hilton head island

Savannah Airport, Hilton Head Airport
and Driving

First, Where is Hilton Head Located?

Hilton Head is near Savannah Airport and anchors the southern
tip of South Carolina’s coastline along the Atlantic Ocean.

Savannah Airport

The most common way of getting to Hilton Head Island is to fly into Savannah Airport, this is the airport we usually fly into. Hilton Head is just north of the South Carolina-Georgia border. It's easy to fly into Savannah, rent a car, and drive to Hilton Head Island which is about 65 miles north of Savannah. The drive is not bad at all; actually I find it very pleasant with the scenery! The airport code is SAV.

American, Delta, United and US Airways all have daily flights to Savannah.

savannah airport

Gravestones on Savannah's Runway

About 3,680 feet from the west end of Runway 9 (the main east-west runway) are two concrete grave markers. A runway extension project placed the runway through a small family plot and the graves of the airport property's two original owners. Because the family did not want to remove and relocate the graves, the markers were placed in the asphalt runway. Runway 9 is thought to be the only airport runway in the United States with marked gravestones in it.

Hilton Head Airport

There are two airports that service the Hilton Head Island area: Savannah Airport and Hilton Head Island Airport, located approximately 5 miles (8km) from all island resorts. Hilton Head Airport is serviced by one airline, US Airways. Currently there are up to 8 US Airways departures daily. Head Head Airport accommodates smaller aircraft and can be expensive to fly into. If you are flying to Hilton Head you will most likely fly into Savannah. The airport code for Hilton Head Airport is HHH.

hilton head airport

Driving to Hilton Head Island

Driving is also convenient since Hilton Head Island is just about a 20 minute drive from Interstate 95. This part of the state is a pretty drive that winds over flat coastal plain that is a mix of wooded areas, marshes, and sea islands.

Driving from points either north or south, exit I-95 to reach the island (exit 8 off I-95). U.S. 278 leads over the bridge and through Bluffton and then onto the island. There is a 5 3/4 mile Cross Island Parkway toll bridge ($1) just off 278.

If your accommodations are at the south end of the island, (most of the resorts and hotels are) take this bypass to avoid traffic. U.S. 278 can become very congested and slow to a standstill at rush hour and during holiday weekends.

Distance from Major Cities

City: Drive Time:
Atlanta 287 miles - 4 hours 36 minutes
Charlotte 260 miles - 4 hours 10 minutes
Washington DC 587 miles - 9 hours 17 minutes
Jacksonville 177 miles - 2 hours 50 minutes
Orlando 318 miles - 5 hours 3 minutes
Columbia S.C. 165 miles - 2 hours 43 minutes
Myrtle Beach 211 miles - 4 hours 10 minutes
Charleston 115 miles - 2 hours 14 minutes
Philadelphia 735 miles - 11 hours 56 minutes
Chicago 966 miles - 15 hours 16 minutes
Cleveland 773 miles - 12 hours 20 minutes
Memphis 677 miles - 10 hours 54 minutes
Houston 1006 miles - 15 hours 52 minutes

Whether you fly into Hilton Head Airport, Savannah Airport or drive, you
will find Hilton Head Island is easily accessible and very convenient to get to.

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Hilton Head's Infamous Traffic Circles

First time visitors to Hilton Head Island are often intimidated by the traffic circles or roundabouts because they are uncommon in the United States. Overall, roundabouts are statistically safer than traditional intersections. The two circles you will encounter on Hilton Head Island are Sea Pines circle and Coligny circle.

A few things to know about either circle: thru traffic moves in the left lane, turning traffic in the right lane. In either circle, if you enter from the right lane of the approach road you will be forced to exit at the first exit, so as you enter the circle get into the left lane until your exit. If you get confused about where to exit, do what I do, just go around again and find the right exit.

hilton head island

Not to worry, the traffic circles in Hilton Head Island are well marked with overhead signs. If you want challenging try a traffic circle in Bermuda. Not only is the mode of transportation a moped but they drive on the left side of the road, that's a story for another time!

Arriving by Train

hilton head island

To travel by train, take Amtrak to Savannah, which is on the Silver Service/Palmetto line. The station has a partnership with Hertz, so make car arrangements in advance and Hertz will arrange to transport you from the station to their airport rental location.

Arriving by Boat

The island is accessible by water, as it is on the easy-to-navigate Intracoastal Waterway. However, reservations for a place to dock should be made well in advance, as marinas on the island have limited space for private boats. Not all marinas accommodate transient boaters and those that do are booked up well in advance.

hilton head island

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