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Hilton Head Directory’s 2020 Guide To Hilton Head Vacation Rentals

If it’s cold and gray where you are now or your life is stressful because of all those unfulfilled New Year’s resolutions … listen up.  Even if it ISN’T cold where you are and you ARE losing that weight, listen up anyway.  Because it’s time to de-stress and admit you and your gang deserve a vacation. A vacation rental at one of the best spots on earth – A Hilton Head Vacation Rental.

Now, we DON’T pick sides here at Hilton Head Directory, but the truth is, there are so many types of rentals available, it’s tough to say which is best.  Let’s talk a little bit about it…

Why Hilton Head Island you ask?

 First things first:  Reasons you should come to Hilton Head Island for your vacation…

  • Beaches. Tons of them.  And they’re beautiful, balmy, white sugary-sand, deep, warm and selected as one of the best family beach vacations in the nation.  
  • Now, let’s add golf with dozens of gorgeous low-country and ocean-side golf courses designed to challenge any level of player.
  • Don’t forget tennis, fishing, boating, kayaking, swimming, dolphin tours, horseback riding on the beach, paddle boarding, nature trails, hiking and biking and oh, what about restaurants? There are tons of them offering live jazz music and oldies, seafood and pasta, steaks and chops and authentic low country recipes to please any palate. The seafood is to die for with fresh caught daily fish dishes and local, low-country shrimp that make Bubba Gump drool with envy. And the weather. Temperatures to please even the most dedicated sun worshippers.

Did I just hear someone yelling,“I-wanna-go-and-I-wanna-go-now! But wait. Where should I stay?”

10,000+ choices for Hilton Head Island Vacation Rental locations

Having lots of choices is really a good thing, don’t you think?  For instance, there are over 10,000 properties available for vacation rental.  Yup, you’re right.  That’s a lot.  Everything from a whole house rental, to condos, to villas, to golf resort rentals are all right there on the island ready and waiting for your visit.  That means there’s a vacation rental property just right for any size vacation group.  From just you all alone on to you and all your golfing buddies.  Or bring your spouse, the kids, the grandparents, in-laws … the whole gang along including the family pets and rent a whole house with 3, 4 or 5 or even more bedrooms. They’re all there, ready and waiting for your visit.

Where to stay on Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island vacation rental locations vary as much as the properties themselves. There are Hilton Head vacation rentals on the beach and course-side walk outs on to a golf course.  Some have beach views.  Some forested with beautiful low country live oaks.  Some on lakes or ponds and some with views of the Calibogue Sound and more with views of Port Royal Sound and still more right on the ocean.

Let’s start by just selecting a sample area of Hilton Head Island where you might like to stay on vacation.  Say you want one that’s convenient to the beaches, shops and golf courses for example.  Like the world renown Sea Pines area, home of the Heritage Classic golf tournament every spring and anchored by historic Harbour Town with its iconic lighthouse, marina, boutique shops, family restaurants and fun taverns! Sea Pines Vacation Rentals alone offer some 500 different homes ready for vacation renters; almost 500 Condos and Villas available to vacationers; 700+ Golf Resort rentals; and literally hundreds of these rental properties are “pet friendly” Hilton Head rentals too, so don’t forget to bring Rover for runs on the beach.  And that’s just in Sea Pines, only one of Hilton Head Island’s dozen or more beautiful communities that offer vacation rental properties to visitors.

Look & Book Now … not later Whether you want a luxury villa or need a whole house for your family and pets, there’s a vacation rental to fit your budget AND your needs on Hilton Head Island.  The best advice is to look around at the myriad of wonderful choices Hilton Head Island vacation rentals offers and book the one you want now to be sure you get the time of year you want too. Whether it’s just want to get a tan and snooze on the beach, or play golf on a different course every day, or have fun with the kids in the ocean … or just to de-stress.  Stop stalling. Go pack the sunblock and we’ll see you on the beach at HHI!

