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"Top 10 Vacation Rental Hot Spots in the U.S"

The Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce announced that TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, has recently declared “America’s Top Vacation Rental Hot Spots.” These vacation destination ratings are based on TripAdvisor’s search data and site editors and they have narrowed it down to the “10 Best”, which includes our beautiful Hilton Head Island! We are pleased that TripAdvisor has recognized what we know and millions of travelers have already discovered - Hilton Head Island is a wonderful place to vacation. Hilton Head received the #9 Spot in the “Vacation Rental Hot Spots” and here’s what TripAadvisor had to say about the Island:

“Vacation rentals can offer families and groups of travelers significant savings over other accommodation options,” said Hank Hudepohl, director of vacation rentals at TripAdvisor. “Our list shows off some of the best vacation rental destinations in the U.S. where travelers can save big, ranging from prime summer beach spots to areas with first-rate ski resorts.” Hilton Head Island is an outstanding vacation destination that offers a wealth of fun family activities and natural beauty, as well as plentiful vacation rental options for travelers looking to save money on their trips. When planning your next vacation, consider a visit to Hilton Head Island…we promise it won’t be your last!

10 Things to do while vacationing on Hilton Head Island


10 Things to Do While Vacationing on Hilton Head Island

Most travelers visit Hilton Head Island, SC for its pristine beaches and its laid-back coastal town atmosphere. Our main attraction is just that…the beach. But once you’ve had your fill of the sun and sand, Hilton Head Island and the surrounding area provides plenty of activities for the history buff, adventurer, nature lover, and sight seer. Hilton Head is one of the most family friendly vacation spots catering to parents and kids so you’ll find plenty to do when you’re not relaxing on the beach. 

Rent Bikes Our streets were made for cycling! With more than 60 miles of public pathways and miles of hard sand beaches, biking is a great way to explore the island. No matter your destination, there is a path to connect riders to everywhere they want to go. Hilton Head prides itself as a bike friendly town and has been ranked as a Top 5 Family Biking Getaway. 

Visit Lawton Stables Located in the heart of Sea Pines Plantation, Lawton Stables offers trail rides through the Sea Pines Forest Preserve. The Forest Preserve gives you a true feel for the Lowcountry while providing history about some of the first inhabitants of the Island, Native Indians. For the younger visitor, pony rides are available and an animal farm where you can get up close to some of the native animals on the Island.

Take a Guided Kayak Tour Hilton Head Island is known for its beautiful marshes and calm inland waters. These are great places for kayaking or paddleboarding. The slower pace of paddling through the creeks and rivers of the Lowcounty is perfect for bird watching, dolphin sightings, and enjoying the natural scenery. Most marinas offer guided tours.

HarbourFest This is Shleter Cove Harbour’s signature event that occurs from mid June through mid August. During HarbourFest, the harbor comes alive with entertainment, great food, crafts and activities. Every Tuesday is fireworks night! You won’t want to miss HarbourFest. 

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge Located between the two bridges to Hilton Head Island, Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge is a 4,053 acre refuge with a wide variety of land types and diverse flora and fauna. It’s surrounded by salt marshes and inland waterways. Wildlife commonly observed on the island including waterfowl, white-tailed deer and American alligators. There is a single crushed gravel road that’s great for walking or biking. There are hiking trails splitting off from the main road that meander through the woodland areas. 

Shelling The Mitchelville Beach area is a less crowded beach and a perfect place to go shelling on Hilton Head. You’ll most likely come across a few sharks’ teeth too. It’s located at the north end of Hilton Head and looks out over the Port Royal Sound. This undisturbed beach is perfect for nature watching and fishing.

Visit Bluffton Located just over the bridge to the mainland, Bluffton is a quaint community offering historic homes, eclectic shopping and a variety of restaurants. Walk Calhoun Street, browse through antique stores and art boutiques then stop for lunch at any of the divine restaurants along Calhoun Street or in the Bluffton Promenade. Be sure to venture to the end of Calhoun Street where you’ll find spectacular views of the May River from the lawn of the Church of the Cross. 

Daytrip to Beaufort Step back in time as you stroll along the quiet streets of historic Beaufort. The interlocking streets of downtown all flow down to the waterfront. Walk the streets and tour at your own pace or take a guided coach or horse drawn carriage tour. You’ll also find plenty of eclectic shops, art galleries, and restaurants in downtown. While visiting Beaufort, be sure to take the scenic drive over to 11th Street Dockside Restaurant in Port Royal. This is a required stop on any Hilton Head trip.

