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10 Reasons to Buy On Hilton Head

sunset view of beach with water

Hilton Head Island has consistently been ranked as a top vacation destination, but it’s also a great place to live year-round. So what makes the foot-shaped barrier island off the coast of South Carolina so special?

Here are 10 reasons why you should buy a home on Hilton Head:

The weather

We’ve all heard the term “snowbirds” and it’s true: Hilton Head Island is a great place to move if you’re fed up with winter. While our island has seen some flurries, it’s very rare for temperatures to fall below freezing. And when they do, the cold is usually very short-lived. Even in January, the average high temperature is 60 degrees, according to U.S. Climate Data.

And in the summer?

While Hilton Head can get hot and humid, it’s not known to be as scorchin’ hot as some other places in the South. And, of course, there’s usually a nice island breeze rolling in off the Atlantic Ocean!

The beaches

This is probably the most obvious reason tourists and locals alike love Hilton Head Island so much. All of Hilton Head’s beaches are free and open to the public. Most of our beaches charge nominal parking fees, but none of the 12 miles of pristine shoreline on Hilton Head are technically private.

If you are interested in living near the ocean, some of the gated communities and resorts have private beach access areas. However, anyone can still use the beach area itself as long as they walk or bike from a public access point – making it possible to take really long walks or bike rides on the beach. In heavy traffic areas of Hilton Head’s beaches, lifeguards are available, making playing in the water safer. The beaches themselves have beautiful white sand, and our community works hard to protect the dunes and the wildlife.

The wildlife

The Lowcountry’s picturesque marshes, beaches and estuaries are home to an array of wildlife you won’t see anywhere else. On the beach, you can find sand dollars, starfish, crabs, dolphins, sharks, stingrays – even manatees in the summer. A wide variety of birds visit the island at different times of the year, such as the rare roseate spoonbill, egrets and blue herons. The wetlands and marshes attract a menagerie of birds, turtles and, of course, alligators.

The island and its communities work very hard together to protect and preserve all of the wildlife and their habitats. Sea turtle nesting is taken very seriously around our beaches, thanks to the efforts of the Coastal Discovery Museum. You’ll notice many rules posted at public access points describing the rules in place to protect the turtles, including filling in holes and using red flashlights during nesting season. Similarly, there are bans on removing any live creatures from the beaches, including sand dollars, crabs and of course, turtles. All in all, the island is simply a nature lover’s paradise!

The golf courses

Hilton Head Island is known for being one of the world’s top golf destinations. The island has 24 championship golf courses, many of which are designed by world-renowned golf architects like Robert Trent Jones Sr., Pete Dye, and Jack Nicklaus. The island has also been a PGA Tour stop since 1969 with the annual RBC Heritage held at Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines Resort.

The food

Hilton Head has made a name for itself in the foodie culture with around 250 restaurants. If you like seafood, you’ll love it here. There’s so much fresh, locally-caught seafood available: shrimp, oysters, crab, fish, etc. The iconic places never disappoint – including The Crazy Crab, Fishcamp at Broadcreek, Old Oyster Factory, Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks and Skull Creek Boathouse.

The Lowcountry also has its own special cuisine that dates back to Hilton Head’s native islanders with deeply rooted Gullah traditions and recipes that include shrimp and grits, She Crab soup and the Lowcountry boil. There are also several weekly farmers markets in the area, where you can get fresh produce, seafood, baked goods and more.

The shopping

Everything you need can be found on Hilton Head. The island has your normal grocery stores: Wal-Mart, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, Kroger, Fresh Market and Piggly Wiggly. Plus, Target and Publix are both right across the bridge in Bluffton.

As for the rest of the shopping? There’s a great mix of chain stores like Belk, Barnes and Noble, and Lululemon, as well as boutiques, novelty stores, outdoor equipment and more that dot Shelter Cove Town Center the Coligny Plaza Shopping Center and Main Street Village — from clothing to home goods and everything in between, there’s not much you need to leave the island to find. And if you can’t find it on Hilton Head, Tanger Premium Outlets are located in Bluffton.

The boating scene

    The island has multiple world-class marinas, including Harbour Town Yacht Basin, Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina, and Palmetto Bay Marina. And so many destinations are just a short boat ride away, including Daufuskie Island, Savannah, Tybee Island, Beaufort and Port Royal. 

    Hilton Head often hosted annual regattas, boat shows and a boat light parade every holiday season.

    The art and music scene

      Before 2020, it was difficult to find a single weekend on Hilton Head that didn’t have some kind of festival or live music performance. Hilton Head is known for the annual wine and food festival, seafood festival, shrimp festival, oyster festival, Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival, etc. 

      Sea Pines Resort and Shelter Cove have also hosted weekly firework shows and live music performances during the summer months, and many of the island’s bars and restaurants are known to host live music on the weekends.

      The island also holds the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, a live performance venue that typically hosts musicians and vocalists, live theatrical performances, and special events and workshops. There’s also the Main Stage Youth Theatre, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, The Jazz Corner, the Art League of Hilton Head, and the Coastal Discovery Museum. 

      The family activities

        If you have kids, there are plenty of family-friendly activities on the island — beyond visiting our beautiful beaches. The Coastal Discovery Museum hosts several hands-on activities for kids where they can learn about local wildlife and nature. There are multiple mini-golf courses on the island, and a ton of companies that offer adventure packages such as dolphin tours, kayak tours, ropes courses and more. 

        And if your kid enjoys being outdoors, there are a ton of parks and trails on the island and in the surrounding area. Kids love the island’s newest park called Lowcountry Celebration Park, situated on a 10-acre site off Pope Avenue near the Coligny Beach parking lot. The park opened in December 2020 and provides a variety of recreational activities, amenities and scenic backdrops perfect for selfies. Kids love to climb around the giant pirate ship with rope ladders and twisty slides. There’s also a wading pool, an open pavilion and lawn, perimeter walk with subtle lighting making evening strolls perfect, a Setting Sun Sculpture, fitness stations, Wi-Fi and more.

        The sense of community

          Even though Hilton Head draws in millions of visitors each year, it still only has 39,000 full-time residents — which gives our special area a small-town community feel. It’s easy to get to know your neighbors, and the island is also known for coming together to help and support each other. 

          Overall, Hilton Head Island is a great place to live — whether you’re heading into retirement or just starting a family.

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