A vacation on Hilton Head Island can be many things—a relaxing escape, a memory-filled family adventure, a romantic getaway or a dash of each—and it all starts with where you stay.
Hilton Head has a variety of homes, villas, beachside condos and resorts for vacationers to settle in and enjoy. Each of these temporary homes serve up a little something different and gives visitors the chance to retreat back to a convenient, fun and peaceful place to stay.
The accommodations are many, so check out this guide to see what you should book for your next trip to Hilton Head.
Hilton Head is known for all of its various communities that developed from past plantations—Sea Pines, Palmetto Dunes, Windmill Harbour, Indigo Run. These communities offer some of the most indulgent amenities on the island from golf courses and tennis courts to marinas and luxury accommodations with gourmet restaurants.
These communities are safe and give visitors enough room to enjoy the nature on the island and get a glimpse of the wildlife—alligators swimming in the swamps, birds enjoying the sun and turtles coming up to a pond’s surface for treats. In these private communities everything stays in tiptop shape, and guests get all kinds of exclusive offers. The bike trails wind all throughout these communities so guests can get a glimpse of all that they offer.
“It’s really a great experience to relax and enjoy, to go through the different plantations,” said Chris Bracken, the director of sales and marketing at the Sonesta Resort. “We have trails throughout this plantation, as well as on the island.”
Resorts are one of the most popular accommodations on the island. They have their perks—and lots of them. They have all kinds of services of highest quality to cater their guests. Many have day care services so mom and dad can relax for a bit by the pool or go on a romantic date while the kids play are away.
A lot of the resorts on the island are in private communities. Guests don’t have to go far for anything—bike rentals, a game of golf, a bite to eat. When vacationers stay at resorts in these communities, they can get access to private facilities. They offer easier access to some activities that guests staying off the plantation would not. Almost all of the resorts are set on the beach and have rooms with ocean views.
In addition to all of the features and services that hotels offer, resorts usually have multiple dining options and more recreational activities—more pools, more bikes and other activities.
“We have the bikes right here for our guests and people love it,” said Bracken.
A resort is not just one building; it’s a complex that offers more for people that want to settle in for a week. Swimming pools, restaurants, gardens, shops, spas. At a hotel you might find a swimming pool, but at a resort there’s more likely to be multiple pools with a variety of lounging options—cabanas, hammocks, chaises and not just the typical poolside chairs.
Great for: Vacationers
For more information about resorts on Hilton Head, visit our resorts page.
Whether it’s a condo or beach house right on the water or a home snug in the trees, Hilton Head has a temporary home to fit any vacationer’s needs. There are a multitude of vacation rental options so guests can find exactly what they want and there are even rental agencies that can help.
Instead of going straight to an owner to rent a house, a visitor can rent from a homeowner that’s part of a rental agency. Their vacation planners can help visitors decide what kind of place they want to rent and stay within their budget. They’ll find the perfect condo for a family of four or a beach house fit for a huge family reunion vacation. They’ll help narrow the options down and show you exactly what it is that’s available.
“We don’t want any surprises for our guests,” said Stacey Hutcheson at Beach Properties of Hilton Head. “We’re very straightforward with what they are going to get.”
If anything comes up—there’s construction or a huge event going on where you’re staying—then someone will notify you and try to find a better option if that’s what you want.
Rental agencies provide more security and insurance. If anything breaks or goes wrong, they are there to help. They have a help line with someone available 24-7. If anyone gets locked out, they can call the agency and get the help they need.
“You can get in touch with someone right away,” said Hutcheson.
Beach houses are a bigger, more private option that can give guests a little more feel for life on the island. So anyone looking to live like a local might consider renting a home for their stay.
“When someone rents a home, they’re going to have a little bit more privacy,” said Hutcheson.
Since there are a lot of different properties, with varying personalities and décor, there is bound to be one that fits everyone’s taste. Whether it be a long stay, family gatherings or a romantic couples’ getaway, there’s place for everyone. You generally get more room per dollar and it’s all the more private.
Be sure to start looking early to get the prime pick of everything. This is especially true if you’re looking to stay during the spring or summer months. Be aware that there can be a minimum number of days that guests have to rent the home for.
With beautiful homes that back up to the ocean, it’s no wonder people make annual vacations to Hilton Head. A lot of families will find a house they like and rent it every year.
“It becomes a tradition for them,” said Hutcheson.
Great for: Big family trips, couples looking for more privacy
Condos and Villas
What’s the best thing about renting a condo or villa? They are right on the beach. Most villas have two bedrooms. Buildings can be up to five stories high, so many have an ocean view to wake up to every morning.
These are one of the most popular options for families and friends vacationing. Guests still get some of the great services that hotels and resorts offer, but on a smaller scale for a better price.
“Sometimes the villas can be more economical,” said Hutcheson.
The types of condos and villas on the island are many. There are luxury rentals on private communities, where a game of golf is a short walk away. There are also more casual condos in popular shopping and dining areas.
Great for: A trip with friends
Guests can also choose to stay at a hotel, which also have a variety of services and amenities. With shuttle services and a staff that can direct visitors to the best activities on the island, hotels can be just as great.
They range from luxury hotels in a resort to smaller, more cost efficient ones off the beach. A smaller hotel would be a great option for those looking to save a little and spend more on the activities.
Great for: Business trips—everything is taken care of, you can focus on your work
For more information about hotels on Hilton Head, go to our hotels and resorts page.