There’s something about Low Country Life in South Carolina. It’s more laid back and moves at a slower pace. There’s an air of relaxation as people stroll along the beach or bike along the trails. People are friendly; stopping to chat or say “Hello.” Whether you are planning a family getaway, a romantic weekend, or a visit with friends, Palmetto Dunes Resort on Hilton Head Island is the place to be. Named to the top 25 of Travel & Leisure Magazine’s list of “World’s Best Family Resorts,” Palmetto Dunes offers R&R without skimping on world-class amenities. Ready to plan your trip? Here’s a guide to Palmetto Dunes Resort, Hilton Head Island.
Palmetto Dunes Resort
Palmetto Dunes offers two vacation rental options; Vacation Homes and Villa Rentals. Both are available for exclusive stays of either three or seven nights. With over 25 Villa locations and over 100 vacation homes, you can find a rental for any size family or vacation style.
Vacation Homes- Perfect for families or sharing space with friends, these homes are designed to accommodate larger groups. Boasting options of three to five bedrooms, these homes can host anywhere from six to fourteen people. In addition to the many amenities included with all the properties, many vacation homes offer private pools, spas, gas grills and gourmet kitchens. Vacation homes offer a greater degree of privacy and more room to spread out as a family. Note: Some vacation homes can only be rented for a seven-day period of Saturday to Saturday during the high season (several of the summer months.)
Villa Rentals- are available with one to four bedrooms and sleep up to twelve. They offer a variety of options from Oceanfront, Resort, or Lagoon views. Some are traditional style villas while others are multi-story complexes located on the beach. We stayed in the Huntington Villas, a more traditional villa, overlooking some of the eleven miles of Lagoon scattered throughout the Palmetto Dunes area. Our unit, 7612, had everything we wanted and more. Recently remodeled, it included two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living/dining area, a screened in porch, perfect for meals, and a large porch for relaxation. I was impressed with the many extras included in the rental. I found a note on the fridge letting us know we were welcome to use their grill, along with extra propane tanks. There were plenty of sand toys, fishing rods, beach chairs and a large beach mat in the closet.
Both bedrooms had views of the lagoon and comfortable furnishings. Although I had to set a few things out of the way, the villa was very toddler-friendly. The porches were a nice place to relax in the evening. I saw several of our neighbors taking advantage of the comfy seating on the porches to view the sunset over the lagoon. The villa was only a few steps from the pool and hot tub. I was excited to find a one-foot kiddy pool available. The villa was quiet, and since it was located near the back of the complex, seemed to offer a good deal of privacy. It was a five-minute walk to the beach from the villa (unless you have a toddler who likes to stop and look at everything. Then it is a forty-five-minute walk to the beach. I recommend just carrying the toddler.)
The Vacation Homes and Villa Rentals are fully furnished and offer the following amenities:
*A washer and dryer (including a starter supply of laundry detergent)
*TV Service and Wireless Internet
*Fully Equipped Kitchens (including a starter supply of dishwasher powder and dish soap)
*Access to the Community Pool (although it is unheated during the winter months)
*2 Hours of Free Tennis Court Time Per Day (available on a first come-first serve basis)
Don’t want to leave your furry family member behind? Check out the Pet-Friendly Options- Between the dates of October 1st through March 31st, some units are dog-friendly. There is an additional nonrefundable charge for this service and is limited to one dog per unit, weighing 40 pounds or less. No pets are permitted in any of the vacation homes between April 1st through September 30th.
Covering 2000 acres with three miles of beach, you’re sure to find something to excite the nature lover or sports enthusiast in your family. Start (or end!) the day with a leisurely bike ride. There are several miles of paved bike trails on the resort and, as long as bikes are not ridden in the water, they can be ridden on the beach. Hilton Head Island is extremely bike-friendly. You can leave the Palmetto Dunes complex if you like and ride along over 50 miles of public use pathways. It’s a great way to see the island and easier than traveling by car. If you choose to rent bikes for three or more days, Hilton Head Outfitters will deliver and pick up the bikes free of charge. It was wonderful to have a bike right outside our door whenever we wanted to visit another section of the complex. Bike Parking is available at many locations in Palmetto Dunes.
Spend a morning or afternoon indulging in water sports. Along with bikes, Hilton Head Outfitters offers canoe and kayak rentals. Take one of the three routes through the peaceful lagoon and enjoy the lush natural beauty and wildlife. Note: Participants have to be at least five years of age. Want to experience the wind and surf? Stand Up Paddleboards are available for rental and Surf lessons are available.
Want to relax with the family? Catch and Release fishing is available in the lagoons and the miles of white sandy beach draw you to the water. Spend the day playing in the surf, walking the dog, building sand castles or just relaxing with a book.
