Info for First Time Daufuskie Island Visitors

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Enjoy Your Daufuskie Island Adventure!

Preparing for Your Daufuskie Island Adventure
contributed by Deborah Smith

We’re so glad you’ve chosen to visit Daufuskie Island! This information will help you prepare for your visit.

Getting to Daufuskie

Since Daufuskie is an island without a bridge, you can only get here by passenger ferry or boat (no cars on the ferries).  You’ll be able to leave your car on the mainland in a parking lot maintained by your ferry or water taxi company.

Water Taxis and Ferries

**Note: If you have your own boat, or have access to the privately owned Haig Point ferry this next section does not apply to you.

The following are choices for water transportation. All require advance reservations. These trips can be fun, and often you’ll spot dolphins on the way to the island!

Calibogue Cruises   (843) 342-8687  $28/person round trip

Main ferry boat to Daufuskie departs Broad Creek Marina on Hilton Head, arrives Freeport Marina on Daufuskie. 60 minute trip.
The ferry has a set schedule. Be sure to allow yourself at least 30 minutes prior to departure time to park, unload, get your tickets, and carry luggage onto the boat.

Note: Not all scheduled boats allow luggage. Check the company’s website’s “Our Schedule and Rates” section for more information. It’s always good to confirm the ferry schedule the day before you are scheduled to depart, as the website does not always reflect recent schedule changes.

Additional charges:  $20 roundtrip charge for large bags and coolers (even if you don’t bring them back with you.) Parking  $5 per day for each vehicle.Check website for current rates, as they change frequently.

Daufuskie Island Adventures  843-683-1135  $99/person round trip  Maximum 6 people per trip

Departs Hilton Head Boathouse at 405 Squire Pope Road and arrives at one of a variety of docks on Daufuskie. Call about baggage charges.   $10 for each pet. No charge for parking. Covered boat.  

Captain Steve Ebbers

Trips from Daufuskie to Hilton Head’s Harbor Town and fishing expeditions are available through an affiliate group www.harbourtownadventures.com

May River Excursions    843-304-2878   $35/ per person round trip. $140 minimum charge per trip with maximum 6 passengers per boat. If you have a larger group, call Captain Chris who now has access to a second boat.

Departs 110 Calhoun Street, Bluffton, SC No charge for luggage, pets, or parking.  Please note this is an uncovered boat

Flexible schedule; 25 minute ride to Daufuskie.  Captain Chris Shoemaker 

Upon request and subject to time constraints, Captain Chris may be able to arrange for fresh shrimp to be waiting for you for transport over to the island. Fishing/dolphin excursions from Daufuskie are also available.

When You Arrive

If you arrive on Calibogue Cruises ferry, the company offers land transportation to your rental home, which can be arranged at the time you make your boat reservations. There is a charge for luggage, coolers, golf clubs, etc., except for two carry-ons per person.

Some vacation rental groups and vacation property owners also offer complimentary ground transportation options, so check with them.

What to Bring

Food and Groceries

There are three small General Stores on the island with limited items located at the Bloody Point clubhouse, Freeport Marina, and the county dock next to Marshside Mama’s. Since there are no traditional grocery stores at this time,  you’ll probably want to bring food. It’s helpful to bring one or two roll-on suitcases in which to place your groceries; many folks also bring a cooler or freezer bags for items that need refrigeration.

Grocery shopping service is provided by the Triune Company. Call them at 843-686-6330 to place an order for groceries which will be delivered to your rental home. There is a fee for this service and a premium price for the groceries.

Your vacation home will probably have a fully-equipped kitchen, and many have a washer and dryer. Your home may include a grill or, if not, one may be available for a small charge. If you do want to use a grill, remember to bring a small bag of charcoal and matches. If your charcoal is not the self-lighting kind, you’ll also need lighter fluid. Be sure to clean the grill before you leave.

Some vacation homes provide coffee starter packs, but for more than a few cups you’ll need to bring your own supplies. You will also want to ask what other supplies are provided, such as soap, dishwasher soap, and laundry detergent.

Clothing and Towels

Your vacation home will almost certainly provide bed and bath linens, but you may want to bring beach towels.

Most people end up packing more clothing than they need. Casual attire is the norm on the island, including the restaurants. If you plan on horseback riding (available through the Sea Grass Stables located on the Melrose on the Beach Resort) bring long pants and leather-soled shoes or boots. Advance reservations are recommended: Call 843-341-2894.

