Hilton Head Island Real Estate

When Hilton Head Island is mentioned, the image which comes to mind is that of a world class resort with scores of championship golf courses and tennis facilities, Five Star Hotels and miles of sundrenched beaches all nestled into the beauty of a semi-tropical sea island. This is all true, of course, but the beauty and slow, easy pace of Island life today belies its turbulent history! 

The first known visitors to Hilton Head were Indians who came to fish and oyster in the plentiful sounds, streams and estuaries some 4000 years B. C. This

idyllic lifestyle endured until the Island was "discovered" around 1664 by an Englishman, William Hilton, whose name the island bears.

These earliest English pioneers had to subdue the Indians and maintain their settlements against the Spaniards, but eventually hostilities ceased and there followed a long period of prosperity for Island landowners. Their crops of indigo and rice grew well in the semi-tropical climate, but it was the introduction of the Sea Island cotton


which made the plantation owners wealthy.

With the advent of the Civil War, the prosperity ended. In 1862, even as General Robert E. Lee was on his way to Hilton Head to oversee the augmentation of fortifications here, the Union Navy staged the largest naval engagement of the entire war! The small earthworm forts, Walker on Hilton Head and Beauregard on Bay Point, were outgunned.

The island's plantations were left in ruins by the occupying Union troops at war's end. These plantations were not rebuilt and the people, and the land, returned to a more sedentary lifestyle of fishing, oystering, farming and, after some time, logging. Much of the land was used for hunting camps.

Modern Hilton Head


The current history of Hilton Head began when Charles Fraser, whose family owned a large tract of land on the southern end of the Island, had the idea of developing the tract as a resort instead of continuing to use it for timber. He envisioned development of a kind

not tried before; development which attempted to leave the natural beauty intact, while providing a resort community second to none! That vision became Sea Pines Plantation, and it has been the model for the environmentally conscious development, not only of the remainder of the Island, but for resorts the world over!

Today the Town of Hilton Head Island is a full grown community sophisticated beyond its size, with a well equipped hospital, fine restaurants, churches, a community theatre, schools, ball parks, day care centers, parades and a shopping mall... all the things which make a true community!

Those of us fortunate enough to live and work here appreciate daily the fullness of life made possible by this unique combination of resort and community.

How Large is Hilton Head Island?

Hilton Head is the second largest barrier island on the East Coast, the largest being Long Island in New York.

The overall length of the Island is about 12 miles and the width at the widest point is approximately 5 miles. The shape of the Island actually resembles a shoe with the "heel" on the north, where Port Royal Sound exits to the Atlantic Ocean, carrying the sand and silt that the prevailing currents carry south and deposit along the beaches and the sand bars just off the coast. The coastline is, literally, a river of sand, slowly building to the south. There


are roughly 30,000 acres of land mass to the Island, with 28,000 acres of dry land and 2,000 or so of marsh.

A special census taken on the Island in 1975 showed a population of 6,511 people. The 1990 census determined there was a population of 23,694 full time residents.

Here again the uniqueness of Hilton Head is evident. We have 260 plus tennis courts, 24 golf courses on the Island and another 13 within a 6 mile radius, 6 public and 3 private marinas, 135 restaurants and we're still counting the shops! All these amenities are supported by over 1,000,000 visitors to the Island every year. This pushes the summertime population to around 50,000 people on the Island at any one time, which is still "small townish", but how many small towns are going to have 60% of the population swimming, golfing, playing tennis, sailing, surfing, fishing or going to the beach at any one time?

Island Weather

Hilton Head is a quality place, and a great deal of the quality of life here is due to the semi-tropical environment peculiar to this coast. The warm waters of the Gulf Stream mix with ours which warms the air, causing early Springs and extending Summers beyond what is normal for this latitude.

There is just enough chilly weather to give one an appreciation of the change of season, but the lack of extended cold periods means things grow in abundance, giving us lush lawns, shrubs and green golf courses when most others are brown or covered with snow!

The following chart will give you some help in understanding the seasons on the Island...














Avg. Mid-day













Avg. Evening













Avg. Ocean













Avg. Inches



















Hilton Head Taxes
It's hard to believe, but taxes on the Island continue to be low compared to many areas of the country.

South Carolina State Income Tax
The South Carolina State Income Tax system is similar to the Federal system in that you are allowed certain deductions from your total income and aren't taxed on the remainder.
The following IS the State tax rate on personal income:
2% on the first $2000 3% on the next $2000 4% on the next $2000 5% on the next $2000 6% on the next $2000 7% on all over $ 10,000

Personal Property Tax
South Carolina does not have an intangible personal property tax on bank accounts, stocks, etc. However, there is a tangible personal property tax on automobiles, airplanes, and boats. The tax is the same for real estate and depends on which district you live in. Hilton head is divided into 7 districts.

A county tax map will show the exact district lines, however, the following will give you an idea of the rate and locations.  For example, a $10,000 boat times 10.5% gives an assessed value of $1,050 times a millage of 193.5 means a tax of $203.18 on the boat. (.1935 X $1,050).

