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10 Reasons to Vacation in Port Royal Hilton Head


The Port Royal Plantation on Hilton Head is a smaller resort area on the northeastern curve of the island, known as the heel of Hilton Head Island. If you’re seeking quieter seclusion away from the crowds, yet still staying close to the top attractions and activities on Hilton Head Island, the Port Royal Plantation is the Hilton Head destination for you!

Southern Living’s “The South’s Best 2022 Awards” recently ranked Hilton Head Island #1 in The South’s Best Beach Towns 2022. With southern charm and hospitality, award-winning golf and tennis, tranquil nature walks and bike paths, and miles of unspoiled, sandy beaches at your doorstep – Port Royal is a top destination to spend your vacation on Hilton Head Island.

1. UNTOUCHED NATURAL BEAUTY


From lush Lowcountry landscapes to stunning Atlantic seascapes, natural beauty abounds in Port Royal Plantation. Guests have access to miles of scenic trails weaving through old moss-laden oak trees, saltwater estuaries and freshwater lagoons for fishing and crabbing, and wild, secluded beaches along the historic Port Royal Sound and Atlantic Ocean.

The top activities in the Port Royal Resort Area include fishing, crabbing, bike riding (bring your own or rent locally), exploring the historic sites on a golf cart, and simply living the coastal lifestyle on Port Royal’s beautiful stretch of beaches.

2. AMAZING BEACHES & BEACH CREDIT!


The Port Royal Plantation is home to some of the best and quietest beaches on Hilton Head Island. Islander Beach Park is one of the best beaches on Hilton Head Island with a shady park for beach BBQs and picnics, a large playground for the kids, wide stretches of sandy beaches and calm Atlantic waters for swimming. Other nearby options for a beach day include Folly Field Beach, Driessen Beach, and Burkes Beach – swim, surf, sunbathe and enjoy ocean adventures in Port Royal Plantation on Hilton Head Island.

For a different beach experience, Fish Haul Beach Park is a hidden gem overlooking the Port Royal Sound. While it’s not the best beach for swimming on Hilton Head, you can walk the pristine shoreline to historic Mitchelville Beach Park, birdwatch from the observation deck, hike the enchanting beach trails, and beachcomb for unique shells. Fish Haul Beach Park features four unique habitats – maritime forests, marshlands and creeks, ancient sand dunes and the tranquil Port Royal tidal flats.

Beach Credit! Sunset Rentals offer complimentary beach gear packages in select Port Royal vacation rentals. Whether you’re looking for top quality beach gear, kayak and paddle board rentals, boogie boards to ride the waves or beach games for a day by the ocean, we’ve got your vacation beach gear in Port Royal covered!

3. TEE OFF ONE OF THE TOP EXOTIC GOLF COURSES IN THE WORLD


The Heritage Golf Collection on Hilton Head Island features 81 holes of championship golf at the Shipyard Golf Club, the Oyster Reef Golf Club, and two world-class courses at the Port Royal Golf & Racquet Club. Nestled along the Atlantic Coastline, the Port Royal Golf Club is ranked one of the “Top 75 US Golf Resorts” by Golf Digest and one of the “Top 10 Exotic Golf Courses in the World”.

For warming up and to improve your game, the Port Royal Golf & Racquet Club features a world-class practice facility with a driving range, putting green, and short game practice area with PGA professional instruction throughout the year. The Port Royal Club is also home to Hilton Head Island’s first FootGolf Course – golf with a soccer ball and great fun for the whole family!

The Barony Course is one of the first golf courses on Hilton Head Island, designed by George W. Cobb in the early 1960s and set in lush Lowcountry landscapes. Robbers Row Course was later designed by George W. Cobb and William C. Byrd in 1967, one of the most exotic golf courses in the world set on former Civil War grounds, rich in history and natural beauty with live oaks, magnolias and luxury homes lining the fairways. Golfers can enjoy after golf happy hour and the tastes of the Lowcountry at Robbers Row Grill in the southern mansion-style Port Royal Clubhouse.

4. CHAMPIONSHIP TENNIS CENTER


The Port Royal Golf & Racquet Club is also ranked one of the Top 25 Tennis Resorts in the World! The Port Royal Racquet Club offers top-notch tennis instruction and award-winning tennis on eight new Har-Tru clay courts in a scenic setting on Hilton Head Island. Pickleball is a Hilton Head Island tradition and if you’re not yet a player, the Port Royal Racquet Club is the perfect place to get up to speed with America’s fastest growing sport!

5. HISTORICAL SITES & ATTRACTIONS


The historical Port Royal Sound and Port Royal Plantation is the original landing site of Captain William Hilton on the island in 1663. The Battle of Port Royal began in 1861 and the town of Mitchelville was established in 1862, the first self-governed town of freed slaves in America. You’ll find historical sites and markers across the Port Royal Plantation at Fort Walker Park, Steam Gun Beach, Fort Sherman, Fish Haul and Fort Mitchel, and along the fairways of the Robbers Row Golf Course.

Experience the rich history of Port Royal on a walking tour of historic Mitchelville Freedom Park, a Gullah Heritage Tour of the historic Gullah neighborhoods, or a living history tour of the Zion Chapel of Ease and Baynard Mausoleum, the resting place of four Revolutionary War Heroes and the oldest structure on Hilton Head Island. The Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horns offers guided and self-guided tours of the historic sites on Hilton Head Island.

The Port Royal Plantation is only a short drive from the charming Lowcountry town of Bluffton, SC. Take a walking tour of the historic Spanish-moss draped homes and buildings in Old Town Bluffton nestled among the stately oaks along the May River.

6. PORT ROYAL ARBORETUM


Visitors to the Port Royal resort area have access to the Port Royal Arboretum, a quaint arboretum nestled near Fort Sherman, between Fort Walker Drive and the Robbers Row Golf Course. The arboretum features paved walkways, nature paths through ferns, cypresses and palmettos, scenic overlooks, an azalea garden, and is full of wildlife and native Lowcountry plants.

7. AWAY FROM THE CROWDS


Port Royal Plantation is a quieter Hilton Head Island community, away from the crowds yet only a short drive (or energetic bike ride!) away from the attractions, restaurants, shopping and activities in neighboring Hilton Head Island resort areas. If you’re seeking a quieter vacation on Hilton Head, look no further than Port Royal Plantation.

8. NEARBY DINING & SHOPPING


Port Royal Plantation is close to Hilton Head’s best dining and shopping, yet you have amazing options close to home too! Guests have an option of outdoor patios with poolside and oceanfront dining at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa and Marriott Barony Beach Club, Lowcountry cuisine at the Robbers Row Grill, and you’re only a short drive to Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks and Skull Creek Boathouse for waterfront dining on Skull Creek.

