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Romantic Weekend: Hilton Head Island

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 30 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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couple in HHI
Claim your stretch of the Hilton Head shoreline for romantic walks with the one you love.

Hilton Head Island is an alluring vacation choice for couples. Year-round sunshine, 12 miles of relaxing beaches, top-notch dining and a rich natural beauty that invites outdoor adventure—there’s no shortage of things for lovers to love about this exciting destination. Ready for a romantic weekend getaway on South Carolina’s most famous island? Let’s get a move on.

Friday – Check-in

Hilton Head Island is famous for its world-class resorts, sweeping oceanfront properties where your vacation dreams can be played out without ever leaving the grounds. Two of the most popular for couples are Palmetto Dunes and Sea Pines. Pick one, then settle in for a weekend of indulgence.

Palmetto Dunes

Palmetto Dunes pulls out all the stops with three miles of beautiful beaches and myriad activities to make a memorable weekend. For couples with a few days to devote to love, choose a romance package that includes three nights in a luxury villa, a couple’s massage, a gift certificate to a resort restaurant and your choice of activities from biking to kayaking to tennis.

Once your bags are unpacked, shed those traveling clothes, change into something beachy-casual and catch the shuttle to the Dunes House, the resort’s outdoor restaurant and bar. Enjoy the laid-back island vibe and bask in the beautiful beach views with a refreshing frozen cocktail. Then take that much-anticipated beach walk. Kick off your shoes and thrill to the feel of your feet in the sand as you walk, hand in hand. Finally—all your romantic vacation dreams are becoming reality. When you’re ready, return to Dunes House for another cold beverage to wash down some of the best fish tacos on the island.

Sea Pines Resort

Sea Pines Resort, located on the southern end of the island, is a 5,000-acre oceanfront playground that’s home to one of Hilton Head Island's most luxurious lodging options, The Inn & Club at Harbour Town. Stylish and elegant, this Forbes four-star and AAA four-diamond boutique hotel impresses and pampers with butler service, nightly turn-down service with chocolates, Italian linens, spa bathrooms and more. Romance packages include champagne, dinner and breakfast for two, complimentary beach chairs and umbrella, bikes, tennis, discounted eco-adventures and other perks.

Check in, change into something cool, then take the concierge shuttle to the chic Ocean Lounge at the Sea Pines Beach Club. Sink down into comfy chairs, order a specialty cocktail and drink in the glorious ocean views at this 21-and-older indoor and outdoor haven. Ahhhh … what a way to begin your romantic weekend interlude.

If you’re a bit tired from traveling, you’re in the perfect spot. Stay put and order dinner from the beach club restaurant, Coast, Oceanfront Dining; you’ll be served right where you are. Or mosey into the restaurant and enjoy fresh seafood specialties. Afterward, take a leisurely stroll along the beach. Shuttle back to the inn and spend some couple’s time in your large soaking tub. Don your plush robes and order up dessert from room service for a sweet ending to your first day in paradise.

biking hhi
Biking is a perfect way to soak up the rich natural beauty of Hilton Head.

Saturday Morning

Rise and shine! Time to start your first full day on Hilton Head Island. Dress for outdoor adventure and prepare to experience the beauty of the day together.

Palmetto Dunes Duos

If you opted for the romance package at Palmetto Dunes, take the shuttle to Shelter Cove Harbour, a shopping and dining destination across from the resort. There you’ll get your morning coffee buzz and a light breakfast at Hilton Head Social Bakery, a French-style cafe known for buttery, flaky croissants, brioche and savory pastries. Brush off the crumbs and make your way to Shelter Cove Marina where kayaks await you. You and your love will be exploring Broad Creek, paddling the wildlife-rich waters frequented by dolphins, otters, manatees and other sea creatures.

Sea Pines Pairs

Sea Pines couples will open their eyes and answer the knock at the door. It’s the butler with the breakfast you ordered last night. Enjoy the delicious meal in your room, then dress for outdoor adventure. Pack your water bottles and sunscreen, too. Outside the inn, two cruiser bicycles await you for a morning of biking the resort’s shaded leisure trails. Your first destination is Sea Pines Forest Preserve, where you’ll park your bikes and explore on foot the protected wildlife habitat. See the Sea Pines Shell Ring, a 4,000-year-old archeological site created from the discarded shells of former island inhabitants, acres of wildflowers, marshes and wildlife galore.

