Travel & Leisure Magazine has released its annual World’s Best Awards, and guests voted Hilton Head the Best Island in the Continental U.S. Not only that, our Lowcountry slice of paradise was listed as the second best island in the world! We’re thrilled, and not surprised. If you’ve ever been to Hilton Head Island you know just how spectacular a destination it is! We hear it from guests all the time! To celebrate this incredible accolade, we’re listing off 10 reasons why Hilton Head is the best island.
10. The Convenience
With two airports servicing Hilton Head Island, plenty of non-stop flights, and easy land access, getting to Hilton Head is as easy as a South Carolina breeze! This year Air Canada launched non-stop service from Toronto, Canada so even our neighbors to the north can hop on a plane to our slice of paradise!
9. The Adventure
Hilton Head Island offers the perfect setting for outdoor adventure. Hit the open water on a sailboat, kayak, or fishing charter, or enjoy the quiet calm of the Palmetto Dunes Lagoon. Bike trails, pillage like pirates, zip-line across the sky, or zoom full speed ahead on a catamaran built for two! There’s no end to thrilling outdoor activities on Hilton Head.
8. The Wildlife
Our scenic natural surroundings provide more than just stunning photo opportunities—they’re home to a vibrant and varied array of wildlife, too! You could see dolphins, sharks, fish, oysters, birds, deer, even gators on your Hilton Head Island vacation.
7. The Weather
We’re fortunate, on Hilton Head Island, to have some of the best weather around! Not only can we golf year round, we enjoy comfortable temperatures regardless of the season. During the summer months, temperatures soar as high as 89 degrees and even in winter the temperature hovers around 60.
6. The Laidback Lifestyle
There’s something incredibly relaxing about the laidback way of life in Lowcountry. We’re never in a rush down here! Taking the time to enjoy the sunshine, beautiful surroundings, and each other’s company is part of Hilton Head’s charm.
5. The Family-Friendly Atmosphere
Whether it’s the vacation rentals appointed with every convenience and comfort of home, the kids’ camps, family-friendly restaurants, or simply our quiet atmosphere, Hilton Head offers something for the entire family to enjoy! We have guests who have been visiting with their families for years, and kids who have grown up reveling in the fun of a Hilton Head Island vacation.
4. The Food
There’s nothing quite like good old-fashioned Southern cookin’, and no shortage of it on Hilton Head Island. From local staples like oyster roasts and Lowcountry boils to Southern classics like shrimp n’ grits and fried chicken, your taste buds are in for a treat when you’re dining in Hilton Head.
3. The People
Over and over, we hear from guests who just can’t get over how friendly and helpful everyone is on Hilton Head Island! We think you’ll find that locals are courteous and kind—and up for a good time! Join us at Harbourfest or down at Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina for happy hour and you’ll see just what we mean.
2. The Golfing
Hilton Head Island is practically synonymous with good golfing, and it’s no wonder! With over 20 championship golf courses, including our three award-winning golf courses at Palmetto Dunes! There are courses for every experience level and playing style, and some of the best PGA-certified instructors to help you improve all aspects of your game.
1. The Beaches
If there’s one thing on Hilton Head Island that will take your breath away, it’s our beautiful beaches! Year round our guests are wowed by Hilton Head’s white sand, calm surf, stunning sunrises and beautiful water. Whether you’re biking along the water’s edge, taking a surf lesson, or simply enjoying the view, we think you’ll agree that spending the day at the beach on Hilton Head Island is top notch.
Summer has arrived on Hilton Head Island, and that means one thing: it’s time for sun, sand, and a drink in your hand! After all, the best way to cool down on a hot day is with a refreshing, summery beverage. Luckily, there are plenty of places to grab a delightful drink at Palmetto Dunes and Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina. Here are ten island favorites.