The Hilton Head Directory Top 10 Golf Courses in the Area

Hilton Head Island is one of the best golf destinations in South Carolina and southeastern United States. It’s home to Harbour Town Golf Links and the Heritage Classic on the PGA Tour as well as several other high-end resort golf courses and some pretty stellar private clubs as well.

With so many signature level courses in the area, and such a wide range of skill when it comes to golfers, any “Top 10” is going to be wrong.  It’s just that simple.  If you like a links style course, then you might agree with some of the names on this list and if you want amazing views, then the same can be true – we’re not all going to agree. 

But, “If You Play Golf, Then You’re My Friend,” so we’re going to try to give you a taste of courses that are not only on the island but those really good ones in the area. 

With more than 15 courses open to the public, Hilton Head Island an ideal spot for a golf vacation or retirement.  And when you throw nearby Bluffton, S.C., in the mix, the opportunities for great public golf expand even more to include well over 20 public access courses in the area.

Many of the courses are on the premium side with green fees well above $100 (Harbour Town’s rack rate is $365 in peak season, including cart and forecaddie fee), but you can get lower rates through a resort golf package or in the shoulder seasons (Heron Point by Pete Dye goes down to $99 at certain times) and on some of the courses in Bluffton.

With that said, the area offers a bucket-list golf experience or two to go with lots of other solid options to go with exceptional dining, water sports, biking, hiking and other activities. Here’s a rundown of my top 10 courses you can play on Hilton Head Island and nearby Bluffton.

1. Harbour Town Golf Links at Sea Pines Resort

This is no-brainer for me as Harbour Town Golf Links, which just celebrated its 50th anniversary, is one of my favorite courses in the world, period.  It’s also very highly respected among PGA Tour players, and comes in at no. 14 on Matt Ginella’s top 50 U.S. courses you can play.  This Pete Dye & Jack Nicklaus collaboration has everything – tradition, interesting holes, small greens, and a great routing that opens up to some of the best views in golf with the 18th framed by Calibogue Sound and the famous red and white lighthouse.  Add in a world-class clubhouse, locker room and restaurant with impeccable service, and you’ve got a five-star experience in every way.

2. Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III at Sea Pines

You get a view of the ocean from the par-3 15th at Atlantic Dunes at Sea Pines Resort in Hilton Head Island, S.C.

The newest course at Sea Pines, Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III, opened four years ago after a complete makeover by Davis Love III, his brother, Mark and design associate Scot Sherman of what used to be the Ocean Course.  They took out hundreds of trees, restored dunes and gave the course the ocean character that it lacked before the redo.  The result is my pick for second best public course on the island. Like Harbour Town, the holes are interesting, but there’s more water that comes into play and the greens are much larger.  While pretty much all the holes are good, the highlight is the par-3 15th, which is one of just two holes with true Atlantic Ocean views on the island.  The finishing stretch after that gets no less interesting.

3. Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort Robert Trent Jones Course

The oldest course at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort (1970), the Robert Trent Jones Course at Palmetto Dunes is still one of Hilton Head’s best.  It’s also the other course on the island where golfers can see the Atlantic Ocean, which comes into view on the par-5 10th.  While the 10th is certainly the signature hole, it’s simply part of a great transition to a terrific back nine, where the finish, with water coming into play on most of the holes, is among the best in the area.  The course, which is always in good shape, it seems, features a great variety of holes overall, and the par 3s are stellar.

4. Heron Point by Pete Dye at Sea Pines

The new clubhouse at Sea Pines’ Heron Point is one of many recent enhancements to the Hilton Head Island resort, and if money is no object, you’ll want to play all three courses at Sea Pines, including Heron Point by Pete Dye.  It has all the elements you might expect in a Lowcountry Dye design – water, bulkheads, plenty of sand and perfect conditions.  Play it from the back tees, and you’ve got quite a test, but there are six more sets to make it enjoyable for most every level of player.

