The Perfect Place to Spend the Holidays in South Carolina

Call Hilton Head Home for the Holidays

There’s no better place to visit during the holidays in South Carolina than Hilton Head Island. To say Hilton Head Island has holiday cheer and spirit is an understatement. This charming South Carolina island has tons of great holiday events and activities for tourists and locals to enjoy. 

At Sunset Rentals, we want you to get the most out of your holiday getaway to Hilton Head Island. To help you plan your trip, we’ve compiled a guide on the best holiday events Hilton Head Island has to offer.

Holiday Events on Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island is chock-full of holiday-related events! Whether you’re looking to give back to the community, learn some holiday recipes, or enjoy a holiday light show, Hilton Head Island has an event for everyone.

  • Riverside Holiday Bizarre: Browse goods from local vendors and get entered to win a prize in a raffle at this annual holiday bizarre. Each family gets one entry, and you can score additional entries by donating toys to Toys for Tots.
  • Holiday Market: Head to the Coastal Discovery Museum for three days of the holiday market. You’ll enjoy food sampling, a chance to meet a variety of authors, and purchase handmade ornaments.
  • Visit Santa: Take the kids to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus at the Shelter Cove Towne Centre starting the day after Thanksgiving. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
  • Tree Lighting Ceremony & Santa’s Workshop: Head to Martin Family Park in Bluffton for the annual tree lighting ceremony. Afterward, head to DuBois Park to meet Santa.
  • Harbour Town Lights: Perhaps the most well-known holiday tradition of all in Hilton Head Island is the Harbour Town Lights. Stroll through iconic Harbour Town, taking in the beautiful holiday lights and massive Christmas tree. The lighting ceremony takes place the day after Thanksgiving and features plenty of live entertainment and activities. If you can’t make it to the lighting ceremony, the Harbour Town Lights will remain lit the rest of the holiday season.

Enjoy the Holidays in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Hilton Head Island is the best place in South Carolina to spend the holidays! On top of all of the great holiday events you can enjoy, you can also enjoy the holidays at the beach, playing at some of the nation’s best golf courses, or dining at some of the island’s best restaurants.

Sunset Rentals has plenty of excellent vacation home rentals perfect for your holiday getaway to Hilton Head Island. We’ve compiled a list of featured vacation homes for the holidays. To book your stay with us, please check availability online or give us a call at 843-785-6767.

A Visitors Guide to Shopping on Hilton Head Island

There are so many reasons to visit Hilton Head Island, it’s no surprise our slice of paradise is consistently voted one of the world’s favorite islands and the top island in the US. The top attraction that draws visitors from around the globe to Hilton Head is the stunning natural setting with pristine sandy beaches, scenic waterways, lush wildlife preserves and secluded outdoor activities. But there’s more! 

The appeal of the natural beauty of Hilton Head Island is enhanced by the luxury plantations, quaint villages and scenic marinas with an abundance of eateries serving the finest Lowcountry seafood and southern fare and upscale shopping destinations for the ultimate shopping experience on Hilton Head.   

Slow down your pace, switch to island time and indulge in some family-friendly retail therapy and island style shopping on Hilton Head Island. Whether you’re shopping for necessities, picking up fresh produce or seafood from a market or searching for a unique Hilton Head souvenir or gift to take home, you’ll find it all on Hilton Head Island.

Coligny Plaza

Slip away from the beach for a one-of-a-kind shopping spree at Coligny Plaza, Hilton Head’s favorite shopping destination since 1955, just steps from the ocean. The Coligny Plaza is located oceanfront in Hilton Head’s downtown Forest Beach area and has everything you need for your Hilton Head Island vacation with the best shopping on the island. Coligny Plaza welcomes beach-goers for a laid-back shopping experience at over 60 specialty stores and fun outdoor kiosks, with year-round entertainment and the best oceanfront dining on Hilton Head. 

Shelter Cove 

Shelter Cove is Hilton Head’s premier waterfront shopping destination, just off the Intracoastal Waterway across from Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. The Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina is a hub of activity with cruises and nature tours, water sports, fishing charters, live entertainment, fun festivals and Mediterranean-style island style shopping. Browse the boutiques, gift stores and the eclectic Nash Gallery along the harbour side promenade, then make your way to the nearby Shelter Cove Town Center. 

Shelter Cove Town Center is Hilton Head’s newest shopping attraction with an open-air waterfront village, palmetto lined walkways and tranquil views of Broad Creek and the Lowcountry marshlands. With over 30 charming boutiques, specialty stores, enticing eateries and a community park and playground for the kids, you can shop to your hearts content at Shelter Cove. 