Essential Supplies

Don’t forget bug spray! If you do, island residents swear by Naturally Daufuskie’s “Daufuskie Survival Spray”, available in the General Stores and other island locations. Take your bug spray with you if you are going to eat outside at one of our restaurants.

You’ll also want to bring sunscreen or  sunblock and a hat. A light rain jacket may also come in handy.

Getting Around on Daufuskie

Golf Carts

Most folks get around the island by golf cart, and your vacation home may include a golf cart as part of your rental, or you may rent one from another source. Day visitors can rent a golf cart from the Freeport Marina and explore the island on their own. Calibogue Cruises also offers very informative and interesting bus tours of the island.

Cart renters/users should keep in mind that all South Carolina Rules of the Road are in effect, and that careless driving can result in serious accidents.

Any drinking on the cart or evidence of inebriation will be grounds for terminating your cart contract. 

Children should always be securely seated and should hold on to the cart’s armrests, and should be instructed not to exit the cart until it comes to a full stop.

Drive defensively, and especially at night when visibility can be an issue. Always pull over to the side of the road to let cars and trucks pass you.

Carts are not allowed on the beaches!! Preserving our fragile dunes and protecting wildlife (the endangered Loggerhead Turtle lays eggs on our beaches) is important to us, and we ask that our island visitors help protect our environmental resources.

 The bottom line is that carts are fun, but you need to be careful. Accidents can easily happen, and can be serious; there were 4 golf cart-related deaths in our county last year.

Restaurants

There are currently three restaurants on the island, which you can reach by golf cart or by pre-arranged ground transportation. Casual dress is the norm at all three.

Eagle’s Nest at Bloody Point Resort  843-341-5522

Check website or call for schedule. Reservations recommended for dinner and for large groups for lunch.

This is a very pleasant restaurant with an nice dining room, an adjoining sports bar, and an outside porch eating area. Great chef; Kid-Friendly. Sundays and Mondays feature a very popular homemade “pizza night” in addition to the regular selections.  

Old Daufuskie Crab Company at Freeport Marina  843-785-6652

Super casual with inside and outside colorful tables and chairs, and often featuring a band on weekends. Be sure to check out the centuries-old canoe recently discovered embedded in mud in a nearby island. This restaurant is one of the best places to watch the sunset! Grab a drink and head over to the adirondack chairs or a picnic table to enjoy it.

 Usually open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner (call to be sure). Reservations not needed.

 Marshside Mama’s at the County Dock  843-785-4755

Legendary laid-back restaurant. Check website or call for schedule. Menu features local favorites such as Shrimp and Grits as well as more standard fare. Some outside seating; summer months often feature a band. Don’t expect an elegant environment: the restaurant motto is “No Whining, Just Dance.”  Reservations for dinner highly recommended for summer and holiday/special event times.

The Melrose Beach Club restaurant is now open. It includes seating in an enclosed dining room as well as a lovely screened in room overlooking the pool area and ocean. Summer hours are Lunch 11 to 3. Check with Melrose to find out when they are open for dinner. Call 843 341-2922.

Medical Emergencies

As isolated as Daufuskie may seem, the island has excellent emergency services. If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Your call will be routed to the Daufuskie Island fire station where an outstanding team of firefighters and paramedics is on call 24/7. When necessary, they transport patients to the appropriate medical facility on Hilton Head or Savanna by boat or helicopter.

Activities

Resorts

Regardless of where you are staying, there are a variety of ways for you to enjoy the island’s beautiful resorts and their amenities. Please check with the individual resorts for more information.

 For more information about resort visit  Melrose on the Beach, and Bloody Point websites. 

Yoga

 Yoga classes are generally held every Saturday morning at the Mary Field School (which is the Islands’ community center) on School Road. This is a great way to get to know some of the island’s full-time residents. The instruction is appropriate for all fitness levels, from beginner to intermediate, and visitors are welcome. Laura Winholt is a certified Anusara Yoga and RYT 500 instructor. For more information call Laura at 843-842-5990 or email her at db1945@hargray.com.

Island Locations of Special Interest

There are many interesting places to visit on Daufuskie, including the locations described below. All of these places are marked on the Daufuskie Map on this website.

