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The Best Place to Stay in Hilton Head

Updated on October 26, 2016


This article is about the most popular areas and plantations on Hilton Head Island. A plantation is this context refers to a gated community that has its own facilities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, shopping areas, entertainment centers, etc.

Now, let me ask you a question before I begin: What is the the definition of best for you? Okay, do you have something in mind? Now, another question: Is your definition of best likely to the be same as a complete stranger that would bump into on the streets? Highly unlikely, right?

This is why I will not come to conclusion and say that plantation A is better than plantation B. It's all a matter of perspective and needs. However, I will delve into the pros and cons of each of these plantations so that you can pick one that suits you best. Ready? Let's begin!

show route and directions
A markerFolly Field -
Folly Field, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928, USA
get directions

B markerForest Beach -
Forest Beach, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928, USA
get directions

C markerPalmetto Dunes -
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928, USA
get directions

D markerSea Pines Resort -
Sea Pines Resort, 32 Greenwood Dr, Hilton Head Isle, SC 29928-4510, USA
get directions

E markerShipyard Plantation -
Shipyard Plantation, 10 Shipyard Dr, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928-4930, USA
get directions

Folly Field

Two things about Folly Field that make it a great place for teenagers. First, its location and second, the fact that it is a non-plantation area.

Folly Field is located between Palmetto Dunes and Port Royal. As you will learn later in this article, Palmetto Dunes is famous for Shelter cove and Port Royal for Port Royal Plaza. Both, Shelter Cover and Port Royal Plaza, are shopping districts with a plethora of restaurants and shops.

Since, Folly field is not a plantation and therefore open to locals and residents alike it has the feeling of a beach resort. Again, this can work to the advantage of teenagers as they can mingle with the locals.

Folly Field has a beach named Singleton that remains uncrowded for most times of the year as the folly restricts access to it from the north. This folly also attracts a lot of fish which makes Singleton a good place for fishing. There is famous bar called Coco's at the beach which can be a great place to enjoy a few drinks.

However, if you stay at Singleton Beach then you will be relatively further away from Port Royal Plaza and Shelter Cove. Hence, there is a trade off here. If you stay at Singleton then you will be close to the beach but if you stay in the center then you will be close to all the shops and restaurants.


  • Location
  • Non - Plantation
  • Suitable for teenagers


  • Distance if you stay at Singleton

Folly Field, Hilton Head
Folly Field, Hilton Head

Forest Beach

Forest beach is another ungated (non-plantation) area. In fact, it is the LARGEST ungated area on the island. This is another good place to stay if you are traveling with teenagers because you will be close to the biggest shopping area on the island - Coligny Plaza.

The area is divided into two districts (North Forest Beach and South Forest Beach) at Coligny Circle where Coligny Plaza is located. As a tourist you will stay at South Forest beach because that area caters to tourists whereas North Forest is where the locals live. Since, North Forest Beach has a large local population the shops and restaurants in that area remain open for almost the entire year. As a result, if you are planning to go to Hilton Head in the off-season then Forest beach can be a good place to look for an accommodation.

Another peculiarity about Forest Beach is its beach. As mentioned earlier, Forest Beach is an ungated area and therefore, open to everyone. As a result, the beach is probably the most crowded on the island. Due to this there are a lot of vendors on the beach which makes it easy to find whatever you want then and there.


  • Unofficial downtown
  • Coligny Plaza
  • Great for teenagers


  • Beach can be too crowded

Forest Beach, Hilton Head
Forest Beach, Hilton Head

Palmetto Dunes Plantation

Palmetto Dunes is one of the most well-known plantations for several reasons:

First, it hosts a number of events and activities during the summers including shows by the famous entertainer Shannon Tanner. Shannon Tanner is great with kids and if you are traveling with little ones then this aspect alone should make you stay at Palmetto Dunes. Most of these programs and events are held at Shelter Cove which has a number of shops and restaurants.

Second, Palmetto Dunes has World-class facilities: golf courses, 35 tennis courts and bike paths all over.

Third, there is a 3 mile beach that is open only to Palmetto Dune residents and guests and an 11 mile lagoon that is exclusive to the plantation. This lagoon is a major attraction if you are interested in canoeing, fishing or kayaking.


  • 35 tennis courts, world class golf facilities and bike paths
  • Shelter cove
  • 11 mile lagoon


  • None

Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head

Sea Pines Plantation

What do you get when you create a community without destroying its natural beauty? Sea Pines. This plantation is a perfect mix of nature and man-made buildings and is probably the most beautiful plantation on the island. You can enjoy this beauty by walking or riding on the 25 miles of paths that cover the plantation.

As for tennis and golf, Sea Pines has 3 tennis centers and is home to the Harbour Town Golf links course (venue of the Verizon Heritage Golf Classic on the PGA Tour) plus 3 other golf courses.

Harbour town and South Beach are the two major areas on the plantation. Harbour town is where the famous Harbourfest is held throughout the summers each year. Both Harbour town and South Beach can make for good shopping options.

The Sea Pines Club is a great place to enjoy some food and drinks followed by sunbathing and relaxing at the beach. Even though the beach is a great place to relax it is not ideal for swimming because of the little fish and crabs floating around. This, however, can be an advantage for people who are interested in fishing.


  • Natural beauty
  • Harbourtown
  • Harbour Town Golf Links
  • Great beach for fishing


  • Beach not ideal for swimming

Sea Pines, Hilton Head
Sea Pines, Hilton Head

Shipyard Plantation

Shipyard can be easily given the award for the most tranquil and quiet plantation in Hilton Head.

It has its own golf courses and tennis facilities. In fact the famous tennis center, Van Der Meer Tennis center, is a part of the plantation. However, that is more of less it. Apart from a huge and quiet beach there is nothing more to do on the plantation. There aren't many places to eat or shop inside but Coligny Plaza is very close and if you are in need of some action then you can go there.

For me this is the ideal setup as I can spend time walking and relaxing in a quiet place and go to Coligny Plaza when I am in the mood for some entertainment.


  • Quiet and tranquil
  • Van Deer Meer tennis center
  • Close to Coligny plaza


  • Few shopping and eating options

Shipyard Plantation, Hilton Head
Shipyard Plantation, Hilton Head

End Note

As I said in the beginning, I will not arrive at a conclusion in this article, I have only stated the pros and cons of each plantation/area. It is up to you to weigh in these pros and cons and arrive at a decision that best suits your needs.


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