Frequently Asked Questions
Coming to Daufuskie
For our first-time visitors to Daufuskie, the logistics of getting to our island can appear to be rather daunting. However, there are good options for boat services, and your boat trip here is part of the adventure. This is a beautiful ride, and you will most likely be seeing dolphins and sea birds on the way over.
We hope the information below will help prepare you for your upcoming trip to our island. Please let us know if you have any questions or need information after reviewing this information.
Please keep in mind that once you make your reservation, we will provide you with much more detailed information about logistics and other trip preparation issues. We will also be available to provide assistance as you are preparing for your trip, and once you arrive.
Bottom line? We strive to make the process of coming to our beautiful island as effortless as possible for our guests.
How do we get to Daufuskie Island?
There is no bridge to Daufuskie, so you will have to get here by boat. Your car will stay on "the other side". The policy and rates for parking and luggage fees varies depending on which boat service you choose. Several services charge for extra luggage and for parking, others do not. We are available to help you decide which service is best for your situation.
Below are some of the options for water transportation. Please note that the rates listed are subject to change, and you should check with the service itself about the ticket price and also about any other costs.
We are available to advise you on the best service for your particular situation.
From the Hilton Head Island, South Carolina area:
For those coming from the Hilton Head area, you will either be taking a ferry or a private water taxi services.
1) (Recommended) The Daufuskie Island Ferry Company goes out of Palmetto Bay Marina on Hilton Head. There are 4 trips to and from Daufuskie each day, and one additional late evening trip from Hilton Head to Daufuskie. The current rate is $35 per person roundtrip, with no additional cost for parking or luggage. Children 5 and under ride for free. (These rates are subject to change.) It is a covered boat. Tickets can be purchased online (highly recommended) or when you get to the dock. Palmetto Bay Marina itself has shops and restaurants in case you arrive early.
The boat service will go into the Melrose Landing dock on Daufuskie, and you will need to contact Daufuskie Transit at (843) 338-2570 or firstname.lastname@example.org for pick-up from the dock. (Please note we do NOT drop golf carts off at the dock to transport guests, luggage, coolers, etc to the vacation home.)
Please note that this service offers a special rate if you want to go back to Hilton Head for a day trip and do not have any luggage. Inquire about this service once you arrive at Palmetto Bay Marina.
Here is the website for this new service: http://www.daufuskieislandferry.com.
2) May River Excursions which departs from Bluffton, the town just before you get to Hilton Head. This is a 25-30 minute trip, and three boats are available to transport larger groups. It is run by Captain Chris Shoemaker, a very courteous and accommodating boat captain, often with the assistance of his father and brother, who are also experienced boat captains. This service usually lands on Daufuskie at the County Dock. Rates for this service are based on how many vehicles you have for your group. One vehicle means $200 for the boat trip. Captain reserves the right to charge extra for large items such as bikes. No parking fees.
For more information visit www.mayriverexcursions.com or call 843-304-2878 for a reservation.
This service also offers fishing, crabbing, shrimping and dolphin-watching excursions.
3) Calibogue Cruises offers a one-hour ferry ride to Freeport Marina on Daufuskie Island. The ferry departs from Broad Creek Marina on Hilton Head, South Carolina. For scheduling and rate information, visit their website: www.daufuskiefreeport.com or call 843-342-TOUR. Note that this service only runs several times a day, there can be substantial charges for extra luggage, and there is a daily charge for parking your car at the Hilton Head marina.
$36 per person round trip; $20 for each piece of luggage beyond two carry-on bags per person. $5 a day for parking.
From the Savannah, Georgia area:
1) (Recommended) Bull River Marina, located between Savannah and Tybee Island, offers a 25-30 minute water taxi service to Daufuskie. This company charges by the boat (seating up to 6 passengers; with a total of three available boats). This boat service is available 24/7, although we personally don’t recommend small boat trips after dark for safety reasons.
