Top Resort Areas of Hilton Head Island - Sunset Rentals Vacation Blog

Top Resort Areas of Hilton Head Island

Welcome to Hilton Head Island, SC – the ultimate vacation destination! 

Whether you’re a beach lover, a golf fanatic, or an outdoor and nature enthusiast, the beautiful island of Hilton Head has something for everyone. From sunny white sand beaches, sparkling Atlantic Ocean waves, and Lowcountry waterways, to the lush fairways of world-class golf courses and miles of nature trails, Hilton Head Island has it all. 

When you need a break from all the fun in the sun, there’s no shortage of delicious restaurants, lively bars, charming shops, and low-key attractions to explore. So come join us on this pet-friendly paradise island – we can’t wait to show you all the amazing things Hilton Head has to offer! 

Ready to experience the ultimate beach vacation in Hilton Head, SC? Sunset Rentals have a collection of 220+ rental properties on Hilton Head Island with a variety of options to choose from! Hilton Head Island is divided into gated communities, known as plantations or resort areas, each with its own unique Lowcountry charm, attractions, and selection of vacation villas, coastal condos, and luxury private homes. 

If you’re wondering where to stay on Hilton Head Island to suit your travel style, our team at Sunset Rentals has compiled a breakdown of the top resort areas in Hilton Head – highlighting the attractions and best places to stay in each Hilton Head neighborhood. View our Hilton Head Island maps while you read on!


Known as the “Hilton Head Hot Spot”, downtown Forest Beach is a vibrant, oceanfront neighborhood centered around bustling Coligny Plaza and three miles of award-winning white sand beaches at Coligny Beach Park. A vacation in Forest Beach puts you in the heart of the action with rental properties within walking distance to the beach and some of the island’s best shopping, restaurants, tiki bars, and nightlife. Coligny Beach Park boasts top-notch amenities for a beach day including wheelchair access, beach gear rentals, shaded gazebos, and a beautiful boardwalk for walking or biking.    

Aside from countless activities on your doorstep, you’re centrally located to explore all the attractions on Hilton Head Island, and the seasonal Breeze Trolley makes it easy to get around the island.


Situated on the southern tip of Hilton Head Island, the Sea Pines Resort area is the original and largest plantation on the island encompassing 5,000 acres of spectacular beauty and historical Lowcountry charm. Sea Pines is ranked among the top resorts in America and with endless attractions, water activities, and family-focused events, Sea Pines is a top choice for families visiting Hilton Head. 

Sea Pines borders the Atlantic Ocean and Calibogue Sound with 5 miles of beaches to soak up the sun, paved trails for walking or biking, and endless things to do for the whole family. Sports enthusiasts have a choice of three championship courses, Heron Point, Atlantic Dunes, and the famous Harbour Town Golf Links, home of the annual RBC Heritage, South Carolina’s only PGA Tour. If tennis is your game, the Sea Pines Racquet Club is one of the top tennis facilities in the country! 

Nature lovers will find themselves drawn to the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, a wildlife habitat with trails winding through the wetlands, lagoons and fishing docks, and a wide choice of dolphin watching and eco-tours to experience the history and beauty of Hilton Head Island. 

Harbour Town is a top Hilton Head Island attraction and another great reason to stay in the Sea Pines Resort area. Climb the iconic candy cane Harbour Town Lighthouse, take a dolphin tour or cruise from the marina, and enjoy some of the best shopping and waterfront restaurants on Hilton Head Island only a short walk, bike ride, or Sea Pines trolley trip from your vacation home.


Situated on 2,000 acres in the heart of Hilton Head Island, Palmetto Dunes is an oceanfront haven with something for everyone! Guests have easy access to three miles of beautiful beaches, a lush 11-mile lagoon system for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing, and shaded biking trails through quiet streets lined with ancient oaks and towering palmetto palms.   

Stay active with a round of golf on the George Fazio Golf Course, Arthur Hills Golf Course, or oceanfront on the Robert Trent Jones Course with one of only two oceanfront holes on Hilton Head. For a round of racquet sports, the award-winning Palmetto Dunes Tennis & Pickleball Center is ranked among the top tennis centers in the world.   

In the local Palmetto Dunes neighborhood, you’ll find golf club dining, and oceanfront dining at Dunes House and Sonesta Resort, or hop on your bike or the Palmetto Dunes Buggy to Hilton Head Island’s premier waterfront destination, Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina. Palmetto Dunes proximity to Shelter Cove is one of the many reasons our guests choose to stay here. Shelter Cove has some of the best water activities and tours on the island, with an excellent selection of shops, bars, restaurants, and vibrant nightlife.


Nestled between Sea Pines and Palmetto Dunes near Coligny Plaza, Shipyard is the second plantation developed on the island and, at only 800 acres, comes in as the smallest of the Hilton Head resort areas. The Shipyard resort area of Hilton Head is like a tiny slice of heaven, a naturistic plantation with quiet neighborhoods, tranquil oak-lined trails, award-winning golf courses, and lagoons abounding in wildlife and birdlife, along with the Lowcountry charm of a bygone era. 

Most of the resort area encompasses the championship courts of the Van Der Meer Tennis Center and the fairways of the Shipyard Golf Club featuring 27 holes of championship golf on the Clipper Course, Galleon Course, and Brigantine Course. Oceanfront, you’ll find the Shipyard Beach Club with an oceanfront bar, deck, and boardwalk leading to a wide stretch of beach, and The Sonesta Resort for shopping, dining, and live entertainment.


Bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Port Royal Sound on the northern curve of Hilton Head lies the historic neighborhood of Port Royal. Port Royal was the first landmass sighted by Captain William Hilton and is a quieter and older neighborhood with a rich history, natural beauty, family-friendly beaches, and one of the most exotic golf courses in the world! 

Built atop former Civil War grounds and named one of the “Top Exotic Golf Courses in the World”, the Port Royal Golf & Racquet Club offers a unique (and challenging!) round of golf on the Barony and Robber’s Row Course, along with FootGolf for all ages, and world-class courts for pickleball and tennis. 

For fun in the sun, the Port Royal Plantation has 19 beach access paths leading to the secluded shoreline of Port Royal Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Port Royal’s beach access takes you to one of the best stretches of beach on Hilton Head – Islander Beach Park and neighboring Folly Field Beach, “the locals’ beach”.   Port Royal is away from the crowds, there’s a small selection of golf and resort dining, and the seasonal Breeze Trolley has regular mid-island stops from the Westin Hotel and Port Royal Golf & Racquet Club to connect to the other resort areas of Hilton Head Island.

Locally serving Hilton Head since 1993, Sunset Rentals take pride in ensuring first-class service for an exceptional vacation experience. Our Sunset Package allows you to book a home with confidence and ease, our local team is available to help you plan your trip, and our bike & beach gear program gives you credit on beach gear, bike rentals, water sports rentals, and so much more! Book online or call our team today at (843) 785-6767.

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