The Harbour Town Shops at Sea Pines 

The Harbour Town Shops are located in the upscale Sea Pines Plantation, home to the Hilton Head’s legendary landmark, the candy-cane Harbour Town Lighthouse. The Harbour Town Shops offer visitors to Hilton Head a leisurely shopping experience surrounded by the scenic Harbour Town marina scattered with luxury yachts, sailboats and over 20 boutiques, galleries, gift shops, coastal treasures and unique dining experiences. Climb to the top of the lighthouse for the perfect souvenir and lasting memories of your vacation from the Harbour Town Lighthouse Museum and Gift Shop. 

Main Street Village

Step back in time with an old-fashioned shopping experience in Hilton Head’s Main Street Village, home to the island’s oldest and traditional family-owned stores. The quaint shopping area has tree-lined walkways with unique shops and some of the best restaurants in Hilton Head. There’s no big-box stores on Main Street, just a small town island shopping experience.

Tanger Outlets Hilton Head

Go for the big savings on designer brands at the Tanger Outlet Stores, just over the bridge in nearby Bluffton, SC. Hilton Head’s Tanger Outlets has a variety of over 90 top outlet stores, curbside pickup if you choose to avoid the crowds and a variety of onsite restaurants and eateries. For trinkets and treasures,  stop by the quaint shops in Old Town Bluffton before heading back to the island. 

Hilton Head Island Seafood & Farmers’ Markets 

Your island shopping experience on Hilton Head is not complete without a visit to a local farmer’s market, the perfect place to pick up fresh, local produce and savor the flavors of the Lowcountry with a home cooked farm-to-fork meal in the comfort of your Hilton Head vacation home.

Stay with Sunset Rentals!

Sunset Rentals represent over 225 of the most trusted vacation rentals in the top resort areas of Hilton Head. From the shores of the pristine Atlantic coastline to the rolling fairways of Hilton Head’s award-winning golf-courses, our vacation rentals are perfectly placed to experience Hilton Head Island’s top attractions and world-class shopping destinations.

Browse our rentals on Hilton Head Island online, book direct or call our on-island team on (800) 276-8991 today to guide you to the idyllic home-away-from-home on Hilton Head Island.


Hilton Head Ranked #1 in World’s Best Islands

This year’s World’s Best Awards was published on September 8, 2021 by Travel + Leisure. A repeat favorite, Hilton Head Island was ranked #1 on the list – read the full article here.

“With 12 miles of pristine beaches, 33 golf courses, 60 miles of walking trails, as well as outstanding restaurants, museums and galleries, this South Carolina island has been popular with voters for years. For longer stays, many visitors choose to rent houses […] “We can be as busy as we like or just relax and take in all the beautiful beaches and sea life,” said one voter.” – Travel + Leisure

Stay with Sunset Rentals and see what Hilton Head Island has to offer for your next coastal vacation! You’ll understand why readers continue to vote for it as the best island in the United States.

Featured Vacation Rentals

Explore available vacation homes and villas offered by Sunset Rentals:

TURTLE LANE 19 – Spacious, updated 4 bedroom Turtle Lane townhome with community pool access!
KINGSTON 36 – Stunning private, dog-friendly home in Shipyard Plantation with private pool!
OCEAN ONE 121 – Picturesque 3 bedroom oceanfront villa, close to Coligny with pool access!

Quintessential Things to Do in Hilton Head, SC

Quintessential Things To Do In Hilton Head, SC

From idyllic beaches and exhilarating water sports to historic sites and museums and everything in between, Hilton Head, SC, has plenty of activities for travelers. Ranked as a top-five continental island, read on for a list of some of the best things to do in Hilton Head:

Enjoy The Beach

Hilton Head has been recognized as one of the top 10 family beaches in the United States! Travelers can enjoy activities such as swimming, sunbathing, fishing, crabbing, paddle boarding, and more on over 12 miles of beach. Some of the island’s most popular beaches include Burkes Beach and Coligny Beach.

Discover Fashionable Finds

Bring a piece of your vacation home with you! There are plenty of opportunities for shopping at Hilton Head’s trendy boutiques. For our money, Birdie James and Southern Tide Signature Store are two must-stops for avid shoppers.

Play a Round (or Several) at Amazing Golf Courses

Home to 33 golf courses, book a tee time at the legendary courses at Palmetto Dunes and Sea Pines. Many travelers look fore-ward to taking advantage of the award-winning courses and the incredible views that they offer.

