One of the older, most stately combinations of private homes alongside vacation rentals designed as a gated community/resort is Hilton Head Island's Palmetto Dunes. Conceptualization began in the ‘60’s with development beginning to take shape from 1967. The focus of Palmetto Dunes has always been the advantageous natural location: the Atlantic Ocean, with its fantastic position directly across from Shelter Cove Harbor.
The estate (or ‘plantation’ as many locals call gated communities) known as ‘Palmetto Dunes’ actually contains two privately gated neighborhoods: Leamington Community and the Mariner's Section. In addition, it is anchored by powerful resorts known for their luxurious finishes and amenities, as only the Marriott, Hilton, and Disney can provide. I can say as a proud local, that this particular development presents a fine balance between the natural deepest yacht basin of the whole island, as found at Shelter Cove, three miles of exquisite beaches, and 11-miles of lagoon system with constructed bike paths, golf courses, and tennis courts.
Like most of Hilton Head Island in its early days, Palmetto Dunes has a history in hunting and timber. It was actually the milling company’s president, Jim Self Jr. who owned all 1,900 acres of oceanfront land, and he in fact constructed Hilton Head’s first golf course. Today that course can still be played at Sea Pines – the Ocean Course. As a development, Palmetto Dunes was from the get-go an environmentally sensitive project, with an eye constantly on ecology and the sensitive relationship between progress and precious natural resources. One of the gems of this community is the 11-mile lagoon system, built specifically to provide a natural haven for fauna and flora, while allowing residents to benefit from the peaceful natural beauty of this unique coastal community.
Complementing the idea of the lagoon was the massive undertaking to dredge at Shelter Cove, thus creating a deep-water marina. Today, this is a thriving marina, complete with stores, condos, eateries and offices. If you take into account the three miles of pristine beach, championship golf courses, award-winning tennis resort, dedicated bike trails and a lagoon system designed for fisherman and boaters, it isn’t difficult to see why Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort is rated one of the top family resorts in the United States and Canada.
Obviously designed with families in mind (as it is listed by Forbes as one of the top family friendly vacation resorts), Palmetto Dunes is keenly security conscious. Two security gates strictly control access to the private residential area - 24 hours a day. All of the oceanfront homes are on the beach side of the resort, where there remain in Palmetto Dunes plenty of interesting oceanfront villas and oceanfront condos for sale.
Along with Sea Pines, this is an interesting part of Hilton Head Island history worth taking time to explore. I would be extremely proud to show you our community development history. I look forward to sharing these local gems with you.