hilton head

Hilton Head Island activities

Hilton Head Island is one of the most popular summer destinations for families.  It is a paradise for beach-lovers, golfers, seafood-eaters, and shoppers alike.  However, after a few days on the island, you may find yourself yearning to get away from your get-away.  Hilton Head locals and visitors have been voyaging to Daufuskie Island for years to do just that – get away.  Leave behind the traffic, tourism, billboards, and shopping for the quiet and peaceful Daufuskie Island.  Daufuskie’s Iron Fish Gallery artist Chase Allen describes the Daufuskie experience as, “the feeling of leaving the United States but without the need of a passport.”  Daufuskie Island is a world apart from anywhere you’ve ever been.

daufuskie dirt road

Daufuskie Island’s historic sand roads offer a break from busy roadways and heavy traffic

Daufuskie Island has a rustic & quirky vibe that other islands in the area lack.  Ditch the car and the pavement for a golf cart and historic sand roads!  You’ll learn about the Gullah culture that remains on the island through the Gullah-constructed schools, churches, and homes.  Check out our local artisans like the Iron Fish Gallery to see how the unique nature of the island has inspired hand-crafted artwork.  For the local’s perspective, take a guided tour with Tour Daufuskie!  Kayak tours and rentals give you an opportunity to view Daufuskie from the unique perspective of the water.

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Historic Gullah-constructed homes are found throughout the island

kayak sunset

Explore Daufuskie by water with a kayak or paddle board

For nature-lovers, Daufuskie is a dream come true.  With its underdeveloped land, wildlife flourishes in the island’s maritime forest and salt water marshes.  Check out the Melrose Rookery for a great bird-viewing opportunity, or go beach-combing along our 3-miles of quiet beach.  Take a guided eco-tour to learn more about flora and fauna of Daufuskie!

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Wildlife is abound on Daufuskie!

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Dog-friendly beaches offer miles of beach combing

For your day trip to Daufuskie Island, call Tour Daufuskie at 843-842-9449.   Your adventure awaits!

Getting to Daufuskie Island by Water Taxi or Ferry

With the number of water taxi and ferry ride options to Daufuskie Island, it’s no wonder that visitors get overwhelmed with the logistics of their trip.  Tour Daufuskie is here to help you determine which ride best suits your group’s needs!  From a large ferry to a semi-private taxi, there is an option for everybody.

 

From Hilton Head or Old Town Bluffton

May River Excursions (843)304-2878

Offering the most scenic trip to the island, the May River Excursions water taxi is a joy ride to say the least.  They operate out of Old Town Bluffton, which is just a short drive from Hilton Head Island.  In this 25 minute boat ride, you will wind through rivers and creeks where shorebirds and dolphins are a common sight.  Your captain will drop you off at the Public Dock (also known as the “County Dock”), where the beloved Marshside Mama’s Cafe sits.  Make sure to set enough time aside to explore the historic Old Town Bluffton before or after your visit to Daufuskie!  With art galleries, a pottery shop, restaurants, and a farmers’ market on Thursdays, Old Town Bluffton is a great way to extend your daytrip.  Water taxi tickets are $45 round trip.  Call Tour Daufuskie at 843-842-9449 to reserve your water taxi to Daufuskie Island!

 

Daufuskie Island Ferry (843)940-7704

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The Melrose Landing on Daufuskie Island

The public ferry leaves from the Buckingham Landing and arrives on Daufuskie at the Melrose Landing.  They provide dollies for transporting luggage from your car to the dock, and friendly staff are always happy to help load up your bags onto the boat.  Keep in mind that you must arrive 30 minutes early!  For those folks craving some fresh air, a few seats are available outside on the back of the boat.  Alternatively, the ferry offers indoor air-conditioned seating with plenty of windows to get a great view of the waterway.  A round trip costs $35, and each way takes about 1 hour.  There are four scheduled arrivals and departures each day, with a later run offered on Friday nights.  They highly recommend reserving your seat after the purchase of your ticket; this is especially important during the summer and holiday weekends.  Good news – Tour Daufuskie can book your tickets with the ferry! Just give us a call at 843-842-9449 and we’ll set up your whole day.

 

From Savannah, Tybee Island, Wilmington Island

Bull River Marina (912)897-7300

Bull River Marina in Savannah, GA

Bull River’s water taxi costs $45 per person round trip or $225 total for a 6-person ride.  The water taxi to Daufuskie departs three times a day from Savannah and takes about 30 minutes.  They drop-off at a handful of docks on Daufuskie; County dock, Freeport Marina, Bloody Point, and Haig Point.  For those of you on Tybee Island who want to check out some quieter sands, Bull River also offers beach drop options.

