Daufuskie Island is a
residential "sea island" between Savannah, Georgia and Hilton Head Island, South
Carolina about 2 3/4 miles offshore.
Rather than a
"barrier island" within a series of associated linear islands, it
is the sort of island we usually imagine as a sea bottom high point
that rises up above the water's surface. The total island surface
is just 8 square miles within the maximum length of 5 miles and
maximum width of 2 1/2 miles.
Daufuskie has become a popular retreat away from the typical
tourist route. Daufuskie embraces a local feel with an island
lifestyle often visited by music lovers and great down-home bands.
It has a full-time population of around 430. Daufuskie is home to
two resorts, 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 Yamasee War
of 1715-1717. The island was home to
a sizable population of Gullah
from the end of the Civil War until very recently. Gullah
are the descendants of freed slaves. The 1988
song, "The Prince Of
Tides" laments the urbanization of the island and loss of the
. The 1972 Pat
book The Water
was set on Daufuskie, fictionalized as "Yamacraw
Island." The book recounts Mr. Conroy's experiences teaching on the
island in the 1960s.
The island is now split into five parts.
Map of Daufuskie Island.
To the northeast is the Haig Point
, 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
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. Several
dozen residents live 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
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
A recent census in 2007 by the local Daufuskie Island Fire and
Rescue Department counted a total of just 429 residents living full
time on the entire island.
Dolphins gliding in front of the Haig
Point private ferry
The Haig Point Club has its own private ferry service.
Additionally, 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, too.
The Daufuskie Island School
is a Beaufort County
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
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 and travel approximately 45 minutes by boat to
Skull Creek on Hilton Head. The students' commute is completed when
they are 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. Kids often do their homework or simply nap
during the boat ride. It's a unique way of life for
There are two historic lighthouses
on Daufuskie Island. The Bloody Point Lighthouse
, built in 1883, and the
Haig Point Lighthouse
, built ten years earlier.
The Daufuskie Island Conservancy
is one of several local
organizations charged with preserving the ecosystem, flora and
fauna, and quality of life on Daufuskie Island. Details of these
groups and their meetings can be found at the island's only news
source The Daufuskie Front Porch
www.ExploreDauFusKie.com and www.TheBinyahFoundation.org also
provide information online. In addition there is a web portal for
the island with local interests and local business listings at
The island has three golf courses
, the Bloody Point Course
designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, the Melrose Golf Course
designed by Jack Nicklaus, and the 20 hole Haig Point Signature
Course plus the 9 hole Haig Point Osprey Course designed by Rees
The twenty hole Haig
Point Golf Course
is designed to be played as two separate 18
hole courses, one easier, one more difficult. The course has 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 and its natural beauty. Ten of the
twenty holes have spectacular marsh, sound and ocean views.
Daufuskie Island boasts a wide variety of nature and animal life.
One of the notable animals that inhabit the island is the Fox
Squirrel. And, one of the most magnificent animals that calls the
island home, is the American Bald Eagle. During the day, you can
see eagles soaring high in the air and occasionally swooping into
the water for a catch.