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Hilton Head, South Carolina

South Carolina Beaufort County Hilton Head Island

About Hilton Head

Hilton Head is a large barrier island located in Beaufort County. Isolated until the mid-20th century, electricity came to the island in 1950 and a two-lane swing bridge made the island accessible to cars in 1956. Today, Hilton Head is such a popular golfing and vacation destination that the population as much as quadruples during the summer months.

Hilton Head is known for its Heritage Golf Tournament, held each year. It also offers lots of shopping and plenty of good places to eat. Its location on the Atlantic Ocean means there are plenty of beautiful beaches to enjoy, including Folly Field Beach and Coligny Beach. If you like history, you won't want to miss these historic plantations on Hilton Head.

Bluffton is the closest town to Hilton Head. It is immediately across the Intra-Coastal Waterway on US 278. Here is a map of Hilton Head Island.

Be sure to check out Hilton Head in the South Carolina Picture Project as well as Hilton Head web cams.

Things to Do

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Hilton Head is located at the southernmost tip of South Carolina, about 20 minutes from I-95 via Exit 8.

  • Jobs in Hilton Head

    Our exclusive Hilton Head job board organizes jobs by type of employer, company name, and area within Hilton Head.

Hilton Head Businesses

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Hilton Head Businesses

For a full guide to businesses located in and around Hilton Head, please see our South Carolina Business Directory.

Photographers in Hilton Head

If you are looking for a wedding, portrait, commercial, or nature photographer in Hilton Head, please use this guide:

Also, please visit our Hilton Head Island photography sponsor here:

Real Estate in Hilton Head

Hilton Head Island's beautiful beaches and many activities makes it an attractive location for year-round residents. The following guides will put you in touch with the resources you need to help you buy, sell, build, or move.

Other Hilton Head Businesses

Hilton Head's economy is overwhelmingly tourism-driven, and its main economic development organization is its joint chamber and visitors bureau.

Hilton Head has one daily paper, the Island Packet. Other Hilton Head newspapers and magazines can be found here:

Hilton Head lies within the Savannah, Georgia service area, and most of its television and radio stations are located there:

Hilton Head is located in Beaufort County. Although Beaufort is the county seat, Hilton Head has a larger population – the ninth largest in South Carolina, with just under 40,000 residents according to the 2010 census.

Hilton Head Area Towns, Communities

Other towns and cities near Hilton Head Island, SC include:

  • Chartered in 1711, Beaufort (pronounced "BYOO-fort") is the seat of Beaufort County. This is where Jean Ribault and his fellow Huguenots established Charlesfort in 1562 making the town the second oldest in South Carolina, with only Charleston being older. In French, "beau" means beautiful, handsome, lovely, or fine ... and after even the shortest of visits, you'll know both the city and county are aptly named.
  • Bluffton is Hilton Head Island's closest mainland neighbor. In the early 1800s, rice and cotton planters from the "Low Country" built summer houses on this "High Bluff" overlooking the May River. Away from the heat, mosquitoes, and malaria, they enjoyed the weather, the water, and the abundant fish, clams, oysters, and shrimp. These features are still enjoyed by Bluffton's residents today.
Daufuskie Island, South Carolina © Jason Tench
Daufuskie Island
  • Daufuskie Island is a sea island located at the southern tip of Beaufort County. Savannah, Georgia is one hour to the east, separated by the Intracoastal Waterway and the Savannah River. People can reach Daufuskie Island only by boat, with the ride from Hilton Head Island being about 30 minutes. The Gullah culture is alive and well on many South Carolina's sea islands, including Daufuskie.
Old Barrel Landing School, Okatie, SC © Mike Stroud
  • Okatie is an unincorporated area located in southcentral Jasper County and continues into western Beaufort County midway between I-95 and SC 462. It is pronounced OH - kuh - tee. This one-room school house, the Old Barrel Landing School, is the second one to sit on this property in Okatie. The first was built prior to the Civil War, but it burned by the end of the nineteenth century.

Other communities near Hilton Head are Bull Island, Callawassie Island, Daws Island, and Pritchardville.

Hilton Head has a surprisingly rich history, ranging from an abundance of antebellum plantations to the remains of a post-war African-American community called Mitchelville. As noted above, Hilton Head was once a flourishing Gullah community. Gullah is a unique culture present only in the sea islands of South Carolina. This community was largely destroyed beginning in 1956 when the James F. Byrnes Bridge opened, connecting then-rural Hilton Head to the mainland and an onslaught of tourists, hotels, and housing developments. (This two-lane swing bridge was replaced by a four-lane bridge in 1892.) Hilton Head is named for Captain William Hilton, who discovered the island in 1663.

Has your genealogical research lead you to Hilton Head? If so, here you will find information on family history, cemeteries, vital records and more.

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