5. Old South Golf Links

Built on one of the best settings in area just over the bridge from Hilton Head Island, Old South Golf Links near Bluffton is a must play if you an extended stay in the area.  Several holes of this Clyde Johnston design are right up against the intracoastal marshes of McKay’s Creek with views of the Calibogue Sound in the distance.

6. May River Golf Club

May River Golf Club is a Jack Nicklaus signature design at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, S.C.. and this high-end Nicklaus design is arguably the most well-conditioned course in Bluffton.  May River’s championship layout makes its way around the May River as well as the coastal wetlands.  Caddies are required, so it’s a premium experience, but like the Sea Pines courses, well worth it, if budget isn’t a concern.  It’s also a good stay-and-play option with The Inn at Pametto Bluff, an Auberge Resort.

7. Oyster Reef Golf Club

Recently renovated by original architect Rees Jones, Oyster Reef is the flagship course of the Heritage Golf Group courses on the island. Known for its signature par-3 sixth with the Port Royal Sound as its backdrop, Oyster Reef is a solid design from start to finish, and certainly playable by all levels.  With new greens and bunkers, it’s that much better, and the clubhouse restaurant, Lagerhead Tavern, offers terrific food and entertainment.

8. Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort George Fazio Course

A favorite course among locals is the 1974 George Fazio Course at Palmetto Dunes.  I do like the Arthur Hills Course at Palmette Dunes, too, but I think the Fazio Course is a little less tricky and more enjoyable.  (The first hole, for example, on Hills is a real bear.) Fazio’s par 70 plays more than 6,800 yards from the back tees (just two par 5s), so it’s pretty challenging, but play a tee or two up and it’s pretty friendly as well.  It also doesn’t lack in the scenery department.  The par-4 16th, with water down the left side and plenty of bunkers, plus a double-green shared with the 11th, is the signature hole.

9. Hilton Head National

A standard in the Bluffton area since 1989, Hilton Head National features two nines (it used to be 27 holes before growth in the area claimed nine holes for development).  The remaining nines were designed by Bobby Weed and the other by Gary Player, which are distinctively different. With no homes on the course, the layout delivers a terrific natural setting.  Tee times here are also a bargain and the course earns high value marks on Golf Advisor.

10. Crescent Pointe Golf Club

Another Bluffton favorite is Crescent Pointe, which was designed by Arnold Palmer and opened in 2000.  It’s another challenging layout that incorporates the natural terrain and water features of the Lowcountry.  Among the highlights is the par-3 ninth, that plays nearly 220 yards from the back tee to an island green.  The last three holes play along the banks of the Colleton River. Each of these are great courses, but like picking your favorite child, it can be tough.  If you’re joining us for an extended period, then the more you can play, the better you’ll be, but there’s no doubt in this:  golf, at least in Hilton Head, is a great time.

Hilton Head Island Golf Courses

Golf has been part of life on Hilton Head Island since some of the first major developments on the island beginning in 1962.  Today, Hilton Head Island is home to dozens of courses ranging from “very good” to “championship” and while many are private, public access is available on quite a few. 

Now, at the Hilton Head Directory, we try to take care of everybody, but as locals, we do know a lot about the golf courses on the island.  In fact, nearly everyone here plays at some level, but what a great environment to be able to pick up the sticks and go for “a good walk spoiled.”

As if that wasn’t enough, the names of the folks who designed these courses read like a “who’s-who” of golf course architects – Robert Trent Jones Sr., Pete Dye, and Jack Nicklaus. 

Golfers of all skill levels can enjoy exciting golf experiences including oceanfront courses, traditional parkland courses, and more, all played with a delightful side of Southern hospitality and year-round enjoyable weather.

Even better? 

It’s March, now.  The Heritage will be here next month, and the cool mornings are giving way to warm, sunny days.  Azaleas and Daffodils are beginning to bloom, and, for the real golf fans, we know Augusta isn’t far away. 