9. CLOSE TO HILTON HEAD’S TOP RESORT AREAS & ATTRACTIONS


Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina

Distance: 3 miles

  • Waterfront on Broad Creek
  • Accessible by Bike Path
  • Dining, Shopping & Entertainment
  • Watersports, Activities & Eco-Tours
  • Boat Rentals & Fishing Charters
  • Year-Round Events, Festivals & Live Music

Palmetto Dunes Resort Area

Distance: 3.5 miles

  • 3 Miles of Immaculate Beachfront
  • Three Championship Golf Courses
  • Seasonal Palmetto Dunes Buggy
  • Quick Access to Shelter Cove Marina
  • World-Renowned Tennis Center
  • Miles of bike trails

Shipyard Resort Area

Distance: 6.6 miles

  • Shipyard private beach access 
  • Miles of scenic trails 
  • Championship Golf & Tennis Center 
  • Centrally located to Hilton Head downtown 
  • Great location for family reunions, and gatherings 
  • Access to the Shipyard Beach Club 
  • 20 Tennis Courts located in Shipyard

Forest Beach Resort Area

Distance: 7.3 miles

  • More than 100 shops and restaurants
  • Miles of walking, jogging, and biking trails
  • Updated Coligny Beach Entrance
  • Free Family Entertainment
  • Miles of Sandy white beaches

Sea Pines Plantation

Distance: 8.5 miles

  • 5 Miles of Sandy White Beaches
  • Easily accessible beach access passes 
  • Three World-Class Golf Courses
  • Tennis Facilities
  • Restaurants, Entertainment, and Shopping at Harbour Town
  • Miles of Bike, Jogging, and Walking Trails
  • Sea Pines Trolley Available

10. PORT ROYAL PLANTATION VILLA COMMUNITIES


Port Royal Village has quiet golf villa communities nestled along the fairways of the Barony Golf Course, boasting tranquil Lowcountry lagoon and golf views, and seasonal pools (perfect for an after-golf or after-beach dip!), and walking distance to oceanfront dining at the Port Royal resort hotels.

The Links Villas

3 Bedroom, 3 Bathroom Golf Villas, Sleeps 6-8

$250 Beach Gear Credit included

The Links in Port Royal Village are spacious, luxury Lowcountry style golf villas, located on the Port Royal Barony Golf Course, a short walk from the Marriott Barony, Westin Hotel, and Islanders Beach Park. Our selection of Port Royal Links Villas boast views of the Barony fairways, access to a seasonal community pool, and select villas include a golf cart for your vacation in Port Royal. 

Devonshire & Beckenham Villas

2-3 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom Golf Villas, Sleeps 6-9

$250 Beach Gear Credit included

The Devonshire and Beckenham Villa complexes are nestled nearby on the banks of a tranquil lagoon overlooking the 9th hole of the Barony Golf Course. These quiet Port Royal communities share a sparkling seasonal pool on the fairways, a BBQ area and picnic sites on the lagoon, and are a short walk to miles of Atlantic Coast beaches on Hilton Head Island.

Sunset Rentals proudly boast one of Hilton Head Island’s largest selection of private vacation homes and villas in the top resort areas of Hilton Head Island, and complete with all the amenities for a luxury vacation in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Start planning your Hilton Head Island vacation today with our team of vacation specialists at Sunset Rentals.


7 Tips for Responsible Wildlife Watching on Hilton Head


Hilton Head Island is a destination known for its stunning beaches, diverse ecosystems, and unique habitats abounding in wildlife. Whether it’s witnessing the marvel of baby sea turtle hatchlings, getting up close and personal with our beloved marine mammals, encountering alligators, or discovering Hilton Head’s best birding spots with your binocs, you’ll soon discover a deep appreciation for our island’s natural wonders. 

Witnessing wildlife in its natural habitat is a magical and memorable experience but it’s vital to engage in responsible wildlife watching to maintain a healthy balance between humans and the island’s delicate wildlife habitats. For the safety of our local wildlife (and yours!), here are 7 tips for responsible wildlife watching on Hilton Head Island


1. Drive Slow

When exploring Hilton Head Island by car, it’s important to drive at a slow and cautious pace, follow the speed limits, and keep a careful watch for wildlife on the roads. During dawn and dusk, wildlife are far more active on the roads and tend to travel in groups, if you see one crossing the street, the chances are more will follow.


2. Leash Up Your Furry Friends

The locals on Hilton Head Island love our pets as much as we love our wildlife, but please respect the rules in place to protect and preserve our wildlife habitats. To ensure the safety of our local wildlife and your furry friends, please keep pets on a leash at all times, do not allow them to swim or roam near alligator habitats, keep a mindful eye around sea turtle nesting grounds, and never leave them unattended. At night, keep your pet indoors for safety and bring pet food and water dishes inside to deter nighttime visitors.


3. Observe Wildlife from a Safe Distance

Be sure to add binoculars and a camera to your Hilton Head packing list! As exciting and tempting as it may seem to get up close and personal with wildlife, our local wildlife should never be approached. Respect their space, avoid close interactions, do not provoke, and always observe wildlife quietly from a safe and respectful distance – this is critical for their wellbeing, and yours! 

  • Marine Life Encounters: On the waterways surrounding Hilton Head, marine life encounters are a given. Be mindful and maintain a safe distance when boating and paddling the waterways to avoid collisions or injuries, allow them to swim freely and undisturbed, and stay at least 140 feet away from dolphins at all times. The Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin is protected under federal law by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, it is illegal to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal. 
  • Alligator Encounters: Hilton Head is home to a healthy population of American Alligators, one of the Lowcountry’s most iconic native species. Always assume every body of water may contain an alligator, swimming or wading in ponds and lagoons is prohibited, fish only from the docks and piers, and keep a close eye on kids and pets near any water on Hilton Head. If you’re planning to book at tee time on Hilton Head’s iconic golf courses, you may even encounter alligators strolling between lagoons. Local rules and regulations require you to stay at least 60 feet (4 cars in length) away from alligators.
  • Sea Turtle Encounters: Hilton Head Island is a nesting ground for several species of sea turtles, including greens, leatherbacks, and the endangered loggerhead sea turtle. During the sea turtle season (May to October), our ancient residents and their hatchlings are strictly protected by local and federal regulations with severe penalties for handling or interfering with sea turtles, nesting sites, and baby hatchlings.

