There are certain things that most Hilton Head residents and visitors know about the island. We’ve got pristine beaches, for one. We also have world-class golf and tennis facilities, for another. And our gorgeous weather is certainly no secret. But it’s hard to know everything about a place—especially one as fascinating as our Lowcountry paradise. If you think you’re an island expert, check out these Hilton Head facts that even some long-time residents are unaware of.
1) Hilton Head has a rich culture
Hilton Head offers more than recreational opportunities and gorgeous landscapes. If you haven’t explored the island’s arts, culture, or history, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Some classical music fans don’t know that Hilton Head has its own symphony orchestra, which features over 70 contract musicians. The Allaben Fine Art Gallery is home to a beautiful collection of oil and watercolor paintings. And for all you history buffs, the Gullah Museum showcases a unique culture that originated from former West African slaves in the region. These are just a few of the gems that many islanders don’t know about right here in their own backyard. Of course, we couldn’t talk about the island’s heritage without also mentioning the Coastal Discovery Museum—a 68-acre estate that puts Hilton Head’s natural environment and culture on display. These are just a few of the gems that many islanders don’t know about right here in their own backyard.
2) It contains over 50 miles of public paths and trails
Playing rounds of golf and tennis are great ways to stay active, but they’re not the only ways. Did you know that there are over 50 miles of public paths and trails on Hilton Head? Thanks to these well-trodden routes, getting around on foot or bicycle is a breeze. The island is well known for its multi-use trails, and hiking is a major pastime for locals and visitors alike. Hilton Head is also one of just 21 places in the country that’s received a Gold Level Bicycle Friendly Community Award. While many islanders know we have some great cycling options, few are aware of how extensive these networks are.
3) Over 350 native bird species have been spotted on the island
There’s no shortage of wildlife on Hilton Head, and that includes a wide range of birds. Birdwatchers come from far and wide come to see the island’s blue herons, bald eagles, sandpipers, and wood storks. In fact, a whopping 350 native species have been seen here in the last decade. The National Auduban Society has designated both Ibis Pond (in the Pickney Island Wildlife Refuge) and Lake Mary (in the Sea Pines Forest Preserve) as birding areas. Whether you consider birdwatching a longtime pastime or newfound hobby, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to pull out your binoculars on the island.
4) Many celebrities have called Hilton Head home
No list of Hilton Head facts would be complete without a mention of some of our most well-known residents. While people from all walks of life enjoy living on the island, you may be interested to learn that many celebrities have decided to make their homes here. Basketball legend Michael Jordan used to own property in Wexford Plantation. Atlanta Falcons and Home Depot owner Arthur Blank has a home in the Sea Pines community, as does E-Trade CEO Paul Idzik. Tennis star Stan Smith and Baltimore Oriole Chris Canty have also been drawn to the charm and high quality of life that Hilton Head has to offer.
5) It was the first self-governed freedman’s town
Here’s a quick history lesson for you. In 1862, General Ormsby M. Mitchel established the town of Mitchelville as a community for freed slaves in the region. It became the country’s first self-governing freedmen’s village, complete with an economy, school district, and police regulations. According to historical records, close to 1,500 freedmen lived Mitchelville, and their dedication to building the community is an important chapter in Hilton Head’s History. Today, Mitchelville Freedom Park is committing to preserving this significant moment in time.
Looking to learn more about Hilton Head facts —and maybe even make the island home? If you’re considering a move here, we can help you start your search for the perfect home. Get in touch to discuss your needs!