Daufuskie Island

Though not part of Hilton Head Island, Daufuskie deserves mention as it is a favorite side trip of many visitors. Daufuskie gained fame when Pat Conroy wrote about his experiences there as a schoolteacher in his book The Water is Wide. There is no bridge to Daufuskie, so access is by boat. Permanent residents number less than 300. Daufuskie has private developments and golf courses, but much of it is still natural and much as Hilton Head was many decades ago. Daufuskie was owned by freed slaves after the civil war and traces of the Gullah culture remain to this day. Only a few vehicles exist on the island and there is but one general store and, recently, a liquor store. Visitors favorite mode of transportation (other than walking) is by golf cart rentals or bicycle rentals. These are available at the Freeport Marina. Freeport Marina recently opened a new restaurant, the Daufuskie Crab Company, which is open Wednesday to Sunday. To see Daufuskie you can rent a boat or kayak (only if you are an experienced kayaker) and dock at the public dock there (it's around the back side of the Island).  A better way to see it is to sign up for a tour offered by several companies.

Rental accommodations: at this writing there are no hotels or motels on Daufuskie, but rental homes, small  rustic cabins and apartments are available.

If you go, be sure to check out the art galleries Iron Fish Art,, where Chase Allen produces metal sculptures of aquatic critters, and the Silver Dew Pottery shop.

If you rent a boat  you can go to Daufuskie by yourself - there is a County maintained public dock and you can rent golf carts individually. Ask your rental company for guidance.

If you rent a kayak, unless you are very experienced and in top physical condition you should not try to get to Daufuskie by kayak. Tidal currents can be very swift and powerful and the water can get quite choppy. You could end up in the Atlantic ocean or stranded aground at low tide.

The Daufuskie Difference ( formerly Calibogue Cruises) offers boat transportation on the Sapelo Queen from Broad Creek Marina and a tour on a modified school bus and golf cart rentals for $65 round trip. You will see the remains of a winery, the school, churches and other sights.  You can also explore on your own by renting a golf cart or bicycle and using an annotated map that will be provided. 843-342-8687.
The so-called "official" ferry departs from Buckingham Landing, at the base of the Hilton Head bridge on the Bluffton side and costs $35 round trip. They will assist with touring. The schedule for both is here.

Other tours are offered by:
H2O Sports has a water taxi to/from Daufuskie. 843-671-4386. They have a handy map of Daufuskie here.
Island Time Charters Will take up to six passengers to Daufuskie on a four to six hour charter. 816.261.2410
Outside Hilton Head offers a history and artisans excursion on Daufuski, a water taxi to the island and other related activities. 800-686-5996.
The Salty Dog runs a daily trip on their catamaran. Golf carts are optional.
The Vagabond
from Harbour Town offers a four hour narrated cruise with a fairly brief stop at Daufuskie.  843-363-9023.
Tour Daufuskie offers several different tour experiences. 843-842-9449.
From time to time other tours may be available - call the marinas for more information. For numbers, click here.

Residents, golfers, workers, etc. get to Daufuskie via the Daufuskie Island Ferry (843-940-7704), which docks at their facility on Buckingham Landing in Bluffton and takes you to Melrose Landing. This is a public ferry and anyone can use it, the cost is $35.

 This page Updated 08/07/2019

 

 

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