The Dunes House
This beachfront eatery is a longstanding favorite with Palmetto Dunes guests and property owners. You simply can’t beat that ocean view! (See it for yourself by checking out the live webcam.) The Dunes House is famous for offering the best fish tacos on Hilton Head Island and a wide range of drinks served frozen or on the rocks.
Sip on this: The Arnie Palmer, a frozen cocktail featuring Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka and lemonade.
This waterfront café brings French flair to Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina, with lunch and dinner menus featuring classic French cuisine. They offer a kids’ menu, so little ones can dine on chicken fingers or grilled cheese while the grownups indulge in favorites like escargot or mussels, paired with the perfect wine.
Sip on this: Rather than a cocktail, try something from Bistro 17’s extensive wine list.
Alexander’s Restaurant & Wine Bar
Hilton Head Island guests and locals were thrilled when Alexander’s Restaurant reopened in March of 2017. The upscale seafood restaurant is back and better than ever, thanks to its menu of seasonally inspired cuisine and a revamped atmosphere. The brand new stand-up bar is the perfect place to grab a drink with friends.
Must-Try Cocktail: Enjoy a glass of the house wine for only $4, or choose your favorite from a wine list of over 100 selections.
San Miguel’s Mexican Café
Located in Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina, visitors to Hilton Head Island love dining on authentic Mexican food at San Miguel’s – and taking in those incredible Shelter Cove sunsets while they’re at it.
Sip on this: Their award-winning Cadillac Margarita.
XO Sports & Spirits
Located at the Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort, XO Sports & Spirits is a popular place to grab a drink and watch the game. They offer classic pub snacks like pimento cheese dip, wings, and burgers, as well as a wide selection of craft, draft, and bottled beer.
Sip on this: The Peach Palmer includes Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka, fresh lemon, peach puree, and iced tea.
Scott’s Fish Market
This waterfront hotspot has been a Hilton Head Island favorite for over 25 years! The outdoor bar, “Hurricane Harry’s”, offers enticing happy hour deals and an assortment of tropical libations make it one of the best places to grab a drink at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina. Grab a seat at Scott's Fish Market on Tuesday nights during HarbourFest and enjoy a cocktail during the fireworks display!
Sip on this: Hurricane Harry’s Rum Runner includes dark and white rum, and tropical fruit juices like pineapple and mango.
ELA’s Blu Water Grille
One of the most popular restaurants on Hilton Head Island, ELA’s was even featured in Bon Appetit magazine. Lowcountry locals and visitors love the outdoor dining, live music, and fresh-caught seafood. It’s the perfect Hilton Head Island spot for a romantic date night. ELA's boasts a fantastic boutique wine list, quality scotches, and perfectly crafted cocktails.
Sip on this: The Lemon Basil Martini features Svedka Citron, Triple Sec, and a splash of orange juice with fresh basil and lemons.
For a casual and fun night out on Hilton Head Island, you can’t go wrong with Big Jim’s —especially if there’s a game on! Watch sports year-round on the restaurant’s big TVs, or sit outside and watch the action on the Robert Trent Jones course. Kids and adults love the menu of burgers, pizza, and other comfort food. Enjoy an ice-cold beer, a glass of wine, or one of Big Jim’s signature cocktails! Pro tip: Visit on Martini Monday for $6 martinis all day.
Sip on this: The Lowcountry Long Island Iced Tea includes gin, vodka, rum, tequila, Triple Sec, Sweet & Sour Mix, and cola.
Bucci’s Italian Cuisine
This family-owned waterfront restaurant at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina is famous for its great Italian cuisine, al fresco dining, and outdoor bar. Wednesdays through Saturdays, you can enjoy live music with your dinner or cocktail! Bucci’s happy hour, every Tuesday through Sunday from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., is a popular time to visit.
Sip on this: The tropical and tasty Bucci’s Delight!
Conroy’s Restaurant & Lounge
Located at the Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa, dining at this oceanfront restaurant is a must for seafood lovers.
Sip on this: The bartenders at Conroy’s will happily whip up a classic cocktail for you to toast your Hilton Head vacation.
