We vacationed on Hilton Head Island back in mid-August. When we decided to take a trip to Hilton Head Island at the end of summer, we immediately started searching for a pet-friendly place to stay. You see we had heard that Hilton Head was incredibly dog-friendly allowing dogs on the beach and on restaurant patios, so we wanted to take the Corgi boys with us. Well, most of the accommodations on the island are private homes and villas that you can rent. There are a few hotels, but not all are pet-friendly and the ones that are have costly pet fees. So finding a villa to rent seemed our best option.
Hilton Head Island is very unique in how it is laid out. First off let’s talk about the fact that it’s shaped like a shoe! Next, you will see it is made up of approximately 11 plantations and a few other off-plantation communities. I say approximate because each map I find is slightly different it seems with some areas being lumped together or not. They are called plantations because many of them were southern plantations years ago that have now been turned into residential communities. While the whole island has a similar low country feel with tons of trees and low hanging moss thanks to Hilton Head’s emphasis on sustainability, each plantation feels distinct. The two most popular areas seem to be Sea Pines and Palmetto Dunes, possibly for their close proximity to Coligny Plaza located in the Forest Beach area. Sea Pines is the original plantation developed in 1956 and also the largest plantation made up of 5,000 acres on the southern tip of the island. It’s name refers to the forest feel of this part of the island due to the many sea pine trees and giant oaks. Sea Pines is also homes to the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, but it is a secure plantation meaning if you do not have a gate pass you will need to pay $5 to enter for the day. That day pass provides you with free parking and access to the trolley, which will take you all the way down to Harbour Town or to the Sea Pines Beach Club. Most of the other plantations are also secure, but will allow you to enter if you have a reservation at a restaurant or golf course within the community.
We ended up in Sea Pines for the 4 nights we stayed on the island. We found a great 3 bedroom villa on Lighthouse Road through Seapines Villas. It was a great price for our stay with a reasonable pet fee and they were willing to accommodate our two corgis. The booking process was completely painless and they had everything ready for our arrival. We were even able to check in early!
The villa backed up to a golf course and a beautiful estuary. I prefer to be on the ocean when I travel to the beach because it makes the trip that much more enjoyable for me – you can step right out to the beach anytime – so having a little bit of water in our backyard made up for not being right on the ocean. Walking in the home felt clean, warm and inviting. The decor had the perfect cozy beach feel like someone has taken a lot of years to make it a special beach home. It’s laid out very open, which reminded us of our own home! At the entrance you can see the main living room…with vaulted ceilings, tons of windows and light!To the left of the entrance behind the living room wall is a long hallway leading to a half bath, tiled walk-in shower, laundry area and the door to the Master bedroom. There were bi-fold doors on one wall that you could leave open or close. I was a tad bit nervous that it would not feel private enough back there, but it was perfect. There is also a door to the kitchen from this back area which can be left shut for privacy. The king size bed was super comfy. You know how not all rental property mattresses are the best to sleep on? We had zero trouble sleeping on this bed.
Back into the main area of the villa, the living room is open to the kitchen, which featured a large island and plenty of storage and counter space.The kitchen was well-appointed with a fancy high end electric cook top, wall oven and microwave, dishwasher, coffee maker, toaster oven, blender and tons of pots, pans, tools, etc. Basically they had just about everything you could dream of in a kitchen, but if you plan to zest any limes to season up some fish or squeeze juice for a fresh margarita, you should plan to bring those specialty kitchen gadgets from home. This is pretty standard in rental homes – it will never be the same as cooking in your own kitchen at home, but as long as you expect that you will be just fine. I do have to comment that of all the rentals we’ve stayed in this kitchen was the most well-stocked. It had some quality brand appliances and it felt like the owners thought of just about everything you might need. The thoughtful bottle of wine was also a nice touch to make us feel welcome. 😉Off behind the living room and kitchen is the dining area and another sitting room with large windows making it feel like a sun-room. Isn’t that table just gorgeous? I loved the mix-match chairs too! It was the perfect size for us and our friends with their two boys for the week!The extra sitting area was perfectly cozy. I loved curling up here with my morning coffee and book waiting for the rest of the world to wake up. It worked great as an area for the kids to play or watch tv while the adults whipped up dinner. We could see them, but because they weren’t in the kitchen or right beside us the noise wasn’t distracting. Heading upstairs this is the view looking down from the loft.The loft area has a long gangway that leads to a cozy bathroom. It was very nicely decorated with Travertine style tile and a large walk-in tiled shower. Across the hall from the bathroom is a large bedroom with a master bed. I loved the pop of color from the quilt and artwork in this room. There was a chair, dresser and tv in this 2nd master as well.At the end of the small hallway is a third bedroom with two sets up bunk beds perfect for a kids’ room.Back downstairs and off the kitchen is a small perfectly-sized patio with a peaceful view of sea pine trees. That gorgeous lake estuary is just beyond the trees! The boys saw an alligator swimming around in it our first day at the villa! There was a note on the fridge with a clear warning to take the wildlife very seriously, not to allow young children or dogs close to the water because the alligators are easily disturbed and can move faster than you’d expect. 😉
So if you are going to Hilton Head this fall or next summer, I cannot recommend renting a villa in Sea Pines enough. The list of how great this place was for us is extensive:
- Proximity to the Sea Pines Beach Club (it was a 2 min bike ride or 6 min walk)
- Comfort (this villa was spacious and comfortable, well-appointed, just like being at home)
- Well stocked (they had thought of everything – quality linens, plush towels, beach chairs, a beach cart, games, books, extra toilet paper, even travel size shampoo, bar soap and dish soap)
- Ease of use (to start there was a code for the door, so no key to pick up or keep track of – they just gave us the code via email and we immediately started our vacation)
- Views and wildlife (you won’t get these peaceful views at a hotel)
- Two free bikes (the bike trails on the island make getting around a cinch, a ride down to Harbour Town took 15 minutes)
- Close to Coligny Plaza (a 5 minuted drive and we shopped there several times for souvenirs and groceries at Piggly Wiggly)
How can you book this villa for your own stay? Contact Seapines Villa and inquire about the 6 Lighthouse Villa or check out their other great rentals. Other great places to look for rentals: VRBO or FlipKey.
Enjoy your stay!