4. Don’t Feed Wildlife


While it may seem harmless, please resist the urge to feed our local wildlife. Feeding wildlife makes them associate humans with food, can disrupt their natural behaviors and diets, and can turn the animal aggressive leading to potentially dangerous situations. Visitors to Hilton Head are often tempted to feed our friendly local dolphin pods without realizing that under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, feeding or harassing dolphins is illegal, resulting in fines that can reach up to $100,000. 


5. Always Follow the Signs

Always be on the lookout for posted signs and guidelines to avoid disturbing the natural habitats on Hilton Head Island. Whether it’s a marked-off sea turtle nesting area on the beach, an alligator alert on the fairways, or interpretive signage along the 60+ miles of Hilton Head Island pathways, these rules are in place to protect our fragile ecosystems, free-roaming wildlife, and curious visitors tempted to get too close and personal with our local wildlife.  


6. Lights out!

Artificial lighting disorientates sea turtles and their hatchlings from the natural light of the moon. If you’re staying in an oceanfront rental, from 1 May to 31 October all light fixtures visible from the beach are required to be switched off between 10 PM and 6 AM. This includes interior blinds and drapes, all outdoor lighting, and any flashlight photography. Always report any sea turtle sightings or stranded sea turtles to the SC Department of Natural Resources Hotline at (800) 922-5431.


7. Leave Only Footprints

Our presence in nature should never leave a lasting impression! To minimize the impact on our diverse barrier island ecosystems and maintain the island’s pristine environment, please leave no trace, only footprints! Dispose of all trash properly to prevent harm to wildlife, always leave the beach clean, remove sandcastles and fill in holes for traveling sea turtles, and do not leave any umbrellas, chairs, or accessories on the beach overnight. Book a stay with a participating Sunset Rentals property to quality for complimentary bike & beach gear from Vayk Gear. Learn how it works HERE!


Wildlife on Hilton Head Island Beaches

The wildlife on Hilton Head is found without effort on our miles of wild beaches. Our suggestion – walk or bike ride the shoreline from where the Calibogue Sound meets the Atlantic at South Beach to the remote shoreline of Fish Haul Creek and Mitchelville Beach near Port Royal Sound.

You’ll find wildlife encounters all along the shoreline – South Beach on Hilton Head Island is a prime spot for shore birds, and dolphins making their way to the Calibogue Sound, Fish Haul Creek and Mitchelville Beach overlooking Port Royal Sound are Hilton Head’s most natural beaches with maritime forests, boardwalks for wildlife viewing, historical sites and tidal flats teeming with shorebirds and crabs (best found at low tide!).

There’s no need to head off the beaten path for wildlife encounters on Hilton Head! From luxury oceanfront villas to fairway retreats and lush lagoon hideaways, you’ll find the perfect vantage point to observe the island’s diverse wildlife from the comfort of home in our collection of 240+ Hilton Head vacation rentals – the most trusted vacation rentals on Hilton Head Island. 

Questions? Call our team at (843) 785-6767 today!  


Stay with Sunset Rentals

Stay near Hilton Head’s top wildlife attractions with Sunset Rentals – the chances are you won’t have to leave home to experience some of the best wildlife viewing on Hilton Head.

Our selection of luxury Hilton Head Island vacation homes and villas are situated in the top resort areas of Hilton Head Island with luxury amenities, peaceful Lowcountry views, and opportunities for wildlife watching from your porch.


How to Plan a Vacation at Sea Pines Resort

Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Calibogue Sound, Sea Pines Resort is a top Hilton Head resort destination for families and one of Hilton Head’s most desirable communities. Sea Pines boasts historic charm, natural splendor, prime access to 5 miles of pristine sandy beaches, lush Lowcountry waterways, tranquil wetlands, and nature preserves teeming with wildlife. Sea Pines Resort is Hilton Head’s original and largest plantation, a coastal paradise on the southern tip of Hilton Head Island, an award-winning vacation destination and America’s Favorite Island.

Sea Pines Resort is home to Hilton Head’s top attractions, the best shopping and dining on the island, world-class golf courses and tennis facilities, two marinas for watersports, nature trails for hiking and horseriding, and 20-miles of connected paved trails for biking around the resort. 

Whether you’re in search of lazy days and life’s simple pleasures, a romantic escape, a world-class golf getaway, or a family vacation of exhilarating activities, adventures and new experiences, Sea Pines Resort Area offers visitors the best of both worlds with true oceanfront vacation homes and villas for laid-back island style Lowcountry living.   

SEA PINES RESORT BEACH ACCESS


Sea Pines Resort has the largest stretch of oceanfront on Hilton Head Island with 5 miles of beaches, easy and convenient beach access throughout the resort, boardwalks from oceanfront rentals and prime beach access with parking at the Sea Pines Beach Club. If you’re staying in Sea Pines, you can bike or walk to the beach, hop on the Sea Pines Trolley, or head out early for a parking spot at the Beach Club. 

The world-class Sea Pines Beach Club is an oceanfront retreat exclusively for guests and residents of Sea Pine Resort with a pristine stretch of beach with lifeguards and luxury amenities for the whole family. The Sea Pines Beach Club features a surf shop for all your beach gear, the Surfside Market for beach snacks, and Craft Cove for seasonal activities for the kids. While the kids play and explore their creative side, indulge in signature seafood dishes and frozen cocktails at Coast or the Ocean Lounge for the best oceanfront dining on Hilton Head. 


HARBOUR TOWN

Harbour Town is a Hilton Head landmark and one of the most popular attractions on the island with over 20 unique stores, waterfront dining, eco-adventures, and activities for all ages. Harbour Town is the best place on Hilton Head to shop, eat, play and stay

Harbour Town Lighthouse & Museum: The candy cane striped Harbour Town Lighthouse is an iconic landmark and one of the top things to do on Hilton Head. Climb the stairs to the top of the lighthouse with historical artifacts and exhibits highlighting the history of Sea Pines and Hilton Head Island, pick up souvenirs at the lighthouse shop, and soak up the scenery with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, Calibogue Sound, Harbour Town and beyond (children under 5 climb free!). 

Greg Russell Harbour Town Playground & Concert Series:  Greg Russell has been entertaining locals and visitors to Hilton Head for over 40 years, with free, family-friendly entertainment under the Liberty Oak overlooking the Harbour Town Yacht Basin. The Harbour Town Playground was named in tribute to this Lowcountry Legend and, along with his famous shows, is a true delight for young children with a nature-inspired playground and seasonal visits from Albert the Alligator, Sea Pines resort mascot.   

Recreational Activities: Harbour Town Marina offers dockage specials at the Yacht Basin to bring your own boat to Hilton Head Island, one of the top yachting destinations on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. In addition, there’s an abundance of fun-fueled recreational activities on the surrounding waterways and Atlantic Ocean. Parasail over the Lowcountry coastline, kayak or SUP the tidal marshes of the Calibogue Sound, rent a pontoon, powerboat, or wave runner for high-speed adventures, or embark on a boat tour or scenic cruise of Hilton Head Island.   