Visit the Coastal Discovery Museum Located on the north end of Hilton Head, the Coastal Discovery Museum sits on one of Hilton Head Island’s oldest plantations. Today, it provides interactive exhibits on the area’s natural history. Touring the grounds, you’ll find stables, a butterfly enclosure, gardens and docks overlooking the salt marshes. Guided tours are available and recommended.

An Afternoon in Savannah Spend the afternoon walking the historic squares of Savannah or shopping along Broughton Street. After a day of fun, spend your evening exploring the cobblestone streets of River Street where you’ll find seafood restaurants, taverns, sweet shops, and more shopping.

What to pack for your Hilton Head Island visit


Top 10 Items to pack in your vacation suitcase:

1. Clothing: As hard as it is, limiting the amount of clothes you pack is crucial. Pick cool casual pieces of clothing that are easily interchangeable with one another allowing you to make the most out of what you bring.

2. Lightweight Jacket: It’s a good idea to bring a light jacket or something with a hood just in case you encounter an unexpected storm - because everyone knows how unpredictable the weather can be.

3. Bathing Suit: Of course you’re going to pack a bathing suit so why add this to the list? Well, on Hilton Head Island you may be in a bathing suit more often than not, so it’s a good idea to bring at least two. That way if something happens to your only bathing suite you aren’t stuck spending your time hunting for a new one when you could be lounging poolside or playing in the ocean.

4. Sun Protection: You might be thinking why pack sunscreen when I can just buy it when I get there? The reason for packing sunscreen is because if you are going to a resort or a popular beach destination they usually charge an arm and leg  for sun protection. It’s also a good idea to buy a sunscreen with a SPF 30 because anything higher really doesn’t give you much more sun protection. In fact, what really makes sunscreen beneficial is the amount of times you reapply. You should reapply every couple of hours or if you’re in the water a lot you should reapply every time you get out.

5. Aloe Vera: This might seem like another item to just buy if you need it, but sometimes it can be hard to find and also pricey. Plus do you really want to take a chance not being able to find aloe vera when you need it? Anyone who has ever been sunburned bad enough knows not to make that mistake.
7. Sunglasses: Not matter what your style of shades is, make sure that they are designed to protect your eyes from the sun. It’s best if you can bring sunglasses that have polarized lenses because it is important when spending time in the sun to make sure you have proper eye protection.

8. Travel First Aid Kit/Medicine: Packing a travel first aid kit is a must because just like the weather, you can’t predict when you or someone you're with might get hurt. Also packing medicine that helps relieve pain and stomach aches is a good idea. Having both of these items at your finger tips, while hopefully not used, if needed, will make you glad that you packed them.

9. Hygienic Products: It’s always a good idea to pack some essentials with you in your carry-on because you  never know when you might need them.  Packing travel shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, hand sanitizer, toothpaste and a toothbrush with you in your carry-on will ensure that even if your flight is delayed or your luggage is lost, at least you will have the necessities to make you more comfortable.

10. In Case of an Emergency: Whether you are traveling abroad, out of the country or just to the next state, make sure you photo copy all of your ID cards, passport or any other important documents. This will relieve tons of stress if these items are lost or stolen and you will have photo copies with you to show anyone who might need to see them.

Holiday Events in Hilton Head Island


There is lots to do on Hilton Head Island during the holidays.  Browse this comprehensive list and I'm sure you will find something of interest for the whole family.

