by Morgan Agesen
The expansive Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is a property consisting mainly of vacation home rentals along three golf courses, waterways, creeks and the Atlantic Ocean in Hilton Head, South Carolina. The property is also the locale of hotels such as Disney’s Hilton Head Resort, Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort, Marriott’s Harbour Point and Sunset Pointe at Shelter Cove, and the Hilton Head Marriott Resort and Spa. Of villas and home rentals, Palmetto Dunes offers nearly 30 different neighborhoods, from the oceanfront Somerset, Barrington, Windsor Court, Hampton Place, Captain’s Walk, Villamare and Beach Villas, to those along Broad Creek’s marina, like Newport, Mainsail, Captain’s Quarters, The Anchorage and Yacht Club Cove. Other options are nestled along the golf courses designed by Robert Trent Jones, George Fazio and Arthur Hills.
Amenities for guests of Palmetto Dunes involve outdoor exploration and fun. You’ll find beaches, yes, as well as kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding in the waterways, where you may spot turtles and alligators. Biking is a preferred way of transport here, and very scenic. Nature and dolphin cruises, as well as fishing charters and boat rentals are available the Shelter Cove Harbour & marina, and when you are done exploring the sleepy Southern town, there are restaurants with water views to enjoy.
Palmetto Dunes offers the epitome of a Hilton Head family vacation, and with so many accommodation options, families of all sizes are welcome, especially multigenerational vacations!
Our Editor Loves
- Expansive resort with condo and vacation rentals
- Multiple dining options
- Accommodations for large families
- Water Sports
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Villas, decorated to their owner's tastes, are multi-story complexes with one to four bedrooms available to sleep up to 12. Many of the villas are centered around pools and some offer play areas for kids. Ocean, resort and golf views are available, and all units feature parking spaces, fully equipped kitchens, living and dining space, and bedrooms with various bed sizes. When booking through Palmetto Dunes, you can actually see every villa available with images and details to select your own rental based on your needs and the style you prefer.
Each one-of-a-kind home at Palmetto Dunes is exactly what you picture of a Hilton Head vacation home. Many of these homes feature gourmet kitchens and private pools, with ocean, golf and lagoon views. Homes range in size from three to five bedrooms, with the ability to sleep 14 people comfortably. Like the villas, home bookings allow you to select homes by name, seeing images and amenities to make the choice best-suited to your needs.
Great trip and perfect accommodations to relax and enjoy all the Hilton Head Island offers. The unit was close to the beach and major tourist attractions. The kitchen provided the means to eat at home for breakfast and prepare three dinners for our family.
by Carolyn B
The best thing about this resort is the beach access. You can walk, bike, or drive just a short distance and you are at a beautiful beach, which we did often. There is also a nice pool and whirlpool on site. Laundry not right in unit but just a short walk away and there are many. Laundry and dish soap provided. The units are older, but very clean, which is more important to me. The grounds crew and maintenance are always around and working, it is clear the resort works hard to maintain a nice vacation spot. The staff in the office are beyond helpful and friendly. I would definitely stay at this resort again if visiting the area.
Rent a canoe, kayak, surfboard, paddle board and fishing gear at this central outfitters' servicing guests of Palmetto Dunes. There are 11 miles of lagoons that can be explored, and the outfitters can provide lessons and fishing trips.
Visit Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina to rent a 20-foot pontoon boat and traverse Broad Creek for a day in the sun or fishing. The boats hold up to 12 people; grab a picnic lunch from the General Store before you go!
Beach at Palmetto Dunes
The resort rests upon three miles of beach along the Atlantic Ocean. Here, you can swim and collect sea shells, as well as learn to surf and boogie board. The Dunes House is a beach facility with restrooms and offers the Dunes Buggy to take you to Hilton Head beach for free. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas at Hilton Head Outfitters
Hilton Head features 50 miles of paved biking trails, and there are plenty to enjoy within the resort of Palmetto Dunes. Hilton Head Outfitters has bikes for ages 4 and up with different heights, and can provide helmets, bells, lights and even car racks for your rentals. Order in advance and have them waiting outside of your rental home.
The Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center provides 23 clay courts and two Nova ProBounce courts for tennis, with eight courts lit at night. Pickleball, a sport that combines tennis with ping pong and badminton, is very popular with families, with eight courts dedicated specifically to the sport. All guests with vacation rentals receive two free hours of tennis or pickleball with each night stay.
Shelter Cove Harbour features a summer-long event at the marina, with fireworks every Tuesday night. Island favorites like Shannon Tanner performing nightly at 7 and 8:30 p.m., Cappy the Clown appearing Monday through Friday from 6 to 9 p.m., kids activities such as bouncy houses and face painting, seasonally live entertainment from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and Music & Taste on the Harbour taking place on Thursday nights from 6 to 9 p.m. in the spring and fall.
