The best nearby destinations for tennis fanatics
By Cory Sekine-Pettite
As tennis enthusiasts, we know that the Southeast is blessed with great summer weather and a plethora of beautiful destinations from where we can enjoy the sunshine while playing our favorite sport. From the North Georgia mountains to the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic Ocean, the following resorts prove that you don’t have to travel far to have a memorable summer getaway or fun-packed tennis weekend.
Big Canoe Racquet Club
Located just 60 miles north of Atlanta, the scenic views and environment of Big Canoe offer the perfect getaway from our busy, metropolitan lives. No matter what the season, Big Canoe provides unheralded vistas of the North Georgia mountains for your tennis and/or pickleball getaway. In between hitting sessions and coaching, you can enjoy any or all that Big Canoe has to offer. You and your mates can start the day with coaching tailored to your needs and let the racquet club’s staff get you set up for a round-robin to test out those new skills. Finally, finish up your day at the clubhouse with great food and great company.
Big Canoe has weekly tennis and pickleball clinics for all levels, and seven different weekly round robins. The club’s amenities include 10 tennis courts (six clay, two hard courts, and two indoor courts) and four stand-alone pickleball courts. Additionally, visitors can take advantage of 27 holes of golf, the Wellness Center, the Bocce Ball facility, two swimming pools, and the lakeside beach club.
All year long, the club’s director of racquet sports will put together your team’s perfect weekend getaway. Weekend team “getaway” packages are a great way to get your team ready for an upcoming season, to celebrate the end of a season, or just to spend some time away from the city with your tennis and/or pickleball buddies. Your getaway is whatever you would like it to be: A Friday through Sunday adventure, or just a couple of easy-going days on Saturday and Sunday. For the younger competitors, Big Canoe offers kids’ camps throughout the summer ending the final week of July. Kids lessons are available with any of the club’s pro staff. Contact Geoff Hedges to set up your weekend getaway!
bigcanoepoa.org | 706.268.3367
Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort
Hilton Head, South Carolina
Tennis lovers can book their ultimate weekend getaway at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and enjoy tennis court time, lessons, clinics and more daily at the award-winning Palmetto Dunes Tennis & Pickleball Center. Along with its easy-to-access proximity, Hilton Head Island remains evergreen all year-round, making Palmetto Dunes an ideal destination for tennis players of every skill level.
Take advantage of 19 Har-Tru tennis courts (four of which are lighted), 24 lighted pickleball courts, and one of the most comprehensive instructional programs on the East Coast. League play, lessons and clinics are available for all ages and ability levels. Racquet Sports Industry Magazine named the Palmetto Dunes Tennis & Pickleball Center as the 2020, “Pickleball Resort of the Year,” while Sarah Ansboury, the resort’s director of pickleball instruction, was tapped as the “PPR Member of the Year.”
Customize a weekend getaway for your family with packages for beginners up to advanced players, including:
- 4 days/3 nights in a 1-bedroom resort-view villa at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort
- Two hours of court time per day (when available)
- Two tennis clinics of your choice (choose from Stroke of the Day, Daily Drill, Competitive Edge Drill or Competitive Doubles Clinic)
- One, 1-hour semi-private tennis lesson, per player
- Three-day bike rentals to explore miles of paved pathways
- Pro Shop merchandise & dining discounts
- 10% off bike/kayak/canoe rentals at Hilton Head Outfitters
Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort has long been a favorite vacation destination because it consistently provides one of the richest vacation experiences in the country, with more award-winning activities than any other resort in the Southeast. Guests may use their complimentary bike rental to explore miles of paved pathways beneath towering live oak trees and three miles of pristine beaches. Bike — or take the free Dunes Buggy shuttle typically from mid-April through mid-September — to the Dunes House, a laid-back beach bar and restaurant where guests enjoy food, drinks and fun with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean. Big Jim’s BBQ, Burgers, Pizza & Catering at the Robert Trent Jones clubhouse is popular for a cold drink and relaxing meal. Hilton Head Outfitters is available for bike rentals, canoes, kayaks, fishing and much more. The Mediterranean-style Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina, Hilton Head Island’s largest deep-water marina, located right across from Palmetto Dunes, features waterfront shopping and dining and a wide variety of charters, including nature cruises, dolphin tours, sport crabbing, and fishing.
