Furry Family Members are Welcome on Hilton Head Island

Americans love their pets. It’s estimated that we will spend over $50 billion on our pets in 2011. We spoil them with treats and toys and bring them wherever we go. We feed them the very best food and frame their pictures. And now, our four-legged family members can join the family vacation too!

Ginger, a local pup, loves her time on the beach!
Ginger, a local pup, loves her time on the beach!
Pet friendly travel is on the rise, and in recent years some Hilton Head Island properties have added pet friendly policies, rolling out the welcome mat to your furry family members with special amenities and services.

Jason Manges is a marketing professional who spends a lot of time on the road for work. He loves when he travels to Hilton Head Island for business because he can bring his two dogs, Begonia and Sierra. He always stays at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa. “I always bring my dogs to Hilton Head Island when I travel for work because it makes the experience feel more like home.  My dogs absolutely love the beach so it brings them a great deal of happiness as well,” says Manges.

With advance notice, The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa gladly accepts dogs under 20 lbs. They offer a Heavenly Dog Bed for their special 4-legged guests. If you’re looking for a private home or villa for your family vacation, there are several rental companies that offer pet friendly homes and villas including Hilton Head Rentals & Golf, Sunset Rentals and Resort Rentals.

Helpful Hints:

  • Be sure to read the fine print and check for added fees.
  • Most pet-friendly designations refer to dogs—so confirm before you book if you want to travel with another type of pet.
A couple walking along the beach with their dog at sunset

The Island's 12 miles of beaches are perfect for long walks with your furry family members.

There’s plenty to do with your dog too! The Island’s 12 miles of hard-packed sandy beaches are heaven on earth for dogs who love to retrieve and swim. Grab a cup of coffee to go from Java Joe’s at Coligny Plaza and head to Coligny Beach for a morning romp on the beach—which is the best time to have your pets on the beach. It’s cooler and the beaches are not as busy as mid-day. Be sure to check out the seasonal guidelines for pets on the beach when planning your outing:

  • October – March: No leashes required at any time. The animal IS required to be under positive voice control.
  • April – May: Animals must be on a leash between 10 A.M. – 5 P.M.
  • The Friday before Memorial Day until Monday of Labor Day weekend: NO animals allowed on the beach between 10 A.M. – 5 P.M.
  • Tuesday after Labor Day – September: Animals must be on a leash from 10 A.M. – 5 P.M.
  • On the beach or not, local law requires owners to clean up after their pets.

After a morning romping on the beach, head on over to Tail-Waggers, Hilton Head Island’s only gourmet pet bakery and gift shop. You’ll be greeted by owner Abby Wirth and her trusted side-kick and co-hostess, Olive, an adorable basset hound. Your dog will love the fresh, hand-baked decorated Puppy Treats. The store is stocked with all the best pet supplies, including plush beds, toys and games, chew bones and beach essentials like travel bowls and Fido Floats. Be sure to pick up a custom Hilton Head Island collar for your pet as vacation souvenir!

Woman holding her puppy at Shelter Cove Harbour

Bistro 17 at Shelter Cove Harbour gladly welcomes four legged patrons.

The Island’s numerous outdoor dining options means you can bring your pet along for dinner too. Bistro 17 at Shelter Cove Harbour offers special doggy bowls and a gourmet puppy menu for its furry patrons, including FiFi’s Favorite, a dish made of brown rice, lean ground beef, ricotta cheese, pureed vegetables, organic wheat germ, organic flax seed and garlic. A feast fit for a furry King or Queen.

Plan your fall getaway now, and plan to bring your furry family member!

PS We’d love to see your pet photos! If you have pictures from your recent visit to Hilton Head Island with your pet, please post on our Facebook page!