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Our Communities

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island may look like a simple little island at first glance, but what you can't tell right away is just how much life is packed into our twelve-mile long coast. In the off-season, we're a small community of about 35,000 residents. During the tourist season more than 100,000 additional people come to the island to live and work. The increase in population is more than necessary, for each year more than 2 million tourists visit Hilton Head for a relaxing resort island getaway.

Wondering why so many decide to visit each year?

  • Over 20 world-class golf courses.
  • 9 marinas.
  • 300 tennis courts.
  • Bike paths galore.
  • More than 250 restaurants.
  • 12 miles of sandy beaches.
  • Three outlet malls in addition to over 200 individual shops.
  • An entertainment scene that includes theater, dance, art galleries and music.
  • Fertile salt marshes, networks of lagoons and creeks, forests of moss-draped oaks, magnolias, pines, palmettos and an average temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

It doesn't take much more to see why people want to come here. What's harder to understand is why they ever would want to leave?

From Explorers to Entrepreneurs
Beyond its obvious attractions, Hilton Head has a rich past. The history of man on Hilton Head Island dates back thousands of years, with the first seasonal inhabitants living on the island up to 10,000 years ago (according to some estimates). The first confirmed Europeans to visit the island were Spanish explorers in the 1520's. In 1663 English sea captain William Hilton landed on the island and soon thereafter claimed it for the British Crown. Hilton had been commissioned by a group of Barbados planters seeking land suitable for growing indigo and sugar. Hilton's landing began a rich agricultural tradition on the island.

Colonization of the island did not begin until the early 1700's. In 1790 a successful crop of Sea Island cotton helped spurn the island's plantation system. By 1860, 24 successful plantations were in operation on the island raising a variety of crops. In the years after the Civil War the island declined from prosperity as the plantation lifestyle became obsolete.

The island was primarily populated by a small number of farmers, hunters and fishermen for many almost 90 years. In the 1940's the island drew increased interest from the timber industry due to its abundance of tall, straight pines. In 1956 Charles Fraser opened the first resort on Hilton Head Island: Sea Pines Plantation. The development of the island was further aided by the opening of the first bridge to the mainland that same year.

Living the Island Lifestyle
Hilton Head Island has undergone a dramatic transformation in the last half-century; evolving from a quiet agricultural area to one of the world's premier resort hotspots. The cotton fields may have been replaced with lush resorts, but the natural beauty of the island has remained unspoiled. You won't find any neon signs here, nor will you see any buildings much taller than the treetops. What you will find is a high quality of life and warm, wonderful people. Hilton Head Island is more than just a premier resort destination. Hilton Head Island is a great place to live, work and relax!

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Mainland & Bluffton Area

Bluffton is a Lowcountry town in Beaufort County, South Carolina, United States. It is primarily located around U.S. Route 278, between Hilton Head Island and Interstate 95. The town's original one square mile area, now known as Old Town, is situated on a bluff along the May River. The population was counted by the 2010 census at 12,893. Bluffton is the fastest growing municipality in South Carolina with a population over 2,500, growing 882.7% between the 2000 and 2010 census. Bluffton is the fifth largest municipality in South Carolina by land area. The town is a primary city within the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area. Bluffton is known for its eclectic Old Town district and natural views of the May River. It has been called "the last true coastal village of the South. "Following the Tariff of 1842, Bluffton became a hotbed of separatist sentiment. In 1844 the Bluffton Movement, a protest against federal taxes, gave birth to the secession movement and led South Carolina to be the first state to leave the Union. In the antebellum period Bluffton became a popular location for wealthy merchants and plantation owners. During the Civil War two-thirds of the town was destroyed by fire during the Union's Bluffton Expedition on June 4, 1863.

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