Best hotels in Hilton Head Island
Hilton Head Island IntroductionA nationally renowned wine festival, flagship golf tournament, and prestigious motoring festival are just some of the reasons visitors flock to Hilton Head Island all year round. The first tourists arrived in the 1950s, after a forward-thinking real-estate developer spotted the potential in the island’s unspoiled beaches and pine forests and built the area's first resort. Hilton Head Island’s unique ecosystem supports an abundant variety of wildlife, while its cultural scene is equally diverse. From the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to the Dove Street Festival of Lights, Hilton Head Island keeps the party going long after the summer tans have faded.
Hotels in Hilton Head IslandHotels in Hilton Head Island reflect the area’s reputation for eco-friendly tourism. Many are set in beautifully landscaped grounds, shaded by the island’s abundant tree cover, while others enjoy spectacular oceanfront locations with direct access to the sands. From splendid resorts to simple condos, Hilton Head Island hotels cater for all tastes; here you can bask in 4-star luxury or enjoy the home comforts of a private villa. If you’re contemplating a summer visit, you’ll need to start planning well in advance to secure the best rates and availability—discount hotels in Hilton Head Island get booked up especially quickly during school vacation periods.
Where to stayThe vast majority of Hilton Head Island hotels hug the Atlantic coastline, so you’ll never be far from the nearest beach. Stay in the northern part of the island to enjoy tranquil dunescapes and proximity to Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge. You’ll find some of the most popular family resorts along this stretch of coast. Base yourself in Harbour Town and enjoy watching the comings and goings in the lively marina, with friendly bars and restaurants on your doorstep, or head to the island’s southern tip and benefit from spectacular views across Calibogue Sound to the famous historic district of Daufuskie Island.
Things to seeThe Harbour Town complex is situated within Sea Pines Resort, the vision of Charles E. Fraser and his family-owned real-estate company. The development broke new ground with its environmentally sensitive land use, which heralded a new era in sustainable tourism. Fraser even changed his original plans for the marina site in order to preserve an ancient oak tree; the pioneering environmentalist is now buried alongside his beloved Liberty Oak, still a favorite local meeting spot. The highlight of a stroll around Harbour Town is the pretty marina with its iconic red and white striped lighthouse, which now houses a small museum. Hilton Head Island is also a haven for wildlife, including sea turtles, alligators, and many species of wading bird. Watch graceful stingrays and sleek dolphins play in the shallow offshore waters, then visit the Coastal Discovery Museum to learn more about the island’s unique marine ecology.
How to get to Hilton Head IslandFlights from numerous international hubs, including Atlanta, Charlotte, and Newark, land at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. From here, it’s a scenic 40-mile drive to Hilton Head Island. Hop in a cab or hire a shuttle—check first to see whether your hotel offers free transfers for guests, as many do. Alternatively, rent a car from the on-site offices in the terminal building and enjoy the freedom to explore this picturesque area under your own steam. Taxis provide the main mode of travel in Hilton Head Island, while compact Harbour Town is easy to get around on foot or bicycle.