Fondly known as “America’s Favorite Island”, Hilton Head is one of the best beach towns on the East Coast for a vacation! Visitors have miles of stunning beaches to explore, excellent water sports, world-class golf courses, waterfront dining, drinking, dancing, and so much more!
Situated only 45 minutes from Savannah and 90 minutes from Charleston, Hilton Head attracts an estimated 2.5 million visitors a year to its sunny shoreline. Our team at Sunset Rentals has been locally serving Hilton Head since 1993 and we’ve had the pleasure of welcoming countless guests to our beautiful coastal town. To enhance your Hilton Head experience, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 questions our guests ask when traveling to the island.
1. When is the best time to visit Hilton Head Island?
Hilton Head Island has an enticing sub-tropical climate with hot, humid summers and mild winters. Summer is peak tourist season on Hilton Head and the time to visit if you’re after festive events and family fun in the sun! Spring and fall bring tolerable temperatures for outdoor adventures (and fewer crowds), and the warm winter weather attracts flocks of snowbirds for extended stays on the island. Take a peek at our HHI weather planner to determine the best time for you to visit Hilton Head Island.
2. Is Hilton Head Island pet-friendly?
YES! Hilton Head Island is so pet-friendly that you can take your dog nearly everywhere, except the lush green fairways! Our beaches are pet-friendly year-round with limitations in the summer season (Memorial Day through Labor Day), you can book a private paddle, cruise, or fishing charter with Fido, and most outdoor patios are quite happy to welcome well-behaved and leashed pets, some even going the extra mile! Browse our selection of 65+ pet-friendly properties on Hilton Head and take some time to read our tips on planning a dog-friendly vacation on Hilton Head Island.
3. What are the BEST things to do on Hilton Head Island?
Whether you’re planning on staying active and hitting the hotspots, relaxing away from the crowds in nature, or a little bit of both – Hilton Head Island has it all! Aside from 12 miles of insta-worthy Atlantic beaches with a tropical island vibe, Hilton Head Island is a mecca for a fun-filled vacation for families with kids, a group of friends, or a romantic couples getaway! Here are the best things to do on Hilton Head Island at a glance – or go ahead and click the link for detailed vacation planning.
- Dolphin Watching Tours & Cruises
- Top 9 Community Parks On Hilton Head
- Lowcountry Fishing Charters
- 24 Championship Golf Courses for Tee Times
- Award-Winning Tennis & Racquet Sports (300+ courts!)
- Explore the Island’s 60+ Miles of Biking Trails
- Horseback Rides in Sea Pines Forest Preserve
- Wildlife Viewing and Bird Watching in the Nature Preserves
- 5 Best Community Parks On Hilton Head
- Sandbox Children’s Museum for Interactive Play
- Adventure Aerial Tours & Ziplining
- Drop-in Fitness Classes at Island Rec Center
4. Where are the best beaches on Hilton Head Island?
With 12 miles of white sandy Atlantic beaches to explore, we’re always asked which is the best beach to visit on Hilton Head Island. The award-winning Coligny Beach Park is the most popular beach with excellent amenities and a wide variety of shops, restaurants, bars, and kids’ activities all nearby. Driessen Beach Park, Burkes Beach, Folly Field Beach, and Islanders Beach Park located mid-island are uncrowded and less “touristy” with grills and pavilions for picnics, kids playgrounds, dog parks, and beautiful boardwalks to stretches of sandy shoreline and calm, lifeguarded waters.
For seclusion in nature, the north island beaches at Fish Haul and Mitchelville Park are idyllic. The city also offers a free beach wheelchair program and beach matting for visitors with disabilities to access the public beaches on Hilton Head.
5. Are there any cultural or historical attractions on Hilton Head Island?
Hilton Head Island is the perfect destination to unwrap the fascinating cultural history of South Carolina’s Lowcountry region. The island is home to several historic sites and landmarks including the 4,000-year-old Native American Indian Shell Ring and Baynard Plantation ruins in Sea Pines Forest Preserve, and historic Mitchelville Freedom Park on Port Royal Sound, commemorating and preserving America’s first pre-Civil war slave settlement.
Situated on the historic Honey Horn Plantation, the Coastal Discovery Museum is a must-do for every visitor to the island. Here you can take nature tours on land and water, explore the breathtaking grounds and gardens, and discover the rich Gullah Geechee heritage of Hilton Head with a local guide.
