By Mary Ashton Mills

If you want to get back to the basics and experience a trip that gives you that “off the grid” feeling while still close to civilization, check out Daufuskie Island.  Located between Hilton Head and Savannah, the island is easily accessible by ferry or private boat charter so it definitely takes some advance planning to pull off a trip here.  They say that Daufuskie is minutes away, but worlds apart and you’ll soon see why as the coastal breezes hit your face on the boat ride to the island.   Your sense of time and your weekly hustle bustle vibe will slowly dissipate. 

While on the island, you can choose from activities such as enjoying one of their beaches, attending historical tours, crabbing, fishing, kayaking, golfing or perusing the local art galleries.  Golf carts rather than cars heavily frequent the paved main street, but most other roads that still weave around the island are dirt roads, giving you that small island vibe.      

Get your rum on at Daufuskie Island Rum Company offering tours daily from Wednesday – Saturday.   If art is your passion, don’t miss the Iron Fish Art Gallery where metal sculptor Chase Allen handcrafts whimsical coastal icons like blue crabs and mermaids.  Next stop by the Glass House where glass jewelry, silverware and gift items are all made in house at the river front studio.  Don’t forget Silver Dew Pottery making dishes, platters and pots on the island for over 15 years.

Marsh side Mamas and Old Daufuskie Crab Company are very casual waterfront dining establishments that are the perfect place to enjoy a shrimp burger, tuna tacos or a cold drink.  Come as you are!  Local Gullah Sally Anne Robinson now preserves the Gullah culture that was once so dominant on the island on private golf cart tours.   Famous author Pat Conroy once taught her as a child at the Mary Field School.  Speaking of famous people, John Cougar Mellancamp owns a home near Bloody Point on the island and frequents this hidden South Carolina gem with Christie Brinkley.  They say he’s right at home here.  Didn’t he have a thing or two to say about a small town??

Distance: 162 miles 3 hours 22 minutes

Budget: Set aside some money for this trip.   Ferry reservations and golf cart rentals can set you back before you even begin to rent a home and pay for meals or activities.  .

What to See: Check out the most historic landmark on the island, the First Union African Baptist Church that was built in 1881.

If you go: You will need to book your reservation with the ferry in advance.  Daufuskie Island Ferry – 843-940-7704.   You can come for the day or stay a while.  If you rent a home, make sure to choose one in Haig Point or Bloody Point and not Melrose since it is not an active resort anymore.  Don’t leave without trying local specialty, deviled crab.  Ask the locals where you can get some!

Mary Ashton Mills is an Augusta freelance writer and mother of two.

This article appears in the November 2017 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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