Dec. 15

  • A CrossRoads Christmas: 9:45 a.m., First Presbyterian Church, 540 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island. Free. Details: 843-681-3696
  • Living Nativity and Christmas Concert: noon-5 p.m. Living Nativity; 6 p.m. concert, Resurrection Church, 296 Spanish Wells Road, Hilton Head Island. Details: 843-689-3625,
  • A Child's Christmas in Wales performed by Peter Townes: 3 p.m., ARTworks, 2127 Boundary St. Tickets: $12 for adults, $5 for children. Details: 843-379-2787,
  • Festival of Lessons and Carols by churches of the Southern Deanery of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina: 5 p.m., St. Luke's Baptist Church, 3048 Snake Road, Okatie. Details: 843-681-8333
  • The Historic First African Baptist Church Holy Communion/Candelight service: 5 p.m., First African Baptist Church, 70 Beach City Road, Hilton Head Island. Details: 843-681-6427,
  • "Messiah" by Handel: 5 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, 540 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island. Free.
  • Nightmare Before Christmas dance performance: 6 p.m., The Larew Centre, 206 Carteret St., Beaufort. Tickets: $20. Details:
  • "Away from the Manger" and "Sleepover at the Stable" Christmas events: 6 p.m., Riverview Baptist Church, 2209 Boundary St., Beaufort. Details: 843-252-6364
Dec. 19
  • Honky Tonk Angels Holiday Spectacular!: 7:30 p.m., University of South Carolina at Beaufort Center for the Arts:, 801 Carteret St., Beaufort. Tickets: $20-25 for adults, $18 to $20 for seniors, $10 to $15 for students. Details: 843-521-4135,

Dec. 20

  • Honky Tonk Angels Holiday Spectacular!: 7:30 p.m., University of South Carolina at Beaufort Center for the Arts:, 801 Carteret St., Beaufort. Tickets: $20-25 for adults, $18 to $20 for seniors, $10 to $15 for students. Details: 843-521-4135,
  • Charles Street Gallery Christmas party: 5:30 to 9 p.m., 914 Charles St., Beaufort. Details: 843-521-9054,
  • Outdoor Movie, "Polar Express": 7 p.m., Liberty Oak Tree, Harbour Town. Free. Details: 843-842-1979
Dec. 21
  • Honky Tonk Angels Holiday Spectacular!: 7:30 p.m., University of South Carolina at Beaufort Center for the Arts:, 801 Carteret St., Beaufort. Tickets: $20-25 for adults, $18 to $20 for seniors, $10 to $15 for students. Details: 843-521-4135,
  • The "Winter Solstice" Sunset Party: Benefits CODA. 2-6 p.m., Bluffton Oyster Factory Park, 55 Wharf St., Bluffton. $5; 12 and younger are free. 843-757-8520.
Dec. 22
  • A CrossRoads Christmas: 9:45 a.m., First Presbyterian Church, 540 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island. Free. Details: 843-681-3696
  • Praise Team Christmas Concert: 10 a.m., Resurrection Church, 296 Spanish Wells Road, Hilton Head Island. Details: 843-689-3625,
  • Honky Tonk Angels Holiday Spectacular!: 3 p.m., University of South Carolina at Beaufort Center for the Arts, 801 Carteret St., Beaufort. Tickets: $20-25 for adults, $18 to $20 for seniors, $10 to $15 for students. Details: 843-521-4135,
  • Journey through Bethlehem display: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, 540 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island. Free.
Dec. 23
  • " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" reading by Santa: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., The Sandbox, 18 Pope Ave. Hilton Head Island. Details: 843-842-7642,
  • Journey through Bethlehem display: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, 540 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island. Free.
  • Gregg Russell Christmas Concert: 7:30-9 p.m. Dec. 23, Harbour Town, Hilton Head Island. Free. 843-842-1979
Dec. 24
  • " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" reading by Santa: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., The Sandbox, 18 Pope Ave. Hilton Head Island. Details: 843-842-7642,
  • St. Andrew By-The-Sea United Methodist Church's Christmas Eve Candlelight Service: 5 p.m., Resurrection Church, 296 Spanish Wells Road, Hilton Head Island. Details: 843-689-3625,
  • Christmas Eve Under the Stars: 6:30 p.m., Buckwalter Place, Bluffton. Details:
  • Helena House Christmas Eve Service: 7 p.m., Helena House, 1624 Paris Ave., Port Royal. Details: 843-379-3081
  • Christmas Eve Services and Live Nativity: Services at 5 p.m., 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.; Live nativity from 4-8 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, 540 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island. Details: 843-681-3696,
  • St. Andrew By-The-Sea United Methodist Church Traditional Service: 9:30 p.m., St. Andrew By-The-Sea United Methodist Church, 20 Pope Ave., Hilton Head Island. Details: 843-785-4711,
Dec. 25
  • Jazz "Yule" Love concert: 5 p.m., Westin Golf Club, Westin Savannah Harbor, Hutchinson Island. Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and can be purchased at Portman's Superstore, Rody's the Magic Puppet Toys & Gifts and the Westin Savannah Resort-Hotel. Details: 404-997-3281
Dec. 31
  • 13th annual Polar Bear Swim: 10 a.m., Harbour Town Pool, Hilton Head Island. Free. 843-842-1979
  • Rockin' Lock-in for children 7-13: 5 p.m. Dec. 31-8 a.m. Jan. 1, YMCA of Beaufort County, Beaufort. $25 per child. 843-522-9622.
  • New Year's Eve Celebration: 7 p.m. and midnight, Harbour Town Lighthouse, Hilton Head Island. Free. 843-842-1999

