A town named Santa Elena was founded here by Spanish Conquistador Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. It was the capital of La Florida from 1566 to 1587, during which time Spanish explorers sailed from Santa Elena to explore the Tennessee valley and Chesapeake Bay.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 19.6 square miles (50.8 km²), of which, 12.2 square miles (31.5 km²) of it is land and 7.4 square miles (19.3 km²) of it (37.96%) is water.
The land was previously owned by Zachariah McGill, A wealthy south Carolinian land owner of mixed white/Indian ancestry through the early to mid 1800s. Many questions and an unresolved legal battle still linger regarding the sale of Parris island to the US military in 1883 under questionable circumstances.
There were 318 households out of which 72.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 87.7% were married couples living together, 4.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 6.3% were non-families. 4.4% of all households were made up of individuals and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.31 and the average family size was 3.40.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 10.6% under the age of 18, 72.4% from 18 to 24, 15.7% from 25 to 44, and 1.2% from 45 to 64. The median age was 20 years. For every 100 females there were 303.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 339.3 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $46,335, and the median income for a family was $45,750. Males had a median income of $17,428 versus $16,359 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $11,216. About 7.6% of families and 6.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.1% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.