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Hilton Head Island
Hilton Head Island, sometimes referred to as simply Hilton Head, is a Lowcountry resort town and barrier island in Beaufort County, South Carolina, United States. It is 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Savannah, Georgia, and 95 miles (153 km) southwest of Charleston. The island is named after Captain William Hilton, who in 1663 identified a headland near the entrance to Port Royal Sound, which mapmakers named "Hilton's Headland." The island features 12 miles (19 km) of beachfront on the Atlantic Ocean and is a popular vacation destination. In 2004, an estimated 2.25 million visitors infused more than $1.5 billion into the local economy. The year-round population was 37,099 at the 2010 census, although during the peak of summer vacation season the population can swell to 150,000. Over the past decade, the island's population growth rate was 32%. Hilton Head Island is a primary city within the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 207,413 in 2015. The island has a rich history that started with seasonal occupation by Native Americans thousands of years ago and continued with European exploration and the Sea Island Cotton trade. It became an important base of operations for the Union blockade of the Southern ports during the Civil War. Once the island fell to Union troops, hundreds of ex-slaves flocked to Hilton Head, which is still home to many of whom are descendants of freed slaves known as the Gullah (or Geechee) who have managed to hold on to much of their ethnic and cultural identity.The Town of Hilton Head Island incorporated as a municipality in 1983 and is well known for its eco-friendly development. The town's Natural Resources Division enforces the Land Management Ordinance which minimizes the impact of development and governs the style of buildings and how they are situated amongst existing trees. As a result, Hilton Head Island enjoys an unusual amount of tree cover relative to the amount of development. Approximately 70% of the island, including most of the tourist areas, is located inside gated communities. However, the town maintains several public beach access points, including one for the exclusive use of town residents, who have approved several multimillion-dollar land-buying bond referendums to control commercial growth.Hilton Head Island offers an unusual number of cultural opportunities for a community its size, including the world's first Mermaid Encounter Boat Tour, plays at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, the 120-member full chorus of the Hilton Head Choral Society, the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, an annual outdoor, tented wine tasting event on the east coast, and several other annual community festivals. It also hosts the RBC Heritage, a PGA Tour tournament played on the Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines Resort.
Bluffton is a Lowcountry town in Beaufort County, South Carolina, United States. It is primarily located around U.S. Route 278, between Hilton Head Island and Interstate 95. The town's original one square mile area, now known as Old Town, is situated on a bluff along the May River. The population as of the 2020 census was 27,716, an increase of over 120% since 2010, making it one of the fastest growing municipalities in South Carolina with a population over 2,500. Bluffton is the fifth largest municipality in South Carolina by land area. The town is a primary city within the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area. Following the Tariff of 1842, Bluffton became a hotbed of separatist sentiment, which in turn led to a protest against federal taxes called the Bluffton Movement in 1844. And even though this movement quickly died out, it did somewhat contribute to the secession movement that led to South Carolina being the first state to leave the Union. In the antebellum period Bluffton became a popular location for wealthy merchants and plantation owners. During the Civil War two-thirds of the town was destroyed by fire during the Union's Bluffton Expedition on June 4, 1863.
Tybee Island is a city and a barrier island located in Chatham County, Georgia, 18 miles (29 km) east of Savannah, United States. Though the name "Tybee Island" is used for both the island and the city, geographically they are not identical: only part of the island's territory lies within the city. The island is the easternmost point in Georgia. The famous phrase "From Rabun Gap to Tybee Light," intended to illustrate the geographic diversity of Georgia, contrasts a mountain pass near the state's northernmost point with the coastal island's famous lighthouse. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 2,990. The entire island is a part of the Savannah Metropolitan Statistical Area. Officially renamed "Savannah Beach" in a publicity move at the end of the 1950s, the city of Tybee Island has since reverted to its original name. (The name "Savannah Beach" nevertheless appears on official state maps as far back as 1952 and as recently as the mid-1970s.) The small island, which has long been a quiet getaway for the residents of Savannah, has become a popular vacation spot with tourists from outside the Savannah metropolitan area. Tybee Island is home to the first of what would eventually become the Days Inn chain of hotels, the oft-photographed Tybee Island Light Station, and the Fort Screven Historic District. It is one of the few locations where the U.S. Air Force dropped an atomic bomb—by accident (during a botched 1958 military training exercise). Though the "Tybee Bomb" did not detonate (and, according to some reports, was not armed with a fuse), there has been ongoing concern, since the Mark 15 nuclear bomb lost during the mishap was never found.
Walterboro is a city in Colleton County, South Carolina, United States. The city's population was 5,398 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Colleton County. Walterboro is located 48 miles (77 km) west of Charleston and is located near the ACE Basin region in the South Carolina Lowcountry. It is known as "The Front Porch of the Lowcountry".