    Read more here:

Hilton Head Island Beaches



The Town of Hilton Head Island formed Beach Rules & Regulations in 1995. The Rules are to assure a safe, clean and pleasant atmosphere on our 12 miles of beautiful Island Beaches. We ask that you treat the beaches of Hilton Head Island as if they were yours for you, your family and your friends to enjoy for many years.

Animal Regulations:

• October – March: No leashes required at any time. The animal IS required to be under positive voice control.

• April – May: Animals must be on a leash between 10 A.M. – 5 P.M.

• The Friday before Memorial Day until Monday of Labor Day weekend: NO animals allowed on the beach between 10 A.M. – 5 P.M.

• Tuesday after Labor Day – September: Animals must be on a leash from 10 A.M. – 5 P.M.

• October – March: No leashes required at any time. Animal IS required to be under positive voice control.

On the beach or not, local law requires owners to clean up after their pets.

Seasonal Rules from April – September:

• No Stunt Kites between 10 A.M. – 6 P.M.

• No sand-sailing between 10 A.M. – 6 P.M.

• No fishing or surf casting in designated swimming areas.

• No surfboards, boogie boards or other articles to ride the surf in designated swimming areas.

• No frisbees or other team sports involving a ball in designated swimming areas.

• No games with metal components (such as metal horseshoes) in designated swimming areas.

Prohibited at the Beach all year long:

• Liquor, beer or wine.

• All forms of glassware.

• Shark fishing.

• Horses.

• Sleeping on the beach after midnight.

• The operation, launching or landing of motorized watercraft.

Public Access to Hilton Head Island Beaches:

The Town of Hilton Head Island provides five (5) Public Beach Accesses as follows:

• Alder Lane Beach Access off South Forest Beach Drive – Parking available.

• Beachfront at Coligny Circle – Parking available.

• Driessen Beach Park at the end of Bradley Beach Road – Parking available.

• Folly Field Beach Park off Folly Field Road – Parking available.

• Fish Haul Creek Park off Beach City Road – Parking available.

• Islander Beach Park at the end of Folly Field Road. The Beach Park is for Property Owners on Hilton Head Island and all cars parking there must have a beach bumper sticker obtained from the Town of Hilton Head Island. The annual cost is $15 per car.

• All Plantations with beaches have numerous beach access points for their guests.

• All major Island Hotels have beach access for their guests.


January 59 52
February 61 54
March 67 59
April 76 67
May 82 75
June 86 82
July 89 84
August 89 84
September 84 80
October 77 73
November 69 63
December 61 54


New Rules governing people who operate personal watercraft in Beaufort County waters began May 6, 1997. The Rules are contained in the South Carolina Personal Watercraft and Boating Safety Act of 1996.

• No personal Watercraft may be operated at night.

• All passengers on the craft must wear an approved flotation device.

• People under 16 who want to ride a watercraft of 15 horsepower or more without an adult must first pass a safety training course.

• The craft must be equipped to circle or shut off if the rider falls off.

• No vessel may exceed idle speed within 50 feet of a moored vessel or other fixed object or person, NOR WITHIN 100 YARDS OF THE ATLANTIC COAST.

• No one may jump a wake within 200 feet of the vessel creating it.

• Anyone younger than 12 in a boat must wear a flotation device.

• No boater may harass wildlife.


In July of 2009, our legislature made a big change to our saltwater fishing regulations by requiring that all shore based fishermen, residents and tourists alike must buy a South Carolina saltwater fishing license. Up until then only boat fishermen were required to have a license. In a nutshell the new law reads:

• “This act requires all individuals (16 and over) to have a saltwater recreational fishing license when harvesting marine resources, including finfish, oysters, clams, shrimp and crab.”