PalmettoDunes.com/tennispickleball | 866.287.2679
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort
Miramar Beach, Florida
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort offers award-winning beach-to-bay accommodations, four championship golf courses, 12 world-class HydroGrid clay and three hard tennis courts, six pickleball courts, shopping, dining, entertainment village, endless amenities, and more. There is something for everyone to enjoy, and you don’t even have to leave the property. All of the tennis enthusiasts in your family can take advantage of private lessons, the junior tennis program, round-robin tournaments, group clinics, matching service, equipment rentals, the pro-shop, and club membership.
There are many tennis weekend specials available. When you book directly, you receive complimentary bike, kayak, and boogie board rentals, access to the fitness center and four resort pools, beach parking, resort transportation, and tennis court time.
In addition to tennis, there is always something to do at Sandestin! Enjoy breakfast at Marina Bar and Grill, pamper yourself with a spa treatment at Spa Lilliana, play games at the Laser Arcade, dance during a Wednesday Night Concert at Baytowne Wharf, indulge in dinner at Ovide (curated by celebrity chef, Hugh Acheson), rent a boat at the marina, or simply enjoy the beach. The options are endless!
Sandestin.com | 855.470.2327
Sea Island, Georgia
An exceptional resort, appealing to those who appreciate gracious service and heartfelt hospitality, Sea Island is home to four Forbes Five-Star experiences — The Cloister at Sea Island, The Lodge at Sea Island, The Spa at Sea Island, and the Georgian Room restaurant. With expansive settings and five miles of private beach, Sea Island offers guests an array of off-the-court activities, including fishing, golf, fine dining, and shopping. Located on the southeastern coast of Georgia, Sea Island features a 65,000-square-foot spa and fitness center, three championship golf courses, seven pools (one indoor), a Beach Club, Yacht Club, Shooting School, six-lane bowling alley, children’s programs, and, of course, tennis.
Sea Island features 14 Har-Tru courts, including eight lighted courts, and fast-dry clay composition courts, including one stadium court, and individualized instruction that is professional and instinctual. Private lessons, group lessons, and custom clinics are available daily with Sea Island Tennis teaching professionals. Tennis clinics are available Monday through Saturday at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., and 11 a.m. Clinics are available for intermediate to advanced players — maximum of six guests. Private lessons, group lessons, and clinics are available at The Cloister, daily, with the Sea Island Tennis teaching professionals — also with a maximum of six participants.
If you want to try your hand at other sports, the Retreat Tennis Center has eight pickleball courts, currently used for group clinics, private lessons, and open play. Additionally, Sea Island is one of the few Forbes Five-Star U.S. resorts with squash facilities, featuring two international softball courts and one North American hardball doubles court. The Squash courts are located within the Fitness Center.
seaisland.com | 855.572.4975
Spectrum Resorts — Turquoise Place
Orange Beach, Alabama
If you’re looking for an elevated vacation in the heart of Orange Beach, look no further than Turquoise Place. Turquoise Place’s luxury amenities include hot tubs and grills on every balcony, a winding lazy river, tennis courts, six pools, an onsite poolside bar and grill, pool-side cabanas, activities for the kids, and condos starting at 3,200 square feet.
Two regulation-size tennis courts are located just outside the indoor pool area on the fourth-floor amenity level of the east tower. Turquoise glass provides a stunning backdrop for the lighted courts. From the advanced players looking to show off their skills to beginners eager to try a new sport, these courts are available to all guests — and they’re striped for pickleball as well.
Off-court activities for the family include kids’ crafts, such as tie-dye t-shirts and shark tooth necklace crafts, live poolside music, scavenger hunts, and more. Turquoise Place also has a snow cone stand with more than 20 flavors to choose from, plus a retail shop onsite where you can get sundries and your favorite Turquoise Place logo’d merchandise.
turquoiseplace.spectrumresorts.com | 866.348.9112