It’s not surprising that Hilton Head Island has been voted the #10 golf destination in the world by Golf Digest readers.  In addition to being a fantastic place to play, Hilton Head Island also hosts some of the golf world’s top events.  The Island is a PGA TOUR event destination as well as the host of the annual RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.  Use this map of Hilton Head Island to view public and private golf courses around the Lowcountry and learn more about each course’s par, yardage, and ratings. Not sure which course to check out first?  Stay a few extra days and play every one you want to!

Let’s Just Make This Easy…

Hilton Head Island is one of the best places in the world.  Period. 

When you use the Hilton Head Directory, you’ll have access to loads of great businesses that are here for you – no matter what you’re up to.  On Hilton Head Island, a new adventure awaits around every corner.

The truth is this – there are countless ways to see why Hilton Head Island has been chosen “#1 Island in the Continental U.S.” and “#2 Island in the World” by Travel+Leisure Magazine, and the “Top Island in the United States” by Condé Nast Traveler Magazine. Come find out why we aren’t lying!

What To Expect From a Trip to Hilton Head Island

It’s simple:  Hilton Head Island is one of America’s best kept secrets.  Why?  I have no idea.  Maybe it’s because they’ve kept the high rises and flashing neon to a bare minimum.  Maybe it’s because it’s not right off the interstate.  Maybe it’s due to the fact that a lot of the country has to drive past places like Myrtle Beach or Panama City to get there. 

No matter the “why” the “what” is far more important! 

The Beach

Let’s face it, nobody plans a beach vacation without a beach, and unlike so many places along the Atlantic Coast, Hilton Head offers wide, beautiful beaches to visitors.  With over 12 miles of breathtaking coastline, Hilton Head Island is world-renowned for their white sandy beaches, crystal clear warm water, and easy accessibility.  These wide, flat beaches are perfectly walkable (and you’ll see plenty of folks, locals and tourists, riding bikes on the beach), and ideal for visitors of all ages.  Not to mention they’re also extremely dog-friendly, with varying “off-leash hours” (you can find those here) throughout the year.  At a place and time when many public beaches are saying “no” to bringing your furball, Hilton Head says “YES!”

Where To Stay

Hilton Head Island knows what vacation-goers want, and they deliver.  There are numerous stunning hotels, inns and resorts on the island, including six AAA four diamond award winners!  Whether you’re looking to be pampered poolside, or for a more stripped back, cost-effective option, Hilton Head Island has something for everyone.  There are literally hundreds of AirBnB options and plenty of hotels with prices ranging from tame to insane. 

One favorite of many Hilton Head Directory readers is the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island, nestled right along the pristine Hilton Head Island coastline, on eleven lush and beautifully landscaped acres.  No, we don’t live there, but we drive past it so often and many times, friends visiting the island have shared the wonderful experiences they’ve had.  You won’t be let down and you might not want to leave.  More than a few times, we’ve joined those same friends at the lagoon-style swimming pool, took naps in their covered cabanas, spent our mornings and evenings on the beach playing with cousins, nephews and nieces.  Something to remember if you have younger kids is, of course, how to keep them busy.  Sonesta has a “Just Us Kids”  club our friends with small children have always raved about…

The Great Outdoors

If there’s one thing Hilton Head Island knows how to do, it’s how to have fun.  There’s world-famous golf courses, every kind of water sport, over 50 miles of paths for walking and biking, and so much more. It’s one of those destinations where you can pack your itinerary full of adventures and excursions, or you can plan to do nothing but relax in the sun.

One day you might drop a kayak into the ocean, the sound, or the many miles of freshwater nearby with Outside Hilton Head.  Here’s a chance to get an up-close look at the islands rivers and marshes and the many oyster beds nestled along the water.  You’ll find you have a lot of options, from an hourly kayak rental or a fully guided daily tour led by a local nature guide and expert.   