Saturday Afternoon

Palmetto Dunes Duos

You’ve been charmed by the natural beauty of Hilton Head Island’s waterways, but now you're ready for a little sustenance. Turn those kayaks in and walk over to Bucci and Murray’s Pub to cool off with a cold brew and a tasty bite to eat. Part Irish, part Italian, take your pick from a hefty menu featuring everything from pizza to fish and chips. Afterward, either hit the beach for a little sunbathing or do some shopping at Shelter Cove for a special souvenir from your Hilton Head Island vacation. Pottery, jewelry, original art, clothing, home accessories—you’re bound to find something you’ll treasure for years to come. Then return to your villa to freshen up. You’ve got a date with a masseuse for a soothing couple’s massage at one of the resort’s spas. (After all that kayaking, your shoulders will thank you.) Then it’s back to home base for a delicious nap to rejuvenate you for an unforgettable island night.

Sea Pines Pairs

After exploring the preserve, bike to The Quarterdeck, Waterfront Dining for an outdoor, waterfront lunch overlooking Calibogue Sound. Back at the inn, turn in your bikes and ask your butler to arrange transportation to the Sea Pines Beach Club, where you’ll find complimentary beach chairs, umbrellas and towels for some afternoon shoreline relaxation. Cool off with a smoothie from Surfside Market. After you’ve had your fill of the gorgeous coastline, return to the inn, shower and let your butler arrange transportation to Le Spa of Sea Pines, the resort’s onsite spa where you’ve got an appointment for a relaxing side-by-side massage. Your biking legs and everything else will get some much-needed TLC. Now, head back to the inn for a little alone time and maybe a nap. You’ll be nice and refreshed for your final night on Hilton Head Island.

wine hhi
Sharing libations amidst Hilton Head's natural beauty is a recipe for love and relaxation.

Saturday Night

Palmetto Dunes Duos

Tonight’s the night! You’re going to Alexander’s, the resort’s fine-dining destination serving local seafood dishes and stellar wines. The lagoon-front, Lowcountry-leaning restaurant is your place for amazing shrimp and grits and other regionally, seasonally inspired dishes. And you are expected because you made your reservations well in advance of your trip. Linger over an unforgettable dinner in intimate surroundings. As a finale, split one of their decadent desserts while you sip an espresso-tini—sweet dreams are yours tonight. Now, go and enjoy the rest of it any way you like.

Sea Pines Pairs

Walk over to the Harbour Town Yacht Basin where you’ll board the Vagabond’s Spirit of Harbour Town, a luxury passenger yacht set to take you on a sunset dinner cruise. Dine al fresco or in the comfortable, appealing dining quarters. Sea Pines chefs will serve a mouthwatering menu of dishes like Lowcountry shrimp and grits, smoked beef brisket and slow-roasted chicken. Order your favorite cocktails from the full-service bar or celebrate your romantic weekend with a bottle of fine champagne. But the real stars of the show are the dolphins you're likely to see in the sound and the majestic sunset on the water—both Hilton Head Island classics. When dinner is finished, you can head back to the inn with memories to treasure for a long time to come.

Sunday Brunch

Palmetto Dunes couples should take the shuttle back to Shelter Cove Harbour for brunch at ELA’s on the Water. Creative Benedicts, lump crab omelets, smoked salmon and traditional breakfast fare are some of the tantalizing menu options.

If you stayed at Sea Pines, brunch at Links before you depart the property. Overlooking the renowned Harbour Town Golf Links, your parting meal offerings include thick-cut French toast, Benedicts, three-egg omelets, a steak burger and other sandwiches, salads and more.

Though the time has come to return to daily life, rest assured you’ll be fueled by all the shared experiences and intimacy you enjoyed on your romantic Hilton Head Island weekend. Something tells us we’ll see you again.

 

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 30 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.