For the Golfers in the family, Palmetto Dunes is one of the top rated Golf Courses in the Carolinas. The Robert Trent Jones Golf Course, named South Carolina’s Golf Course of the Year and one of the 2017 Best Resort Courses by GolfWeek, provides views of the Atlantic Ocean and two oceanfront holes. The Arthur Hills Course, rated one of the 2017 Best Courses You Can Play in South Carolina by the South Carolina Golf Course Ratings Panel, is a ten hole golf course built among the natural habitat. You might see birds, deer, or even alligators! If you are looking for a challenge, the George Fazio Course is the most difficult public course on the island. Golf packages and golf instruction are available.
Love Tennis? Palmetto Dunes has 26 courts and are ranked in the top 25 in the world by Tennis Resorts Online. If you don’t play well, like me, don’t worry. Instruction is available. They’re ranked number four in the world for instruction and programming and number three in the world for overall Children’s programs. And be sure to check out the newest craze; PickleBall. It’s a cross between ping-pong, tennis and wiffle ball. Using one of the perforated balls (like a wiffle ball), opponents use racquets resembling ping-pong racquets and try to hit the ball over the tennis net. It’s a family-friendly activity that’s sure to provide plenty of exercise and laughter. Take it from me, it’s more fun than it sounds when described.
Love Boating? Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina has everything from a Pirates Cruise that’s fun for the entire family to private charters. If you love nature, Dolphin, Nature and Eco Cruises are available. During the summer you can experience a fireworks show on Tuesdays and live music on selected nights. Fun festivals and events happen throughout the year, including a Here Comes Santa festival in November and a Parade of Boats in November. Prefer water sports? You can rent kayaks, canoes, or paddleboards. If you are feeling adventurous, bring the entire family to Family Ski day!
With all the dining options available at Palmetto Dunes or across the street at Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina, you won’t go hungry! Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina offer these dining options for every taste:
Bistro 17, a waterfront French Cafe with indoor and outdoor seating. Open daily from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM, they offer an extensive wine selection.
Bucci’s Italian Cuisine– Family owned by the husband and wife team, Bob Murray and Christina Bucci-Murray, they deliver Italian cuisine Tuesday through Sunday from 12 PM until 9:30 PM. If the weather’s good, take advantage of their patio seating.
ELA’s Blu Water Grille– If you are looking for an upscale evening, this is the place to be! Featured in Bon Appetit, you can find freshly caught seafood and prime steaks while overlooking beautiful views of the marina.
Frosty’s Italian Ices and More-When you just want a snack, Frosty’s is the place to be. A family-owned business, they serve everything from gelato and frozen yogurt to fresh baked cookies. It’s a fun place to stop in the morning for a cup of their specialty coffee.
Hilton Head Social Bakery– If you want beautiful pastries and desserts, Hilton Head Social Bakery is for you. The pastries are large enough to share and the gluten-free and vegan offerings taste as good as they look. The bakery is locally owned and operated by chef Philippe Feret.
Mediterranean Harbour Bar & Grill– Need a restaurant that caters to special needs like gluten-free and vegan as well as serving traditional dishes? The Meditteranean Harbour Bar & Grill serves homemade Lebanonese cuisine that’s unavailable anywhere else on Hilton Head Island. You’ll be able to dine in comfort while overlooking the water.
San Miguel’s Mexican Cafe– Whether you are stopping by for an award-winning margarita with friends or a casual evening with friends, you can enjoy freshly prepared Mexican cuisine as well as live outdoor entertainment each evening.
Scott’s Fish Market -has been a fixture on Hilton Head Island for 27 years! They have a fun outdoor seating area and make a variety of fresh seafood, steaks, and pasta dishes. Try their sunset dining specials.
Don’t feel like crossing the road? Stay inside the Palmetto Dunes resort complex and enjoy one of these options:
Alexander’s Restaurant & Wine Bar– Looking for upscale dining without leaving the resort? Walk to Alexander’s! An upscale seafood restaurant, they use locally caught seafood and as much locally sourced food as possible. This is a hopping place so it’s best to make a reservation.
The Dunes House– Feel like dining while overlooking the ocean? The Dunes House provides a view of the Atlantic while serving casual meals for lunch and dinner. If the weather is good, take advantage of the outdoor seating. It’s almost like having a picnic on the beach.
Big Jim’s BBQ, Burgers & Pizza– Located beside the Golf Pro shop, Big Jim’s offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Sit on the patio and view golf games held on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course or have a meal inside. It’s a casual atmosphere and very kid-friendly. Try their breakfast sandwich. You won’t be disappointed.
The General Store– Hungry and in a hurry? Stop by The General Store and pick up food to go! Not only do they have a huge selection of bulk candies and other goodies, you can purchase an ice cream cone for those sweltering summer days. Need something a little more substantial? Stop by the Food Bar in the back of the store for a sandwich (using Boar’s Head meat), a salad, or for breakfast, a cinnamon roll.
Palmetto Dunes is the spot for unwinding and making memories with the family. We left feeling refreshed and renewed. Have you been to Hilton Head Island? What is your favorite activity or place to visit?