Meet Hilton Head’s Most Famous Residents

Get out on the water to meet our most famous residents, Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, in their natural habitat. Dolphins aren’t hard to find on Hilton Head Island, and there are plenty of dolphin tours available that help visitors get up close and personal with these beautiful and playful creatures. 

Check Out the Coastal Discovery Museum

The Coastal Discovery Museum is a fun and educational experience for the whole family! In addition to the exhibits in the museum building that will teach you the fascinating history of Hilton Head Island, you can also book a variety of guided tours. Explore on horseback, on a kayak, or by foot, and let the Coastal Discovery Museum be your guide.

Beautiful Vacation Rentals in Hilton Head, SC

After a day of fun-filled activities, relax at one of Sunset Rentals’ unique rental spots. We offer a variety of vacation rentals, ranging from large homes to villas, on some of the premier locations on the island.

The Best Sea Pines Vacation Rentals in Hilton Head Island

This beloved South Carolina destination has been a popular vacation choice for generations. There’s so much to do here! A Sea Pines getaway is as relaxed, or as active, as you make it. The team at Sunset Rentals is on-hand to help you find an idyllic vacation rental in Hilton Head’s Sea Pines community that suits your aesthetic tastes and budget. And we’ve also pulled together a list of some of the best things to do on Hilton Head during your stay.

Tee Off

Hilton Head Island is a golf lover’s paradise—it’s a PGA Tour event destination and home to more than 24 championship courses! Sea Pines has three premier courses, including Harbour Town Golf Links, which was named one of the top 20 courses in the country. If you’re a keen golfer, what better way to start the day than with views over the Atlantic Dunes Golf Course from our two-bedroom, two-bathroom Plantation Club Villa 533.

Wine and Dine

Head into picturesque Harbour Town to sample a range of culinary offerings. Why not treat yourself to some of the best local produce at CQs, which is housed in Harbour Town’s first-ever building. Our three-bedroom, three-bathroom Ketch Court Villa is conveniently located close to town, so you won’t have far to travel at the end of the night. 

Family Fun

Hilton Head Island is the ideal location for a family beach vacation. South Beach is a great place for collecting shells—and spotting dolphins! Why not book one of our newly-renovated two-bedroom Beachside Tennis Villas down at South Beach, where there’s a good chance you’ll spot some of those gorgeous marine mammals over breakfast!

The Best Collection of Sea Pines Vacation Rentals

At Sunset Rentals, our Sea Pines properties range from two-bedroom villas to seven-bedroom homes. For peace of mind, all our properties feature high-security keyless entry, and our premium Sea Pines rentals include luxury linen and towels. Let us help to plan your next Sea Pines stay!

A Hilton Head Area Brewery Guide

From 2018 to 2020, in two short years, South Carolina’s craft brewery family nearly doubled in size. With more than 80 breweries statewide, the Palmetto State’s beer scene continues to grow and flourish like a well-watered garden. And the Hilton Head Island area is no different. Neighboring Bluffton itself boasts three breweries, with another chapter on the outskirts of town in semi-rural Ridgeland. It would appear that the sprouting Hilton Head area brewing scene is merely in its infancy. With so much room to grow, the next 10 to 20 years will undoubtedly be an exciting time for visiting beer lovers and casual travelers alike.

Hilton Head Area Brewery Guide

Hilton Head Brewing Company
Long-standing Hilton Head Brewing Company is the first and only brewery on the island. Hilton Head Brewing is a bustling brewpub near the airport, making it an idyllic pre- or post-flight relaxation hub. It’s also within steps of the Hilton Head Distillery and Island Winery’s tasting room. Patrons can sip on a pint of the CRAB Czech pilsner while lounging underneath swaying palmettos. Or, better yet, purchase a six-pack of the citrusy Tropical Lager or a 64-once growler of the banana and clove Hefe to be enjoyed poolside later in the afternoon. Once Hilton Head Brewing’s new Southern BBQ venture is complete, it will be hard to ignore the aromas of fresh-smoked brisket wafting through the air. Another island favorite is World of Beer, an expansive franchise with locations all over the United States. World of Beer features over 40 South Carolina-born beers, including a bevy of offerings from Hilton Head Brewing.

