Is Hilton Head a Good Place to Live?
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina is a barrier island located about 8 miles north of the Georgia border. It’s a lush green community with 12 miles of beaches and nearly unlimited outdoor activities. Hilton Head has shops, restaurants and even its own lighthouse.
Hilton Head seems to be the perfect spot for a vacation but I wanted to look into it further and find out if Hilton Head is a good place to live? I found out that yes, Hilton Head is a good place to live year-round.
I looked beyond the beaches and the restaurants to explore what it’s really like to live at Hilton Head. I wanted to know if a beach paradise makes a good hometown and whether or not Hilton Head’s residents were mostly retirees. I also wanted to know how expensive it was to live in Hilton Head. It turns out that Hilton Head can be a fairly pricey community.
Hilton Head is a Beautiful Place to Live
Hilton Head Island is 12 miles long and 5 miles wide and has a classic Lowcountry look. The island itself is lush and green and semi-tropical with palm trees, moss-covered oaks, and the famous South Carolina palmetto. There are salt marshes and creeks providing the perfect natural habitats for all kinds of wildlife.
Hilton Head has 12 miles of sandy beaches with eight different public access points. The climate in Hilton Head is very moderate. Thanks to the warmth of the Gulf Stream, the average daily temperature on Hilton Head is 70 degrees and the average ocean temperature is 69 degrees.
Hilton Head has also gone to great lengths to preserve the beauty of the community. There are ordinances that keep signage for businesses very close to the ground and very subtle. No neon signs are allowed. And the environmental effort in Hilton Head includes a ban on stores sending your purchases home in plastic bags.
There is Plenty To Do In Hilton Head
There is a great emphasis on getting outside and taking advantage of everything Hilton Head Island has to offer. Hilton Head is a golfing mecca with 24 championship golf courses on the island and 18 of them are open to the public. Golfing magazines regularly recognize Hilton Head and its courses for excellence. There are also more than 300 tennis courts on the island.
Water sports of all kinds have fans on Hilton Head Island. Opportunities for kayaking, sailing, parasailing, surfing, water skiing or driving a personal watercraft are readily available. Crabbing and fishing are popular activities. There are paths and trails around that make it easy to ride a bicycle or even a horse.
There is no shortage of shops and restaurants on Hilton Head Island. Sometimes you have to seek them out because their signs are so unobtrusive. But you can usually find anything you might need.
And don’t forget the beaches themselves. Hilton Head is the perfect spot for dipping your toes in the sand and relaxing by the ocean.
Hilton Head Can Be An Expensive Place to Live
All of that beauty and activity can come at a price. Hilton Head Island’s cost of living is higher than the national average.
The median price of a home on Hilton Head is $431,900. Compare that to another coastal community like Vero Beach, Florida where the median home price is $211,200. The median home price for all of South Carolina is much lower than Hilton Head at $170,100. Bestplaces.net reports that groceries, utilities and health care in Hilton Head are all higher than the national average.
The average household income on Hilton Head Island of $50,289 is also higher than the national average of $31,177. Unemployment is generally low. The highest salaries are earned by people who work in the business sector and the lowest salaries are earned by those in fishing and forestry.
More and more retirees are choosing Hilton Head as their home. More than one-third of Hilton Head’s population now is 65 years old or older. Local officials believe that as tourism has grown on the island since the 1970s, more vacationers have decided to make Hilton Head their permanent retirement homes.
Can You Live at Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head?
Sea Pines Resort is a 5000-square feet gated community at the southern tip of Hilton Head. Guests can rent a place to stay at the luxury hotel on the property or rent other villas or homes. Sea Pines is the home of Harbour Town Golf Links and its 26,000-square feet clubhouse. Sea Pines has a collection of shops, restaurants and a small lighthouse. Visitors can take part in watersports, fishing charters and boat tours and walk the nature trails.
While Sea Pines is a popular tourist destination, it also has full-time residents. Sea Pines homeowners enjoy waterfront living with amenities at their fingertips. If you are going to explore the Sea Pines area of Hilton Head, be prepared to pay the entrance fee at the gate of the community.
Is Hilton Head Crowded in the Summer?
39,000 people call Hilton Head home year-round. The island also welcomes 2.67 million visitors each year. Traffic going in and out of Hilton Head can be heavy in the summer especially on Saturdays. Saturday is usually the “turn day” for most rental properties which means one set of guests leave and another arrives.
There is only one way to cross the Intracoastal Waterway and get to Hilton Head Island. U.S. Route 278 takes you across a large bridge and once you are on the other side of the bridge you have reached Hilton Head. Having just one entrance and one exit can contribute to traffic congestion in the summer.
What is it Like to Live on Hilton Head?
The best way to get a feel for Hilton Head is to visit it as a vacationer. While visiting a destination and living at one are two different things, exploration should be the first step. There are many different kinds of places to rent while checking out Hilton Head. There are hotels and resorts. There are homes and villas. You might even want to try an extended stay at an Airbnb Hilton Head. And while you’re there talk to permanent residents about what they love – and what they dislike – about calling Hilton Head home. Most residents adore the beauty of the island, the laid-back feeling, the friendliness of the people and all the activities at their disposal.