Daufuskie: The Island Less Traveled

Our family just returned from our first trip to Daufuskie Island. As I stare at this blank page and wonder how I can possibly put into words the charm of this little place, a familiar poem comes to mind.

Remember the one by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken? It’s often misquoted and taken out of context. In fact I’m about to do the same, but  I can’t help myself. I’ve taken some liberties…

wo roads (well, 1 road and 1 ferry dock) diverged in a yellow wood (blue sea),
And sorry I could not travel both…
I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.

I’m sure by now you’re thinking two things: Where is Daufuskie Island? And, what is this crazy person talking about?

First, let me answer the geographically simple question. Daufuskie Island is located just off the coast of South Carolina between Hilton Head Island and Savannah, Georgia. There is no bridge to the island, and therefore only accessible by ferry.

In many ways, though, Daufuskie is a million miles from the real world. There are very few cars on the island and certainly no stoplights. Many of the roads are dirt or sand. And golf carts are the main mode of transportation. You won’t find a grocery store, a Target or even a Starbucks on Daufuskie.

But everything the island lacks is exactly what makes it so special.

When Island Accommodations invited our family to come spend a weekend I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Raised in Atlanta and currently living in Charlotte, I’m afraid I have to label myself as a big city girl. And even with all of our travel, I can honestly say I’ve never experienced anywhere quite as remote.

Now before I give you the idea that our family was really roughing it, let me point out a few things. I had cell phone and internet service. Our cottage had 2 huge TVs and a Wii Game System (though I’m proud to say, we never turned on a TV!) And every night we had a fabulous dinner at the Beach Club.

So while the island itself it is a bit rustic, our accommodations were anything but!

The vibe on the island is casual and down-to-earth. It’s quiet, but friendly. There isn’t a whole lot of development and there’s zero commercialization.

I’ve tried really hard to come up with a way to express how deeply I appreciated my time on Daufuskie. I mean, it almost seems impossible that in a span of 3 days the Island now feels more like home than the city I’ve lived in for 4+ years. Our family fell head over heels in love with everything about Daufuskie (to the tune of making plans to move there one day!)

Here are the 3 things I think make Daufuskie Island so special…

  • The People: From the moment we set foot on Daufuskie we felt welcome. And though we came as outsiders, we left as family. Everyone on the island waves to everyone else. And it’s not uncommon to strike up a conversation too. We got to know everyone, and everyone got to know us. By the second night at The Beach Club we were considered regulars. Our waitress even knew my son would like Ketchup on his cheeseburger and fruit instead of fries. The genuine kindness displayed by the people of Daufuskie is second to none.
  • The History: Unlike anywhere we’ve ever traveled, the landscape of the Island tells a dramatic story. We were fortunate enough to have a tour by a 6th generation native, Sallie Ann Robinson. Through her stories we were able to truly understand the rich history of the land. While some notable landmarks are worn with age or battered from recent hurricanes, there’s a deep respect for the past. Locals seem to have both a strong desire to preserve the uniqueness of the undeveloped land, and share it with the future. 

The Way of Life: Life on Daufuskie is simple. No one is busy. And everything feels safe. It’s a TOTALLY different society than the one most of us live in today. My kids played outside for hours one morning without supervision (for the most part…some habits die hard!) and we saw other children riding their bikes alone down dirt roads. Most of the businesses on the island are very laid-back too. For example, The Iron Fish makes these absolutely stunning pieces of art. And to purchase one, you slip your payment under the door. Or just a note as an IOU. Can you even imagine using the honor system to purchase items in today’s society? 

As you can probably gather, Daufuskie Island is clearly one of the travel industry’s best kept secrets.

I’m looking forward to sharing more about our adventures in future posts. However, I’m sure by now you are wondering…how can I plan my trip? Fortunately, it’s incredibly easy! Island Accommodations is a concierge service that takes care of everything from your lodging rental to your golf cart. They can even suggest and book activities for your stay, take care of groceries and/or meal reservations.

It can be a little intimidating planning a trip to somewhere new (trust me!), but the staff at Island Accommodations are there to answer any questions and make sure you think of everything!

As the expression goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. (Technically I took over a thousand pictures AND wrote over a thousand words…) But I will end this with just a few of my favorite shots from the weekend.

You might also enjoy reading:

When The Best Travel Moments Aren’t The Ones You Plan

21 Free (or Inexpensive) Things To Do At The Beach

Best Ways To Limit Your Children’s Screen Time When You Travel

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*Island Accommodations hosted our trip to Daufuskie Island; however, all of the opinions and experiences written about in this post are uniquely our own.

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