Another day, you might check out ziplining with ZipLine Hilton Head, on a thrilling two-hour eco-adventure zipline tour!  Not only will you (and a lot of teenagers) have a blast zipping through Hilton Head’s massive live oak trees, but your friendly guides can also share boundless information about the wildlife on the island – and the views are absolutely incredible!

What to Eat

Anyone viewing the Hilton Head Directory should have already figured out there are over 250 restaurants on Hilton Head Island, and, while you can’t try all of them, as locals, you can bet we have some favorites.  From candle-lit fine dining with an stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean at Ocean Lounge, to live music and catfish by the water at Skull Creek Boathouse, to your morning coffee and fresh-baked croissants at Hilton Head Social Bakery… you and the family can definitely try to eat your way through the island.   Chances are, you won’t find a meal you don’t love!

Furball Friendly

Even beyond the dog friendly beaches, Hilton Head Island has so much to offer when it comes to traveling with your pup.  The many walking trails, parks, and dog friendly patios can make your time there with the doggos incredibly easy.  (See a helpful list of dog friendly options here.)

Making Spring Break Great Again

You made your New Year’s resolutions in January, got back into the routine of school by February, and by March, well, your family is more than ready to get away for spring break. Here at the Hilton Head Directory, we’ve put our thinking caps on to get you everything you need to know about Spring Break in Hilton Head, so if sun-soaked beaches and island life are calling your family’s name, and you would like to make travel plans easier, then Hilton Head Island is your family’s upcoming spring break destination. 

Staying in the Right Place

First thing’s first: make sure you’re staying surfside.  Hilton Head Island is home to some of America’s favorite beaches, and the best way to enjoy the beach is to make the beach your backyard.  Early risers can sneak in a sunrise each morning, while sleepy teens can bask in the sun all afternoon.

Many of Hilton Head Island’s resorts offer oceanfront views and close proximity to surf and sand.  The Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island offers a “Just Us Kids” supervised children’s club to keep the kiddos entertained at the resort.  The program includes game time, beach adventures, swimming and arts and crafts.

Depending on your family’s size, a vacation home might give everyone the space they need. There are plenty of beachside rentals available throughout Hilton Head Island.  From condos and villas with just one bedroom, to larger homes accommodating large groups of sometimes 15 or more people, we’re sure you’ll find a great vacation rental on Hilton Head Island that will suit everyone’s needs.

You Gotta Eat!

You simply can’t leave the Island without sampling our fresh seafood, and Southern favorites like hushpuppies, shrimp and grits, Lowcountry boil, and oysters—they’re Hilton Head Island staples! Taste your way through Hilton Head Island and enjoy over 250 with these family-friendly restaurants. Options may even include pet-friendly patios, fine dining or dining al fresco close to the water.

What Are You Going To Do?

Destination?  Check.  Home base?  Check.  Now, it’s time to plan out how you’ll keep the kiddos busy.  Spring is the perfect time to explore the great outdoors on Hilton Head Island—the weather is just right.  It’s easy to fill your day on Hilton Head Island with activities located either on property, or near your resort.  Try a new sport like pickleball (a special twist on tennis), rent a kayak or test your putting skills with miniature golf.

If you want to keep everyone off the couch: Grab some bikes.  The best way to get around Hilton Head Island is on two wheels—the American League of Bicyclists named the Island a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community—and spring is the perfect time for a pedal. Many resorts can reserve your bike for you ahead of your visit.  Here’s a great biker’s guide to Hilton Head Island so you can sort everything you need to know about over 50 miles of available paths that criss-cross the Island.

If you want to feel the rush: Take your vacation to new heights.  The kids will love catching a bird’s-eye view of Hilton Head Island on a zip lining, parasailing, or helicopter adventure.

