There are many things to do while visiting Hilton Head whether you are a guest to the area or hosting friends. One of the things you may want to put on your list is touring Daufuskie Island.
Getting to the island requires access to a boat. If you don’t own a boat, there are tours that include transportation as well as water taxis and a ferry service to transport you. Once there, you can rent a golf cart or bring a bike with you to explore the area. There are also guided horseback rides on the island trails for an equestrian experience.
Daufuskie is only a short distance from Hilton Head but you will discover an ageless natural beauty and delightful example of the unique Sea Island culture. The beaches are wide and accessible off sandy roads. As is typical of the Lowcountry, the live oaks abound and are decorated with Spanish moss.
After the Civil War, the island was given to freed slaves who became oystermen, farmers and lumbermen. The Gullah people, descendants of the slaves, continue to inhabit the island as fulltime residents, numbering about 300.
For those who remember Pat Conroy’s book, The River is Wide, it was written about Daufuskie. The movie Conrack was based on his novel which gave many of us our first insight into a culture that has gone unchanged for more than a century.
To get started on your exploration, go to the Billie Burn Museum at the old Mt Carmel Baptist Church. There you can obtain a guide to the 20 historic landmarks. The importance of the island’s past has been acknowledged by its placement on the National Register of Historic Places. The food establishments include the Old Daufuskie Crab Company Restaurant, located at the Freeport Marina, and Marshside Mama’s at the Beaufort County Dock. If you would like to try some favorite local dishes or Daufuskie Island Deviled Crab, you have come to the right place. You may be lucky and catch an evening of lively music.
The art galleries are located throughout the island and may or may not be open. That is part of their way of life. Visitors can easily lose track of time, so it is easy to understand why islanders aren’t concerned about the hour of the day. Have a great visit, but be careful you don’t forget the time and miss your boat back to Hilton Head!