A Brief Stint in Neighboring Bluffton, SC
For those who plan to visit neighboring Bluffton, we highly recommend making a pit stop (or two) at a local taproom. Many islanders make a brief appearance in Bluffton to shop at the Tanger Outlets, explore Old Town, or play 18 holes at Hilton Head National. We couldn’t think of a better way to commemorate a brief, albeit enjoyable trip to Bluffton than with a stop at Lot 9 Brewing Co., one of the highest-rated breweries in South Carolina. It’s a new venture, but Lot 9’s Hell Raisin’ Hazy IPA and Queen Sour are both revelations. Meanwhile, Southern Barrel Brewing Co. is the most popular hangout in town, thanks to its spacious patio and rustic-sleek taproom. Other nearby options include Salt Marsh Brewing and Ridgeland’s River Dog, slowly starting to make a name for itself.

The Finest Hilton Head Vacation Homes

Start and finish each day of relaxation and exploration inside one of Sunset Rentals’ finest Hilton Head condos, such as Links 8A, South Sea Pines, and Sandcastle 58. Most vacation rentals feature private pools, gas fireplaces, chef’s kitchens, free parking, walk-out patios, and distinctive interior designs—all within steps of the Atlantic Ocean’s sandy shoreline. Life at the beach has never been this enticing! Call us at 800-276-8991 to start the booking process.

5 Reasons to Visit Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

5 Reasons to Visit Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Tripadvisor has deemed Hilton Head Island as one of the top-rated South Carolina vacation spots for lovers of the land and sea. HHI promises sunshine, sugar-sandy beaches, beautiful sunsets, delicious food, and numerous activities for all to enjoy while staying at Sunset Rentals. First-time guests on the island will quickly come to discover why Hilton Head is one of the best places to visit in South Carolina on their own, but for good measure, we’ll give you five reasons to join us here for your next getaway. 

1. Discover the Hilton Head Island Restaurants

During your stay on the Atlantic Coast, it wouldn’t be right to visit without indulging in the deliciously fresh local seafood. The oysters on the island are a huge draw, and you’ll get your fill at the Black Marlin Bayside Grill. Along with oysters on the half shell, you’ll find other seafood eats, including lobster tacos, parmesan sea scallops, and jumbo stuffed shrimp to name a few! Not a seafood fan? Try an award-winning burger from Charbar Company or the authentic Italian eats from Giuseppe’s Pizza & Pasta! With over 250 cafes and award-winning HHI restaurants, you’ll find something that suits every palate.

2. Versatile Land Activities

Hilton Head Island is home to over 20 championship golf courses, which is just another reason we’re one of the best places to visit in South Carolina. Many travel from all over the globe to enjoy a game of championship golf on the beautiful layouts that feature natural views. Adrenaline junkies can explore a ziplining adventure at Zipline Hilton Head, which offers six separate courses and over 50 challenge activities. If you’re looking for more of a scenic experience on your South Carolina family vacation, explore the 60 miles of well-groomed, public bike trails around the island. There are many shopping options around the area, which includes everything from adorable boutiques to upscale options as well as outlets and specialty gift shops. 

3. Lovers of the Sea

There’s nothing quite like a magical sunset on an evening stroll on the 12 miles of beach in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Whether you want to swim, fish, head out on a sailboat tour or play a round of beach volleyball, the water activities are seemingly endless. Fly high over the Atlantic Coast with Sky Pirate on a parasailing adventure, rent a wave runner or stand-up paddle board from H2O Sports, which also offers dolphin and eco-tours. Perhaps an evening of entertainment and dinner with Savannah Riverboat Cruises will be the perfect way to end your vacation before heading home. 

4. The Active Nightlife 

Immerse yourself in the island-time culture, which means, relax and enjoy your stay to one of the best places to visit in South Carolina. Not only will you find a variety of kid-friendly activities to enjoy during a vacation, but adults can enjoy the active nightlife on the island. Enjoy an entertaining evening of live music at the Big Bamboo, you’ll also find daily happy hour specials at One Hot Mama’s and late night dining options. Callahan’s is an excellent sports locale to challenge your spouse to a round of pool or play a fun game of beer pong and feel young again! 

5. Pet-Friendly Atmosphere

You’ll find everything from dog-friendly beaches to hiking trails as well as tours and restaurants that welcome Spot! We know that leaving your furry friend behind can cause a little pet-separation anxiety, which is why we provide pet-friendly lodging, so that your entire family can come on vacation. 

Beautiful SC Vacation Spots

Whether you’re planning a romantic escape with your significant other, a girl’s trip, or a family vacation, you’ll find a variety of things to do for all ages in our sun-drenched paradise. We feature bike rental options on our website that you can rent during your stay, but you must reserve early as they are a popular option for our guests! If you’d like a vacation rental with a private on-site pool, ocean view, or patio, we’ve got a variety to choose from in Hilton Head Island. If you have any questions, please give our welcoming staff a call at 1-800-276-8991. 