If want to learn something new: Visit the Coastal Discovery Museum.  On the 68-acre Historic Honey Horn property, you’ll learn about our beautiful environment, history, culture, and art.  Here, the kids can explore the Museum’s many trails and spot ancient live oaks.  The Kids’ Zone, located in the Discovery House, makes learning about our natural and cultural history fun through activities like a scavenger hunt, make-your-own-puppets, puzzles, games, and more.  During the spring, you can take a peek at the Museum’s “bird nest cam” to watch as eggs are laid, incubated, and hatched. 

Arrrrrre you lookin’ for treasure on vacation?  Take a ride on THE pirate ship.  A family favorite for years, pirate tours, take the young and the young at heart on pirate cruises two to four times daily, complete with a treasure hunt and water cannons.  Need we say more?

Make an event of it: There’s always a party on Hilton Head Island, and Spring Break is no exception.

Planning a family vacation is not always an easy task, but families have been making Hilton Head Island their spring break go-to for decades, and we think you can see why.  Before you book, make sure to check out the Hilton Head Directory vendors – we’ve got everything from bars and restaurants to car repair shops and spas. 

It’s like you’re here already! 

What’s the Big Deal?

Everybody wants to know what makes Hilton Head so “cool” and the truth is, it’s not something you can ever really put your finger on.  It goes all the way back to when William Hilton spotted the island while exploring Port Royal Sound in 1663. 

In fact, if you think that Hilton Head is a “new” thing, check this out – it’s a great history of the island and really puts things in perspective.  We’ve been here a long time. 

So what is it that makes Hilton head such a neat place?  Is it the oaks lining the roads at Sea Pines and its iconic lighthouse?  Maybe it’s just the ride across the bridge as you leave Bluffton and see Hilton Head resting low against the tides. 

Is it golf courses?  Horseback riding?  Miles of open beaches? 

It’s all of that and more.  Great places to eat like the Black Marlin Bayside Grill or shopping at the Piggly Wiggly.

Hilton Head is a place that still feels local and small and yet, we take care of and meet millions of visitors and new friends every year. 

In a lot of ways, that same vibe is what we’ve built with the Hilton Head Directory.  We wanted to make sure you saw the businesses that locals shop with and trust, from car repair shops to taxi services. 

THAT’S who Hilton Head is and that’s where we live and work.  If you’re a local business and ready to join us, then simply click here to see how and if you’re going to be vacationing with us for a while, then everybody you need to know is probably here in the pages of the Hilton Head Directory.  See you soon!

Welcome to the Hilton Head Directory!

Sooo, welcome to the very first blog for the Hilton Head Directory.  Here’s the deal:  Everybody loves Hilton head, but do you really know where to go?  Sure, you can go “Google” anything, and maybe – just maybe – the folks that wrote the review, or the blog, or the article have actually been there. 

But probably not. 

That’s the difference here – we live here.  We work here.  We know that it’s impossible to get anywhere quickly on a Saturday afternoon in the summer (That’s a writer-downer for all of those who are going to be seeing us soon). 

Mostly, though, we want you to know that if you’re going to be joining us for a week, or a year, or a lifetime, that the businesses represented in the Hilton Head Directory are folks you can trust. 

Sure, some of them are “big” corporations, but most of them are small businesses, with owners working side-by-side their employees. 

So whether you’re looking for a plumber, a good bar to day drink and eat tacos at, or a reliable place to get a set of tires, we know where to find those folks in Hilton Head Island. 

Now, let’s get one thing sorted out – right now, you’re not going to find everything and everybody you need in the Hilton Head Directory.  You gotta give us a little time.  Not to worry, by the time you probably get to read this, the Hilton Head Directory will be filled up (or filling up), so no worries. 

Most of all, we just want to welcome you to Hilton Head and to the Hilton Head Directory.  We’re not here to replace the other directories, we’re here to make sure you – our user, is able to find “the real Hilton Head” – where the locals are and the businesses we trust.  And if you’re reading this and ARE a local and a business owner, we’d love to have you join the directory.  It’s pretty easy to do – simply click on the “Advertise With Us” button on nearly any page of the Hilton Head Directory or click here to do it, too.