We'll just go right ahead and say it – Hilton Head is the jewel in the South Carolinian coast. Majestically blending carpet-like golf fairways and smooth greens with pebble-strewn beaches where you can wonder at surfing dolphins, along with handsome Hilton Head rentals that cluster between dunes and wetlands, it's a tailor-made spot for rest, relaxation, and fun. This guide can help you pinpoint and book the getaway that's right for you…

Find the right type of Hilton Head rental

Before packing up the clubs and booking your tee time, it's important to consider precisely what type of home away from home you want on Hilton Head. There's a good mix in the offing, whether you're after something large and luxurious or something compact and cozy.

Deluxe living, done right

There are a select few Hilton Head vacation rentals that crank up the luxury to the top level. Seriously sumptuous, they are mansions with over five separate bedrooms, all ensuite, covered swimming pools, infinity outdoor pools, big billiard rooms, and – of course – ocean views. Prepare to pay more and be pampered in these.

Will it be a pet-friendly pad?

Whoever said the soft sands, sloshing tides, and palmetto groves of Hilton Head were only for humans? A great many Hilton Head rental homes are ready to welcome the pup, too. You might need to fork out a little extra, and be wary of canine restrictions on the local beaches. But then it's just a question of deciding who gets the master bedroom – will it be you or Fido?

Hilton Head rentals and golf in one

Get ready for it – there's a whopping 40 golf clubs and a mega one million rounds completed each year on Hilton Head. That puts it up there with Augusta and Palm Beach as one of the country's most accomplished pitch and put destinations. If that's the reason you're coming, it might be a good idea to zero in on the villas and condos that are attached to one of the courses. They often come with access to the first tee, along with a golf cart, and views of the nearby fairways.

Where to get vacation rentals in Hilton Head, SC

Hilton Head might not be the largest barrier island in the country, but it still manages to pack in more golf courses than you can shake a seven iron at, long lengths of gorgeous coastline, and buzzy shopping precincts. The pointers below should help you find the area you like the most.

Get down to South Forest Beach

The closest that Hilton Head Island ever gets to a downtown core is along South Forest Beach Drive. At its north-east end is a clutch of sleek bistros, seafood grills, and the boutiques of the Coligny Circle plaza. At the other is a chic plantation area with five-star villas. Beach houses and sunset cocktail bars meet tennis clubs along its length.

Palmetto Dunes puts golfing on the doorstep

A trio of separate golf courses keeps the awards flowing and the accolades a-coming for Palmetto Dunes. And while you can hop out of the villas and step straight onto the fairway, you might just as well want to go in the other direction. That's where miles of pristine sand and dunes spread out by waves loaded with dolphins. No wonder the beachfront lettings are in such high demand.

Sea Pines – top-class resort rentals of Hilton Head Island

Decades of hospitality and an alluring 5,000 acres of oceanfront property keep the gated resort area of Sea Pines up there with the crème-de-la-crème of Hilton Head Island rentals. You should have everything you need for a fun-filled trip right on the doorstep here. There's a communal gym. There are tennis courts and tennis schools. There's even a dedicated harbor area where you can park up the yacht and enjoy an al fresco coffee.

Cheap deals on Hilton Head Island house rentals

There are green fees and fine-dining evenings of Atlantic seafood to get through in Hilton Head, which means the budget shouldn't be busted on accommodation before you even arrive. That's where the helpers below come in. They've got clues on how you can cut the cost of accommodation at the booking stage.

Beat the crowds and be the first on the tee

Choosing what style of Hilton Head Rental, what area of the resort, and what dates you want to travel early on can work wonders on that quest for a great deal. That's because it lets you start searching for homes and condos long in advance, before the bulk of other golfers and yachters have joined the queue and the best packages start going.

Don't get set on oceanfront lettings

The general rule of thumb is that the closer you are to the rolling waves, the more you're going to pay for a place on Hilton Head. But the beaches are never too far from any house in these parts, so you might want to cut the nightly rate, leave more in your pocket, and settle for somewhere a few blocks back from the shore.

Be aware of seasonal price hikes

June to August is when the rates move skywards in Hilton Head Island rentals – it's peak golfing season, after all. Short of plumping for the chilly, breezy, and sometimes stormy winter, you could visit in spring or fall, when there's a nice balance between lower costs and decent weather.