• If you are fishing on a licensed pier or with a licensed charter captain, you are covered under their permit. You don’t need a license if you are crabbing with 3 or less drop nets, fold up traps or hand lines. Fishermen need a license to crab with a crab trap or pot.

• Most of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) Law Enforcement Officers have been very lenient when enforcing saltwater fishing license requirements. However, now is the time for all resident and guest fisherman to follow the rules.

• The license process is easy and cheap. An annual resident SC saltwater fishing license is just $10 (14 day license for a SC resident license is $5). A non-resident can purchase a 14 day saltwater fishing license for $11 ($35 for the year). Licenses can be purchased 24/7 by phone at 1-888-714-3611 or online at You can do it in the car on the way to your fishing spot or buy it at Wal-Mart. A copy of South Carolina’s fishing rules and regulations can be found at most of the fishing tackle stores in our area or on the SCDNR website.

• The minimum fine for not having a SC Saltwater Fishing License is $160 and each fisherman could be required to post a cash bond or go to jail. The maximum fine is more than $1,000. Saltwater fishing areas includes the beaches, all saltwater lagoons including those found in Palmetto Dunes and Sea Pines, public boat landings, and public and private docks and piers.

• The SCDNR uses these license fees for fishery data collection and fishery management programs. In addition, SC receives federal excise tax revenues paid by fisherman and redistributed to the state based on the number of saltwater fishing licenses.

• The SCDNR is doing everything it can to notify all fishermen that a SC Saltwater Fishing License is needed when fishing in saltwater. With the help of the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, the Hilton Head Island Sportfishing Club and the Town of Hilton Head, they will be launching an aggressive visitor information campaign so that everyone will have good time fishing in our local waters and avoid a trip to the local ATM.


We hope you don’t have any problems while visiting Hilton Head Island, or if you live on Hilton Head Island. But, if you do have any of the following problems, we offer some helpful hints for you:

• Sunburn – Soak in cool water unless skin is broken or blistered. Ibuprofen may help.

• Bee Stings – Apply a baking soda paste and ice. If allergic, seek medical help.

• Jelly Fish Stings – Apply vinegar, sugar, salt or dry sand. After 20 min., rinse with salt water.

• Crab Bites – rinse well, disinfect, and apply antibiotic ointment. May need stitches.

• Tick Bites – DO NOT attempt to remove the tick. Cover with vaseline or a film of oil. When insect is free, remove with tweezers. Look for flu-like symptoms for up to two weeks. If this occurs, seek immediate medical attention.

• Snake Bites – CALL 911. Use a compression dressing just above site, NOT a tourniquet.

• Oyster Shells – cuts and abrasions can result in serious infections. Medical treatment advised.

• Alligators – Do NOT go near alligators. They run very fast. Do NOT feed or tease !

• Sting Ray – rinse with water and apply heat to neutralize sting. Seek medical attention.

Learn about the Gullah Culture on Hilton Head Island


Learn about the Gullah Culture on Hilton Head Island

HIlton Head Island is more than the resort community we all love.  It is important to understand the history of the Gullah people - African slaves who were shipped across the Atlantic from West Africa to work the cotton plantations of the South. While plantation owners built their fortunes upon slave labor, the slaves were able to create something of their own -- the unique culture that is now known as Gullah. With that culture came a thriving mix of language, folktales and superstition, a mix that has shaped generations of families who live on Hilton Head Island and in the Lowcountry today.

On Hilton Head Island one can also visit Mitchelville - the first freed Negro township; Zion Chapel of Ease - Hilton Head's oldest cemetery; Queen Chapel AME Church - established in 1860 as a "praise house" for Pope Plantation slaves and this can all be done by taking the Gullah Heritage Trail Tour.

Very important to the culture is the Gullah language which is kept alive through vivid storytelling in the native tongue, a dialect that appears to be a combination of a variety of African languages and English. Forbidden by plantation owners to speak their native tongue, the African slaves developed the dialect out of necessity by incorporating broken English with African words. The Gullah dialect survives today as a "creolized" version of English. Through passionate prayers, sermons and tales, the Gullah remember their past and look toward the future preservation of their culture; a culture distinguished by the crafts of sweet grass basket weaving, boat building and quilting.

