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Back in Time-Daufuskie Island

Melanie Scott - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Take a trip “back in time” to Daufuskie Island. Explore the island and all the historic spots with a golf club cart or take the narrated guided tour with trained interpretative guides. Learn all about the island written about in “The Water is Wide.” Since no bridges connect Daufuskie Island with Hilton Head, all island access is by boat. Ferries run from Hilton Head Island that connects the island.

Daufuskie Island is a residential “sea island” between Savannah, Georgia and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and is about 2.75 miles offshore. Daufuskie has a population of around 250. The island was named a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places due to its Gullah and Civil War history.

The island’s history can be traced back to Pre Revolutionary War times. From the end of the Civil War until quite recently, the island was home to a good size Gullah population who are descendants of freed slaves. Jimmy Buffet’s song, “The Prince of Tides” mourns the loss of Gullah by the urbanization of the island. In 1972 Pat Conroy’s book "The Water is Wide" had Daufuskie as its backdrop; the island was fictionalized as "Yamacraw Island", and it recounts Mr. Conroy’s experiences when he was teaching on the island in the 1960’s.


Getting There

Beaufort County provides a subsidized ferry that transports residents. The Haig Point Club has its own private ferry service. There are also several private companies that provide high speed water taxi services to the island.

You can take the public ferry (operated by Calibogue Cruises), or take the shuttle excursion (operated by Palmetto Bay Water Sports). You can also rent your own boat from H2O Sports, Outside Hilton Head, Palmetto Bay Water Sports, or Sky Pirate Watersports. Additionally, you have the option of hiring a private boat charter (through Live Oac or Outside Hilton Head.)

Times and fares may vary depending on the season so be sure to call ahead. Boat carriers will assist in making arrangements for golf cart rentals, which is the most fun way to explore the island. You must have a valid driver’s license when you rent your cart. You will be equipped with a map of all the significant landmarks such as Bloody Point Lighthouse, the Old School House and Beach Nature Walk.

It takes about 2 hours to explore Daufuskie Island; visit over a dozen historical points as you go back in time to learn about Daufuskie life during wartime and the culture of Gullah.

Are you looking to stay the night? Freeport Marina also offers eclectic Island cabins which sleep up to 8 adults.

Your Daufuskie adventure will take you through the Broad Creek and Calibogue Sound to Freeport Marina which is your first stop. There you will find a general store with a collection of Daufuskie memorabilia, books and photographs. Enjoy a refreshing drink and fresh seafood at Old Daufuskie Crab Company. Choose from a variety of scrumptious entrees: fresh shrimp, oysters, fish and all the fixings, or shuck your own oysters directly from the roasting pit.


Resort Amenities

There are three golf courses (http://www.worldgolf.com), The Bloody Point Course, The Melrose Golf Course, and the 9 hole Haig Point Osprey Course. The island boasts two historic lighthouses: The Bloody Point Lighthouse and Haig Point Front Range Lighthouse. Daufuskie’s oldest building is the First Union African Baptists Church and is still in use today as a place of worship.

There is a wide variety of nature and animal life on the island notable, the Fox Squirrel and the bald eagle. Frequently you can see eagles soaring in the air and occasionally swooping into the water for a catch.

The Daufuskie Front Porch is the island’s only news source where you can find details of Daufuskie Island Conservancy.