Mediterranean Harbour Bar & Grill
Take your taste buds on a trip to the Mediterranean with the flavorful Lebanese cuisine served up at Mediterranean Harbour Bar & Grill located at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina.
Sip on this: With such an extensive beer selection and excellent wine list, you’ll find the perfect pairing for your meal!
Wherever you choose to say “cheers”, you’re bound to have a good time when you’re at Palmetto Dunes! Even better, challenge yourself to trying all ten. Start planning your next vacation by checking out these deals and packages. Scoring a great price on your next Hilton Head Island getaway will give you something to toast to.
We loved your #PDsummer photos so much last year, we’ve decided to bring back the Palmetto Dunes Summer Instagram Challenge! Together we can make summer 2017 the best #PDsummer ever.
How the contest works:
Every Saturday this summer we’ll announce a theme. If you’re staying at the resort, snap a photo (or video!) fitting that theme and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #PDsummer.
Each week, one lucky Instagrammer will win a Palmetto Dunes gift card! Not only that, each #PDsummer submission will be entered to win our Grand Prize Package at the end of the summer.
Weekly winners will be announced on Thursday mornings and must be available to pick up their prizes from the Palmetto Dunes Welcome Center located at 4 Queens Folly Road, Hilton Head Island, SC, 29928.
The 2017 Palmetto Dunes Summer Instagram Challenge themes are:
June 10: Fireworks & Festivities
June 17: Courtship
June 24: Beach Waves
July 1: Stars & Stripes
July 8: Sunset Shots
July 15: Good Eats
July 22: On the Water
July 29: On Par
August 4: Two Wheelin’
August 12: Cheers!
August 19: Stunning Wildlife
August 26: My Favorite Place
So what are you waiting for? There’s nothing quite like summer vacation on Hilton Head Island, and we’ve got twelve weeks of summer fun at Palmetto Dunes to share!
Summer on Hilton Head Island means one thing: HarbourFest! This weekly celebration at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina is a longstanding Lowcountry tradition, and one that Palmetto Dunes guests eagerly await each year.
This signature summer event begins in mid-June and lasts through to mid-August. The fun, family-friendly event delights kids and adults alike. If you’re planning to visit Hilton Head Island this summer, don’t miss it! Here’s a quick guide to HarbourFest’s weekly events.
The flagship HarbourFest event is the weekly fireworks display! In 2017, fireworks will be held (weather permitting) on Tuesday evenings on the following dates:
June 13th, 20th, 27th July 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th August 1st, 8th, 15th
Fireworks displays begin at dusk, but most families arrive at Shelter Cove Harbour early to enjoy live music or grab a bite to eat.
In the event that Tuesday fireworks are cancelled due to rain, they’ll be rescheduled for Wednesday (weather permitting, of course).
Live music is another great reason to check out HarbourFest! Shannon Tanner has been entertaining families at HarbourFest for 29 seasons – kids just love him! Catch him starting Memorial Day, when he plays shows at 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Beginning Thursday, June 15, Shannon Tanner will be joined by the Oyster Reefers for a weekly island-inspired “Parrot Palooza” concert series. The shows happen every Thursday at 7:00 p.m. Don’t forget to wear your dancing shoes!
Little ones love meeting Cappy the Clown, who performs at HarbourFest Monday through Friday from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Get a feel for the HarbourFest experience by checking out this brand new video!
Beyond HarbourFest, there’s so much to do at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina! Take the family on a dolphin cruise, indulge in a little retail therapy, or dine out at one of Shelter Cove Harbour’s beloved restaurants.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to snap a photo and share it with us on social media! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more #HarbourFest2017 and #PalmettoDunes updates. See y’all at Shelter Cove Harbour soon!
Shelter Cove Marina, part of Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort on Hilton Head Island, has received the “South Carolina Clean Marina Certification.”
