Hilton Head, South Carolina Short Term Rental Regulations

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Reviewed by Karolyn Hutson

Last updated August 23, 2023

Hilton Head Short-Term Rental Regulations

Information is maintained by the community to provide helpful insights and links to local regulations, HostScouts does not provide legal or investment advice.

City Code of Ordinances

The Hilton Head Island Town Council recently passed an ordinance regulating how short-term rentals will operate on Hilton Head Island. The ordinance applies to privately owned residential properties rented to visitors for less than 30 days. Although the ordinance is in effect now, Hilton Head Island will not start enforcing it until January 1, 2023. See Hilton Head Island Short-Term Rental Initiative page for more information. 

Business License Requirements

All short-term rental types must apply for a short-term rental license.  Non-principal residence short-term rental (or commercial rental) requires an inspection, while Principal residence homestay and Principal residence whole house does not. Apply online through​ STREAM​ under the license tab. 

Building and Housing Standards

Hilton Head Island has rules and regulations that specify minimum building, design, maintenance standards, habitability, health, and safety requirements. Some rules and regulations that apply to residential and non-residential properties may apply to your listing. Consult the Hilton Head Island website for more information. 

Tourist and Local Taxes

Residential short-term rentals require you to collect 10 percent state and local rental taxes. The state and local taxes are collected on gross rental income.

State and Local Rental Taxes include:
  • 5 percent state sales tax
  • 2 percent state accommodations tax
  • 2 percent town beach preservation fee
  • 1 percent town accommodation tax

Other Rules

It is also essential to understand and abide by other contracts or rules that bind you, such as leases, condo boards, co-op rules, HOA rules, or rules established by tenant organizations. Please read your lease agreement and check with your landlord if applicable. Visit the Hilton Head Island website for more information. 
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  • Short Term City Rating
  • Competition

  • Real Estate Cost

  • STR Regulations

  • Seasonality

  • Rental Rates


Hilton Head, South Carolina Quick Stats

Short-term rentals have gained a lot of traction in the last few years. The trends and statistics of this sector are constantly changing, and having access to accurate data is essential for making sound investment decisions.

STR License Required
Tourist Season
June to August
Hilton Head Airport (HHH)
Beaufort County (BFT)
Review our Hilton Head South Carolina short-term rental analytics guide, including rates, property types and other metrics

Want to learn more about Hilton Head?

Hostscouts has you covered. Our guides for this city cover topics that can help you research cities across the US quickly and easily.

Check out our Hilton Head rental analytics guide if you're interested in data on the Hilton Head rental market.

City Activities

Review the popular activities that hosts include in their property positing in Hilton Head.

City Attractions

The most popular local and regional landmarks hosts usually include in their Airbnb or Vrbo property listings.

Hilton Head Rental Rates & Fees

Explore nightly rates that hosts list their properties and the average fees for pets and additional guests.

Property Types & Sizes

What are the most popular property sizes for rent? Research whether a 1, 2, or 3 bedroom best fits Hilton Head guests.

Interested in other South Carolina cities?

Check out the South Carolina short term rental regulations directory 

What makes Hilton Head a great place to invest?

  • Gorgeous Beaches: Hilton Head, South Carolina boasts 12 miles of pristine, sandy coastline, perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and beachcombing. The island's warm, gentle waves and wide beaches like Coligny, Driessen, and Folly Field create an idyllic setting for a relaxing day by the ocean.
  • World-Class Golf: Golf enthusiasts will be in paradise, with 24 exceptional courses available on Hilton Head Island alone. The island hosts prestigious golf events, including the RBC Heritage PGA Tour, and features world-renowned courses designed by top architects such as Pete Dye, Robert Trent Jones, and Jack Nicklaus.
  • Nature Lover's Dream: Discover the beauty of the Lowcountry by exploring Hilton Head's lush nature preserves, marshlands, and maritime forests. Visit the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge for a chance to spot diverse wildlife, including alligators, egrets, and bald eagles. Embark on a guided kayak tour through the serene waterways, or explore the island's extensive network of biking and walking trails.
  • Thrilling Water Sports: Adventure-seekers will love the island's diverse range of water sports, such as paddleboarding, surfing, parasailing, and jet skiing. Hilton Head is also a premier destination for sailing, fishing, and dolphin-watching excursions, with experienced captains ready to guide you through the picturesque waters of the South Carolina coast.
  • Culinary Delights: Hilton Head's vibrant dining scene showcases the best of Lowcountry cuisine, with a wide array of restaurants offering fresh seafood, farm-to-table fare, and Southern classics. Don't miss the opportunity to indulge in mouth-watering dishes like shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, or a locally caught fish special at one of the island's many award-winning establishments.

