Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort: The heartbeat of Hilton Head Island

Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort on Hilton Head Island will continue to celebrate its 50 anniversary through the fall, which is great news for those looking for a fall getaway for golf, beaching and a plethora of other activities, from boating to biking.

To help celebrate, Palmetto Dunes is a number of fall packages. Among the most popular are the “Birdies and Beer Getaway,” “Group Golf Stay and Play” and “Multi-Round Golf Specials.”


Each is a great way to get know this onetime logging and hunting area in the middle of Hilton Head Island that has become one of the Southeast’s more iconic destinations. A 2,000-acre resort, Palmetto Dunes is bounded by three miles of Atlantic Ocean beach on one side and a sheltered Intracoastal Waterway marina on the other.

Photo: Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort

“The really cool thing about Palmetto Dunes is that it’s generational,’’ said Brad Marra, vice president of operations at Palmetto Dunes. “We have grandparents, and even great grand parents – who bring their grand kids here.’’

The resort certainly has the space. Palmetto Dunes is the only Hilton Head Island resort with two hotels (totaling 800 rooms) inside its borders, as well as 1,200 rental properties (villas and homes) scattered throughout the property, most linked by walking and biking trails. For those who need a ride, the Dunes Buggy shuttles take guests most anywhere they want to go around Palmetto Dunes – from its three golf courses to the Shelter Cove Harbour, tennis courts and Shelter Cove Town Centre.

“Basically, you can come to Palmetto Dunes, park your car and never have to have it again during your stay,’’ Marra said.

Who would want to leave? Palmetto Dunes is home to several restaurants (go for the Shrimp and Grits at the recently-renovated Alexander’s and the Beef Brisket Sandwich at Big Jim’s BBQ); a 177-slip marina that is the jumping off point for a variety of water excursions; and best of all, three golf courses that are among the best on Hilton Head Island. Certainly no other resort on the island has as diverse a trio of layouts, which combine for more than 100,000 rounds annually.

“Three different feels from three different golf courses within the same resort,’’ Marra said.

The Robert Trent Jones Course (7,004 yards, par 72), for example, is a classic resort layout. The first of the trio of course at Palmetto Dunes, the Jones Course (built in 1974) features the legendary architect’s signature runway tee boxes and large greens. The ocean side green on the 10th hole – one of only two ocean side holes on Hilton Head Island – is among the most photographed holes in the Southeast. The tree lined fairways, for the most part, are more generous than they appear from the tee boxes, but still require accurate drives.

The famed 10th hole on the Jones Course (Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort)

With small greens and an emphasis on accuracy off the tee, the George Fazio Course (6,873 yards, par 70) is among the toughest on Hilton Head Island. How tough? Try the 17th and 18th holes from the tips. The par-3, 17th is 230 yards from the tips and requires a slight draw to reach the center of the green; the 462-yard, 18th hole is loaded with fairway bunkers, including one in front of the green that’s going to catch any short approach shots.


The Hills Course has all kinds of challenges

The Arthur Hills Course (6,651 yards, par 72), tucked inside a neighborhood resplendent with large homes, is a true shotmaker’s that requires navigation around numerous hazards and palmetto stands. The course is home to a number of bird species and yes, even alligators, so it’s wise to watch where you step when looking for golf balls. If you want to peak into what the island looked like before development – and want a challenge – the Hills Course is for you.

Feature Photo: Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort


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