6. Do I need a car to get around Hilton Head?
For the ultimate Hilton Head Island experience, yes! There are lots of things to see and do in Hilton Head that may require a car, but with miles of interconnected bike paths and seasonal trolleys, getting around locally is easy. The Breeze is Hilton Head Island’s free seasonal trolley running seven days a week, every 30 minutes, between the shops, restaurants, and events at Shelter Cove Town Center and Coligny Beach Park in Forest Beach. Or look out for the bright red Forest Beach Shuttle serving North and South Forest Beach, Coligny Plaza, and Pope Avenue.
In season, guests in Sea Pines Resort Area can hop on the complimentary Sea Pines Trolley connecting Harbour Town, The Shops at Sea Pines Center, South Beach Marina Village, and Sea Pines Beach Club. If you’re staying in Palmetto Dunes, the seasonal on-demand Dunes Buggy will pick you up from your vacation rental and take you anywhere within Palmetto Dunes Resort Area, Shelter Cove Harbor, and Shelter Cove Town Center. From a sandy beach to a sunset seafood bar, for free!
7. Where are the best restaurants and bars on Hilton Head Island?
The short answer, they are everywhere! Hilton Head Island boasts 250+ bars and restaurants with lively happy hours, a plate for every palette, and an ice-cold beverage to pair! Whether you’re craving our rich tradition of Lowcountry cuisine, indulging in a sunset dinner cruise, or planning a pizza night for the kids, you’ll find it here on Hilton Head Island.
If you’re looking for things to do after dinner in Hilton Head, nightlife activities range from laid-back island-style Tiki bars and hip rooftop bars with late-night DJs and live music to world-class jazz rooms and sophisticated fine dining bars with panoramic views. For the ultimate Hilton Head Island foodie itinerary, check out our guides to the Best Restaurants on Hilton Head Island and the Hilton Head’s 10 Best Bars.
8. Can I rent gear locally in Hilton Head?
Everything you need for an epic Hilton Head vacation is available to rent locally – kayaks and paddleboards for the waterways, skimboards, and surfboards for ocean play, beach loungers and umbrellas, and bike rentals for the whole family. Rentals are readily available at Outside Hilton Head in Shelter Cove, H20 Sports in Harbour Town, and at the various marinas around the island.
Save on gear rentals and add “hassle-free” to your Hilton Head Island vacation when you stay with Sunset Rentals. We’ve partnered with Vayk Gear to offer an exclusive “Bike & Beach Gear Credit” program on participating properties with a wide range of top-quality gear delivered to your rental on arrival and picked up on departure.
9. When can I find nearby grocery stores & grocery delivery services?
There are a number of big box and boutique grocery stores on the island to fill your fridge! Big box stores include Kroger and Whole Foods at Shelter Cove, a Publix Super Market at Island Crossing near Sea Pines, a Publix and Walmart Supercenter at Festival Center near Port Royal, and two Harris Teeter locations in Main Street Village and Park Plaza Shopping Center at Sea Pines Circle. The smaller boutique-style grocery stores include the Palmetto Dunes General Store, the Fresh Market, and Piggly Wiggly at Coligny, a Hilton Head Island institution since 1969!
Many of these stores offer online ordering, curbside pickup, and express delivery or skip the lines completely and have your groceries delivered right to your rental, with your pantry packed, and your fridge filled by our local Lowcountry Grocery Runner – private chef experiences available too!
10. Which resort area of Hilton Head Island is best suited for my stay?
The home and villa rentals on Hilton Head Island are set in unique resort communities each with its own ambiance, activities, and attractions. Sea Pines Resort and Palmetto Dunes are particularly popular with families, the Forest Beach neighborhood places you steps from the buzz at Coligny Plaza and Beach Park, and Shipyard Plantation and Port Royal are quieter neighborhoods, away from the crowds.
Serving Hilton Head since 1993, Sunset Rentals have a selection of 230+ Hilton Head Island vacation homes and villas with options for luxury oceanfront pool homes, seaside condos, gorgeous golf villas, and private dog-friendly homes to accommodate anywhere from 2 to 23 guests.
Take a tour of the top Hilton Head Island resort areas to find a neighborhood and rental to suit your style or call our team of local experts at (800) 276-8991 to assist with vacation planning and answer all your questions about visiting Hilton Head Island.