October 2017

Set Your Coordinates for the Lowcountry: Real Estate Where Marinas and Waterways Hold Sway

Author: Kitty Bartell

Given the Lowcountry’s proximity to waterways, rivers, and the deep, blue Atlantic, the appetite for living in communities purposefully planned to take advantage of access to the tides is gratified from the tippy-tippy-toe of Hilton Head Island, to the Palmetto Bluff end of the May River. One of the early questions asked of buyers by local Realtors is: Do water activities (sailing, boating, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding) and accessibility play a part in where you would like to find a home?

One of many culling factors on the extensive checklist of reasons why people choose the Lowcountry to call home, or their home-away-from-home—and the fact that the desire for water access may come with a 40- or 50-foot, fiberglass, keel-hulled accessory, or a 12-foot dingy—finding the right dockage, amenities, and services close to home is essential to a happily-ever-after. The Lowcountry does not disappoint, with places to float one’s personal watercraft into a slip, store kayaks, boards, paddles, tackle, and floatation devices for uncomplicated access, or to be part of clubs where sociability and watersport connect like buoys on race day.

Sea Pines has two marinas with unmistakably unique personalities. Both South Beach Marina, located at the southern-most point of Hilton Head Island, and Harbour Town Yacht Basin, on the island’s leeward side, are open to residents, and resort and day-pass guests. South Beach Marina is part of South Beach Marina Village, a New England-style shopping and dining destination, where the original Salty Dog Café is located. Harbour Town Yacht Basin empties into the Calibogue Sound, where visitors find a quintessentially Southern experience with rocking chairs circling the harbor overlooking the Harbour Town Lighthouse, shops and restaurants located under live oaks, dripping with sweet Spanish moss.
Both Sea Pines marinas provide fuel stations and a selection of watersport rentals and activities, including jet skis, boat charters and rentals, parasailing, and more. Dockage is available by the day, week, month, or for a lifetime. South Beach Marina has slips for boats up to 30 feet. Harbour Town Yacht Basin accommodates nearly any size private vessel.

Overlooking Harbour Town Yacht Basin, the Harbour Town Yacht Club is a private lodging, dining, entertaining, beach, and boating club. Providing its membership with concierge services during their stay, whether enjoying their own boat docked in the Harbour Town Yacht Basin, or boarding the club’s Mystique, a classic 42-foot teak and mahogany yacht, members truly experience some of the finest Hilton Head Island real estate situated at harbor’s-edge.

Located just across the Calibogue Sound from Harbour Town on Daufuskie Island, The Haig Point Club is a community where its proximity to the water dictates its very existence. Accessible only by water, the club’s water taxi ferries owners and guests to and from the community dock, also located on the Sound side of the island. Boaters are welcome to tie up for the day; kayak rentals and fishing are two of the waterside activities enjoyed at Haig Point where golf, tennis, and equestrian pursuits anchor this nature-centric community.

Wexford Plantation And Long Cove Club are two mid-Hilton Head Island private communities that prioritize deep-water marinas, both providing access to Broad Creek, Calibogue Sound, the Intracoastal Waterway, and the sea beyond. Wexford Harbour life offers property owners access to a 37-acre, inland harbor equipped with one of only three lock systems in the Eastern U.S. Deepwater canals wind through the property, with 138 of their 280 dock slips set adjacent to private residences, giving owners backyard access to their watercraft. A fulltime harbourmaster and Harbour Center provide sterling service to their active boating community.

Deep water marina access is included in the package for all Long Cove Club owners. Private boat slips, club kayaks for members and guests, and storage for personal kayaks, the community conviviality and tranquil backdrop draw owners to the water here, with annual summer crabbing expeditions becoming a tradition for Long Cove children and grandchildren.

Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort’s Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina, located on the lee side of Hilton Head Island, offers area residents and visitors a quintessential deep-water marina experience. Whether enjoying a water’s edge address from the balcony of the condominiums surrounding the harbor, or from the deck of a boat, Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina feels like a welcoming neighborhood that ebbs and flows with the tides, where watercraft are home for some and recreation for others. Restaurants and shops, including a Ship’s Store, create a welcoming little village at the heart of Hilton Head Island. With 178 boat slips, accommodating up to 145-foot crafts, a fueling station, and all manner of watersport, boating excursions, and charters available, the harbor’s canal leading to Broad Creek and beyond is bustling.

Anchored on the north shore of Hilton Head Island, just off the Intracoastal Waterway, Skull Creek Marina, has direct deep-water access to Port Royal Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. Accommodating vessels up to 200 feet in length, with modern concrete floating docks, a fueling station, and boating services, Skull Creek Marina is conveniently situated inside Hilton Head Plantation, giving the community’s property owners convenient access to their crafts and water activities; however, boaters and boat owners are not required to be Hilton Head Plantation property owners to enjoy the amenities here.

