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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Retire in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina?

Started in the mid-1600s on a barrier island of the same name, wooded Hilton Head Island, or Hilton Head, is largely a confederation of 15 gated communities, most of them tucked in large stands of trees. Most have a world class golf course and a marina. Homes are generally large and beautiful.

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With an elegant, understated vibe, the community has long been a vacation destination but really saw development begin to boom in the 1950s. Although much of the island is in private hands, the beaches are public (although often with private access) and large resorts, such as Sea Pines and Disney's Hilton Head Island Resort, attract thousands of tourists each summer (Burke's Beach is one beach that few tourists visit). The Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and its Choral Society have built strong regional reputations. The Arts Center of Coastal Carolina is a showcase for professionals and a venue for festivals. It also offers workshops in theater and visual arts. The Coastal Discovery Museum sits on 68 acres of marshland.

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Festivals are many, varied and include the Wine and Food Festival, which is one of the largest such festivales on the East coast, and the annual Gullah Celebration, which remembers a part of the island's rich culture and long history. Boutiques, fun restaurants and national retailers are all here.

The town is bicycle friendly and has 20 parks. Many of these parks have observation decks, boardwalks, and trails. The bordering Pinckney National Wildlife Refuge is a bird watchers' oasis.

Population:  40,000 (city proper)

Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better:  51% 

Cost of Living:   48% above the national average

Median Home Price: $660,000

Climate:  Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 30s, 40s and 50s.  On average, the area receives 52 inches of rain per year.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?   Yes

At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission?  Yes 

Public Transit:   Palmetto Breeze provides bus transportation to neighboring towns.

Crime Rate:    Above the national average, thanks to the large tourist crowds

Public Library:  Yes

Political Leanings:   Conservative

Is South Carolina Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?   Yes

Cons:   Hurricanes can happen, and Hurricane Dorian in 2019 caused some damage. HHI has grown 8% during the last decade, and some residents say that too many tourists and too many cars are ruining what was once a laid back island oasis.

Notes:   There is only one road leading on and off of the island, and it becomes very congested during the summer season (as do most of the roads on the island).    Home prices have increased 35% since a year ago. Franctional home ownership is popular.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?   Yes, although the crime rate is a concern. Residents must also be tourist-tolerant.

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South Carolina:

South Carolina is nicknamed the Palmetto State and its motto is "Dum spiro spero," which is Latin for "While I Breath, I Hope." It is 40th in size in the United States and was the eighth state to be admitted to the Union on May 23, 1788. The largest city and state capital is Columbia.

Formerly known as the Province of South Carolina, the area was also one of the 13 Colonies that declared its independence during the American Revolution. The state was the first to secede from the Union and was the first and founding state of the Confederate States of America.

South Carolina is in what is considered the Deep South and is bordered by the states of Georgia on the south and North Carolina on the north.

The state does not host any major professional sport franchises. However, the Carolina Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes actually represent both North Carolina and South Carolina.

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