Your guide to pet friendly vacation rentals, rules and activities
Essential facts you need to know before traveling with your pet
So you are thinking about visiting Hilton Head but can't bear the thought of leaving Spot at home. He's part of the family, right? And he needs a vacation too. Well luckily, Hilton Head Island is a pretty pet friendly place and it's getting more so all the time. Just to be clear, we are talking DOGS ONLY and generally smaller dogs are preferred. Unfortunately no properties allow cats, birds, gerbils, etc.
How to Find the Perfect Dog Friendly Home or Villa
There are at least 3 dozen vacation homes from 3-6 bedrooms (even a few oceanfront homes) and better than 50, 1-3 bedroom villas that allow dogs. Using the availability tool on the home page, you can begin narrowing your search and once you have found available properties that meet some of your requirements, go to the left navigation, find amenities and click on pet friendly. Each of the property management companies that list properties on the site have different rules, but all of the companies will charge you and possibly ask you to vacate the premises if you are found to have a pet without their knowledge.
When you have found a pet friendly property that suits your needs, it is often best to speak directly with the property management company to go over their specific rules. Being a pet friendly property does not mean you can just bring your dog, as there are charges and rules, such as the size of the dog allowed, whether you can bring more than one, and even restrictions on the time of year they can visit. Non-refundable pet fees for villas range between $75- 150 and homes can range from $150-$200.
Pet Rules and Regulations for Hilton Head Island & Beaufort County, SC
Now that you have found the perfect rental property here are some things you should know:
Pets on Hilton Head Island Beaches - Rules enforced by the Town of Hilton Head
Dogs are NOT permitted on the beach between 10AM and 5PM from Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day
Every dog must be on a Leash
Between 10AM and 5PM April 1 through the Thursday before Memorial Day
Between 10AM and 5PM Tuesday after Labor Day through September 30
Must be on a leash or under positive voice control at all other times.
Persons in control of dogs on the beach are required to remove and properly dispose of animals' excrement.
Unattended pet in vehicle
Beaufort County, SC - These are the police who patrol Hilton Head Island Sec. 14-32 (h) Locking in vehicle - It shall be illegal for any person to leave an animal unattended in a vehicle. The animal control officer assisted by another law enforcement officer will remove the animal when the officer's opinions are that the animal is in distress.Evidently it doesn't matter if it is 50 degrees out, the windows are open and the pet is lying down sleeping. They have the right to ticket and the fine can be up to $500.
Dogs are not allowed in bird sanctuaries such as Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge and they are also not allowed at some of the festivals or events on the island, so please be aware.
Activities on Hilton Head with Dogs
Beside the beach and the bike paths that are all over Hilton Head, there is an off-leash Best Friends Dog Park at Chaplin Park that is open sunrise to sunset. It is fenced in, tree lined (mulch and leaves on the ground) and includes benches for the humans, water fountains for the dogs and a fenced area for smaller dogs. We do recommend you bring bug spray and water for humans but there are restrooms close by and free parking.
There are restaurants that are also pet friendly (mostly at the outdoor seating) and there are new ones that allow them every day, so to be sure call the specific restaurant and ask. Here are ones we know of:
Black Marlin Bayside Grill and the Hurricane Bar
Main Street Café & Pub
Old Fort Pub
Up the Creek Pub
There are also some attractions that allow well behaved dogs on a leash to join in the fun.
Calibogue Cruises to Daufuskie Island
The Mall at Shelter Cove - common area
Tips on Staying in a Rental with Spot
Remember you are in someone else's home and the best rule of thumb is to not allow the dogs on the furniture as no one likes dog hair or sand all over beds or couches.
If your pooch needs a good bath while here, there are a multitude of groomers and even a do-it-yourself pet washing place at Red Rover.
It is wise to keep your dog away from lagoons, as there are often hungry alligators lurking right below the surface.
Be considerate and don't let your dog bark constantly or you will be called on it and may even be asked to leave.
And most importantly, remember to pick up after your pet and dispose of messes properly as there are fines for that too.
Now go fetch your vacation rental and have fun with Spot!
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