From the top of the Harbour Town Lighthouse, one can view the gorgeous marina connected to the Calibogue Sound. Across the inlet lies a reclusive island only accessible by ferry, Daufuskie Island. The ferry ride to the island is a thirty minute trip with breathtaking water views featuring pelicans, dolphins, and bright skies. Significantly smaller than Hilton Head, Daufuskie is a little over two miles wide and about five miles long.
The entire island is webbed together by aged oak trees, tethered to one another by Spanish moss. Below the moss covered canopy are quaint dirt roads connecting the small island settlements. There are no cars on the island nor any bridges connecting to mainland, leaving the transportation options minimized to golf carts and bikes; both available for daily rentals upon arrival.
Duafuskie and its few residents provide a captivating, refreshing atmosphere. There are less than 500 full-time island residents. Being almost entirely remote, the islanders take the term “island time” to a whole other level. Everyone is patient, everyone is kind, and everyone is excited to strike up conversation about their past and what brought them to the island. However, some residents were never newcomers, but instead generations from Gullah islanders. Prior to the Civil War, there were eleven plantations on Daufuskie, all with enslaved West Africans who later became the final standing inhabitants after the war. Being so distant from mainland communities, the Gullah people and their practices flourished on Duafuskie.
Homes with Haint Blue trim can be found throughout the island, one of the many practices from the Gullah culture. The word “haint” is related to the word haunt. Gullahs painted their shutters and door trims this color to ward off spirits and to welcome calm energy into their homes.
More extravagant homes can be found in the gated communities of Haig Point and Bloody Point, both new to the island. These neighborhoods have every amenity possible from tennis courts, oceanfront golf courses, private stables, entertaining country clubs and more. There was once a third resort on the island, Melrose, which unfortunately went bankrupt. Remnants of Melrose are still evident, many once beachfront homes are dilapidated as is the expansive Melrose Country Club.
Not only can visitors rent golf carts and bikes to peruse, but they can also book overnight stays in brightly colored cabins at Freeport Landing. There, islanders greet guests and enjoy the pleasures of waterfront dining at the Old Daufuskie Crab Company, accompanied by live music from local musicians. For such a small island, there is an incredible amount of history, culture, and preserved nature to experience, making Daufuskie Island a perfect weekend getaway.