Tennis on Hilton Head Island balls and clay court
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Ultimate Guide to Playing Tennis and Pickleball on Hilton Head Island

You’re in luck. Tennis on Hilton Head Island, SC is legendary, and many tennis greats have a presence here. Facilities have also kept up with the pickleball trend and offer instruction and courts for both tennis and pickleball on Hilton Head. The weather is typically nice for outdoor play, and many facilities also have indoor courts.

Choosing where to play can be determined based on your budget, how much time you want to play, and what type of instruction or experience you are looking for during your play. Details to help in your decision are below. Plan for your trip by packing your court essentials, and knowing where to rent racquets/paddles.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post, like hotel links, are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, we make a little bit of money if you click through and end up booking. That said, we would never recommend something we don’t stand behind 100%. 

The best tennis and pickleball facilities on Hilton Head Island 

We are not covering the Smith Stearns Tennis Academy, but it should be considered if you have a junior who wants to play/stay at the academy.  

Choosing where to play tennis and pickleball on Hilton Head Island

“Stay where you play” resorts

For those looking for a more “all-inclusive” or “stay where you play” tennis trip, consider either the Hilton Head Island Racquet Club or the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Club as you can stay on-property or at a nearby resort.  The more budget offering of the Hilton Head Island Beach and Tennis Resort is also available.

Hilton Head Island Racquet Club (Sea Pines Resort)

Hilton Head Island / Sea Pines Racquet Club (part of the Sea Pines Resort Area) – This club is central to Sea Pines and offers a variety of classes and lessons you can schedule online or call to book. The tennis facility boasts that you can learn from tennis legend Stan Smith and other USPTA-certified professionals with decades of experience. You’ll improve your game here. Sea Pines Resort guests get 2 hours of free tennis court time each day, visitors can get time at $40 per hour. Pickleball courts can be secured at $20-25 per hour. There are 6 pickleball courts.

Weekend play: They have a doubles tennis drill on Saturdays and Sundays, which is the best option for tennis players wanting to get doubles tennis play in over the weekend. There is also a USTA 3+ weekend drill from 9-11 am on Saturdays and Sundays. Check the club schedule to ensure class times.

Where to stay: Sea Pines Resort Area

Palmetto Dunes Tennis/Pickleball Club (Palmetto Dunes Resort)

Palmetto Dunes Tennis Club –  This world-class tennis club boasts 17 clay tennis courts, four of which are lighted. Lessons, round robins, clinics (some seasonal), and private lessons can be scheduled in advance.  We chose here to play drills during our latest stay on Hilton Head Island and enjoyed our 1.5 hour group drill (1 instructor to each 4 players). You have the most direct access by staying at partner resorts, or you can do a guest rate, as we did.

Tennis on Hilton Head at Palmetto Dunes Tennis Club

Palmetto Dunes Pickleball Club – 24 lighted pickleball courts which look sparkling new. You can book open play or instruction.

Tennis on Hilton Head at Palmetto Dunes Pickleball Club

Any stay at the Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, which includes the Omni and Westin, is on-property to this tennis club and typically offers a discount. Check out their Tennis Stay & Play package.

For those staying at Omni Hilton Head, this is the tennis facility you will have access to as a guest.  Top-notch resort stay on the island!

Where to stay: Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort, Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa

Hilton Head Island Beach and Tennis Resort

Hilton Head Island Beach and Tennis Resort – Highly rated, but a bit smaller and more budget-friendly than the other two more inclusive options. Stay in a condo on the property and enjoy the 6 tennis courts and 12 pickleball courts. You can arrange courts or lessons by contacting them. This club boasts a top 50 tennis resort ranking and top 5 pickleball staff by Tennis Resort Online. This would be an easy and leisurely option for staying at a resort with tennis access, with a bit less overall resort fuss.

Where to stay: Hilton Head Island Beach and Tennis Resort

Open play or lessons/round robins/clinics

If you choose your own accommodations but plan to attend some clinics or workshops, consider these open-play tennis or pickleball options on Hilton Head Island, SC.

