Imagine a beach vacation on a secluded, semitropical island surrounded by breathtaking ocean vistas, winding tidal creeks and verdant salt marshes as far as the eye can see. Trails gingerly carved through a landscape of ancient sand dunes offer passage into a virgin forest where magnificent live oaks and towering magnolias have grown undisturbed for centuries.
Tucked at the edge of this wild and beautiful wilderness is a five-bedroom home offering all the modern comforts you’d find in a world-class resort.
Once owned by media mogul Ted Turner, St. Phillips Island is now part of the South Carolina state parks system, providing the public with the opportunity to enjoy this unique barrier island and the home that served as Turner’s private refuge for nearly 40 years.
Located northeast of Hilton Head Island among the barrier islands of Beaufort, St. Phillips is accessible only by boat with just a few man-made structures on the entire 4-mile long island. Along with Turner’s 3,350-square-foot beach house are a caretaker’s residence, maintenance shop, fishing pier and boat dock.
Purchased by the state of South Carolina in 2017, the property is managed by Hunting Island State Park, which offers eco-tours of the island through Lowcountry outfitter Coastal Expeditions. The Turner House, recently renovated and newly furnished, is also available as a vacation rental.
A classic Carolina beach house, it features a large screened back porch with rocking chairs, a comfortable sitting area with couches and chairs, and a Pawleys Island Hammock—all perfect for enjoying the spectacular ocean view.
Built shortly after Turner bought the island in 1979, the house was designed for simple, laid-back living with a large wood-paneled living room that opens to the back porch. Downstairs you’ll also find the master bedroom and bath, den, kitchen, guest bath and a game room equipped with a pool table that converts into a dining table.
Four bedrooms and three baths are located upstairs. Two of the bedrooms feature both a queen bed and twin bed, allowing for a total of 12 guests.
Outside the house is a patio featuring Adirondack chairs, a fire pit and a fishing pier with a sun deck.
The house rents for $12,000 for five nights. But unlike most beach vacation homes, you won’t have to rent bikes or kayaks during your stay. Both come with the house, along with beach chairs, binoculars, a bird spotting scope, telescope and two golf carts you can use to get to the beach and a boat dock with space reserved for one private boat.
Even more enticing, the rental comes with $1,000 in groceries that will be picked up, delivered and stocked prior to your arrival, allowing you to start your vacation the moment you walk in the door.
But it’s not the house or amenities that make the Turner House a one-of-a-kind vacation experience. It’s the natural aesthetic of the island.