Whether you're a permanent islander, part-time resident or a visitor just discovering the bounty of Hilton Head Island, you know that there's something special about this island. From the moment of arrival there is the immediate sense of being removed from the rest of the world. Hilton Head is an enchanting haven where the splendor of sea, sky and maritime forest blend seamlessly with the luxuries of a world-class resort destination. Culture and the arts thrive as effortlessly as the marshside's snowy egret or the ocean's dolphin.
Hilton Head has emerged as an easy-paced environment that is home to over 30,000 residents and considered the preferred vacation destination for nearly two million visitors each year. Vacationers come to enjoy 12 miles of beaches and the Atlantic Ocean as well as attractions like more than twenty championship golf courses and hundreds of tournament-quality tennis courts. It's understandable, then, that so many visitors choose never to leave, making Hilton Head Island home for good.
Many residential communities can be glimpsed sequestered behind gated entranceways. Some are private, with access given only to property owners and guests. Others harbor shopping, dining and recreational facilities which welcome the public.
Like to play golf?
On Hilton Head, an island only 12 by 5 miles long, there are over 360 tennis courts on all three Grand Slam surfaces. In that group, four tennis resorts have been acclaimed in Tennis magazine's top 50 U.S. clubs: Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center, Port Royal Racquet Club, Sea Pines Racquet Club and the Van der Meer Shipyard Racquet Club. In fact, the island brandishes more five-star tennis resorts than anywhere else in the country. It's understandable then that Tennis magazine went on to describe Hilton Head as "The perfect year-round tennis vacation!"
Absolutely anything that involves warm-weather activity is found in this low country paradise: sailing, fishing, tennis, golfing (and miniature golf), biking, volleyball, horseback riding, rollerblading, boating, parasailing, and even roller hockey. Then on the more leisurely end of the spectrum, there's nothing else like spending a day basking in the sun or just strolling on the beach. There is even croquet at Port Royal Plantation and polo matches at Rose Hill Plantation.
Much of what is so special about Hilton Head is captured when exploring it by water - on the Calibogue Sound, the Intracoastal Waterway, the Broad River, the Atlantic or through winding channels of marsh. Seeing the magical low country waterscape by boat brings you closer to its beauty, and taking advantage of that perspective can be virtually effortless. Crafts can be chartered at any of the harbors for sightseeing, dinner cruises, fishing expeditions...even for parasailing or dolphin watching. Those who have the good fortune of owning their own boat are familiar with the one-of-a-kind experience that taking to the waters of Hilton Head can bring.
The climate on Hilton Head is delightful, with a semi-tropical warmth and enough of a seasonal change four times a year to keep it interesting. Springtime blooms early and fall rolls in late; and, there are even days in the middle of December that edge up into the low 80s and high 70s. Overall, the year-round averages of midday and evening temperatures are approximately 75 and 55 degrees. And in the spring the ocean heats up quickly, beckoning even the most particular swimmers and sun-worshipers in for a dip.
Hilton Head Island is celebrated for much more than its recreational offerings; now, it shares acclaim for its arts and cultural pursuits. The island is endowed with a strong medley of visual and performing arts, including dance, theater, music and art. Serving as the focal point for the Hilton Head artistic community, the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina houses a two-level 360 seat theater and an art gallery. Both the theater and the gallery play host to nationally known travelling artists and actors groups, as well as serving as a home for many local artists and actors.