Hilton Head Island

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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With a history that stretches back 10,000 years, Hilton Head Island continues to offer residents and vacationers a rich and relaxing way of life. The island is small, encompassing only 42 square miles. This makes it twice the size of downtown Manhattan but decidedly smaller than Washington DC. Its 29,000 acres are steady in temperate climate and rich in wildlife, inlets, beaches, and Atlantic breezes.

Although perhaps best known as a retirement community and a golf haven, Hilton Head Island offers far more. Its recreational activities are well established. You can choose among tennis, racquetball, fly fishing, hiking, para-sailing, offshore fishing, and more. Swimming, sunning, and surfing on Hilton Head's 12 miles of wide sandy beaches are also options.

The many ecosystems and hiking trails around the island's freshwater wetlands, saltwater marshes, and waterways have long been a naturalist's delight. More recently, the performing arts--both music and theater--have also become established. Museums include the Coastal Discovery Museum and the Hayward House Historic Center. The key word for Hilton Head Island is definitely hospitality.

Hilton Head Island: a Few Statistics

If you're thinking about real estate investment rather than a vacation spot, a few numbers might be of interest. What might surprise you is that taxes are lower than you might think. Hilton Head itself is divided into six real estate/tax districts. Most of the island's 24,600 housing units--about 78 percent--are owner occupied. Some 7,000 are designated as being for seasonal or occasional use. The resident population numbers about 34,000, split almost evenly between men and women. The median age is about 46.

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