 

Once you arrive on Daufuskie

If you are just visiting for the day, you are going to need a golf cart for transport around the island.  Your cart can be delivered to any of the public docks on the island.  Most of the sights on Daufuskie are located on sandy roads, so biking can be very difficult — carts are the way gain a full perspective of the island.

carts

If you’re staying overnight on Daufuskie and have luggage with you, you have one more piece to the puzzle.  Golf carts are not built to carry the weight of a group of people and their luggage, so you need to make arrangements to transport luggage to your rental.  Try Daufuskie Transit at (843) 338-2570 or email at DaufuskieTransit@gmail.com.  They will meet you at the dock, load up all of your luggage onto a trailer, and shuttle it to your rental home for only $20.  If any of your group will be traveling to the rental home with Daufuskie Transit, you will be charged $20 per person.

 

Figuring out the logistics of your trip doesn’t need to be stressful- just give yourself the time to plan ahead!  Trust us, when you arrive to the island you will be glad for it.

Palmetto Bluff Visits Chase Allen’s Daufuskie Island Iron Fish Gallery

Dylan Sell from Palmetto Bluff boated over to Daufuskie Island so he could cover a story on Chase Allen’s Iron Fish Gallery.  Below is Dylan’s story:

Chase Allen and Martha Stewart

Chase Allen and Martha Stewart

Chase Allen’s Iron Fish art gallery isn’t a place the average Lowcountry tourist happens upon by accident. Though a few visitors might wander down the dirt path tucked deep in the forest of Daufuskie Island and be drawn to the metal decorations on the walls of an old cottage, more and more are actively seeking out Allen and his seascape of fish and mermaids wrought from metal. The Iron Fish gallery has become a real destination and one of the most successful art galleries in the area.

Years before the Iron Fish art gallery existed, there was an unhappy business school student who happened to take a class in ceramics. Throwing pots inspired Allen: “I realized the pleasure of working with my hands.”

Through this happenstance ceramics class, the creative seed was planted, but before it could sprout, Allen had finished school and had gone to work as a real estate agent. It wasn’t long before he realized that selling property was not something he enjoyed. It was, however, what introduced him to Emily and Lancy Burn, owners of Silver Dew Pottery on Daufuskie Island. Remembering the joy he found in the pottery class and seeing that others were pursuing their art, Allen decided to take a huge risk. “I decided to live across from them. Life is too short to not do what you love. I quit my job and rented the place on Daufuskie with a friend.”

Some might say that moving to an island accessible only by boat to start a business might not be the wisest financial strategy, but Allen was determined. “I got a job as a waiter at Marshside Mama’s Cafe. I could bring in $150 a night, which was good money.”

After he had the income to cover his basic living expenses, Allen focused on making friends. He started meeting the other sculptors in the area and became friends with Jacob Preston, a gallery owner in Old Town Bluffton and potter renowned for his expert skill. Although ceramics was his first love, Allen didn’t want to move in across the street and compete with his friends Emily, Lancy and Jacob. So he found another medium in which to work: metal. He started welding iron scraps together into abstract sculptures, and later he began welding metal into fish, mermaids and other marine subjects that he is known for today.

When he decided to open his gallery, Allen looked for inspiration at the shops of artists he admired. He was impressed by the way his friend Jacob Preston operated his gallery. Sales are under the honor system; there are no salespeople, and visitors who wish to make a purchase simply leave their information on a sheet. So, following Preston’s model and advice from a friend, Allen put his art on his porch with a hand-written note telling visitors that they may take the art they like and leave their money in the “honor box.”

One day Emily and Lancy stopped by and bought one of his pieces. “It was the greatest vote of confidence they could have given me,” remarked Allen, and he started to believe that he could make it as artist.

Tools of an Artist
As Allen experimented and refined his craft, he began using blacksmithing tools to hammer and create indentations in his material. As his fish sculptures became more and more popular, his success created a problem. The fins of the fish sculptures required crimping to create regular ridges in the metal. Though the results might look similar to the simple crimped edge of a pie crust, crimping iron is physically demanding. It involves using a blacksmith hammer and a sheet metal crimper tool to achieve the desired effect. The sculptor must hammer the tool every few inches of the metal, which is a long, difficult process. “I thought I was going to develop a shoulder problem!” Allen explained.

For the sake of his throbbing shoulder, Allen realized that he needed to make his crimping process more efficient. He knew of an industrial crimping machine, but its cost was prohibitive. Recalling the old adage “Necessity is the mother of invention,” Allen, a creative problem-solver, solicited several friends to pool their money, knowledge, experience and tools in order to construct their own industrial iron-crimping machines. Each person contributed $1,000 to purchase the necessary supplies. These craftsmen, artists and industrial engineers gathered in an assembly line, and they built their own crimpers!