Van Der Meer Tennis

Van Der Meer Tennis – There are extensive offerings and two locations on the island. The Van Der Meer Tennis Center has 14 hard courts, four of which are lit, and the Van Der Meer Shipyard Resort has 20 courts, 8 of which are lit, and most clinics are held on these clay courts. They have a variety of multi-day adult and junior clinics if you want to play a lot during your trip. Review their site to plan your travel around clinic schedules. Otherwise, they offer daily (Monday-Friday) drills, round robins, and private/semi-private lessons you can call to schedule. 

The top affiliated hotel to the facility, and one of our top recommendations, is Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island.   

Where to stay: Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island

South Beach Racquet Club

South Beach Racquet Club – Located within Sea Pines and offering 12 clay courts, open 8 am-6 pm daily. You are right by Salty Dog Cafe, meaning you can get a nice reward after you play! This is a great choice for those staying in the Sea Pines Resort area. Adults can select from tennis or pickleball clinics or schedule private/small group instruction. Juniors can schedule pickleball or tennis private, semi-private, or group instruction. Pickleball is expanding to 20 courts and offers a variety of 1-1.5 hour events. There is a 24 cancellation policy, but book in advance.  

Where to stay: Sea Pines Resort Area

Free play on the island

If you’re looking for free play, your best bet is any neighborhood court or the Cordillo Tennis Courts. The risk here is that there may not be an open court when you want to play. Courts are striped for both tennis and pickleball and are open Monday through Sunday from 8:30 am-7:30 pm. Hours are informed via a locked chain outside of these hours.

Tennis on Hilton Head Free Cordillo Courts

Where to stay: Coral Sands Resort

Tennis Lessons on Hilton Head

We highly recommend scheduling lessons, group or private, or drills to play tennis on Hilton Head Island. For those new to tennis or pickleball, getting a new set of expert eyes on your form and play strategy will do you well and it’s a good break from more beachy activities.

Our choice for lessons was the Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center. We wanted a morning class, so we selected the 1.5-hour Grand Slam Tennis Drill class. Instruction was small with 2 instructors for 8 players on 2 clay courts. Most players were experienced, I think you could be 2.5+ to 3.0 USTA and play in this drill just fine. There are many additional choices for classes and drills, and we found the phone lines easy to get through to someone and ask questions in advance. The tennis racquets we rented weren’t fancy, but they did the trick and were included in the price.

Tip: See the links to the tennis facilities to get the latest drill schedules and lesson contact information.

Tennis on Hilton Head Island balls and clay court

Where to play based on where you’re staying

To make planning effortless, here is the recommendation in reverse. If you know where you want to stay on Hilton Head Island, choose the courts nearest to your stay to limit back-and-forth time during your stay.  

Q&A: Tennis vs Pickleball on Hilton Head

Is tennis or pickleball more popular?

Pickleball courts were busy at all times. So, pickleball. Bring those paddles and find a court on your vacation!

Are there more tennis or pickleball courts?

Without a specific count, it feels about 50/50 on the island with more and more tennis courts being converted to pickleball.

Are the tennis or pickleball courts nicer?

Due to the newness of the pickleball trend, the pickleball courts on Hilton Head Island look and feel much newer, giving a premium experience.

Can you play on clay?

Playing tennis on Hilton Head Island on a clay surface is a great experience. You won’t get as dirty as you expect (if you stay upright, of course), and it’s good practice to experience hitting a ball without as much bounce. The tennis ball bounced less on clay than on a hard court.

Hilton Head tennis playing on clay
Photo by Samuel-Elias Nadler on Unsplash

Summary: Tennis and pickleball on Hilton Head Island

If you want to include some tennis and pickleball on Hilton Head Island in your vacation, you won’t be disappointed. The top-notch facilities and instruction are reason enough to plan a trip to the Lowcountry. Maybe you’ll even try playing on a clay court for the first time! And for those not wanting to travel with their tennis or pickleball racquets, there are rentals available at some facilities. Working out on vacation will set you up for feeling great.

Happy hitting, and happy breezy travels! 

See all of our Hilton Head Island guides for overall travel planning simplicity.

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