“We are very excited and proud of this prestigious recognition,” said Palmetto Dunes Vice President of Resort Operations Brad Marra. “We would like to acknowledge the hard work of Ron Rozelle.”
Shelter Cove Harbour is a Mediterranean-style village located mid-island at mile marker 8 across from Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, offering casual waterfront dining, unique shopping, live entertainment and beautiful views of Broad Creek.
The marina is located just off the Intracoastal Waterway overlooking the wide reaches of Broad Creek, with 178 boat slips for boats up to 145 feet in length. 30/50/100 amp service, cable and water are available at every slip.
By meeting prescribed environmental performance criteria, marinas can qualify to fly the South Carolina Clean Marina flag to attract recreational and transient boaters to their facility. More than 30 states and territories operate Clean Marina programs using best management practices to protect and improve water quality at marinas.
Clean Marina programs are voluntary programs run by many states in coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The National Marine Manufacturers Association in South Carolina administers the South Carolina Clean Marina Program.
The Clean Marina Inspection Committee conducted an onsite inspection of Shelter Cove Marina on March 28. It inspects a variety of categories such as boater education, facility management, fueling, mechanical activities, painting and fiberglass repair, and emergency planning.
In its report, the committee recognized Shelter Cove Marina for its impressive educational materials provided to boaters. The committee noted that Shelter Cove Marina management was well prepared for the inspection. All required paperwork including The Operations and Maintenance Manual, Emergency Response Plan, Contracts, Permits, Employee Training Documentation and a consolidated binder was well organized for the inspection.
Spring has sprung in Hilton Head Island, and that means it's time for another season of Music & Taste! To help you get as excited as we are for the ninth season of this annual event, we’re giving you the lowdown on all of the action that will be happening at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina every Thursday night.
This year's Music & Taste events feature some of the most popular bands in the area, each playing in the lovely, Lowcountry air at our outdoor performance space at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina.
The Headliners is arguably one of Hilton Head Island’s most popular bands. Featuring five talented musicians on vocals, horns, keyboards, bass, guitar, and drums, The Headliners know how to get a party started and keep it going into the night. Not only are their harmonies and vocals impressive, their repertoire is incredibly varied. You could hear anything from Big Band hits, 60s funk rock, 70s disco, to 90s alternative when The Headliners are on stage.
Deas-Guyz has been wowing crowds with their mix of Motown, Reggae, R&B, and popular dance hits since 2000. This six-piece band performs across South Carolina and Georgia and if you’re looking for a beat to tap your toes to, you won’t want to miss a high-energy performance by Deas-Guyz.
Target is a seasoned musical trio that rocks everything from disco classics to soulful ballads to current Top 40 hits. Helmed by the powerful vocals of lead singer Michelle, Target puts on a show that will have you dancing in the aisles and dying to sing along.
Not only is Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina the place to be on Thursday nights for great music, our restaurants at Shelter Cove will be offering tasty treats and delicious drinks for all to enjoy.
The best part of Music & Taste is that you don't have to miss out on any of the action! Each week, our featured restaurants set up tents in the square, so you can dine and dance in the open, South Carolina air. We love seeing the special appetizers and drinks that our Shelter Cove favorites come up with for this outdoor event.
This year look for food by Bistro 17, ELA's Blue Water Grille, Bucci's Italian Cuisine, Mediterranean Harbour Bar & Grill, San Miguel's, Scott's Fish Market, and Hilton Head Social Bakery!
While you’re at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina, check out the onsite shopping, and enjoy a stroll along the marina’s boardwalk. Then dance the night away, or bring a chair to relax, while enjoying a beautiful Hilton Head sunset. We can’t think of a better way to spend a Thursday night! Best of all, Music & Taste is free!
Here are some tips to get the most out of Music & Taste:
• The event takes place outdoors at the iconic Neptune Statue at Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina and is weather permitting.
• Arrive early, and bring a fold-up chair with you! Seating is limited.
