Coastal Discovery Museum

History, nature, culture and art all converge on the 68-acre property that is open to visitors year round with permanent and temporary collections, interactive exhibits and programs for the whole family.

For a rare look at life on Hilton Head Island before developers of hotels, gated communities and golf courses, the Coastal Discovery Museum located on the historic Honey Horn land is a perfect introduction to many aspects of the island. From its history and many changes over the years to the plants and wildlife that thrive on the island and the artists who depict both aspects, this is an informative and interactive way to experience Hilton Head Island.


The Discovery House dates back to the mid-1800s with additions built over the years as recently as the 1930s. Today, the house features a permanent exhibit outlining the history of Hilton Head Island from farming and the oyster industry to the earliest settlers and slaves. A large part of this history focuses on what life was like “before the bridge,” which is a term heard often on tours around Hilton Head, as connecting the island to South Carolina’s mainland marked a turning point for all those who lived and worked here.

CoastalDiscoveryA child-friendly room focuses on local wildlife like birds of prey and sea life, with videos, taxidermied animals and a live diamond back terrapin. Five to six temporary exhibits per year range from local artists to traveling exhibits and may include talks with artists about the works displayed. The house also doubles as a gift shop, with local art, games, books, jewelry and food for sale that benefit the museum as well as the local craftspeople.

A walk on the Around the Horn trail leads to the property’s three boardwalks, a butterfly enclosure, cemetery, heritage garden, and many of the older buildings on the property. Plenty of interpretive panels are available along the way, and interactive exhibits will keep kids entertained and educated. The stunning camellia garden has 120 different varieties of the colorful Southern bloom, and the horse barn provides fun photo opportunities with the property’s equines in the background.

To enhance the experience of exploring the museum and its grounds, there are programs offered like guided walks, educational talks and live animal programs, including several off-site tours. In the summer months, the loggerhead sea turtle talk and walk held Monday through Thursday evenings is quite popular.  The blue crab discovery on Tuesday and Thursday mornings is also a fun family activity.

DSC00298The Coastal Discovery Museum is a must-see on Hilton Head Island for fascinating education and fun for the whole family.

2014 Current & Upcoming Exhibits

Through December 31, 2014:Finding Freedom’s Home: Archaeology at Mitchelville

In 2012 archaeologists investigated a portion of historic Mitchelville and found evidence of houses, barrel wells and a large refuse pit. They recovered more than 20,000 artifacts representing the personal belongings, tools and household goods of Mitchelville’s former residents.

June 21 – August 11: Gullah Geechee Colors of an Island

Artist Amiri Farris will exhibit large-scale pieces of his new work which feature themes of Gullah culture, low country scenery, flora and fauna. Farris received his Masters of Fine Art in Painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design and has received many accolades and awards including Gullah Artist of the Year.


70 Honey Horn Drive
Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
(843) 689-6767
Mon – Sat, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sun, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Open all year. Call for holiday hours.



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