Palmetto Dunes

Now that’s a shower: the master bath in our Palmetto Dunes condo. Photo credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

Living Large in a Huge Condo

Renting a house or a condo is a great way to save money, and maximize space, on vacation. As a family of five, we can’t fit into regular hotel rooms, and two rooms is out of our budget. But a condo offers tons of space to stretch out, plus a full kitchen where you can have breakfast and snacks and save even more money.

At Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, we stayed in a three bedroom, three bath condo, with enough space for another family. We were in a gated community with beach access, walkable restaurants and shops and miles of safe, flat bike paths.


We had a good sized living room, with a large television, and another television in the master bedroom. Actually, there may have been TVS in the other bedrooms, too, but we are not big TV viewers and weren’t really on vacation to watch TV.

Family Adventure

Palmetto Dunes

The kitchen in the condo. Photo credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

A bike rental company, Hilton Head Outfitters,  delivered beach cruisers to our condo, which we used to ride on the beach, to the General Store for breakfast and to tool around the island (delivery and pick up of bike rentals is provided if you rent for three days or more). There is a Whole Foods a few minutes from the resort, where we also picked up provisions. If you plan to do any cooking (we didn’t) you have to buy everything, from salt to olive oil to napkins.

South Carolina doesn’t have a helmet law, and bike rentals don’t come with helmets – though you can get them for a little extra. I was happy to ride helmet free and, really, you can’t go all that fast with these bikes. But, if you ride back home where you have a helmet law, and you have little kids and don’t want to confuse them, get the helmets.

There are kids bikes, bike seats, tag-a-longs and tandems, but alas, no surreys.

Lions and Tigers and  Alligators – Well, Just Alligators

Palmetto Dunes has an 11 mile lagoon, and the same outfit that rents bicycles has rental kayaks. But there really are alligators in the lagoon and my kids refused to consider kayaking.

Nearby Fun

Palmetto Dunes

Outside the condo, as seen through our rental Silverado pickup truck. Photo credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

Like many beach communities, Hilton Head has a couple of mini golf establishments. We spent a spirited evening playing putt putt (and using our AAA discount). We explored the ruins of an old plantation, spent a day wandering the historic town of Beaufort (an hour away) and headed to the movie theater when it rained one afternoon. We also found a number of great restaurants, with plenty of vegetarian options.

The Rooms

Palmetto Dunes

Kitchen supplies. Photo credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

The master bedroom had a king size bed, and gorgeous bathroom with stone shower and 2 sinks, and a small deck. Another bedroom had a full size bed, and the third had two twins. The living room couches were also deep, long and comfortable enough that they could accommodate an extra person or two.


We had access to the tennis courts and golf courses. Some of the condo developments have pools (ours didn’t, but December isn’t really outdoor swimming weather anyway).

What Works

  • Full kitchen with pots, pans, coffee maker, microwave. We were left enough coffee for one pot – after that you are on your own
  • A washer/dryer (and one packet of laundry detergent) – particularly useful since we were on a week long trip with five sweaty people
  • Plenty of privacy
Palmetto Dunes

Biking on the beach, Hilton Head Island style. Photo credit: Judy Antell / Vegetarian TravelingMom

What Doesn’t Work

  • There is no maid service during your stay – if you leave dirty dishes on the table or drop your wet towels on the floor, they will still be there at the end of the day. You truly have the comfort – and discomfort – of home.

Note: I was a guest of Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. Opinions expressed are my own.