Hilton Head/Bluffton vs. Brunswick County/Wilmington

We’ve done it. The birds do it. Football players do it. The Pope has done it. Former Presidents do it. People from Vermont do it. Ballerinas do it. Heck, just about everyone on the planet does it. What is it that brings us all together in unison? We all MOVE, sooner or later.

Twenty years ago, Doug decided to leave beautiful New England and move somewhere along the southeast coast. Just like Goldilocks, he had to find just the right porridge. In the end, his research said that Hilton Head was too hot, Charleston was still too warm, but Wilmington was just right!

Today, the HH/Bluffton/Beaufort area is one of the more popular destinations for people searching for a milder year-round climate. In general, if we meet with someone who decides for whatever reason to not migrate to Coastal NC, the two other favorite destinations for them to research are Florida and HH/Bluffton. Therefore, let’s take a look at both Hilton Head/Bluffton/Beaufort and Wilmington/Brunswick County.

Before we look through at the stats, one of Doug’s best buddies, Bill Bucci, lives on Hilton Head Island. Bill and Doug used to work together (Rivers Edge & Ocean Ridge Plantation) years ago, and before he left to retire full-time and be with family, he worked with the team at Carolina Plantations for a bit. Well, we may not call what he did “work” but he did hang his shingle with us!! Anyways, Doug would visit him 3-4 times a year and have some pretty valid insight on that area.

As one compares each bit of information above, there are a lot of similarities. The items that stand out to us just about every time we visit though, are traffic, density and limited beach access. In particular, however is density, because Brunswick County only has a handful of hotels, verses a large number and variety of mainland hotels, plus beachfront high-rise hotels and condos in the Hilton Head area. When visitors do show up, there is a tsunami of them and man of man does it ever get crowded! Hwy 278 is the 4-lane highway leading out to Hilton Head Island, and that is just one road you want to avoid at all costs during season. For that matter, it’s still a road too well traveled 365 days a year!

The other factor that Doug believes is important in weighing the pros and cons of HH/B/B, is the distance to a real city – and that is Savannah. If you live on the island, Savannah can be a good hour drive, not including traffic. That is where really good medical care is, and while a HH/B/B has a lot of shopping and dining opportunities, there is no concentric area such as a downtown to go strolling. Wilmington has nearly 100 restaurants in downtown, so park once, stroll along the 2-mile Riverwalk, choose from an eclectic group of restaurants, enjoy live theater and nightlife, topped off with a romantic horse drawn carriage ride. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

Doing your research is critical to finding just the right place for you. The Hilton Head/Bluffton/Beaufort area has a lot to offer and if you intend to go, let us know as we have a great friend who is a Realtor in that area. She will take excellent care of you. Just send Doug an email at Doug@CarolinaPlantations.com. We look forward to helping you and your family with your relocation needs to the NC Coast!

Is There Anywhere Else?

If you read Carolina Dreamin’ on a fairly regular basis, it is no surprise that I tout the many positive attributes of Coastal Southeastern North Carolina, which currently is a very popular option for those looking for a second home or area to retire to. Miles and miles of soft sandy beaches, great year round weather, affordable lifestyle, tons to do, yada, yada, yada!!

Last month I received a number of responses and comments from people about my article on eliminating areas on your search, as this is either a conscious or unconscious decision everyone partakes in during their journey to find paradise. In fact, the bulk of folks looking at this area are typically considering points as far north as Williamsburg, VA to southern Florida, so from my decades of travel up and down the east coast, here are some thoughts that you may wish to ponder when considering the following areas:

Southeastern Virginia

  • Weather-wise you are still in the snow/ice zone and you have winters
  • Norfolk and Newport News are quite industrial. VA Beach is very touristy
  • Williamsburg offers some nice plantations but also exudes a very touristy feel to it

NC Outer Banks Region

  • Other than the beach, there’s nothing to do on the OBX
  • Albemarle Plantation and New Bern are nice but very, very remote.
  • Morehead City and Beaufort, NC are quiet and next to Camp LeJeune Marine base

Myrtle Beach Region

  • #2 family vacation destination (12+ million visitors) in the US behind Orlando
  • You have to love 24/7 mega retail, traffic, golf, tourists and congestion to live in MB
  • Pawley’s Island & Litchfield are nice resort/vacation-oriented communities


  • If you live in or near a large city now, why would you want to move to another one?
  • Area offers very few attractive/new retirement type plantations
  • Considerable urban sprawl occurring

Hilton Head Region

  • Huge tourist destination. Traffic is a nightmare all summer long.
  • Beach access is very minimal. No downtown – just strip shopping centers
  • Bluffton is up-and-coming but you must rely on Hilton Head or Savannah for anything


  • And it’s “Hot, Hot, Hot”!!! You are living in extreme weather, so why not escape it?
  • Many Floridians flee the state from May till September. Where would you go?
  • Very far from family and friends

Brunswick County offers a myriad of options with regards to real estate. The wide open barrier islands of Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach, Oak Island and Bald Head Island are perfect for summer getaways and family fun. The Plantations that have sprung from the Live Oaks and Sugar Magnolias are home to thousands looking for a rich and rewarding retirement. We have new homes starting at $100,000 ranging to multi-million dollar beach front estates on our five islands, so in terms of housing, we have you covered.

They say that many places look good on paper however, you know that the only way to place merit in what “they” say is to get out and explore these areas on your own. For those of us already living here, heck, we know we’ve got it good!!
Best of luck on your journey!