Hilton Head Wine & Food Festival 2013


Make plans to attend the Hilton Head Wine & Food Festival & Silent Auction, Saturday, March 9, 2013. It will be held 12 pm to 3 pm at Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn. This is just another great reason to visit Hilton Head in your Beach Bum Vacation Rental.

The 28th annual Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival brings together wine, spirit and food lovers for a six-day Festival. The Festival provides wine lovers and gourmet foodies alike, the opportunity to sample outstanding domestic and international wines and some of the Lowcountry's best cuisine.

The Hilton Head Island Wine & Food Festival's Silent Auctions benefit educational opportunities for students in the Hospitality programs of study at the University of South Carolina Beaufort and the Technical College of the Lowcountry though the John T. and Valerie Curry scholarship fund.

General Admission is $50 per person and includes a souvenir wine glass and access to all of the free tastings from the domestic and international wineries, vineyards, wine distributors and more at the Festival's premier public event. Held on the grounds of the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn, ticket holders will have the opportunity to mingle with winemakers, sample hundreds of award-winning wines, learn from leaders in the food and beverage arena and enjoy gourmet treats and live music. The first 3,000 individuals through the gate will receive an official 2013 souvenir wine glass. In addition to tasting outstanding domestic and international wines, many of the Festival's award-winning wines will be available for tasting.

The Silent Wine Auction is an opportunity to bid on impressive lots of wine. Many other popular spectator events are included once again this year in the Festival’s schedule:  Bartender’s Challenge  & Waiter’s Race; Outdoor Gourmet – where award-winning local and regional Chefs offer cooking tips, demonstrations and free samples of cuisine throughout the entire day.

Valentine’s Escape to Hilton Head

A Beach Bum rental for Valentine’s Day is the best way to reconnect with your honey. Make Valentine’s Day a two or seven-day affair and get away from the boss and the kids for as long as needed! Romantic hideaways range from smaller beach side retreats to luxurious oceanfront condos and homes. A vacation rental in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is ideal for an impromptu second honeymoon or romantic weekend getaway. Make this year extra special, and feel like a couple again. Give us a call or email us for special reservations. Let our team find the perfect secluded accommodation on Hilton Head Island and let your stressful worries wash out to sea.

Fall and Winter in Hilton Head Island


Things starting to get chilly where you are?  Do you suspect it won't take long to tire of the cold, snow and ice?  We are enjoying the best weather of the year right now and would love to share this unique time of the year on Hilton Head Island. Things are very different than in the summer.  We become a "small town" again running into friends at the grocery store and enjoying conversation.  We don't wait on lines in restaurants and we don't fight the crowds at the beach.  And the weather is glorious! Come and enjoy the gorgeous sunsets with a cup of coffee and browse our stores without elbowing the person next to you.  


During the off season you can find very inexpensive rentals, for less than the full week, Saturday to Saturday requirements of the peak season.  Fall is also the start of the festival season.  Enjoy our Wing Fest, Chili Cook-off and the Concourse d'Elegance - a world renowned signature automobile event.  Enjoy quiet walks on the beach and lots of water sports.  We offer yoga classes in several places and you can partake in several spa activities around the island.  Even the kids have plenty to do with the children's museums and educational activities.


From October to March, we offer discounted rental rates for stays longer than 28 days in all of our homes.  Monthly rates start at $1,200.  Just let us know your needs and we can find you something.  The amenities are the same as the homes you will pay more than twice as much in the peak season - wireless internet, cable TV and all the comforts of home.  Enjoy a walk on the beach, a round of golf or a good book on the porch.  With stays over 90 days you can even avoid the required sales tax - and 11% savings!  Doesn't that sound better than shoveling snow and putting on your hat and mittens!

You simply must experience Hilton Head Island is the off season.  Your experience will be completely different and you will fall in love with Hilton Head Island all over again.

Heritage and History of Hilton Head Island


Some of the most important South Carolina historical sites are part of Hilton Head Island history. In 1663, English sea captain William Hilton landed on Hilton Head Island and, thus, the seeds of the first successful plantations were sown. Commissioned by a group of Barbados planters to find new land on which to plant sugar and indigo, Hilton soon claimed the Island in the name of the British Crown.