Hilton Head Nearby Cities

Local Real Estate

How expensive is the real estate in Hilton Head?

The cost of real estate can vary widely depending on the location, size, and features of the property, as well as market conditions. The median home value in Hilton Head has increased 9% over the past year, and the average price per square foot is $465, which is higher than the national average.

Median Sale Price


9% YoY

Median per Square Foot


2% YoY

Average Monthly Rent


0% YoY

Property Descriptions

The most common terms hosts include in their listings for Hilton Head, South Carolina

Word Cloud for Hilton Head, South Carolina Short Term Rentals

Common terms for Hilton Head short term rental listings.

When potential guests are scrolling through listings on Airbnb, they’re looking for certain essential information to help them decide if your property is the right fit for their needs. As a host, ensuring that your listing includes all the relevant information that guests will be looking for is vital.

Some of the must-have elements of a property description include:

  • Location: Guests will want to know where your property is located in relation to popular attractions, public transportation, and other points of interest.
  • Amenities: What amenities does your property offer? Be sure to list all features guests can access, such as a pool, hot tub, parking, etc.
  • Informative: The average listing in Hilton Head has a description approximately 2,327 words long. Make sure yours is long enough to describe your property but doesn't require your potential guest to read a novel.

After reviewing more than 6,247 listings in Hilton Head, we've consolidated the most common terms on the word cloud. The larger text represents a term that is used more often. The top ten mentioned terms are Beach, Hilton, Pool, Villa, Island, Sea Pine, Resort, Flat screen, Balcony, and Beautiful.

What are the most popular tourist activities in Hilton Head?

Whether renting a house, an apartment, or a room, you should include popular tourist activities in your posting. The most common choices mentioned on property listings in Hilton Head involve going to the Beach, Swimming, Adventure Activities, Outlet Shopping, and Boating. When you write your listing, have a section with recommended activities near the property to give your guests an idea of what is available.



Adventure Activities

Outlet Shopping




Jet Skiing

Horseback Riding




Local Attractions

What attractions do hosts highlight to guests?

There are quite a few popular attractions in Hilton Head, including Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Coligny Beach, Tybee Island Beach, Coligny Plaza, and Palmetto Dunes Club. Below we've included the most popular local and regional landmarks hosts usually include in their Airbnb or Vrbo property listings. Many hosts like to show off lesser-known regional landmarks visitors might not have heard of.

Regional Landmark

Coligny Beach

Included on nearly all listings

Regional Landmark

Coligny Plaza

Included on nearly all listings

Regional Landmark

Palmetto Dunes Club

Included on nearly all listings

Regional Landmark

Sea Pines Forest Preserve

Included on nearly all listings

Local Landmark

Shelter Cove Harbour

Included on nearly all listings

Local Landmark

Harbour Town Lighthouse

Included on nearly all listings

Regional Landmark

Harbour Town Golf Links

Included on 70% of listings

Regional Landmark

Tybee Island Beach

Included on 65% of listings

Local Landmark

Ocean Course at The Sea Pines Resort

Included on 65% of listings

Well Known Attraction

Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island

Included on 28% of listings

Regional Landmark

Tybee Island Fishing Pier and Pavilion

Included on 18% of listings

Regional Landmark

North Beach

Included on 17% of listings

What’s the weather like in Hilton Head, South Carolina?

The weather is generally warmer than the national average, with an average high temperature of around 75°, while the average low is about 60°. The rainfall is much heavier, averaging about 40 inches per year, compared to the national average of about 27 inches. Snowfall is scarce, with an average year having no snowfall. The humidity levels in Hilton Head are generally muggier than the national average, and the city has a mix of clouds and sunshine for most of the year.


December through February

45° Low 61° High

Muggy Days
3.5 days


March through May

58° Low 74° High

Muggy Days
26.5 days


June through August

75° Low 88° High

Muggy Days
87.7 days


September through November

62° Low 76° High

Muggy Days
41.4 days