Hilton Head Island is one of the premier beach getaway destinations in the Southeast. It was named for William Hilton, an English sea captain who explored the island in the 17th century. The foot-shape barrier island is only 42 square miles. But the semitropical paradise of white-sand beaches, salt marshes, lagoons, and lush forests of mossy oaks, palmettos, magnolia, and pine is irresistible.
The island's pristine natural environment is balanced with the graceful aesthetics of some of the finest resorts and golf courses. The combination is a magnet for visitors: Though the year-round population is just 31,000 people, Hilton Head Island sees more than 2.5 million tourists each year. They come not only for the lush scenery, posh resorts, and great golf, but also for many deep breaths of fresh coastal air, abundant peace and quiet, and those beautiful sunsets that play out over the mainland on the western horizon.