Why you should live on Hilton Head Island and nowhere else

At first blush, it’s easy to see the appeal of Hilton Head Island: The beach, the golf courses, the restaurants. You certainly can enjoy those attractions as a visitor.

So why live here? Because there is another side of Hilton Head that only residents get to see.

Only living here can you see how the greenery changes by the season, especially the color spectrum of spartina grass as it transitions from vivid green to darker green then fades into a glowing golden hue. 

Only living here do you increase your chances of hearing Gullah-Geechee spoken and see firsthand the people celebrated as part of the U.S National Park Service’s Gullah-Geechee Cultural Corridor that runs from Wilmington, North Carolina, to St. Augustine, Florida.

 As a resident, you’ll learn about Hilton Head Institute, which was formed to keep residents informed about global issues, from the Middle East to education to the environment. It does it in a big way. Its annual three-day forum sells out months in advance and usually features a speaker we’ve all heard of, like a Cabinet member or ambassador or foreign leader.

You can buy season tickets to the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and catch all of the shows produced by the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. 

You’ll be around for the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concurs d’ Elegance, a high-end car show that is held every fall in Savannah and Hilton Head, one of only about 20 locations worldwide for the international event.

And in the spring, all attention turns to the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing, an annual PGA Tour event that has been a highlight of Hilton Head society for nearly four decades.

The secret of Hilton Head is out, as evidenced by the many new residents who are drawn here from all over the world.

Some of the country’s most influential people have chosen to buy property on Hilton Head Island. Professional athletes, actors, politicians and Fortune 100 CEOs gravitate to Hilton Head for the same reasons we all do. If you go by what the “in” crowd is doing, owning a home on Hilton Head has been “in” for years. (Yes, that’s John Mellencamp or author Patricia Cornwell or the former CEO you followed in the Wall Street Journal. Please don’t stare.)

As a resident, you’ll also have more time to take advantage of the best-in-class golf and tennis facilities, instructors and athletes. Golf remains Hilton Head’s jewel, from the famed Harbour Town Golf Links to impeccably maintained courses designed by a who’s who of architects: Pete Dye, Davis Love, Greg Norman, Jack Nicklaus, Arthur Hills, George Fazio, Rees Jones and Robert Trent Jones. And anyone can play these courses. The options escalate if you choose a gated community with a private course.

Tennis also helped Hilton Head land on the map and its reputation hasn’t flagged, with academies founded by world-renowned coaches Stan Smith and Dennis Van Der Meer.

As a local, you can enjoy our waterways 365 days a year. From public marinas to fishing piers and boat launch sites that dot the island’s perimeter, you’re never more than 20 minutes from a marsh, river or the Atlantic Ocean.

You also can commute to work via two wheels, thanks to the island’s 60-plus miles of biking trails that crisscross the island.

As a resident, you’ll discover a vibrant, close-knit community that becomes more visible in the off season. You’ll get to know people quickly in your neighborhood, the grocery store and at your favorite restaurants.

Those friendships lead to a side of Hilton Head only locals know about, especially during the “season," when socializing moves from restaurants to homes and other locales only locals know about. You’ll be a part of a social network you never knew was there.

It’s like two different worlds for the price of one.

That’s why you should live here. “Local" has its privileges.