Located in Coastal South Carolina between Charleston and Savannah, Hilton Head Island is a Lowcountry resort town. With abundant golfing opportunities, multiple beaches, and waterfront shopping, it is a popular destination for active adults looking for the charm of a small town with the amenities of a larger city.
Climate & Geography
Hilton Head Island is nearly a barrier island developed just off the coast of South Carolina, accessible only by U.S. Route 278. It has a dynamic beach system with grassy dunes, wetlands in the interior, and a pounding surf. The city experiences a humid subtropical climate typical of the Gulf Coast: summers are hot, long, and humid, while winters are short and cool. Frequent thunderstorms in late summer bring more than average rainfall, and residents expect 215 days of sun.
Development on Hilton Head Island is limited by the town’s Natural Resources Division, which governs the style of buildings, how they are situated among the trees, and how high they can be built. As a result, there is unusually high tree cover on the island.
Recreation, Culture, & Entertainment
With so many beaches, water sports, boating, and swimming opportunities are abundant. Coligny Beach and Hilton Head Island Beach are among the most popular seaside destinations in the city. In addition, the Sea Pines Forest Preserve, a 400-acre nature preserve, has walking trails with boardwalks above the marshlands.
Residents can shop, dine, and listen to live music on the waterfront at the Shelter Cove Town Centre. It is also next to the Shelter Cove Harbour and Marina, featuring maritime activities.
Other popular amenities include several breweries and distilleries, numerous golf courses, and annual community festivals. More shopping, dining, and art galleries are an hour away in Savannah.
Cost of Living & Taxes
Hilton Head Island’s cost of living is higher than average, but only because of the cost of housing. Every other index, including groceries, utilities, transportation, and health care, are below the national and state averages.
South Carolina does not tax Social Security benefits, and while other forms of retirement income are taxed, they are also largely deductible. Property taxes are among the lowest in the country, and a sizeable homestead exemption is available for residents 65 and older. Sales tax in the county is average at 7 percent, and groceries are only taxed at the local 1 percent rate.
Hilton Head Hospital, located in the island, is rated as high performing by U.S. News in heart failure and knee replacements. Beaufort Memorial hospital, located 16 miles away in Beaufort, is also rated high performing in knee replacements.
Nearby Savannah also has two high performing hospitals: Memorial Health University Medical Center is ranked the No. 9 hospital in Georgia, and St. Joseph’s Medical Center is the No. 12 hospital.