$225 roundtrip for delivery to Daufuskie's county dock (our preferred dock for your drop-off). There is no extra charge for luggage or parking.
www.bullrivermarina.com/savannah-to-daufuskie-island or call 912.897.7300
2) The Bloody Point Resort ferry service is a private, reservation-based service to Daufuskie Island departing from Hutchinson Island, site of the Savannah Westin Resort and directly across the water from Savannah's famed River Street.
This service is ONLY available for Bloody Point Golf Club Members and their rental guests, and we have several properties that provide this access. The trip takes about 25 minutes, and ground transportation is waiting for you once you reach Bloody Point’s Daufuskie dock.
Please note that as of February, 2016 the rates for this service has increased signficantly. and the cost for a family can be very high. For the most part, it now works best for small groups (e.g., one couple) and for short stays when guests are not bringing much luggage.
May we come over on our boat?
Absolutely…assuming you are able to set up docking, which can be in a little bit of short supply during the busy seasons. Contact the Freeport Marina at (843) 785-8242 to inquire about docking policies and charges. If they are unable to accomodate you, please us know and we will try to help identify another dock for your boat.
Can we bring our car to Daufuskie Island?
Only in very limited cases. For example, for large wedding events occasionally the wedding party will arrange to barge over a vehicle loaded with supplies for the wedding. For the most part, though, vacation guests leave their cars parked at their boat service's parking location, and then use a golf cart to get around here. Most of the resort areas on Daufuskie restrict the use of regular vehicles for residents and guests.
What Are Check-In & Check-Out Times?
The check-in time for all DRG properties is 4:00 pm, and the check-out time is 10:00 am. We need the time in between for cleaning the property and washing linens. If you arrive early, you can leave your belongings on the porch (for cottages) or landing (for villas) until 4:00 pm. However, please do not ask the cleaning crew to let you in while they are still working to put away your groceries, use the restroom, etc., as this sort of thing is disruptive to them and will delay their completion time.
Once we arrive on Daufuskie, how do we get to our vacation home?
Daufuskie Transit provides ground transportation for most dock-to-vacation home locations. The rates as of this writing are $20 per person roundtrip; Extra charges will apply if the amount of your luggage necessitates an additional vehicle and driver, or for extra large items such as bikes.
Contact 843-338-2570; Email: DaufuskieTransit@gmail.com
Please note that if you are coming on the private Bloody Point water taxi, or coming on the public ferry provided by Calibogue Cruises, those companies will expect you to use their own ground transportation services.
Can DRG leave our golf cart at our arrival dock?
We do not drop-off golf carts at the dock, for the following reasons: 1) The process is too labor intensive, requiring two people to make the trip to the dock to drop-off and then later pick-up each cart. 2) We have learned the hard way that golf carts are not designed for the wear and tear that results from the excessive weight of passengers and luggage, coolers, etc. Doing so in the past has accelerated the replacement of batteries, tires, and other parts.
We will help identify the best ground transportation option for you, depending on which dock you are arriving at and other factors. Generally, we recommend Daufuskie Transit (843) 338-2570,)
Why does it cost so much vacation on Daufuskie?
As all Daufuskie residents know very well, there is a cost to coming to an island without a bridge. First, it is expensive to operate boats, regardless of their size. This applies to not only bringing passengers over, but also all supplies, services that require bringing staff (such as cleaners) over to the island, and any on-island service that requires the use of a regular vehicle. Gas costs between $5.00 and $6.00 here, and vehicle repairs usually require a barge trip back to the mainland.
Golf carts (the way most folks get around the island) are expensive to buy, to barge over, to insure, and to maintain. And, let’s face it, renters can be pretty hard on carts, and our roads (especially the dirt ones) take an extra toll.
Please look carefully at the boat transportation options, as their costs differ. For example, some charge for parking, some do not. Some charge for extra luggage, some do not.
On the upside, Daufuskie vacation homes are very competitively priced compared to comparable properties "on the other side" and what you spend on such services as boat services, ground transportation, and golf carts are counter-balanced by the price of the vacation homes. Our properties are spacious and well-equipped, and some come with complimentary golf carts. You will be staying in a cottage, villa, or house that will be just steps to one of our beautiful beaches, and the great majority of our visitors agree that they have more than gotten their money's worth.
