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Getting Around

Though our beautiful island is only twelve miles by five; to visitors the island may at first seem a maze of roads, traffic circles and residential enclaves to be negotiated. When getting around by car, there are two primary ways to get from the north to the south end of the island.

The original roadway, at one time only a dirt path, is Highway 278, also known as the William Hilton Parkway. Following Highway 278 northward will lead you to the mainland. Following it to the south leads guests and residents alike to our famed Sea Pines traffic circle. The circle routes traffic either to Sea Pines, Pope Avenue or Palmetto Bay Road.

Helping to alleviate traffic during our peak-season months, is the relatively new Cross Island Parkway. The seven-mile long parkway opened in February 1999, and during the popular months of spring and summer it may well have 19,000 vehicles traverse its lanes per day. A toll road, the Cross Island, costs $1 for a two-axle vehicle. However, many residents and part-time islanders benefit by using a 'Palmetto Pass,' a transponder detected by radar, which saves 50% on the toll cost. A pass can be obtained by visiting either the Customer Service Center near the Charles E. Fraser Bridge or at the exit to Marshland Road Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, you may call 342-6718.

Facing growth, Hilton Head remains a rare community. Its charm and natural beauty are painstakingly preserved as high priorities. In keeping with the veneration to nature, our man-made structures exist within strict building codes to preserve the surroundings. Take note that much of our signage is low to the ground, and even the most familiar nationwide establishments are subdued and less commercialized. When you do look up, you may see a blue heron take flight or the high limbs of an ancient oak reaching into Carolina blue. On Hilton Head Island, nature receives top billing . . . as it should.

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