Home to the South Carolina Yacht Club, Windmill Harbour Marina is located in the active boating community at WINDMILL HARBOUR on Hilton Head Island’s northwest shore, navigationally found a half-mile north of channel marker 29, and 500 yards south of channel marker 27 in the Calibogue Sound. One of the three lock-controlled harbors on the East Coast, this one is 75-feet long by 19-feet wide, providing safe, tide-free passage to and from the 258 boat slips disbursed through the community’s waterways and large harbor area. Dockage is accessible for all boaters, with many slips available for sale or rent.

With lovely residences and real estate meandering throughout Windmill Harbour, and the South Carolina Yacht Club member’s club at the center of it all, marina life and island life go together like the hulls on a catamaran. The marina and the members-only SCYC meet all the watersport needs of its owners, members, and visitors, including a fueling station, and organized events and competitions. Boat slip owners and tenants must join the SCYC for access to the activities and amenities of the club, which in addition to water-related events, include fine dining, a wine cellar, tennis, pool and spa, and a health club.

Traveling off-island, the Lowcountry’s mainland does not let up on opportunities to own, rent, or visit communities that offer marina access to the area’s waterways. Golf, tennis, boating, equestrian-minded, nature-loving, Moss Creek, is a private community located just west of the bridge to Hilton Head Island, where its owners have access to an active deep-water marina with 75 wet slips and 93 dry slips, racks for kayak storage, and a boat launch. Their Boat Owners Association and Yacht Club provide classes on boat handling and education about the local waters, along with hosting social events like an annual clambake and pig roast. Everyone who owns property in Moss Creek has access to all their marina amenities.

The community of Colleton River has created a classically Southern water’s edge lifestyle for its private member-owners. With deep water dockage, kayak storage and launch, fishing dockside or deck-side, and crabbing lessons, with slip space for overnight marina guests, Mother Nature is given all the credit here. Owners take full advantage from boating to nearby restaurants as part of their “dock and dine” events, to fishing and sailing excursions, to a glass of wine on the porch paired with a stunning sunset.

Oldfield, a private golf, tennis, equestrian, and nature-oriented community located in Okatie, and Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, a natural haven of homes with its charming shopping-dining-spa-ing-staying village, are two Lowcountry communities where nature dictates nearly every aspect of daily life, and where proximity to the water nurtures the hearts and souls of the fortunate residents and visitors to these locales. Located on the Okatie River, Oldfield’s Outfitter’s Center coordinates guided fishing excursions for its members, and storage and launch services for personal boats. At Palmetto Bluff, Boat Club members have access to a members-only dock, day-dock use, and dry-stack storage.

Callawassie Island, located off Highway 170, provides members with access to their River Club docks, where deep water leads to the Colleton River, Port Royal Sound, and the Atlantic Ocean. The Sugar Mill dock is a great spot for crabbing and watching the sun set, and the Paddler’s Point dock provides an easy launch point for kayakers. Member of the Paddler’s Club enjoy kayak storage and planned excursions, and member of the Fishing Club coordinate events and share friendships while casting a line. Callawassie Island also offers boat slips for its membership.

Hampton Lake in Bluffton has taken a fresh approach to waterside living, literally. With 15 miles of shoreline and real estate surrounding the 182-acre, freshwater Hampton Lake, property owners enjoy waterside living with marina amenities, including social activities, watersports, and boat rentals. Boat owners with lakeside property on the lake’s central basin, or along its creeks and coves, can keep their crafts docked close to home. Maintained as a premier bass fishery, for over 600 families, living at the lake means enjoying all aspects of nature from the community’s waterways to its 340-acre forest preserve.

Living a waterside, marina life takes many forms and styles, with the most committed taking up residence on their vessel, enjoying the benefits of living at-sea. Despite the limited square footage—unless you own one of those cities-at-sea-size yachts—there are advantages to tying up your abode dockside. If you want a change of venue, you simply weigh anchor and sail-on. Your waterfront home keeps a governor on any shopping addictions, as limited storage equals less stuff. And there is a special something about boaters in how quickly they create a sense of community from deck-to-deck and dock-to-dock, and how adept most are at bringing together a cocktail and hors d’oeuvre shindig at a moment’s notice. The key to a successful living-at-sea experience is finding a marina community that fits, and with the marina-situated, real estate options tucked in along the Lowcountry coastline, the pieces can come together rather swimmingly.

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