A South Carolina Visitor’s Guide for Birding in Hilton Head Island

The best part about birding in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, is that it’s an inexpensive way to get outdoors, and it’s great for every age. Hilton Head is one of the best places to visit in South Carolina for birding as our town is quite environmentally friendly, and there are hundreds of species that frequent the area. Search for Red-Shouldered Hawk or be on the lookout for the Pileated Woodpecker along with a variety of seabirds. Keep reading as we’ll provide a South Carolina visitor’s guide to birding around Hilton Head Island. 

Where to Go

Because birding is a popular pastime activity around the island, you’ll be happy to know there is a Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Birding Trail. All you have to do is use your cell phone and download the app to find information about the birds that frequent the area and birding sites where you can find them. Not only does the app act as a South Carolina visitor’s guide for birding, but it also provides understanding about the continued development of nature at each site that ultimately protects our feathered friends. 

Tips for Bird Watching

When you’re looking for birds on your South Carolina family vacation, there are different ways that you can identify birds just by appearance. Looking for colors, shapes, movements, how they sing and noting the time of year are all ways you can be sure of your findings. Bring a notebook along on your daily treks around Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, as it will be easier to make a note of a bird before it flies away. 

Popular Birds You’ll Find

While there are many birds in the area, there are several that you will more than likely see on your daily outings. Using the Hilton Head Birding Trail as a South Carolina visitor’s guide for birding will be the best way to identify the majority of them. We’ll go over a several that you can expect to see during your South Carolina family vacation. 

  • Great Blue HeronBlue-gray color (though there is a white phase), black wide stripe over eye, thick bill, long legs and neck
  • Great EgretWhite feathers, long yellow bill, and black legs
  • Bald EagleWhite head and tail, dark brown wings, yellow bill and legs
  • OspreyDark brown on back and white on the belly, small head, grey legs, waterbirds
  • Red-Shouldered HawkCheckered black and white wings, red on the breast, rounded wings, and fanned-out tail while flying
  • Pileated WoodpeckerSmaller size, dark in color, pointed beak, and a red mohawk
  • Brown PelicanThe only type of pelican around Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Versatile Vacation Homes All Sizes

Now that you have had a chance to review our South Carolina visitor’s guide for birding, you can have a fun day out spotting birds around the area. Whether you’re a family vacation, romantic getaway, or are heading to Sunset Rentals for a reunion, you’ll be in one of the best places to visit in South Carolina: Hilton Head Island. Our properties range from small one-bedroom rentals to vacation homes with up to 10 bedrooms for large groups. If you have any questions, please contact us at 1-800-276-8991.

Rainy Day Activities in Hilton Head Island

Rainy Day Activities in Hilton Head Island

When you vacation on Hilton Head Island the main things to do is enjoy the sun, shopping and eat amazing food. But the big question is what is there to do when it is raining outside? Here are the top things to do when it is raining outside on Hilton Head Island.

Nash Gallery

Come and enjoy the Nash gallery located in Shelter cove! It features incredible work by American’s finest craftsman including glass, ceramics, jewelry, and much more!
Address: 13 Harbourside Lane 2H Hilton Head Island, SC 29928
Hours: Monday through Friday 10am to 6pm, Saturday 10am to 5pm, and Sunday 11am to 5pm

Hilton Head Distillery

At the Hilton Head Distillery, you can enjoy a great drinking experience in a relaxed, family-friendly environment. They offer distillery tours, tasting rooms and a bottle shop.
Address: 14 Cardinal Rd, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926
Hours: Monday through Saturday 1pm to 6pm * Last tour begins at 5pm

Island Winery

Voted as the “best destination off the beaten path”
Address: 12A Cardinal Road, Hilton Head SC 29926
Hours: Monday through Saturday 12:30 to 5:30, Sunday 12pm to 4pm

The Sandbox

Looking for something for something to keep the kids occupied while it is raining? This is the perfect place to bring them!
Address: 18A Pope Ave, Hilton Head SC 29928
REGULAR HOURS: January through March, May, September through December
Tuesday Through Saturday 10a.m. to 5p.m.
SPRING HOURS: April Monday through Saturday 10a.m. to 5p.m.
SUMMER HOURS: June through August, Monday through Saturday 10a.m. to 5p.m.