Real Estate Tax
The county tax assessor places an appraised value on your real estate (based on comparable sales, condition of the property, etc.). This appraised value is then multiplied by 4% for residents and 6% for non-residents and corporations, to obtain the assessed value. The assessed value is then multiplied times the millage rate for you district. For example, a $100,000 home times 4% (resident) gives an assessed value of $4,000. $4,000 times a millage rate of 193.5 means a tax of $774.00.
If you are over 65, chances are you can deduct $20,000 from the appraised value before you multiply by 4% and the millage rate.  This information is based on rates at this time and is subject to change. If you have any questions, call the tax assessor's office at 785-6100.

Drivers License - Within 90 days of their arrival, new residents must obtain a South Carolina drivers license by taking a written test [$2.00] and by showing proof of identity. Total cost is about $10.00 and the license is valid for four years.
Contact: SC Highway Department
              Sheridan Park
              Hwy. 278, Bluffton, SC, 29910

Vehicle License
All private passenger vehicles must be registered within 30 days after establishing permanent residence. Registration costs $12.00 plus an additional $5.00 for obtaining title. The following are needed to register:

  • Out of state certificate of title
  • Liability insurance information
  • Vehicle inspection number
  • Current odometer mileage reading
  • Completed notarized form 400
  • Paid property tax receipt [from County Treasurer]

For more information, call the SC Highway Department. 681-5739

Business License
Contact: Town of Hilton Head Island
1 Town Center Court
Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

Fishing License
All persons over 16 years of age are required to have a fishing license except as indicated below.

Fresh Water

Annual License

14 Day License

7 Day License









Residents or their guests on the Island are not required to have a license while fishing on the Island, but if fishing elsewhere, license is required.

Salt Water
Resident and non-resident licenses cost $5.50 Licenses are required if fishing from a boat only. If you are fishing from the land or a structure fixed permanently to the land [dock, pier] no license is required.

Only Island residents may collect oysters and clams.

Fishing licenses are available on the Island at the Western Auto Store in Coligny Plaza, North Forest Beach. 785-2429
For further information: South Carolina Department of Wildlife and Marine Resources, 803-524-9041.

Animal Control Leash Law
There is a state-wide beach law which requires that all dogs be licensed and positive voice and leash control are enforced.
On Hilton Head from Memorial Day until Labor Day dogs are not allowed on the beach between 8 AM and 8 PM. Owners are required to clean up after their pets. Fines can be as high as $200 for failure to comply with this law.

Professional and Civic Organizations:
Over 150 organizations exist, including:
Rotary Club 686-4400
Lions Club 681-4570
Zonta Club 681-6712
Professional Women of Hilton Head 681-9066
Hilton Head Advertising Club 681-6888
Hilton Head Association of Realtors 842-2421
Jaycees 785-4674
Island Recreation Association 681-7273
Hilton Head Art League 671-9009
Community Association 681-6848
Sierra Club 671-6599
For a complete list of community organizations, contact the Hilton Head Chamber of Commerce at 785-3673.

Public Library
A full service library is provided by the Beaufort County Library System. A branch with trained staff is located on the William Hilton Parkway just south of the entrance to Port Royal Plantation. Phone 785-3266.

Island utility companies require a deposit before service is started.


Palmetto Electric Cooperative, Inc.681-5551


Telephone Company   785-2166


Public Service Districts   681-9440


Adelphia Cable Communications   785-5175

Public Schools

Hilton Head Primary
25 School Road
Attendance 650
Hilton Head Island, SC 29226

Hilton Head Elementary
10 Wilborn Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29226

McCracken Middle School
55 Wilborn Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29226

Hilton Head High School
1983 School Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29226

Private Schools

Hilton Head Preparatory School
For Further Information:
8 Foxgrade Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29228

Hilton Head Christian Academy
55 Gardner Drive
Hilton Head Island, SC 29228

Sea Pines Montessori School
9 Foxgrape Road
Hilton Head Island, SC 29228

Grades K-2
Attendance 650

Grades 3-5
Attendance 660

Grades 6-8
Attendance 900

Grades 9-12
Attendance 985

Grades 1-12
Attendance 350

Grades K-12
Attendance 150

Area Restaurants

Follow this link for area restaurant listings: Dinesite.com

Our Office is located at #70 Arrow Road Suite 3 at the Junction with Bow Circle.

Driving Directions: From I-95 - Follow Highway 278

  • Merge onto US-278 E via exit number 8 toward SUN CITY/BLUFFTON/BEAUFORT/HILTON HEAD IS (21.1 miles)
  • Stay straight to go onto CROSS ISLAND PKWY/US-278 E. Continue to follow US-278 E (Toll Charge $1.00)(5.0 miles)
  • After Toll Booth Take a LEFT onto Arrow Rd at Traffic Light.
  • Turn Right onto Bow Circle (.5 mile)
  • Turn Left into Parking Lot.