South Carolina Historical Sites

Hilton, however, was not the first European to visit the Island. In 1521, the Spanish were the first confirmed Island visitors, but many historians speculate that English explorer Sebastion Cabot may have sighted its shores during his expedition to the New World in 1497. In the 1560's, French Huguenot colonists sought refuge on Hilton Head Island, fleeing persecution in their own Catholic homeland. The Huguenots christened Port Royale Harbour, now known as Port Royal Sound, and charted the Island on French maps as "Ile de la Riviere Grande" - Island of the Broad River. Soon they moved to more protected water, settling in an area that today is known as Beaufort, South Carolina.


Earliest Inhabitants

When Hilton landed on the Hilton Head Island beach in 1663, he was greeted by Spanish-speaking Indians from the Yemassee tribe who had migrated north from Florida a hundred years earlier at the behest of Spanish colonists. He also encountered the native Ewascus Indians, but little is known of the earlier native civilization which inhabited the Island 4,000 years ago. Remnants of mysterious shell rings, measuring up to 240 feet across and nine feet high, can still be found on the Island. Yet, like the enigmatic rocks of Stonehenge and the carvings of Easter Island, their secrets remain hidden from history. Today, visitors to Hilton Head Island can view these artifacts of Hilton Head Island history in Sea Pines Forest Preserve and on the north end of the Island off Squire Pope Road.


Plantation Life

In 1698, the English king granted several islands and some of the Lowcountry's mainland to John Bayley. While the entire area was named Bayley's Barony, Hilton Head Island was referred to as Trench's Island, in honor of Alexander Trench, Bayley's property agent and collector of landlease fees.

John Barnwell became Hilton Head Island's first English settler in 1717 after receiving a grant of 500 acres in what is now Hilton Head Plantation. However, Hilton Head Island did not gain worldwide recognition until 1790 when another planter, William Elliott, successfully raised the first crop of long-stem Sea Island cotton. Elliott, with the help of his neighbor, Will Seabrook, pioneered a new type of fertilizer for the cotton, resulting in record crops and wide acclaim for the Sea Island cotton.


By 1860, 24 plantations were in operation on Hilton Head Island. Although the main crop was cotton, indigo, sugar cane, rice and other crops also were cultivated. Due to the land's low elevation and hot summers, the wealthy landowners spent little time on the Island, opting to locate their beautiful townhouses in less tropical environments on the mainland.


Civil War

Seven months after South Carolina seceded from the Union, the shots fired on Fort Sumter reverberated on Hilton Head Island. On November 7, 1861, the Island became the scene of the largest naval battle fought in American waters. More than 12,000 Union soldiers and marines landed on the Island, and in less than five hours, the Union fleet captured both Fort Beauregard near Beaufort and Fort Walker on Hilton Head Island. The Island fell into the hands of Federal troops, forcing Island families to evacuate their plantation homes.


Hilton Head History - The Heyward House

The Civil War and the subsequent abolition of slavery altered the prosperous and patrician lifestyle of the plantation owners forever. The boll weevil proved to be even more devastating, as the new technology took a fearful toll on Sea Island cotton. Consequently, Hilton Head Island lapsed into obscurity, remaining isolated for over 90 years.


During this period, the Island maintained a small population of mostly the descendants of former slaves. They survived modestly on small farms and as hunters and fisherman. Their Gullah culture and language survive today as a living legacy of their strength and perseverance.


In the 1940's, the Island experienced a sort of re-birth when a group of timbermen recognized great potential in the Island's tall, straight pines. Popularly called sea pines, the trees produced lumber for a variety of uses.


The First Resort

In 1956, Charles Fraser, son of one of the families that owned the Island, realized that Hilton Head Island had more to offer than just timber. Armed with vision, energy, modern air conditioning and investment dollars, he created a master plan for a resort community. His efforts were aided by the construction of a bridge to the mainland the same year. The first of the Hilton Head Island resorts, Sea Pines Plantation became the prototype of the modern resort community, now copied around the world.


Incorporated as a town in 1983, Hilton Head Island is now home to several environmentally planned resort and residential communities, supporting more than 30,000 full-time residents. These communities have been named "plantations," but cotton fields have been replaced by lush green golf courses, tennis courts, shimmering lakes and beautifully designed resorts and villas.


Despite this development, much of the Island remains as it was when sighted from William Hilton's ship more than 300 years ago. Hilton Head Island's natural beauty, spectacular seascapes, exceptional ecology and South Carolina historical sites now beckon a new generation of explorers.

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