Sea Pines Boat Tours & Cruises: Sea Pines Resort boat tours and cruises cater for all ages. There’s banana boat rides, pirate adventures and bubble gum cruises for the kids, year-round fishing charters, sailing excursions, dolphin encounters and unique sunset shrimp trawls for the whole family, and intimate adventures or party boat rentals for a special occasion. Harbour Town is also the starting point for day trips to Daufuskie Island and luxury cruises to explore historic Savannah

Shopping in Harbour Town: Harbour Town is a top shopping destination on Hilton Head with a Mediterranean style outdoor shopping plaza for a unique shopping experience along the waterfront. There are more than 20 stores surrounding the colorful yacht basin with everything from adventure outfitters and surf shops to upscale boutiques, galleries, and gift shops for coastal treasures. The Harbour Town General Store stocks all your vacation essentials for local shopping in Sea Pines. 

Harbour Town Restaurants & Dining Some of Hilton Head’s best restaurants and waterfront dining are in Sea Pines Resort! Harbour Town offers a wide array of eateries from ice-cream and sprinkles, casual outdoor cafes and family-friendly restaurants to gourmet fine dining, wine pairing and specialty sunset cocktails with live music on the Calibogue Sound. Savor Hilton Head Island’s best sunset dinner on the upper deck of the Spirit of Harbour Town as you set sail through the Intracoastal Waterways. 


SOUTH BEACH MARINA VILLAGE

South Beach Marina Village is a quaint New England inspired village on Braddock Cove, at the southernmost tip of Hilton Head. South Beach Marina Village is quieter than Harbour Town with wet and dry boat slip rentals, bike rentals to cruise the marina, dockside restaurants and a variety of water activities, rentals, and nature tours of the Calibogue Sound. 

Shopping in South Beach: South Beach Marina Village has a small selection of shops with fashion boutiques, gifts and souvenirs unique to Hilton Head, a tackle shop for all your fishing gear, crabbing supplies and charter tours, and a general store with Hilton Head swag and all your vacation necessities. 

South Beach Marina Village Restaurants: South Beach Marina Village is home to the famous Salty Dog Café with waterfront dining overlooking the marina and marshlands, an outdoor bar, live music on the docks and world-class coastal seafood. Stop by the Wreck of the Salty Dog on the docks for legendary hush puppies, pick up pizza to go at Jakes, or start your day with a sunrise breakfast at Land’s End Tavern, a cool, converted boat storage building. 


GOLF COURSES IN SEA PINES PLANTATION

The Sea Pines Resort Area has a rich golfing history and is synonymous with world-class golf! Sea Pines Resorts award-winning golf courses are consistently ranked among the best golf courses in the US (and the world!) with a long list of golf awards and accolades, challenging play for beginners and PGA champions, and tranquil golf villas on the fairways for the ultimate Hilton Head golf vacation in Sea Pines. 

Harbour Town Golf Links: The internationally renowned Harbour Town Golf Links is Hilton Head’s most famous course and a favorite with past and present PGA champions. Harbour Town Golf Links is home to South Carolina’s only PGA tour event, the RBC Heritage Golf Tournament, a Hilton Head legacy and tradition bringing over 135,000 visitors to Sea Pines each April. 

Plantation Golf Club: The Sea Pines Plantation Golf Club is home to two lush Lowcountry courses, Heron Point by Pete Dye and Atlantic Dunes Golf Course, world-class instruction at The Golf Learning Center, and an expansive pro shop. Atlantic Dunes is a complete remodel of Hilton Head’s first golf course, the historic Ocean Course, featuring one of only two oceanfront holes on Hilton Head, an open layout for family-friendly golf and a true seaside ambiance. 


TENNIS & RACQUET CLUBS IN SEA PINES

Hilton Head is one of the top tennis destinations in the US with a tropical climate for year-round play, over 300 courts, award-winning tennis facilities, coaching clinics with certified professional instructors and fun summer camps for kids. There are two world-class tennis facilities in Sea Pines.    

Sea Pines Racquet Club: The award-winning Sea Pines Racquet Club in Harbour Town is one of the top tennis facilities in Hilton Head and one the best in the US. The Sea Pines Racquet Club is under the direction of former US Open and Wimbledon Champion, Stan Smith and is home to the Smith Stearns Tennis Academy, earning Tennis Magazine’s #1 Ranking for Tennis Programs. 

South Beach Racquet Club: The South Beach Racquet Club is next to the South Beach Marina at the southern tip of Sea Pines Resort. The club is low-key and intimate featuring a full-service pro shop, well-maintained clay courts, Har-Tru pickleball courts, summer camps for kids and top-notch instruction for every level. 


SEA PINES FOREST PRESERVE

The Sea Pines Forest Preserve is a natural treasure on HHI with more than 600 acres of protected wildlife habitat, tranquil nature trails through the forest, pristine lakes and lagoons, elevated wetland boardwalks, observation decks for wildlife viewing, and the historic ruins of the mysterious 4,000 year old Native American Indian Shell Ring. The Sea Pines Forest Preserve has a boat launch and fishing docks, guided eco-adventures, alligator tours and fishing expeditions, wagon rides for the kids and western style horseback rides through the preserve. 


LAWTON STABLES

Lawton Stables is a family-owned farm and equestrian center in Sea Pines Resort, a must for your vacation on Hilton Head. Beginners and experienced riders can explore the trails through the Sea Pines Forest Preserve (ages 8 and up) or delight the kids with a Shetland pony ride and a visit to the hands-on petting zoo with goats, pigs, miniature donkeys, chickens, and alpacas. 


STONEY-BAYNARD PLANTATION RUINS

The Stoney-Baynard Plantation Ruins are an important part of Hilton Head history located in the Sea Pines Resort Area. The former antebellum plantation was built in the 18th century and the remains of the mansion and slave quarters burned in the Civil War are today listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. The ruins are easily reached on a short hike with interpretive signs to learn the history of the ruins, tranquil views of the Calibogue Sound and a flurry of ghost stories from fellow hikers. 


GETTING AROUND SEA PINES RESORT AREA

Getting around Sea Pines Resort Area is easy! The complimentary Sea Pines Trolley offers three different routes within Sea Pines Resort with seasonal service from April to September and trolley stops at Sea Pines top attractions. The Blue Route runs between Harbour Town and The Sea Pines Beach Club, the Red Route runs to and from Harbour Town and the Green Route transports you down to South Beach. 

