Need a reason to plan a golf vacation at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort? Here are 10

By Mike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- It's no secret that Hilton Head Island is one of the best golf destinations in the United States -- and Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is no exception. But a trip to Palmetto Dunes can be so much more than just golf.

Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort - golf
Visitors to Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort have their choice of three excellent golf courses.
Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort - golfPalmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort - golf academyPalmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort - tennisPalmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort - activitiesPalmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort - dining

"We have three distinctive course layouts at Palmetto Dunes, which provides golfers with a challenging test of golf and a memorable experience," said Brad Marra, director of golf at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. "But our resort isn't limited to golf. We also offer world-class tennis, miles of bike trails, beautiful beaches, and many other outdoor activities for the whole family."

So if you're looking for a reason to stay at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, ranked the No. 1 family resort in the United States and Canada by Travel+Leisure Magazine, we've got plenty. Here are the top 10 reasons for you to visit:

Golf at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort

Any discussion of why you should plan a stay-and-play vacation at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort has to start with the golf courses, all three of which are named after their designer. The oldest, the Robert Trent Jones Oceanfront Course, might be the best known. The signature hole is the par-5 10th because of its spectacular ocean view, but the rest of this 7,005-yard gem that opened in 1967 is pretty scenic, too, winding its way around a lagoon.

The George Fazio Course, the island's only par 70, is regarded as one of the island's best championship tests with its long par 4s.

And the Arthur Hills Course, which was built on a series of rolling dunes, has tree-lined fairways and water on 11 holes. The Hills Course is also home of the historic Leamington Lighthouse, built more than 130 years ago to help guide ships into Port Royal Sound.

Palmetto Dunes Golf Academy

If you're looking to work on your game, you've come to the right place. Led by former PGA Tour player Doug Weaver, Palmetto Dunes offers clinics, individual lessons and custom club fitting. In fact, a free golf clinic takes place at 4 p.m. every Monday at the Jones Golf Center. There's also a daily golf clinic, featuring the "stroke of the day," and several other specialized clinics, all offered at reasonable prices.

Superb tennis facilities

If golf is not enough, you would be hard-pressed to find a better tennis facility in America. Ranked among the top tennis settings in the U.S., the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center features 23 clay courts and two Nova ProBounce courts. Eight of the courts are lighted for night play. In addition, Tennis Resort Online ranks the tennis center's instructional program No. 2 in the country.

Hilton Head Island beaches

Featuring three miles of pristine beachfront, the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is the perfect place to relax. The white sandy beaches beckon for you to enjoy the calm water and gently rolling waves. The result is the perfect place to sunbathe, collect shells, surf, boogie board or simply take long walks by the sea. Beachgoers often spot pods of dolphins on the horizon while stumbling across starfish and sand dollars on the beach.

The Dunes House

There's nothing like dining by the sea, and The Dunes House is the ideal setting for a relaxing cocktail and a great meal. Enjoy lunch or dinner, indoors or outdoors on its large wooden deck, live music, and an array of choices from drinks to dinner specials. Also available for special events, The Dunes House offers a casual menu featuring local seafood, handmade burgers, grilled chicken and salads. Even more important, The Dunes House offers easy access to the beach.

Palmetto Dunes' biking trails

There are more than five miles of bike trails inside of Palmetto Dunes, winding their way around live oaks, palmettos, along the beach and throughout the resort. And if that's not enough, the trails connect with more than 50 miles of public bike trails and nature trails laid out by the town of Hilton Head Island. Hilton Head Outfitters, located inside of Palmetto Dunes, offers the island's largest bike rental fleet.

Saltwater lagoons

One of the resort's features, if not the signature feature of the resort, is Palmetto Dunes' 11-mile saltwater lagoon, where you'll find nature, scenery and recreation. The system was originally created back in the 1970s to address two problems: shallow waterways and an eroding beachfront as Palmetto Dunes has the distinct characteristic of being totally surrounded by water. Guests can use the lagoon for kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding, and it's also a great location for catch-and-release fishing. In addition, the lagoon is home to a variety of wildlife.

Shelter Cove Harbour

Located off the Intracoastal Waterway, Shelter Cove Harbour is a center for waterfront dining, shopping, entertainment and boating. Patterned after a Mediterranean Villa, Shelter Cove offers more than 20 shops, galleries and restaurants as well as 170 boat slips, capable of handling boats up to 120 feet long. Guests can arrange for fishing expeditions, sport crabbing, boat rentals and cruises that include dolphin watching. In addition, Shelter Cove hosts HarbourFest, one of the island's most popular entertainment events, all summer long.

Palmetto Dunes accommodations

The resort offers a wide range of accommodation options, all located within the resort property. From charming villas on the golf courses to luxurious private homes overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Palmetto Dunes offers a variety of options. When you book directly through Palmetto Dunes, you will enjoy preferred rates and premium access to all resort amenities. The resort also has two four-diamond hotels, the Hilton Oceanfront Resort and the Marriott Spa and Beach Resort, which also offer plenty of meeting space.

Palmetto Dunes is kid friendly

Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is a great family destination with plenty to do for the kids. Activities include biking, canoeing, fishing and kayaking. In addition, the resort offers special instruction programs for golf, tennis, boating, crabbing, waterskiing and surfing. Families can also enjoy the summertime entertainment over at Shelter Cove Harbour every evening, with a spectacular fireworks show on select Tuesday nights.

Mike BaileyMike Bailey, Senior Staff Writer

Mike Bailey is a senior staff writer based in Houston. Focusing primarily on golf in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America with an occasional trip to Europe and beyond, he contributes course reviews, travel stories and features as well as the occasional equipment review. An award-winning writer and past president of Texas Golf Writers Association, he has more than 25 years in the golf industry. Before accepting his current position in 2008, he was on staff at PGA Magazine, The Golfweek Group and AvidGolfer Magazine. Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeBaileyGA and Instagram at @MikeStefanBailey.

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