• While admission is free, we are collecting canned goods for Deep Well Project.
• Music & Taste runs from 6–9 pm every Thursday night from March 30 – May 18.
So join us Thursday evenings this spring for some Southern charm, food, and fun at Music & Taste! To view schedule of events or more info go here.
Hilton Head Island has everything you need for the perfect vacation! Beautiful beaches, warm weather, friendly people, stunning scenery, top-notch golf, there’s no end to all of the things you can experience! But there are some things that you can only experience at Palmetto Dunes. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your Palmetto Dunes vacation so you can cross these one-of-a-kind activities off your list.
1. Outdoor Pickleball
Pickleball is one of America’s fastest growing sports. This fast-paced paddle racket sport is often played in gymnasiums but at Palmetto Dunes you can play it outdoors in the South Carolina sunshine! Our tennis center offers 8 outdoor Pickleball courts and a variety of round robins, clinics and lessons for players of all ages and skill levels.
2. Lagoon Fishing
The man-made lagoon at Palmetto Dunes is one of our most unique features. It not only helped create the dunes our beach is famous for, it’s a vibrant ecosystem that weaves its way past our golf courses and through the property. The lagoon is home to a variety of fish and the experts at Palmetto Lagoon Fishing Charters have all of the gear and knowledge you need to land a catch!
3. See a Mermaid
The waters of Hilton Head Island are home to an astounding array of marine life, but, if you head out from Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina at Palmetto Dunes, you just might see the most elusive and mystical marine creature of all: the mermaid! This one-of-a-kind experience is a memorable family excursion and a fun experience for kids of all ages.
4. Fried Chicken at The General Store
If you don’t think the fried chicken at The General Store is an experience then you haven’t tried it! It’s no secret that fried chicken is a staple of Southern cuisine, and the homemade recipe that’s made daily at The General Store is crispy, juicy, and just plain delicious!
5. Fireworks at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina
Summer in Hilton Head isn’t complete without the weekly fireworks display at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina! Join us throughout the summer for HarbourFest, and experience all that Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina has to offer, plus live music, family entertainment, and of course fireworks!
There’s no doubt that Palmetto Dunes is the perfect place for a family vacation. Vacation rentals and vacation homes provide space for everyone, as well as the convenience of a cooking space, and in some cases even an on-site pool. Hilton Head Outfitters offers bike equipment in all sizes so you can be sure your little ones are cycling safely. Best of all, Palmetto Dunes offers some fun activities and beautiful outdoor spaces to explore. Don’t believe us? Check out our Family Itinerary!
There’s no better way to explore Hilton Head Island than by bike, so first stop on our Family Itinerary is Hilton Head Outfitters! Did you know that you can reserve your bike in advance and they will deliver your bike right to your rental unit? Mine was waiting for me when I arrived, ready to roll as soon as I had settled in and wanted to head out exploring. If your child is still learning to bike, rent a kid’s beach cruiser with training wheels or a tag-a-long bike attachment. Child seats and kiddie carts allow even the smallest of your brood to enjoy the ride.
To start my day with an unbeatable breakfast, I headed to The General Store. This bustling hub is an excellent starting point for a day of adventure. After fueling up on eggs, bacon and grits, I headed off to Hilton Head Outfitters for a morning of paddling and nature exploring on Palmetto Dunes’ lagoon.
The man-made lagoon at Palmetto Dunes is ideal for novice paddlers. No large boats are allowed in the lagoon, and any motorboats must be electric in order to preserve the lagoon’s pristine environment. This makes for an incredibly peaceful and calm paddle. One of the things I’ll never forget from my kayak trip was the wildlife I was able to witness up close and personal! Brave baitfish leaping out of the water. Cormorants drying their wings, egrets and heron patrolling the water’s edge, turtles sunning, even a small herd of deer enjoying some shade by the lagoon!
