Monday, July 8, 2019

Visiting Daufuskie Island

Each Summer we spend one week with my family on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. This is where I grew up going to the beach as a child, and while the island has changed a ton over the years, its been fun to keep up the tradition with my own children.

Because we have been visiting the island for so many years, we know pretty much the ins and the outs of it. Where to eat, what to see, what activities to participate in.

This year we were looking to throw a little something new into the mix, and decided to make a day trip to Daufuskie Island.

Daufuskie is a small island across the Calibogue Sound from Hilton Head Island. It has a ton of history, and has a small population (like really small), but even with all that untouched beauty so close by the island still maintains a rural feel. One of the nicest resorts in the area was located on the island and years ago due to poor management, illegal financial happenings, and ongoing lawsuits it now resembles something out of a horror movie set (do a quick Google search for all the sad details).

I haven't been on Daufuskie since I was a teenager. Most of the people in our group have never visited. I thought this was funny since where we stay each year literally looks right at the island.

So we booked our ferry ride, reserved our golf carts, and got ready for a day of exploring.

plan a visit to Daufuskie Island


The only way to get to Daufuskie is by boat. There are several ferry services that will take you to and from the island. The cost is around $40-50 per person and takes about 20 minutes from Hilton Head. The island has its own ferry system as well. I think it is a lot cheaper, but takes around an hour from island to island.

Because of the island's set up there are very few cars on the island. That means you get to ride around on bikes or golf carts as modes of transportation. We opted for golf carts for this trip. Some people in our group were very excited about this. (I'm looking at you Mr. Magnolia and Grandpa Magnolia).

We arrived on the island just before lunch. So we rode around for a bit on our golf carts enjoying the scenery and then decided to get an early lunch at one of the local restaurants. There are a few on the island - The Melrose Beach Club, Daufuskie Crab Co., the general store to name a few - but we made our way to Lucy Bell's Cafe.

Lucy Bell's was amazing! The seating is mostly outdoors under grand Spanish moss covered oaks. The southern style fare is all made to order and is beyond delicious.

The portions are on the generous side so you definitely won't leave hungry. For those brave enough to tour the island by bike I commend you because after I "shared" the heavenly piece of homemade Carrot Cake all I wanted was a nap.

Next time I'm in Hilton Head, it will definitely be worth a visit to Daufuskie just for a little more Lucy Bell's in my life.

Daufuskie was first inhibited in 1728. There's a ton of great history on the island, and a few structures have survived the elements over the last few centuries. Most native residents are descendants of slaves and have a deep rooted history to the island. There are several tabby structures, historical churches, and homes that you can visit.

There are guided tour services on the island that will take you around via golf cart, but we chose to give it a go on our own.

Bloody Point Light House & Silver Dew Winery
First stop on our tour was the Bloody Point Light House. The original lighthouse fell victim to mother nature years ago, but the homesite contains a ton of local artifacts and information.

Bonus for this wine lover, it was also the site of the Silver Dew Winery.

While the winery isn't currently active it sounds like there are plans in the works to make it so in the future. You are able to enjoy a taste test or two though.

Melrose Community
Next up we toured the Melrose end of the island. This is where the famous Melrose Resort and golf community was located. The area now resembles a ghost town that the movie industry is missing out on making it's go-to for apocalypse films.

It's a gorgeous area with tons of potential and I hope someone comes in and revitalizes the property. There are a few developers renovating the beach homes, and they are super cute with beautiful beach front access. I would scoop one up in a nano-second.

(Scary abandoned hotel and golf course not pictured because I think we were so shocked. It had been gorgeous in its hey day.)

Daufuskie Island Rum Company
After our pass through of the Melrose area of the island we must have gotten a little thirsty again because we found ourselves on the doorstep of the Daufuskie Island Rum Company.

The Daufuskie Island Rum Company was founded in 2013 and is an active distillery of rum, vodka, and bourbon. Tours are given daily, including taste testing and craft cocktails to enjoy.

A few of us decided to take the guided tour, and were given the option to each try a different rum product that they produce as well as their signature vodka, Hair of the Dog. 

We each had our favorites but I think the top choices were the Vanilla, Kona, and Blueberry Vodka.

Taby Ruins
There are several tabby ruin structures throughout the island. We attempted to visit one of them. The one we chose we had to walk to by foot. We started out as a group of ten and by the end only three of us were willing to battle the mosquito army protecting the seemingly majestic ruin.

In the end, we could only find this small 3x4 foot wall remnant.

Not sure if it was user error in regards to map reading or this was it. But there are some larger structures on the island.

I wish we had planned for more time spent on the island. We missed several things and could probably spend a whole other day touring around the sites. We missed the Haig Point community, several of the historic sites, Bloody Point Beach, and Daufuskie Wine & Woodworks just to name a few major notables.

My husband and I fell in love with the island and its laid back feel. We loved the pristine untouched beaches, beautiful golf course, and the quaint restaurants. We would love to visit and stay for a long weekend with our little crew. The rest of my family, however, felt like the "mainland" was more their style.

And then we saw tons of dolphins five feet from us on the beach and maybe it swayed them a little.

Here's a few tips and tricks to help navigate your trip to Daufuskie.

  • Bring bug spray. Lots of it. 
  • Book your transportation ahead of time. It saves a lot of time to be able to pay and fill out the release forms ahead of time. 
  • Grab a free map at the church right off the arrival dock. It has both great directions (something that is a necessity considering street names are few and far between), as well as a quick over view with pictures of each tour stop.
  • You can stay on the island. There are tons of rentals available. A full 24-48 hours would be a great way to see everything. 
  • Pack lots of water. While there are restaurants and a general store on the island. Hours vary and they are few and far between. 

Have you visited Daufauskie Island? What are some of your favorite local spots? 

Come spend the day with us on:
Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter |

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...