Hilton Head Island is a beautiful place, but navigating it can be confusing. While many areas are free and open to the public, they can still be hard to find because of how the Island is set up. Much of Hilton Head is segmented into gated communities, also known as plantations. Some of them are private residential communities for people who live on the island year-round. Others have resorts, golf courses, businesses and places to visit that are open to visitors. Here is a quick run down of the different gated communities that make up Hilton Head Island.
161 Harbour Psge. | Private
One of the smaller private gated communities, Windmill Harbour is the first visitors pass when they come onto the island. Meant for year-round residents, Windmill Harbour offers many amenities, mainly focusing on yachting and boating.
The marshlands surrounding Pinckney Island and the open water access from Skull Creek, Calibogue Sound and the Atlantic Ocean provide the perfect views and water access to Windmill Harbour. The homes are filled with beautiful pastel colors, and while it is one of the smaller gated communities on the Island, 80% of the houses have views overlooking the water. The perks of living here or renting a home in Windmill Harbour is all about the boating, which is why it is home to the South Carolina Yacht Club.
For more information, call Windmill Harbour at 843-681-9235 or go to windmillharbourmarina.org.
65 Headlands Dr. | Semi-Private
While secluded, Spanish Wells is more than worth the visit. It is the second smallest community, with 350 acres and only about 200 homeowners, right on the water. Spanish Wells provides a private secluded place away from all the hubbub that the very center of the Island brings and does not offer vacation rentals or packages for visitors. Being two miles from the Cross Island Bridge, and three miles from the north end, Spanish Wells has a central location offering easy access pretty much anything on the Island in mere minutes.
They house two miles of walking and jogging trails as well as Hilton Head’s only waterfront clubhouse complete with a swimming pool and cabana, and a new pro shop and grille. Four Har-Tru tennis courts are lit for night play as well as safety along the nine-hole Cobb golf course with a full practice facility.
For more information, call Spanish Wells Plantation at 843-341-3188 or go to spanishwellsplantation.com.
Hilton Head Plantation
7 Surrey Ln. | Private
After passing Windmill Harbour along William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head plantation is located a little further down the road, home to four golf clubs and 10,000 year-round permanent residents. Homes are privately owned within the plantation, but if visitors are headed to the golf courses and clubs they are allowed within the security gates. With three parks, an Olympic-size swimming pool, two conservancies for nature preservations and 12 Har-Tru tennis courts, it is one of the biggest and most popular private gated communities for permanent residents on the Island.
Four golf clubs are located inside of Hilton Head Plantation, and if you are a member or visiting a member of any of the clubs, you are allowed access through the 24/7 security gates surrounding the community. Two of the golf clubs, the Oyster Reef Golf club and the Country Club of Hilton Head, are both semi-private clubs. The other two, Bear Creek Golf Club and Dolphin Head Golf Club, are both privately owned and operated within Hilton Head Plantation.
For more information, call Hilton Head Plantation at 843-681-8800 or go to hiltonheadplantation.com.
103 Indigo Run Dr. | Private
Right across the street from Hilton Head Plantation is Indigo Run, just past Main Street Village, the local Wal-Mart, Barnes and Noble and Publix. It is located more so out of the thick of the tourist areas, and on the residential side at the north end of the Island. Visitors can rent homes and villas on a nightly or weekly basis, but this community has much more full time residents than vacationers.
Home to the Golden Bear Golf Club and The Golf Club, Indigo Run is perfect for residential families on the Island. It is close enough to many necessities while still having privacy away from many of the crowds that swarm the Island during the spring and summer seasons.
For more information, call Indigo Run 843-681-9195 or go to indigoruncoa.org.
108 Fort Howell Dr. | Private
Sandwiched between Hilton Head Plantation and Port Royal Plantation Beach House, Palmetto Hall Plantation is one of the smaller, more elite sections of private housing on the Island. Filled with beautiful grandiose homes and 36 holes of scenic golf, Palmetto Hall Plantation caters to those wishing to stay within a private gated community year-round.
Palmetto Hall does offer wedding packages for their beautiful scenery and Heritage golf packages for those golfers coming to the island to play or watch the RBC Heritage Golf Tournament held every April.
For more information, call Palmetto Hall at 843-342-2582 or go to palmettohallcc.com.
45 S Port Royal Dr.| Private
Port Royal Plantation is located in what is called the “heel” of the Island. The entrance into the private plantation is at the curve in the road on William Hilton Parkway. Most of the homes are privately owned and lived in year round, but some are rented out individually during the busy summer season.
Adjacent to Port Royal Plantation is the Westin Hilton Head Resort and Spa. Port Royal Plantation offers great amenities for permanent residents and vacationers with three golf courses, four tennis courts and an Olympic-size swimming pool.
Port Royal is home to 886 single-family homes with more space to grow. For the history buffs, Port Royal is home to two historical sites from the civil war and a Spanish-American War Steam Gun. For more information, call Port Royal Plantation at 843-681-5114 ext. 104 or go to portroyalplantation.net.