How do we get around on Daufuskie?
Most people get around the island by golf cart. A cart may be provided as part of your DRG vacation home rental. If not, you can ask us for help in finding a cart rental. A 4-person cart typically costs around $50 a day, with discounts sometimes offered for rental of a week or more.
Even with complimentary carts, guests will be asked to sign a liability release contract. The contract will require your drivers license number, and credit card information in case the cart is damaged while it is in your possession.
All golf cart drivers on Daufuskie are expected to have a valid driver's license and to comply with South Carolina Rules of the Road. Driving on the beach is strictly prohibited to protect the dunes and the wildlife, and especially to prevent destruction of loggerhead turtle nests. Children are NOT allowed to drive carts, the driver must always be sober, and no alcohol is allowed on the carts.
Bikes are available for rent on the island through Brandy Breese of Island Carts & Services (843-505-1510). Advance reservations are recommended.
Some folks choose to turn their vacation into a walking holiday. The island is (roughly) five miles by three miles, and its paved and dirt roads are well-suited for nice walks. There are several miles of walkable beaches, and endless small roads and paths throughout our wooded island.
Daufuskie Service offers taxi service anywhere in the island. (Call 843-338-2570 or email DaufuskieTransit@gmail.com)
Is there a grocery store on Daufuskie? How will we get our food and beverages over there?
There is no grocery store on Daufuskie. Island residents and visitors must bring their groceries with them on the boat OR purchase them through a grocery-shopping service. We recommend Cyber Valet Grocery, a Hilton Head-based shopping service which will buy your groceries "on the other side" (generally at Harris Teeter). The service typically delivers your groceries to the same boat you will be coming over on in order to minimize extra transport charges to you (including to Savannah if you are taking the Bloody Point water taxi). You can order beer, wine and spirits with this service, but must call Charles directly to arrange those items.
On-Island food and beverage options do include Freeport Marina’s General Store which carries some basic items (including ice and snacks) and in the summer occasionally carries some fresh fruits and vegetables. Marshside Mama's also has a small store, and the Bloody Point Resort has a small store located next to the Pro Shop in the clubhouse.
Freeport Marina's General Store has an arrangement with ABC Liquor, and those items are located in a cabin near the store. Also, Wine and Woodworks (located next to Freeport Marina) carries some nice wines, and you get buy premium regular and spiced rum at the Daufuskie Rum Company on Haig Point Road.
During the summer there is a weekly "Farmers Market" held at the county dock every Saturday between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. (Come early!) However, you should not depend on this event as a reliable source of fruits and vegetables.
Tips for Bringing Groceries: If you do bring your own groceries with you, be sure to check with your boat and ground transportation services about what fees (if any) they charge for baggage and coolers. You can minimize space and weight by using freezer packs and frozen food instead of bags of ice, and by drinking tap water (it's very safe here!) instead of bringing bottled water. (This is also good for Daufuskie as we currently have no island-wide recycling program.) Parmalat (available through amazon.com and in most grocery stores) makes a specially processed milk that does not have to be refrigerated until open, and is perfect for travelers.
Are there restaurants on the island?
There are four restaurants on the island, all which you can reach by golf cart or by pre-arranged ground transportation through Daufuskie Transit: The Melrose Beach Club Restaurant, the Eagle's Nest at Bloody Point, the Old Daufuskie Crab Company at the Freeport Marina, and Marshside Mama's at the county dock. Casual dress is the norm at all of these, and reservations are recommended at all of them except for the Old Daufuskie Crab Company.
Each restaurant has outdoor seating if you want your canine member of the family to accompany you.
The Melrose pool area also includes a burger shack, and the adjoining Beach Club Restaurant provides beverages and food.
Please note that none of these restaurants serve breakfast, although during certain times of year one or more may offer Sunday brunch.
More information about these restaurants can be found on our "Helpful Links" page: http://www.daufuskierentals.citymax.com/links.html
There are several local islanders who make delicious home-cooked meals and will deliver them to your vacation home. Contact us if you would like more information and to place an order prior to coming to the island.
What should we bring with us?
