If you are curious about Daufuskie Island, but want more flexibility than a guided tour, design your own day trip.
Visiting Daufuskie can be a completely impromptu adventure, requiring nothing more than a few dollars, lots of curiosity, and time to spend.
As with all things Daufuskie, dress is casual. Make sure you dress for the outdoors in weather-appropriate clothing. You might want to pack a cooler and some ice, and don’t forget the bug spray and a camera.
Because there is no bridge to Daufuskie, you can only get there by boat. If you don’t own your own boat, you have four choices:
1) Take a passenger ferry (operated by Enjoy Daufuskie or Vagabond Cruises);
2) Climb aboard a water taxi (check availability at our marinas);
4) Hire a private boat charter (through Outside Hilton Head).
Schedules and fares may vary depending on the season so make sure you call ahead.
All boat carriers will help make arrangements for golf cart rentals, the best way to explore the Island. Cart supplies are limited so make sure you make your rental arrangements before you arrive on-island.
There are four boat landings on Daufuskie. Coming from Hilton Head, the first you will see is Haig Point Landing. This is a private dock and you cannot land there.
The second is the Freeport Marina, the location of the Old Daufuskie Crab Company and the only marina with gas service and open to public docking.
The third dock is Melrose Landing, a private dock.
The fourth is the Beaufort County Public Dock, the location of Marshside Mama’s, but docking is restricted to Island residents only.
If you are renting your own boat, be aware that marine gas is only available at Freeport Marina.
Exploring the Island
Once you arrive on the Island, you are free to explore on your own. Be aware that there is no “town” on the Island. Freeport Marina functions as the Island’s hub with a general store, souvenir shop, a restaurant (the Old Daufuskie Crab Company), cabins for rent, and the marina (the only one available for public docking).
The most popular way to explore is by renting a multi-passenger golf cart. Just like renting a car, you must have a valid drivers license when you rent your cart. You will be provided with map showing all the significant landmarks, such as the Billie Burn Museum (located in the old Mt. Carmel Baptist Church) where you can pick up a guide to the Rob Kennedy Historic Trail. The trail will lead you to 20 historic sites on the Island.
If you rent through Freeport Marina, the carts come equipped with a cd player as well as a cd provided by the Daufuskie Lowcountry Museum. The narrative cd includes many wonderful stories about the Island’s history and culture.
You can also explore on foot, or by bicycle if you bring your own. You can also sign up for a guided history or nature tour. Two-hour guided horseback rides are also available that will take you along the Island’s forested trails and to the beach. Note that advance reservations are required for all tours.
There are art galleries spotted around the Island, but they are not your traditional galleries. They are more like studios where the artists live, create, and might sell you a piece of their artwork. You may find the studio closed, but don’t be upset – you’re on Daufuskie time. Please respect their privacy.
Beachcombers will appreciate Daufuskie’s unspoiled and uncrowded public beach. This is a great spot for hunting for shells and for taking panoramic photographs of Hilton Head.
There are a two of places to eat. The Old Daufuskie Crab Company Restaurant, located at Freeport Marina, is home to the Daufuskie Island Deviled Crab, prepared by native islanders. Marshside Mama’s is located at the Beaufort County Dock and specializes in Lowcountry dishes. Both restaurants have rollicking live entertainment sessions that feature some of the area’s favorites bands.
Enchanting, reclusive Daufuskie Island can give you a day to escape and explore a forgotten culture. But a word of caution: It is easy to lose track of time, so check your watch every once in awhile.
For more information, contact:
Dolphin Seafari (843-785-2345)
Enjoy Daufuskie (843) 342-8687
Live Oac Adventures (888-254-8362)
Outside Hilton Head (800-686-6996)
Sky Pirate Watersports (843-842-2566)
Vagabond Cruises (843-363-9023)