Sun City Hilton Head
Del Webb's Sun City Hilton Head (often shortened to Sun City Hilton Head or Sun City locally) is an age-restricted master planned community located in the Okatie area of Beaufort and Jasper counties in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina. Although not a separate incorporated community or census-designated place, there are close to 10,000 permanent residents within three major phases of the community, which is clustered around its golf courses and community centers. The community is also renowned for its political activism, with many local, state, and national candidates for political office stopping in Sun City while in the area. Sun City is included within the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Sun City Hilton Head is located approximately 12 miles (20 km) west of Hilton Head Island itself and 20 miles (30 km) north of Savannah, Georgia, with close access to Interstate 95. Sun City is positioned across nearly 10,000 acres between the borders of Beaufort and Jasper counties along the major thoroughfares in the area, U.S. Highway 278 and S.C. Highway 170. The majority of the development is in unincorporated Beaufort County, while the Jasper County portions (sometimes referred to as Sun City North) are incorporated into Hardeeville. Addresses in Sun City have either an Okatie or a Bluffton ZIP code, but no portions of the development are within the Bluffton town limits.
Using a similar design template from existing Sun City developments, Del Webb Communities purchased vast real estate holdings from the former Argent Lumber Company in the 1990s and began development of the Beaufort County portions. The majority of the property phases were folded into the "Sun City" development brand, while a phase of development located east of SC 170 was branded as "Riverbend" and featured higher-end homesites near the Okatie River. Nearly all of the Beaufort County portions of Sun City have been built out.
Del Webb Communities was acquired by Pulte Homes in the 2000s and began development of the Jasper County portions that same decade. Hardeeville annexed all of the Jasper County portions of the community in 2007, prior to construction. A new golf course (Argent Lakes) and amenity center opened in the Hardeeville area of Sun City in 2014.
There will be approximately 8,600 homes when the community is completed.
Neighborhood profile and governance
Sun City is a gated community and is age restricted to adults 55 and over. The majority of the residents are married and retired, though some continue to work full time or part time or have home-based businesses. Most of the single-family residential homes look out over golf course holes, ponds, or natural areas. Many residents travel in the community with golf carts or bicycles. A bridge connects the Beaufort and Jasper county portions of the community over US 278, thus avoiding the need to enter and exit through multiple gates and cross the heavily-traveled highway.
Sun City contracts with a security provider that patrols the neighborhood and some of the gate entrances. Fire services are shared between the Bluffton Township and the Hardeeville fire departments.
Sun City has an internal property owners association (the Community Association) that manages the day-to-day operations of the community. The Board of Directors sets the policies. The five-member Board is composed of two residents, who are elected, and representatives from the developer.
Efforts to incorporate Sun City as an individual municipality have been attempted before, but South Carolina laws on incorporation have made it a challenging process. Hardeeville and Beaufort Country retain certain regulatory and policing authority over the community, but yield to the Community Association and its bylaws on specific matters.
- Three golf courses (two full-length, one executive): Argent Lakes, Hidden Cypress and Okatie Creek
- 20 acre lake (Lake Somerset)
- Tennis & Pickleball courts
- Three clubhouses with fitness centers
- Six pools (two indoor, four outdoor)
- Performing arts center (Magnolia Hall)
- Glossy magazine (SunSations)
- More than 100 clubs and groups
- Full website: www.SunCityHiltonHead.org