The Sea Pines Resort Area has over 20 miles of recreational pathways throughout the plantation making it easy to avoid traffic and high-season parking problems and explore the attractions at your own pace. Sunset Rentals offers its own fleet of state-of-the-art bike rentals and complimentary Vayk Gear rentals at select homes and villas in the Sea Pines Resort Area


WHERE TO STAY IN SEA PINES RESORT AREA

The Sea Pines Resort Area of Hilton Head Island is divided into four unique neighborhoods: Harbor Town, South Beach, Plantation and Oceanside. Wherever you choose to recharge, our selection of Sea Pines Plantation vacation villas and homes offer luxury amenities, comfort, privacy and exceptional guest services, all within easy reach of the top tours, attractions, activities and things to do in Sea Pines Resort


South Beach Villa Rentals, Hilton Head Island

Beachside Tennis

0.2 miles to South Beach Marina Village
Wake up to a spectacular sunrise over the Atlantic at Beachside Tennis, an oceanfront complex on the southern tip of Sea Pines. These stylish and spacious Sea Pines villas offer Atlantic Ocean and Calibogue Sound views, a community pool, and easy access to South Beach Marina Village and South Beach Racquet Club. A prime location in Sea Pines just steps from the ocean, sand, and sun.

Bluff Villas

0.3 miles to South Beach Marina Village
Bluff Villas are located on the marina side of the peninsula between the Calibogue Sound and Braddock Cove, a short walk to beach access at South Beach. Guests have access to the South Beach Marina Pool and the South Beach Racquet Club. 

Lands End

0.6 miles to South Beach Marina Village
Lands End Villas are located close to South Beach Marina Village, where Braddock Cove meets the Calibogue Sound and Intracoastal Waterway. These secluded villas offer classic Lowcountry living with some of the best views on Hilton Head, a community pool, and dolphin viewing from home! 

South Beach Villas

0.3 miles to South Beach Marina Village
South Beach Villas are located near Beachside Tennis Villas, just steps from the Atlantic Ocean and a short walk to South Beach Marina Village, Guests enjoy unparalleled views of the Atlantic, Calibogue Sound and Daufuskie Island with access to the South Beach Marina community pool. 


Harbour Town Villa Rentals, Hilton Head Island

Calibogue Cay Villas

1.5 miles to Harbour Town Marina
Our pet-friendly Calibogue Cay villa rentals are located close to Harbour Town with tranquil marsh views, beach access along the bike paths or a quick ride on the Sea Pines Trolley, a seasonal community pool, tennis courts and some of the best sunset views on Hilton Head. 

Heritage Villas

0.8 Miles to Harbour Town Marina
Heritage Villas are located on the award-winning Harbour Town Golf Links, just a short bike ride away from shopping, dining, and endless activities at Sea Pines Harbour Town. This Sea Pines villa complex has a sparkling community pool and tennis courts set in landscaped gardens for guest use. 

Ketch Court Villas

0.3 Miles to Harbour Town Marina
Stay in the heart of Harbour Town at Ketch Court on Lighthouse Lane, a short walk to the Harbour Town Lighthouse, shopping, dining, and the best family activities on Hilton Head Island. The Ketch Court Villa Complex does not have a community pool, however guests have access to the South Beach Marina pool and are a short bike or trolley ride to the beach. 

Lighthouse Tennis Villas

0.9 Miles to Harbour Town Marina
Lighthouse Tennis Villas are located next to the Shops at Sea Pines Center, between Harbour Town and the Sea Pines Beach Club. The complex features tropical surroundings, a resort-size swimming pool, private tennis courts and is a short bike ride to Harbour Town and the beach at Sea Pines. 

Mariners Way

Steps to Harbour Town Marina
The Mariners Way complex is in a prime location in Harbour Town, steps from the iconic Harbour Town Lighthouse, Harbour Town Playground and the bustling marina with shopping, dining, and the best water activities on Hilton Head. Guests have access to the Harbour Town Pool.   

Racquet Club Villas

0.6 Miles to Harbour Town Marina
Sea Pines Racquet Club villas are located on the Heron Point Golf Close in the Harbour Town area of Sea Pines. The Racquet Club complex features a seasonal swimming pool, Har-Tru tennis courts and a Sea Pines Trolley stop for easy access to the beach. 


Plantation Villa Rentals, Hilton Head

Plantation Club Villas

Plantation Club Villas are located near the Sea Pines Plantation Golf Club, on the fairways of the award-winning Atlantic Dunes by Davis Love III and Heron Point by Pete Dye. The Plantation Club Villa complex offer a prime location for golfing in Sea Pines resort area with two on-site seasonal swimming pools, a children’s pool and a short walk or bike ride to the beach. 


Private Sea Pines Vacation Homes

Sunset Rentals have been welcoming visitors to Hilton Head Island for over 25 years and offer a diverse selection of private vacation rental homes in the Sea Pines Resort Area of Hilton Head. From pet-friendly rentals on the fairways of the award-winning Harbour Town Golf Links to luxury beach homes with oceanfront pools and private beach access, your dream home and vacation in Sea Pines Resort awaits with Sunset Rentals.

The Ultimate Guide to Summer on Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head is a bucket-list destination for summer adventures, ranked #1 in Travel+Leisure World’s Best Awards, and one of the top-booked summer vacation destinations for 2021. 

America’s Favorite Island is a Lowcountry barrier island at the southern tip of South Carolina between the two grand dames of the south, Charleston and Savannah, GA. Hilton Head Island is a charming and unique destination with a rich culture, serene landscapes, immersive adventures and experiences, succulent seafood, and a slow paced lifestyle to disconnect, recharge and switch to summer time on the sea islands. 

Spend lazy days soaking up the sun on 12 miles of unspoiled sandy beaches or discover the best of Hilton Head with pristine championship golf courses, world-famous tennis & racquet clubs, miles nature trails for hiking and biking, preserves for wildlife viewing and birdwatching, and serene waterways for kayaking. Whether you’re in search of a quiet island escape or action packed summer vacation, we invite you to explore the island like a local with our inspiration for your summer vacation on Hilton Head Island. 


HILTON HEAD ISLAND BEACHES

Hilton Head Island boasts 12-miles of pristine beaches consistently rated among the top beaches in the US and the world! Hilton Head boasts warm, calm waters and flat sandbanks for summer dips in the ocean, natural tide pools for little hands to explore, an expansive and well-maintained shoreline lined with coastal treasures, and endless opportunities to get on the water.   