Your DRG vacation home includes all linens, including regular bath towels, but does NOT include beach towels.
Your vacation home will have a fully-equipped kitchen and all provide either a charcoal or gas grill. You will have a coffee maker (drip unless otherwise specified) and a starter supply of coffee and coffee supplies, typically enough for two pots of coffee.
We provide a STARTER SUPPLY of the following: paper towels, large and small trash bags, toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, soap, laundry detergent, dish washer and dish washing soap. Generally (depending on the size of your group), there are enough of these supplies to last at least 2 or 3 days.
Most of DRGs vacation homes have several beach chairs and beach umbrellas.
DRG has several Pack N Plays and high chairs. Contact us prior to your visit if you want these.
Regarding what to pack, most people end up packing more than they need. Keep in mind that this is a very casual island, including the restaurants. Also, all of our vacation homes include a washer and dryer.
Don't forget bug spray as well as sunscreen or (better still) sunblock: A bad sunburn can ruin a good vacation! A broad-brimmed hat is always makes sense, and a rain jacket may come in handy.
Golf clubs are available to rent at both the Melrose Resort and at the Bloody Point Golf Club.
Bikes are available to rent from Island Carts & Services (843) 505-3937) for $10 per day, and during busy months should be reserved prior to your trip. Bikes do not come with most properties unless otherwise indicated.
We suggest that you avoid bringing the large over-sized suitcases in lieu of regular-sized bags that are easier to handle by your boat crew and ground transport services.
Worried about forgetting something? We can usually round-up what you need. You can also order items to be delivered by Cyber Valet Grocery.
What about medical emergencies?
As isolated as our little island may seem, we do have access to immediate and efficient emergency services. Should you have need of medical services, immediately call 911 and tell the operator you are on Daufuskie Island. Your call will be routed to the Daufuskie Island fire station where there is an outstanding team of firefighters and paramedics on call 24/7. When necessary, they will transport emergency patients to a Hilton Head of Savannah medical facility by boat or helicopter.
For these (fortunately) rare occasions, we also ask that you contact your DRG representative after calling 911 so that she can help out.
Is there enough for my chldren to do on the island?
Kids LOVE Daufuskie! They especially enjoy riding in golf carts, the endless quiet beaches, the resort pools, the Melrose playground, the Daufuskie Island Community Farm, and the casual and fun restaurants. It really is the perfect place for family vacations, and we often see families coming back again and again.
A good source for family activities is Tour Daufuskie, which offers a variety of outdoor activities including kayaking, paddle boarding, golf cart tours, etc. For more information call 843-842-9449 or go to www.tourdaufuskie.com. We will also refer you to other activities, including horseback and pony rides offered by Sea Island Trails, operating out of the Melrose Equestrian Center. (In busy months, we recommend making horseback riding reservations in advance of your trip. Call or text Jody Smith at 843-505-0961.
Not convinced? Here's our favorite quote from one of our younger visitors:
"I am 12 years old and I think this must be the #1 most non-polluted place in the world! It is the best vacation spot in the world as well. I hope I get to come back over and over until I am dead. Sincerely, John G. P.S Here is my autograph for when I am famous."
Where can I get more information about Daufuskie Island?
Once you make a reservation for a Daufuskie Rental Group property, we will send you comprehensive information to help you plan your visit. We will also be available for questions and assistance. Your materials will include information on the island amenities, including activities, restaurants, and other local businesses. Once here, you will find a notebook in your vacation home with additional information, including maps of the island.
Background reading prior or during your trip can help enhance your appreciation of the island and the area. Examples include: ]
"The Water is Wide" was authored by Pat Conroy, and based on his experiences as a teacher at Daufuskie's Mary Field School. (Now our island's community center.) The book was made into the movie “Conrack”, starring Jon Voight.
The Freeport Marina General Store has two very interesting CDs about the history of Daufuskie and narrated by the marina owner, Wick Scurry. We highly recommend these, and especially “The History of Daufuskie”. Other books providing information on our island and the surrounding Low-Country area can be found at this store and in the island’s Billie Burn Museum.