Living

Planning to move here? 8 Things to know to live like a local on Hilton Head Island

Can you speak Lowcountry? Locals and tourists attempt these 5 commonly mispronounced words

Local communities have towns, rivers, locations that are commonly mispronounced by visitors, transplants and occasionally locals. We picked a few Lowcountry words and asked people on the street to pronounce them. Some got them right, some, even lo
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Local communities have towns, rivers, locations that are commonly mispronounced by visitors, transplants and occasionally locals. We picked a few Lowcountry words and asked people on the street to pronounce them. Some got them right, some, even lo

You’ve packed your bags and decided to move to Hilton Head, huh?

Well welcome to the club — literally, we have a lot of golf clubs to choose from — and prepare to live on the best island in America.

There’s more things to know about this South Carolina island than its cost of living and job market, though. Here are some amazing reasons why you should make Hilton Head home. And some of the issues you should be aware of.



1. Welcome to the Lowcountry, y’all



You’re living in the South now, so first of all, get used to hearing “y’all,” “fixin’ to,” “bless your heart,” and other Southern slang.

Hilton Head also is located in the beautiful corner of South Carolina known as the Lowcountry.

Historians attribute the name to our geography — South Carolina’s southeastern region is in the lowest elevation of the state. The Lowcountry is home to beautiful beaches, European-inspired architecture, and some of the most delicious food you’ll ever eat — especially the seafood.

You might mispronounce a word or two, but folks around here will kindly correct you. Then, you’ll have a Lowcountry drawl before you know it.

2. No plastic bags allowed!

You’ll have to start embracing a more eco-friendly lifestyle if you move here, or many other coastal South Carolina cities for that matter.

Beaufort County — pronounced BEW-fert; not BOW-fert — passed an ordinance to ban “single-use” plastic bags in January and the law officially took effect in November. That means no more walking into Walmart, Publix, Target or other stores without an extra cloth bag or two on your person.

Stores still have alternatives such as paper bags, but you might want to bring a reusable bag just in case.

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3. Prepare to see a bit of Ohio everywhere you go

Cleveland Cavaliers fans packed Hickory Tavern on Hilton Head Island for game 7 of the NBA finals. The bar erupted with cheers, hugs, and joyful jumping fans when the Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors, 93-89 Sunday night.



Even though you’re in the South, Hilton Head has attracted more than a few Yankees to the area.

Don’t be surprised if you see a mix of a Palmetto Tree with the classic Ohio State Buckeye emblem as you drive around.

There are a number of reasons why there are so many Ohioans in the Hilton Head area, but the main contributor is Sea Pines founder Charles Fraser. He invited them to come.

So if you’re a Michigan fan, you might want to stay away from this area (Clemson and Gamecock fans are always welcome, though).

4. Beware of the Hilton Head Bridge



Location is the key to living in this area. If you work on the Island, try to live there. But if you work on the mainland, you can almost give up on even thinking about living on the island. Everybody knows the traffic in Bluffton and on Hilton Head Island can be nightmarish some days. However, the infamous Hilton Head Bridge is arguably the worst part about driving on Hilton Head.

Morning rush hour on a GOOD day can be congested and slow-moving. But if even one fender bender shuts down a lane, be prepared to ride— make that sit on —a figurative highway to Hell.

The other frustrating part is that the bridge is the only way to get onto the island. So get ready to live on a prayer that you wake up and everybody keeps their hands on the steering wheel.

5. Spending a day at Sea Pines is a must

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Harbour Town is located inside Hilton Head’s Sea Pines Resort. Jay Karr jkarr@islandpacket.com

Sea Pines is one of the most well-known resorts on Hilton Head and for good reason. Unfortunately, you do have to pay to get in, but once inside, there are a number of things to do.

If you love the outdoors, you can rent or bring your own bike to ride on the resort’s trail and explore the Sea Pines Forest Preserve.

Or if you’re more into shopping and trying some Lowcountry cuisine, you can go to Harbour Town, where you can also watch boats head off to the ocean.

Honestly, you should go to the waterfront destination anyway just so you can take one of the most picturesque selfies or landscape shots with the Sea Pines lighthouse.

6. We’ve got some serious critters here

Don’t be surprised to find certain critters in your backyard (or even fridge?) if you live in the Lowcountry. Living on Hilton Head means you’ll see more than your usual share of alligators, some of them strolling in your backyard.

Living in the low-lying Lowcountry means there are a number of ponds and lagoons in the area filled with fish, snakes, and, of course, gators.

We also have plenty of creepy-crawlers that might have you pulling out the bug spray in a split second. South Carolina is famous for palmetto bugs, which are basically cockroaches that can fly (horrors!). Then there are sand flies AKA no-see-ums, which are annoying thanks to their ability to sneak up on you when you least expect it, bite and depart with a bit of your blood.

7. We are a golfer’s paradise



If you love golf, then you’ll love living on Hilton Head. There are a number of golf clubs you can join and, of course, enough golf courses to choose for a weekend or “business meeting.”

Once spring rolls around, golf fans from all over come to Hilton Head for the RBC Heritage Sponsored by Boeing. On this PGA stop, you’re bound to see some of the best golfers battle it out for the No. 1 spot.

Make sure to get your passes for next year when the for the tournament April 15-21.

8. Life is nothing but a Beach



Probably the main reason you wanted to move here. Well, Hilton Head has plenty of beautiful beaches to enjoy, from busy tourist spots to secluded getaways.

Hilton Head has been mentioned in more than a few national publications for having the best beaches around. Condé Nast Traveler has even named the island as the No. 1 island in the US three times in a row.

Publications such as Southern Living, Bustle, U.S. News and Travel + Leisure (just to name a few) also love the island.

So welcome to our beautiful corner of the world and remember: We ARE better than Myrtle Beach.

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