hilton Head, pets are better left at home, as most hotels and condominiums do not allow them. If you must bring a pet, consider boarding it at the Evergreen Pet Lodge, Pet Paradise, or a local veterinary clinic.