Years later, in his blacksmithing shop Allen has an odd-looking machine with a tire on top. This peculiar creation is actually the crimping machine that accelerated Allen’s production to an industrial level, thereby helping him become financially secure.

 Part of a Community

Besides having equipment challenges, as an artist living on Daufuskie Island, Allen needed a way to connect with other artists, his friends and his existing and potential patrons. Social media was the perfect solution. Allen started a Facebook page and posts regularly about his work. When someone sends a photo of one of Allen’s sculptures installed in their home, Allen posts it on Facebook. Facebook not only allows Allen to communicate with the people interested in his work, but it also gives Allen a great way to garner feedback and ideas from his fan base. For example, when one of his patrons made a suggestion to backlight some of the creations with LED lights, Allen took the suggestion, and the new lighted sculptures became very successful.

Allen strongly believes in giving back to the community. In 2014, 13 years after his daring leap out of office life, Chase Allen competed with over 1,000 artists for the American Made Award sponsored by Martha Stewart Living. With 55,000 votes, Allen won the Audience Choice award and its $10,000 prize. He donated the greater portion of his winnings to the Holmes Team, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for brain cancer. The organization is named for Holmes Desmelik, a six-year-old boy with an inoperable brain tumor; Holmes is the son of Allen’s high school friend. Allen donated the remainder of his winnings to the Alzheimer’s Association, Doctors Without Borders and the Spondylitis Association of America.

Despite his professional success, Allen has never turned his back on the people who supported his craft. Just last year, he wrote an article for his website urging Daufuskie visitors to check out Emily and Lancy Burn at Silver Dew Pottery, and to this day Allen speaks with immense respect of Jacob Preston’s pottery gallery to journalists.

After abandoning a career in the office to become an artist 14 years ago, Chase Allen not only turned his dreams into a reality, he used his success to bolster his local community.

Daufuskie Island Fourth of July festivities

For Americans, the Fourth of July is a national holiday, and a big one at that. For Daufuskie island, the Fourth is the biggest holiday celebration of the year. From cart parades to live music during the day, the Fourth on the island is topped off with watching fireworks be set off from Hilton Head, Tybee, and Savannah.
If you want to get out and see the island from a different perspective, Tour Daufuskie is offering a one-hour “Sparks and Paddles” guided kayak tour. This special tour leaves from Melrose on the Beach, and the fireworks can be seen from both Hilton Head and Tybee. The tour is only $55 per person, and includes a free Tour Daufuskie t-shirt. There are only 15 spots available, so book now at 843-842-9449!

Melrose Kayaking Tour Daufuskie Island

Sunset kayaking out of Melrose

If you’re not really the outdoorsy type, that’s fine! There are plenty of other events going on this Independence Day. If you happen to be near Freeport Marina, there will be an outdoor cookout with a lowcountry boil, a bouncy house for kids, and an appearance by Hilton Head-based band Cranford and Sons from 2-7pm. (For questions, go to daufuskiefreeport.com or call 843-785-6652)
On the other end of the island, Bloody Point is offering a barbecue and oyster roast with lots of kids activities. This is also where the Fourth of July cart parade is held; cart paraders line up at 2:30pm, and the actual parade starts at 3pm. The pool is free and open to the public, and the fun starts at noon. (For questions, go to bloodypointgolf.com or call 843-341-5505)
The place to be on the night of Independence Day 2015, however, is Melrose on the Beach. The activities begin at 6pm with a poolside cocktail party and a DJ, followed by a gourmet picnic buffet for dinner. American Idol finalist Casey Abrams headlines this Fourth of July party from 7:45-9:00pm. (For questions go to melroseonthebeach.com or call 843-341-2922)
Tour Daufuskie’s kayak shack by the Melrose pool will also be putting on and helping with activities for children with many prizes available. This Independence day, we are also unveiling a new product featuring the Tour Daufuskie logo, which will be revealed in the next few days.

Kayak and Stand Up Paddle Board Rentals Daufuskie Island

Tour Daufuskie’s kayak shack behind Melrose will be open all night on the Fourth

See you on the Fourth, Daufuskie!

Daufuskie Island Golf Cart Rentals and Water Taxi from Old Town Bluffton

Daufuskie Island Golf Cart Rentals and Water Taxi from Old Town Bluffton

Call May River Excursions to arrange your water taxi to Daufuskie Island today.

May River Excursions will also help you arrange your guided history & artisans tour of Daufuskie or golf cart rental for the self guided adventurous people.  Guided tours cost $45/per person and golf cart rentals are $75/4 hour tour.

Daufuskie Island Golf Cart Rentals

Daufuskie Island Golf Cart Rentals

Daufuskie Island Golf Cart Rentals - Tour Daufuskie

Daufuskie Island Golf Cart Rental – Tour Daufuskie