4 Queens Folly Rd.| Semi-private
Sitting mid-island, Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is one of the most well-known vacation areas on the Island next to Sea Pines Resort. It is home to both the Hilton Head Marriott Resort and Spa and the Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort. It also owns and operates the Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina, next to the Shelter Cove Towne Centre.
Filled with tons of activities from shopping to yachting, Shelter Cove Harbour provides everything the Palmetto Dunes guests could want. And, it is across the street from the resort itself. This gives renters, vacationers and homeowners a sense of privacy but also unparalleled access to some of the best activities, shops and restaurants on the Island.
Within the resort itself there are 11 miles of lagoons for kayaking or canoeing as well as nature trails. It also offers over 25 tennis courts, three golf courses. A private residential community, called Leamington is within the resort.
For more information, call Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort at 888-322-9091 or go to palmettodunes.com.
Yacht Cove Dr. | Private
Hidden between the Long Cove Club and Shelter Cove sits Yacht Cove. It is the smallest private gated community on the Island. With only 74 single family homes, 47 townhouses and 54 villas, Yacht Cove is a year round close-knit. Vacation rentals are not available.
Affordable options and a small community make this area perfect for families with small children. Volunteers are welcome to help out to maintain the grounds, and keep H.O.A. costs low, which many of the other communities on the Island do not offer. Living here is all about helping your neighbor, and helping yourself.
For more information, call the Yacht Cove Hotline, at 843-785-8380 or go to yachtcovehhi.com.
Long Cove Club
44 Long Cove Dr. | Private
Down the street from Palmetto Dunes is one of Hilton Head’s best kept secrets: Long Cove Club. Another small private residential community, Long Cove Club is one of the most private and secure. Built in the early 1980s Log Cove is meant for year-round and permanent living. It is considered one of the Island’s most private areas. Located just south of mid-island, the Long Cove Club has access to everything around it. It offers deep water access through their private Broad Creek harbour and marina.
Golf Digest has rated the Long Cove Club’s course #1 in South Carolina for 10 consecutive years. Since the opening of their tennis facility in 2002, it has since become a world-class tennis destination for pros and amateurs alike.
For more information, call Long Cove Club at 800-995-4069 or go to longcoveclub.org.
1000 William Hilton Parkway, Suite J-18 | Private
Right next to Long Cove Club sits Wexford Plantation, a private residential community. Wexford provides a quiet and serene place for their residents smack in the middle of the Island, located within walking distance of fun filled activities. It is known for their signature Arnold Palmer Golf course.
Wexford has six tennis courts, a clubhouse, swimming pool, shared patio area for parties that residents are welcome to use. It is home to both the Family Circle Mixed Double tennis qualifier and the local USTA junior tennis tournament.
Wexford Plantation is home to one of only three harbours along the eastern seaboard with a locking system and a 24/7 crew to maintain and open the gates for the residents.
For more information, call the Wexford Plantation 843-686-6950 or go to wexfordplantation.com.
10 Shipyard Dr. | Semi-private
Located at the south end of the Island right before Sea Pines is Shipyard Plantation. A diverse place for residents, visitors and golfers to enjoy all the amenities of the plantation. Tennis courts, jogging and biking trails, health spa and clubhouse are provided for guests and permanent residents.
Their “mix and match” style golf is split between three courses and 27 holes of manicured greenery. It is what sets Shipyard apart from the other golfing communities on the Island. The Brigantine, Clipper and Galleon courses all offer different and challenging shots for golfers.
Shipyard houses one of the biggest resorts on the Island, the Sonesta Resort. They offer room rentals, villas, suites of any size to help fit any and all vacation rental needs.
For more information, call Shipyard Plantation at 843-785-3310 or go to shipyardhhi.com.
32 Greenwood Dr. | Semi-private
The biggest plantation on Hilton Head, Sea Pines, takes up nearly a third of the Island. While it is the biggest, it is also known as the first private plantation on the Island. Charles E. Fraser began building Sea Pines Plantation in 1956 to give islanders a great place to stay.
Anyone who is not staying within the resort must pay an entrance fee. Any bikes attached to the cars are charged an additional $1 per bike.
Sea Pines is home to Harbour Town, South Beach and Lawton Stables. With over five miles of shoreline, 100 tennis courts and a 605-acre forest preserve, Sea Pines has everything anyone could ever need while on vacation. The entire vacation could be spent within Sea Pines without having to leave.
Harbour Town is one of the landmark places on the Island. It is known for its red-and-white-striped lighthouse, restaurants and beautiful views of Calibogue Sound. It’s at the Harbour Town Golf Links that PGA tour’s RBC Heritage Golf Tournament is held every year. Thousands of people flock to Hilton Head to watch the tournament. The Heritage bring in over $1.5 million into the economy each year. Sea Pines is a huge reason why Hilton Head is known as a premier golfing destination worldwide.
For more information, call The Sea Pines Resort at 843-785-3333 or go to seapines.com.