Hilton Head Plantation Beach Access 

Sea Pines Beach Club: Guests of Sea Pines Plantations have access to 5 miles of unspoiled sandy beaches at the Sea Pines Beach Club. To avoid high season parking, hop on the free Sea Pines Trolley and enjoy a day on the lifeguarded beach with kids’ entertainment, picnic tables, oceanfront dining and a casual beach bar. 

Palmetto Dunes Beach: The Palmetto Dunes Plantation has 3 miles of pristine sandy beaches with public beach access at the Dunes House. Parking is limited so take advantage of the Dunes Beach Buggy to soak up the sun’s rays, play in the ocean and sip frozen cocktails at the oceanfront bar. 

Private Beach Access: Hilton Head’s favorite vacation rentals are located oceanfront on the island with private boardwalks to miles of beautiful Atlantic beaches. 

Public Beach Access Points on Hilton Head Island 

Alder Lane: Alder Lane is on the south end of the island in the Forest Beach area of Hilton Head. This beach access is away from the crowds and caters to all abilities with handicap matting, restrooms, outdoor showers, summer lifeguards and low-key beach walks along the shoreline. 

Coligny Beach Park: Traveling up the coastline, the next public beach access is Coligny Beach Park, the island’s most popular beach and the heartbeat of Hilton Head. It’s an easy bike ride from the resort areas of Hilton Head with free parking, excellent amenities, loads of food options and summer rentals for water activities. There’s great entertainment for the kids and a hot line-up of live music at the legendary Tiki Hut on the sand. 

Burkes Beach: For quieter beach days, pet-friendly Burkes Beach lies north of Palmetto Dunes Plantation with basketball and tennis courts, a playground, dog park, tranquil seaside trails to some of the best waves on Hilton Head Island for surfing and bodyboarding, and seasonal lifeguards.   

Driessen Beach: Driessen Beach is next to Burkes Beach and is one of Hilton Head’s larger beach parks. A peaceful boardwalk leads to a sandy beach with picnic tables, a playground, sand showers, vending machines, seasonal beach rentals and lifeguards. 

Folly Field Beach: Folly Field Beach is Hilton Head’s “local beach”, a favorite with families visiting Hilton Head and a top spot to learn to surf. Beach amenities include restrooms and outdoor showers, water fountains, metered parking, umbrella and chair rentals, and seasonal lifeguards. 

Islanders Beach Park: Pack a picnic and spend the day away from the crowds at Islanders Beach Park, just north of Folly Field Beach. There’s a playground for the kids, picnic tables, drinks machines and restrooms, but you’ll need to bike to the beach as parking is for annual pass holders only. 

Fish Haul Beach Park: Fish Haul Beach Park is one of the most natural and remote beaches on Hilton Head Island overlooking the Port Royal Sound. If you’re seeking an off the beaten path beach on Hilton Head, teeming with wildlife, beautiful shells on the tide line and some of the most beautiful birdlife on Hilton Head, spend a day in nature at Fish Haul. 

The beaches of Hilton Head Island officially open for the beach season from April 1 through September 30 with seasonal lifeguards for a safe summer vacation. Sunset Rentals partners with Vayk Gear to offer our guests complimentary beach gear in select homes and villas. 


ON THE WATER ACTIVITIES

Whether you’re exploring the serene waterways of the Calibogue Sound or the vast Atlantic Ocean, this is your chance to experience a personal encounter with an abundance of captivating and majestic marine life including loggerhead sea turtles, manatees, sea otters and Hilton Head’s most famous residents, the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin. There are six marinas and harbors on Hilton Head Island making it easy to enjoy a memorable day of aquatic adventures with on the water activities for all ages and energy levels. 

Kayaking: There are over 25 miles of undeveloped marshes and remote areas surrounding Hilton Head to escape the crowds, kayak or SUP the serene waterways and back creeks of the Lowcountry, and reconnect with nature. 

Boat Rentals: For a little more speed, local outfitters across the island offer Hilton Head boat rentals by the hour, or by the day. Sail the sea islands on a catamaran or yacht, waterski or tube the calm waters of Broad Creek, or ride a waverunner or jet-ski through the Calibogue Sound. 

Boat Tours & Cruises: Hilton Head Island boasts an extensive selection of cruises and guided boat tours ranging from sightseeing cruises, dolphin tours, parasailing, banana boat and skiff tours around Hilton Head, to expeditions to the sea islands and guided tours of historic Savannah. 

Fishing Charters: Keep your feet on dry land and cast your line from the shore, the fishing piers or the tranquil, stocked lagoons on Hilton Head Island, or embark on a fishing charter in the backwaters of the estuaries or the deep seas of the Atlantic Ocean.   

If you’re fishing solo, a South Carolina saltwater fishing license is required for all anglers 16 and over and there’s plenty of bait and tackle shops to stock up on your fishing gear. But, the best way to reel in a trophy catch is on a Hilton Head Island fishing charter with an experienced and local fishing guide, and insider tips to Hilton Head’s top fishing spots (and the secret unknowns!)   


BIKING & HIKING TRAILS

The best way to explore Hilton Head (and avoid the traffic and high season parking) is on foot or by bike! Hilton Head Island is one of the most bike-friendly destinations in the US, rated a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the American League of Bicyclists. 

Hilton Head Island is only twelve miles long and five miles wide and boasts an island wide network of flat, shady, and interlaced trails with over 60-miles of trails, 30 bike rental shops and over 15,000 bikes available to rent on the island. Printed maps are available across the island, at the Town Hall or online

Venture off the beaten path and explore maritime forests and hidden parts of the island, cruise the 22-mile loop around the island, or take a coastal bike ride or beach stroll along the shoreline. Here’s our favorite trails to hike and bike on Hilton Head. 

Sea Pines Forest Preserve: Hike and bike the trails of Sea Pines Forest Preserve, an expansive 605 acre protected wildlife habitat with wetland boardwalks through the forest, lakes, fishing docks, historic ruins and beautiful natural landscapes with native flowers and an abundance of wildlife. If you’re not vacationing in Sea Pines, there’s a small fee to access the Sea Pines Plantation.   

Palmetto Dunes Plantation: Palmetto Dunes Plantation has 5 miles of tranquil shaded trails and 3 miles of sandy beaches for easy cruising. There’s a bike path leading to the beach and a bike path to Shelter Cover under the 278 to ride and shop. There is no fee to bike in Palmetto Dunes. 

Audubon Newhall Preserve: The Audubon Newhall Preserve is a paradise for birdwatchers and nature lovers with a small network of trails and boardwalks through the 50-acre nature preserve, a tranquil pond, and the opportunity to encounter South Carolina’s best birdlife, including a Great Blue Heron. Guided walks are available. 

