Setting: Isle of Hope lies along the Intracoastal Waterway, 10 miles southeast of Savannah. Access is limited to two small roads. The average temperatures range from a high of 92 to a low of 72 in July and from 60 to 38 in January.
Attractions: Relatively unspoiled, unchanged, and peaceful, the area offers close proximity to Savannah's great restaurants, shopping, and historical sites. It's 40 miles south of the excellent golf courses around Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Drawbacks: Hurricane season runs from June through November. The housing market is tight, because choice properties tend to get snapped up as soon as they go for sale. Although the community takes measures to make mosquitoes feel unwelcome, the pesky bugs can still be prevalent during the summer. Gardeners have found that island deer like to munch on perennials.
Housing Options: Grand antebellum homes and summer bungalows mix along the waterfront bluff. Houses in the island's interior―almost all well-tended and with wide porches―come in a variety of styles and sizes. The island has no apartments or condominiums.
What It Costs: Recent sale prices of the water-view antebellum homes along Bluff Drive range from $1.2 million to $2.4 million. Some of the waterfront houses are being torn down in favor of grander, more modern replacements. A 1,500-square-foot ranch house inland sells for $150,000 to $180,000.
Your Next-door Neighbors: For many residents, Isle of Hope (population 2,600) serves as a bedroom community for Savannah. Doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers, and other white-collar workers make the island their year-round residence. Retirees enjoy the serene setting, and young parents find the community a wonderful place to raise children. A few locals occupy houses that have been passed down through several generations.
Where You'd Spend Free Time: The marina is the hub of activity for both residents and those traveling along the Intracoastal Waterway. Boating, fishing, and crabbing are popular. The pleasant weather invites walking, biking, and pushing strollers down the live oak-shaded streets.