Located roughly one nautical mile from Hilton Head Island’s Harbour Town, Daufuskie Island is completely surrounded by water and only accessible by boat. Over a mile wide and five miles long, this private residential Sea Island is typically navigated by bicycle, golf cart, or foot.
Because there is no bridge to Daufuskie Island, all visitors must travel to and from the Island by ferry or private boat. A number of visitors and residents use their own boats while a public passenger ferry departs from Hilton Head’s Broad Creek Marina and arrives at the Freeport Marina on Daufuskie Island. There are additional private ferries available to residents through Haig Point and Melrose, and also public water taxis between Daufuskie Island and Hilton Head Island, Savannah or Tybee Island. However one gets to Daufuskie Island, the ride is a beautiful one where a dolphin or two might be spotted on the way!
Although Daufuskie Island is only minutes away from Hilton Head Island, many Lowcountry residents have never been there. This may be because it’s only accessible by boat, or because Daufuskie living is very different from Hilton Head Island. There are no fast-food restaurants, banks, or department stores. While Daufuskie is rich with Gullah and Geechee history, there are very few native Islanders still living there.
You can visit the Gullah Learning Center at the historic Jane Hamilton School to learn about Daufuskie’s oyster industry, local churches and schools, and the history of the island. Daufuskie Island is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its Gullah and Civil War history, and is the setting of author Pat Conroy’s The Water is Wide, a book recounting his teaching experiences on The Island in the 1960s.
Daufuskie Island blends its fabulous history with modern day conveniences. Many historic landmarks, including the First Union African Baptist Church and the Haig Point and Bloody Point lighthouses are maintained as popular tourist attractions. Residents and visitors can also enjoy beautiful modern homes, condominiums and resorts as well as leisurely activities like golf, horseback riding, tennis, and boating. The Island’s has a number of local attractions including the Billie Burn Museum, the Rob Kennedy Historic Trail, or the Silver Dew Winery.
Daufuskie Island is divided up into five parts: Haig Point, Melrose, Oak Ridge, Bloody Point, and the Historic District.
Visitors can take a tour around this historic portion of the island, with boat transportation available from nearby Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, or Savannah on the mainland. Highlights include the site of the Bloody Point Lighthouse, the school where Pat Conroy taught, and the home workshops of local artisans.
Melrose: Melrose Property Owners Association
Bloody Point: Bloody Point HOA
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