The Silver Dew Pottery opens for the season on Tuesday, April 30th and remains open through October. This studio is run by Lancy and Emily Burn, longtime Daufuskie residents. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Lancy’s grandfather arriving on Daufuskie to serve as the Bloody Point assistant lighthouse keeper. You can hear some fascinating stories about the island’s history from the Burns during your visit to this shop. The hours for the Silver Dew Pottery are 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, Tuesday through Friday

 The historic Jane Hamilton School, formerly used as the school for children living on the north end of the island, has been restored by the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation and is currently home to the Gullah Learning Center and the Daufuskie Island Community Library. It also serves as the polling location for Daufuskie’s elections precinct.  Located next door is the Billie Burn Museum, which was formerly the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church. The museum contains a fascinating collection of island artifacts and historical documents and also offers some distinctive gift items for sale. The summer hours for the Jane Hamilton School and the Billie Burn Museum are Tuesday through Saturday 12:30 to 3:30.

The Iron Fish Art Gallery is always open, even if its resident artist, Chase Allen, is not present. Chase has been featured in numerous Southern and Coastal Living publications. Lots of interesting things to see here, and visitors enjoy exploring his art work on both the front porch and in an outdoor gallery area. Love honey? Chase has his own bee hives, and you can buy jars of freshly-made honey.

 The Daufuskie Island Community Farm is run by volunteers and is a particularly nice location for families with children to visit. Ducks, chickens, turkeys, and a cow named Muffin are among the resident animals. Don’t forget to visit the goat barn where you will most likely see the recently-born baby goats (kids). (Please note that this is not a petting zoo, and that entering into the animals’ gated areas is not allowed.)

 The Silver Dew Winery and Gift Shop is located in one of Daufuskie’s most historic buildings. The small building dates back to 1883 and originally served as a wick house (a building used to store the lighthouse lamp and wicks) for the Bloody Point Lighthouse. If you’re lucky, the current owner, “Low Country Joe,” will be on hand to relay the structure’s fascinating history.

 The beautiful and historic First Union African Baptist Church holds services every Sunday, and visitors are welcome. Church services begin at 10:00 am.  

The Rob Kennedy Historic Trail was developed by the Daufuskie Island Historical Foundation and contains numerous landmarks of great historic and cultural importance. This is a great way to spend a day exploring the island on golf cart or bike. A map can be found by clicking here website or at the Billie Burn Museum and other places around the island.

The Island T-Shirt and Gift Shop and the Freeport General Store both carry Daufuskie-themed T-shirts and other souvenir items.

 Island Tips 

 Slow Down to “Daufuskie Standard Time!”

Get off the beaten path! Talk to the local folks! Most islanders are glad to chat with visitors and share stories about Daufuskie’s people, history, and culture. And join a Daufuskie tradition by waving at the people you pass in golf carts or other vehicles. 

Keep Daufuskie beautiful. Even one discarded beverage can or plastic bag on the roadside diminishes the island’s natural beauty.

 Protect Daufuskie’s wildlife and natural resources:

Don’t drive your golf cart on the beach; you may inadvertently destroy all the eggs in an entire loggerhead turtle nest; if your property faces the beach, turn off your porch lights at night from May through October which is the loggerhead turtle nesting season. The light will confuse the baby turtles and cause them to head for the light instead of towards the water.

Leave the live sand dollars on the beach (these are the brown ones-it’s okay to take the white, bleached ones)

Please don’t pick the wildflowers; Let others enjoy them, too!   

Support Daufuskie’s nonprofit organizations. We are proud of our island volunteers for their work to preserve and promote the island’s history, natural resources, and sustainable efforts. When you visit such places as the Billie Burn Museum and Jane Hamilton School, the Community Farm, and the First Union African Baptist Church, please make a donation to help us continue these great programs.

 Contact other great organizations such as the Daufuskie Island Conservancy and the Daufuskie Island Feral Cat (843-842-5990) program to find out ways  you can help.

Finally, keep in touch! Sign up for updates on this website and consider subscribing to updates from our nonprofit organizations.

There’s a saying that “You don’t find Daufuskie…Daufuskie finds you.” Keep Daufuskie in your heart and come back to see us as soon as you can.

 For more information contact  Deborah Smith at 404 414-1282 or 407–414-9072

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