Mitchelville Freedom Park: Take a stroll through Mitchelville Freedom Park, a historic park with remnants of the town where freedom began for Hilton Head in 1862. Peaceful trails lead through the park to the rocky shoreline of Fish Haul Creek Park, a prime birdwatching destination on HHI. 

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge: Pinckney Island is a 4,000 acres wildlife refuge at the entrance to Hilton Head Island with 14 miles of hiking and biking trails through forest lands, serene salt marshes, tidal creeks, freshwater ponds and natural Lowcountry beauty. Pack your binoculars for some of the best birdwatching and wildlife viewing on Hilton Head.   

Sunset Rentals has a fleet of affordable, state-of-the-art rentals, including classic, tandem, child, and three-wheeler bikes available to guests. Reservations required well in advance for summer. 


GOLF COURSES & TENNIS FACILITIES

Some of the best golf courses in the Southeast and eight of the world’s top tennis resorts and camps are right here on Hilton Head Island. There are two dozen world-class golf courses and over 300 tennis courts on Hilton Head with challenging play for both novice players and the pros. 

Hilton Head Island is a top golf and tennis destination so be sure to book your tee times and courts well in advance. Here’s our guide to the top tennis facilities and golf courses in the resort areas of Hilton Head. 

Sea Pines Plantation: Tee off among the palmettos and ancient oaks on the family-friendly Atlantic Dunes course, the challenging fairways of Pete Dye’s Heron Point or on the island’s most famous golf course, Harbour Town Golf Links. The Harbour Town Golf Links is consistently ranked one of the best golf courses in the US and welcomes over 130,000 each year to the RBC Heritage PGA Tour

The Sea Pines Racquet Club is one of the best in the US with 20 clay courts, night courts, a full-service pro shop, and an award-winning tennis academy.   

Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort: Palmetto Dunes has three top-rated golf courses for an unrivaled golf experience on Hilton Head. Tee off at the Robert Trent Jones Course featuring one of only two oceanfront holes on Hilton Head Island, experience one of the best golf courses you can play in South Carolina at the Arthur Hills Course, or enjoy a challenging round on the George Fazio Course, the only par-70 public golf course on Hilton Head. 

The award-winning Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center ranks among the top tennis facilities in the world with tennis and pickleball courts, night play and fun clinics through the summer. 

Port Royal Plantation: The Port Royal Golf & Racquet Club has two courses, the Barony Course, and Robber’s Row Course, footgolf for the kids, and an 8-court racquet club. These scenic facilities are set on Civil War grounds on the marsh side of the island with beautiful live oaks and magnolias, water features and historical markers to discover the rich history of Hilton Head. 

Shipyard Plantation: The Shipyard Golf Club was rated one of the finest layouts on the Champions Tour and offers 27-holes of family-friendly golf on three scenic courses, the Clipper, Galleon and Brigantine. The award-winning holes are surrounded by towering oaks and pines and tranquil lagoons. 

The Van der Meer Tennis Center at Shipyard is another of Hilton Head’s award-winning tennis facilities with indoor and outdoor courts, daily clinics, and summer tennis camps.


HORSE-RIDING

Lawton Stables is the top destination for horseback rides on Hilton Head Island and a unique way to discover the Lowcountry. The farm and equestrian center in the Sea Pines Plantation offers western-style trail rides through the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, Shetland pony rides and a petting zoo for the little ones. For a once in a lifetime experience, take the ferry to Daufuskie Island for an exclusive beach ride along the Atlantic shoreline. 


FAMILY FUN ON HILTON HEAD ISLAND

The ultimate family summer vacation awaits on Hilton Head Island, one of the world’s most family-friendly vacation destinations. Hilton Head is a magical destination for kids of all ages with family-focused adventures, interactive children museums, live entertainment, miniature golf, indoor playgrounds, rainy-day activities, and awesome day camps fully-loaded with outdoor adventures and new experiences. Here’s our inside scoop on the best things to do with kids and teens on Hilton Head. 

Harbour Town: Harbour Town is one of the top places to visit on Hilton Head Island with kids. Climb the iconic candy cane striped Harbour Town Lighthouse (children under 5 are free), watch the boats sail by while you refuel at The Crazy Crab, and engage in swashbuckling fun with the Pirates of Hilton Head on the Black Dagger, the island’s only custom pirate ship. During the summer months, there’s live entertainment under the Liberty Oak, a top island activity for families visiting Hilton Head. 

Shelter Cove: The annual HarbourFest at Shelter Cove is a delight for all ages and a must-do Hilton Head summer celebration. Enjoy the best local food, arts and crafts, live entertainment from clowns, pirates and local musicians, bouncy castles, and a spectacular display of fireworks over Broad Creek every Tuesday, a Hilton Head tradition. 

Coligny Plaza: The Coligny Center Stage at Coligny Plaza hosts a fun line-up of summer entertainment with magic extravaganzas, family-friendly dance parties, trivia nights and activities every day of the week. Kids love to explore Adventure Playground and the interactive Sandbox Children’s Museum at Lowcountry Celebration, and you’re steps away from one of the best beaches in America. 

Coastal Discovery Museum: The Coastal Discovery Museum is a fun and educational way for the kids to spend the day on Hilton Head. Visit the butterfly gardens, take a nature tour, learn the art of basket weaving, discover the history of the sea islands, or engage in interactive play at the indoor Kids Zone. 

Zipline Hilton Head: Experience Hilton Head’s top adventure destination with a choice of 7 ziplines soaring above the marshes and tree canopies of Broad Creek, a high ropes challenge course, and a brand new outdoor GoKart track with double karts to take little ones for a cruise. 

Miniature Golf: Hilton Head has three mini-golf courses for family fun on Hilton Head. Play Caribbean-style at Adventure Cove, follow in the footsteps of pirates at Pirate’s Island, or play country club style miniature golf at Legendary Golf

Hilton Head Skatepark: The Hilton Head Skatepark at the Bristol Sports Arena is a great way for bigger kids to let off some steam with ramps, rails and a kid’s street course and playground for younger kids. 

The Art Café: Paint your own pottery at The Art Café, a colorful pottery studio and café near the Coligny Plaza. There’s a big selection of pottery pieces to choose from, indoor seating for a rainy day, and outdoor patio seating for painting, dining, and special events through the summer. 

Outside Hilton Head: Outside Hilton Head is the top activity provider on the island with day camps and outdoor activities for kids, teens, and families. Activities range from family fishing charters, beachcombing cruises and dolphin tours, to learn to surf camps and bike tours of Hilton Head Island. 


ARTS, CULTURE & HISTORIC SITES

Art Center of Coastal Carolina: The Art Center of Coastal Carolina is the heart of Hilton Head’s performing arts scene with award-winning theatrical shows, ballet performances, musical dramas, cultural festivals, and a fun lineup of summer events on HHI for the whole family. 