A morning of cycling and water sports drums up quite the appetite! For a Mexican feast fit for a family, we dined at San Miguel’s. Complete with a kid’s menu that doubles as a coloring page, this Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina restaurant is a delightful place to stop for a family meal. (And the queso dip was delicious!)
One of the most exciting items that is included in our Family Itinerary is a dolphin watching tour! I couldn’t wait to get back out onto the open water to see what other wildlife I could find. There are some excellent charters and cruises available at Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina, and many of them can even be booked online! We boarded the Dolphin Seafari and set sail. This time of year you’re less likely to see as many dolphins as you can see in the height of summer, but we were fortunate enough to see a few as we traveled out of Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina and into Broad Creek. The crew on Dolphin Seafari were really knowledgeable. I learned all about local shellfish and fish, and was told that in the summer months they’ll pull up local sea creatures to create an onboard aquarium for kids to enjoy! If you keep your eyes peeled, you may even catch glimpse of a mermaid sunning on a rock while cruising with Dolphin Seafari. What fun!
The winner of our Family Itinerary will receive a dining certificate so you can wrap up a busy day of family fun with some delicious eats! I headed to Big Jim’s. The convenient location, homemade Lowcountry cooking, and casual atmosphere made the perfect recipe for an easy and delightful dinner.
By now your kids might be worn out, but if not I highly recommend an evening walk—or bike ride—on the beach. As for me, I headed to my vacation rental where I relaxed while watching a DVD and went to bed in anticipation of another exciting and eventful day at Palmetto Dunes.
Are you dreaming of a family getaway to Palmetto Dunes? Enter our Palmetto Dunes Your Way contest and you could win our Family Itinerary! Visit our blog for more information on the Palmetto Dunes Your Way contest as well as details on our sports and romance itineraries.
What does your Palmetto Dunes vacation look like? Maybe you’re a sports buff drawn to our golf courses on Hilton Head Island, our tennis courts, or our outstanding outdoor activities. Maybe you’re looking for a secluded escape for two, filled with hazy Southern days and romantic Lowcountry nights. Maybe you’re looking for a vacation destination that the whole family will enjoy.
This February we’re showcasing all that Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort offers by showing off three ways to make the most of your Hilton Head Island vacation. Starting February 6, Alex from our social media team will be sharing three incredible itineraries at Palmetto Dunes. She’ll be live updating our social media profiles with all of her adventures so make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Of course, we’re always offering vacation ideas and travel tips on our blog so be sure to check back to hear all about Alex’s experiences on Hilton Head Island. Stay tuned and enter to win your favorite itinerary to see Palmetto Dunes your way. That’s right! We’re giving away a jam-packed Palmetto Dunes vacation based on one of our itineraries. There’s no shortage of things to do on Hilton Head Island and when you combine our vacation expertise with our laid back Lowcountry lifestyle, planning the perfect vacation is easy as can be.
Hi, I’m Alex and I can’t wait to share some of Palmetto Dunes’ most memorable vacation experiences with you! Do you have any favorite activities, restaurants or Hilton Head Island views that you think should be included on the ultimate Palmetto Dunes itinerary? Share them in the comments or on our Facebook page.
Thank you to everyone who joined us for the holiday season, and to all who entered our #ShelterCoveChristmas contest. Dozens of photos capturing Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina’s festive décor were submitted this year and we enjoyed every single one of them.
Mandy will be receiving our Ultimate Shelter Cove Prize, which includes a 2-night stay at Palmetto Dunes, a 2-hour guided kayak tour of Hilton Head Island, $50 for Nash Gallery at Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina and $25 to Neptune’s Niche in Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina. She’ll also get to take home a little bit of Hilton Head Holiday spirit with her—an ornament from Christmas on the Harbour.
The holidays may be over, but there are still some wonderful reasons to visit Shelter Cove! Strolling the marina is one of our favorite things to do on Hilton Head Island, and with nightly entertainment, shops, and restaurants, Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina is the perfect place to shop, dine and play!