Alexander's Restaurant & Wine Bar
Opened in the spring of 2017, this once-popular restaurant reopened as an upscale seafood hotspot. The menu consists of locally sourced and caught seafood and ingredients, yet offers the favorites originally found in the restaurant when it first opened in 1977. The restaurant is open from 5 to 10 p.m. daily.
Big Jim's BBQ, Burgers & Pizza
This casual spot is popular with golfers, as it is located at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, the menu features BBQ, burgers and pizza, of course! There is a kid's menu here. Dining is also available at the other two courses, Arthur's Grill and Fazio Grill.
This waterfront cafÃƒÂ© is located at Shelter Cove Harbour and features indoor and outdoor seating. The French-inspired menu can be enjoyed from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Bucci's Italian Cuisine
For Italian fare, visit Shelter Cove's Bucci's, offering a hearty menu for lunch and dinner, Tuesday through Sunday. Indoor and outdoor seating is available, with views of the water and marina. It is open from noon to 9:30 p.m.
For a romantic dinner, visit Conroy's at the Hilton Head Marriott Resort, overlooking the ocean. The menu features fresh seafood and American fare.
The Dunes House
Overlooking the ocean and beach, the Dunes House provides a casual restaurant for lunch and dinner. The outdoor kitchen provides sandwiches, burger, wraps and fish tacos. On Wednesday nights in the summer, The Dunes House features Lobster Night with whole lobsters that get gobbled up quickly, so go early! You will find live music here on Monday and Friday nights. With limited parking, try riding your bike or taking the Dunes Buggy shuttle to enjoy the restaurant. The restaurant is outdoors and open weather permitting from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
ELA's Blu Water Grille
One of the best restaurants on the island of Hilton Head, ELA's also offers the best water views of Broad Creek and the marina. A wraparound patio for outdoor dining is romantically lit with candles, and indoors live music sets a romantic scene for the dinner spot that is open daily.
For a special occasion or date night, the Omni's HH Prime is an upscale steakhouse with a large wine selection. Reservations are recommended and the restaurant provides indoor and outdoor dining.
Hilton Head Social Bakery
Find breakfast pastries and special treats by the same chef that once cooked at Tavern on the Green and Windows on the World in New York. A coffee bar is also available, and the bakery opens at 8 a.m. at Shelter Cove.
Mediterranean Harbour Bar & Grill
You wouldn't think you would find much diversity in menus at one resort, but Mediterranean Harbour at Shelter Cove features Lebanese dishes. Lamb, steak and seafood are highlights.
Poolside, outdoor dining is available at the Marriott's Ocean Blu. Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant is open from spring through fall.
San Miguel's Mexican CafÃƒÂ©
For a lively outdoor spot, Shelter Cove's San Miguel's provides live music every evening on its patio. The indoor/outdoor Mexican restaurant offers views of the marina and is open daily from 11:30 through dinner.
Scott's Fish Market
This seafood hotspot has been serving up dishes along the waterfront at Shelter Cove for nearly 30 years. An outdoor bar and live entertainment makes for a great sunset spot, with sunset dining and drink specials. A kids' menu is also available.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Wi-Fi is available across the resort, including the marina.
All rental guests receive two free hours of tennis time per night.
Parking is free for rental homes and villas.
The Art of Smart Timing
Hilton Head's mild coastal weather makes it a popular destination for spring breaking families across the South and along the East Coast. Summers are also very popular, with many homes and villas occupied by their owners, diminishing the rental availability. The best time of year for availability and good weather is in the fall, although hurricane season runs through October and you may want to purchase travel insurance, just in case.
Hilton Head can be accessed via the Savannah-Hilton Head Airport, about an hour from Palmetto Dunes. Charleston is about two hours by car. The area is accessible by car via I-95.
The Palmetto Dunes Buggy operates from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily from April through September. Providing free bus service inside of Palmetto Dunes and Shelter Cove Harbour, the service is on-call, first-come, first-serve.
For Mom and Dad
Hilton Head is renowned for golfing and anyone would be remiss not to tee off here. There are three different courses here, including one of "Gulf Week's" top Resort Courses, the Robert Trent Jones, par-72, 18-hole course. The George Fazio course is considered one of the most challenging on the island, and is an 18-hole, par-70 course. The public Arthur Hills course is also par-72 and 18 holes.
Guests of Palmetto Dunes are welcome to use the spas at its hotel properties. The Ocean Tides Spa can be found at Omni Hilton Head, and Spa Soleil can be found at the Marriott.