There’s really no denying my family’s love for Daufuskie Island. Hands down, it’s our favorite island getaway.
When we planned our first trip to the remote island off the South Carolina coast, we booked a late summer weekend. However, a series of hurricanes pushed the vacation back to November.
(Time-out for a second…huge props to Island Accommodations for helping me reschedule the trip not once, but twice! Krissy kept me up to date on the impending forecast and handled rebooking all of our reservations and activities. Travel insurance is a lifesaver and Island Accommodations makes it all very easy!)
Back to last November…
Ever the optimist, I did not let the season affect my excitement about our island getaway. Sure, we’d missed the pool and we’d need sweatshirts rather than bathing suits for the beach. But we booked some activities and opted to fill our time with adventure rather than the lazy beach bums life.
I’ll be honest, tan lines are typically my gauge on the success of a beach vacation. So an off-season trip stretched us out of our comfort zone.
If you read any of my posts following that trip to Daufuskie Island, you know we consider it one of our best vacations ever (which is saying A LOT!) Despite the cooler temperatures, we truly enjoyed every second of the trip.
We also instantly knew we wanted to return to the island during peak beach season to check out the amenities we didn’t get to experience in November. Thus, we booked a trip for August to get the full effect of the sun, sand and waves.
Once again, the island getaway did not disappoint! We returned home from our beach vacation refreshed, a few pounds heavier, and slightly sunburn. But with amazing memories, loads of pictures, and a desire to return to Daufuskie ASAP. Of course, upon our return I eagerly shared travel stories with several of my friends.
As I spoke to one friend about the dichotomy of our two trips to the island, she asked “well, which experience did you enjoy more?”
Honestly, it’s hard for me to answer that question without breaking down exactly what made each trip to Daufuskie so unique.
So here goes: Season vs Off-Season comparison of Daufuskie Island
Weather: Unless you’re a last minute travel planner with a background in meteorology, you’re never going to book a vacation free from weather concerns. In other words, you just never know so your fun can’t be contingent on perfect atmospheric conditions.
Our trip in November proved to be unseasonably cool, even for South Carolina. We brought jackets and made the most of it.
Likewise, our August vacation showed a radar with a 100% chance of rain, for 100% of our time on the Island. Thankfully, after purchasing ridiculously bright ponchos last minute- we barely experienced any rain.
You just never know what the weather will do and should expect the unexpected when planning any type of travel.
Obviously you can always hedge your bets with the temperature averages. Not a fan of heat? Consider an off-season vacation. Is relaxing by the pool a non-negotiable? You’ll definitely want to visit the island during the warmer summer months.
Personally, I think with proper packing and the right attitude, you really can’t go wrong. I look forward to returning to Dafuskie Island during a cold winter weekend when I can take advantage of the fireplace at my favorite cottage. And I’m not sure our family will ever let another summer pass by without dipping our toes in the Melrose Beach Club pool.
Amenities: I’ve already touched on a few of the amenities with regards to weather. But I wanted to expand this out a bit with some activity differences.
I will say, Dafuskie Island is truly a year-round place. Getting lost on a golf cart among the many dirt roads can be done 12-months out of the year. As can exploring the rich history and incredible sights. You can even enjoy a good meal on the island 365. But there are a couple differences.
The Melrose Beach Club Pool is only open seasonally. And similarly, water sports (like kayaking or swimming) are best when the water is warm.
On the contrary, horseback riding on the beach is only permitted during the off season.
Again, you really can’t go wrong when planning a trip to Daufuskie. But you certainly need to make sure your activity expectations match what’s actually doable.
Ambiance: The whole island drips with Southern charm and quaint hospitality. And there’s no possible way to take that away from Daufuskie. However, there was a noticeable difference between the off-season and peak season.
During our visit in November I’m pretty sure we met every single full time resident on the island. Everyone made it their business to get to know us and be outgoing-ly welcoming. After 24 hours on the island everyone recognized us, waved in passing and addressed us by name.
We became part of the island, even if ever so briefly.
In August, though, we were definitely seen as tourists. The island residents were equally friendly when approached, but just not as outgoing or quick to make us part of the inner circle. During the summer it was much easier to blend in.
Based on our experiences, the character of the island is constant. But your place on Daufuskie may feel different in the various seasons.
Crowds: Speaking of people, probably the biggest difference between seasons was the amount of people on the island. Now, don’t misunderstand- even at the peak of beach season, you still might be the only person on the beach!
But during the summer months you will definitely see a lot more people on the magical island getaway.
In November we spent hours riding around on our golf cart barely encountering anyone else. It was easy to feel like you were on a completely deserted island.
However, on our return trip in August we passed other golf carts frequently.
Year round, there are a few hot spots on the island such as The Melrose Beach Club, Lucy Bells Cafe and Freeport where you are always guaranteed to encounter civilization. But you’re also always able to get away from it all and find solitude in many spots on Daufuskie.
Even during peak beach season, there is no other beach on the Atlantic where you can find yourself so alone. It’s pretty fantastic!
Are you ready to start planning your magical island getaway to Daufuskie Island?
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*Island Accomodations hosted our family on Daufuskie Island. All of the opinions and experiences found in this post are uniquely ours. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. By making a purchase after clicking through a link, Mom With A Map will receive a small compensation.