Coastal Discovery Museum: Step back in time at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn, home to the Santa Elena Center, nine historic buildings dating back to 1859, a 500-year old Southern Red Cedar, fascinating history and cultural exhibits, and authentic Gullah Heritage Trail Tours.   

Stoney-Baynard Ruins: The Baynard Plantation was built by Revolutionary War hero Captain Jack Stoney in the early 18th century, used as headquarters for Union troops during the Civil War, and later burned to the ground. Take a short hike through Sea Pines to view the remains of the grand antebellum home and slave quarters, rumored to be one of the most haunted spots on Hilton Head Island. 

Sea Pines Indian Shell Ring: The Sea Pines Indian Shell Ring lies in the heart of Sea Pines Forest Preserve and dates back over 4,000 years. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the historic shell ring measures 150 feet in diameter and is known to be the oldest known archeological site on Hilton Head Island. 


HEALTH, WELLNESS & LUXURY SPA DAYS

The travel journey alone boosts your mental health, but the bliss and natural beauty of Hilton Head takes your health and wellness journey a step further. Treat yourself to a little me time at a luxury Hilton Head spa, or skip the traffic and indulge in a massage treatment in the comfort of your dream Hilton Head vacation home


SHOPPING IN HILTON HEAD

Retail therapy is another great way to boost mental health and shopping on Hilton Head Island is an adventure of its own! Summer is the perfect season to stroll the open-air plazas and shop the local farmers markets for the finest seafood, fresh fruit and veg, homemade specialties and picnic baskets to enjoy in nature.    


EATING OUT ON HILTON HEAD ISLAND

Restaurants: Whether you’re in search of the best shrimp and grits on Hilton Head Island, a casual eatery for the kids or an evening of fine dining on the waterfront, Hilton Head has a diverse selection of delicious dining options to explore. For Hilton Head’s finest sunset views, feast on Lowcountry cuisine at Skull Creek Boathouse, raw oysters at Hudson’s Seafood House on the Docks, or dine waterfront at Harbour Town as the sun sets over Calibogue Sound. 

Dinner Cruises: For a unique Hilton Head dinner experience, take a sunset cruise on the Salty Dog Happy Hour Boat from South Beach Marina, or climb aboard the Spirit of Harbour Town for a romantic candlelit cruise along the South Carolina coastline. 

Late-Night Venues: Carry it on late into the night at Hilton Head’s late-night venues. Snack on southern BBQ with an ice cold brew at Hilton Head Brewing Company, stay for last call at the legendary Tiki Hut beach bar on Coligny Beach, or join the island’s biggest and best DJ dance party at The Rooftop Bar in Shelter Cove. For an evening of smooth, sophisticated jazz, head to Jazz Corner, an award-winning jazz club, acclaimed as one of the top “100 Great Jazz Rooms in the World”. 


WHERE TO STAY IN HILTON HEAD

Sunset Rentals are the most trusted rental business and vacation specialists on Hilton Head Island with one of the area’s largest collections of Hilton Head vacation homes and villas in the top resort areas of Hilton Head Island.   Experience an unforgettable summer vacation on Hilton Head with rentals to suit every family’s size, style and budget, resort-style amenities, homey comforts, luxurious outdoor living in the Lowcountry and first-class service every step of your vacation journey.

The Top 3 Hilton Head Dolphin Tours

Truth be told, very few mammals are as equally cute, captivating, and majestic as an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. Humans instinctively have a soft spot for these adorable and wildly intelligent underwater critters. Scientists assert that dolphins are quick learners, self-aware, able to problem-solve, and even have the rare ability to show empathy. Naturally, pods of bottlenoses frequent the aquatic acreage surrounding paradisical Hilton Head Island, home to Sunset Rentals, the region’s most experienced vacation rental management company. We have stark relationships with the area’s premier cruise-based outfits. Thus, our concierge team has compiled the three best Hilton Head dolphin tours, where spotting a grinning bottlenose is innate as an Atlantic Ocean sunrise.

The Best Hilton Head Dolphin Tours

Nearly a dozen local businesses offer 90-minute (or two-hour) Hilton Head dolphin tours, two of which are located in Shelter Cove Harbour. Prices are comparable across the board, so keep a close eye on each company’s various amenities. Remember to pack sunscreen, sunglasses, a light jacket, and a camera, because dolphins absolutely love being photographed!

1 – Dolphin Seafari
Dolphin Seafari is home to the famous “Donuts and Dolphins” tour, where a bevy of colorfully-coated, deep-fried sweets are readily available for consumption throughout the trip. Complimentary coffee (or tea, water, or juice) is also served if you’re in the dunking mood. However, the main event is the legion of 200-plus bottlenose dolphins that circle the isle. The 30-foot-long covered pontoon sits low to the surface so that you can practically high-five a dolphin when the opportunity presents itself. A crab-trap demonstration always garners “Oohs” and “ahhs” from the crowd, especially amongst youngsters.

2 – Dolphin Discoveries Nature Tours
What sets Dolphin Discoveries apart from all of the other Hilton Head dolphin tours is its semi-exclusivity. Most expeditions host anywhere from 12 to 40 people. Dolphin Discoveries, however, seats six people, max. Thus, it’s perfect for families. Large groups, obviously, will have to go elsewhere. Each 105-minute voyage motors past pods of curious bottlenoses, as well as bald eagles, egrets, brown pelicans, and, occasionally, adorable river otters. Make sure to browse through their various trip options to find one that best suits your family. The tours can include anything from beachcombing to shark fishing.

3 – Captain Mark’s Dolphin Cruises
Pet owners, rejoice! Captain Mark’s is one of only dog-friendly Hilton Head dolphin tours, with expeditions starting at just $21.95 per person. Captain Mark has skippered over 20,000 cruises in the past 37 years, so he knows a thing or two about dolphin “honey holes.” He specifically leads groups to the serene, 13-mile Calibogue Sound, just south of the island. Lucky passengers will coast past a variety of architectural marvels, including plantations and a lighthouse.


Long-Term Rentals in Hilton Head

Start and finish each day in South Carolinian paradise with Sunset Rentals of Hilton Head. We boast one of the largest fleets of Hilton Head vacation rentals, including nearly 100 homes and over 170 villas. While each property is unique in size, location, and design, they share common luxuries, such as pool access, lavish furnishings, chef’s kitchens, and air conditioning. Some homes and units overlook the Atlantic Ocean, while others feature dazzling, private pools. All of them are within walking distance of the beach, so a full day of oceanic exploration is always a short stroll away.