Daufuskie Island

Daufuskie Island

Overview

Area name

Daufuskie Island

Area Location

Daufuskie Island, SC

Area Map

Access

Daufuskie Island access is available via ferry boat.  Palmetto Breeze oversees issuing of identification cards and ticketing for the public ferry. For more information about obtaining an ID card and/or tickets, please contact Rory Barksdale at 843-757-5782 or lrtadispatch@hargray.com for an appointment, and visit Daufuskie Island Ferry Schedule for more information.

Daufuskie Island Ticket Outlets – July 1, 2009
Palmetto Breeze
Po Box 2029
25 Benton Field Road
Bluffton, SC 29910
843-757-5782 – office
843-757-5783 – fax
Ticket Sales:  Monday – Friday 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

J&W (Hilton Head)
1 Indian Trail
Hilton Head, SC 29926
843-342-8687
Ticket Sales:  Monday – Friday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM; Saturday  8:00 AM – 2:00 PM

J&W (Daufuskie Island – Freeport office
48 Rookery Way
Hilton Head, SC 29926
843-785-8242
Ticket Sales:  Monday – Saturday  9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Guided birding and naturalist tours are available, visit Tour Daufuski for more information.

Facilities

Key Birds

Resident

Eastern Bluebird, American Bald Eagle, American Kestrel, Osprey, Great Blue Heron, Northern Gannet,  Cedar Waxwing, Snowy Egret, Wood Stork.

Background

Daufuskie Island is a residential sea island between Savannah, Georgia and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It has a full-time population of around 430 and is home to a resort, a private residential community, and a largely undeveloped tract of residential property.

The Island’s recorded history traces back to Pre-Revolutionary War times. It was the site of a skirmish called the Daufuskie Fight during the Yemasee War of 1715-1717. The Island was home to a sizable population of Gullah inhabitants (descendants of freed slaves) from the end of the Civil War until very recently. The 1972 Pat Conroy book The Water is Wide, was set on Daufuskie, fictionalized as Yamacraw Island. The book recounts Mr. Conroy’s experiences teaching on the island in the 1960s. The 1988 Jimmy Buffet song, “The Prince of Tides” laments the urbanization of the island and loss of the Gullah.

The island is now split into five parts. To the northeast is the Haig Point Club, a private, member owned residential club with around 150 year round residents and over 225 homes. South of Haig Point is the Daufuskie Resort and Breathe Spa. Formerly a private vacation club with an emphasis on golf and tennis, and offering a private residential component, this is now a publicly accessible resort. Further south on the eastern side of the island is Oak Ridge, a small oceanfront community followed by Bloody Point, a private residential community with amenities that are an accessible part of the Daufuskie Island Resort and Breathe Spa. The Resort recently filed for bankruptcy but a trustee has been appointed with the task of reopening the resort for the summer 2009. The western part of the island is unincorporated land, with several dozen residents living in a variety of accommodations, from trailers to beautiful waterfront homes with private docks. This section of the island is often referred to as the Historic District. Visitors can take a tour around this historic portion of the island, with boat transportation available from nearby Hilton Head Island, Bluffton or Savannah on the mainland. Highlights include the site of the Bloody Point Lighthouse, the school where Pat Conroy taught, and the home workshops of local artisans. The island is also home to the First Union African Baptist Church, which is Daufuskie’s oldest building, and is still in use today as a place of worship.

A recent census in 2007 by the local Daufuskie Island Fire and Rescue Department counted 429 full time residents living full time on the entire island. The Haig Point Club has its own private ferry service. The Daufuskie Island Club runs its own ferry service, which is also contracted by the county to provide public ferry services between Hilton Head (Salty Fare Embarkation Center) and the Melrose Landing on Daufuskie. Residents of the clubs, as well as some of the other residents on the island, use golf carts and bicycles to travel around the island, although there are a handful of cars and trucks on the island.

The Daufuskie Island School is a Beaufort County public school built in 1997. It is a modern facility with 13 students and significant community support, a marked contrast to the conditions depicted by Pat Conroy two generations ago in The Water is Wide. Students in grades 6-12 are transported to the Hilton Head Middle School and High School by a county school ferry. On Daufuskie, these students take a small school bus to the boat at Melrose Landing, travel approximately 45 minutes by boat to Skull Creek on Hilton Head and are then picked up by a bus and taken to the Hilton Head schools campus. The entire trip is about an hour and ten minutes each morning and afternoon. The kids often do their homework or simply go back to sleep during the boat ride. It’s a unique way of life for a school kid.

There are two historic lighthouses on Daufuskie Island. The Bloody Point Lighthouse built in 1883 and the Haig Point Lighthouse built in 1873. The Daufuskie Island Conservancy is one of several local organizations charged with preserving the ecosystem, wildlife and quality of life on Daufuskie Island. Details of these groups and their meetings can be found at island’s only news source The Daufuskie Front Porch. In addition there is a web portal for the island. Daufuskie Tides has local weather, tides charts, fishing reports and other local interests for residents and frequent visitors.

The island has three golf courses, the Melrose Golf Course designed by Jack Nicklaus, the Bloody Point Course designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, and the 20 hole Haig Point Signature Course plus the 9 hole Haig Point Osprey Course designed by Rees Jones.

The twenty hole Haig Point Golf Course is designed to be played as two separate 18 hole courses, one easy, one difficult with two extra “easy” par threes and many holes have two sets of tees. It is a unique and ingenious design that allows every level of player to enjoy the Signature Course. Ten of the twenty holes have spectacular marsh, sound and ocean views.

This island also boasts a wide variety of nature and animal life. One of the main animals that inhabit the island is the Fox Squirrel. Also one of the most magnificent animals that calls the island home, is the American Bald Eagle.

Read the Daufuskie Island Ferry Handbook for additional information.

Birds To Watch