Curiosity

Stay In A Historic Mansion On This Remote South Carolina Island That’s Only Accessible By Boat

BRB, we're packing our bags now!

When I stepped off the ferry onto Daufuskie Island, the first thing I noticed was the quiet. The only sounds came from water licking at the dock, birds swooping overhead, and the occasional electric golf cart — there are almost no cars or gas-powered vehicles — crunching over oyster shell paths.

“Daufuskie Island is one of those places that sucks you in,” says Rachel Allen, director of equestrian activities at the Equestrian Center at Haig Point.

Despite its allure — miles of flour-soft beaches, centuries-old live oaks and an array of local makers who embody the island’s free spirit — the less-than-10-square-mile strip of sand and swamp has stayed under the radar thanks to boat-only accessibility and a lack of hotels. But thanks to a slew of new offerings, South Carolina’s best-kept secret is seriously ready to welcome tourists while maintaining its quirky character and off-the-beaten-track vibe.

Photo by Claire Aitken

Last year, as part of its new “Stay and Play” packages, the Haig Point residential development started renting rooms to the public in two storied structures.

Visitors who arrive via the Haig Point ferry or water taxi will walk off the dock and come face-to-face with the stately Strachan Mansion. The mansion was originally built in 1910 on nearby St. Simons Island, but 76 years later, Haig Point developers moved it by barge to Daufuskie and rebuilt it to its original splendor. Guests can choose from four airy suites, take advantage of the general store or get to know local residents in the bar and lounge areas.

Head to the northern tip of Daufuskie and you’ll find the 40-foot tower of the 1873 Lighthouse. For roughly 60 years, the beacon guided sailors navigating the moveable sandbars and ever-changing shallows of Calibogue Sound. The Lighthouse, which had fallen out of use in the 1930s, was restored as part of the development at Haig Point. Today, it houses two bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room, porch and, as legend has it, a friendly ghost.

Photo by Claire Aitken

In addition to renting the rooms, Haig Point will coordinate your transit to the island by ferry, water taxi or splurge-worthy helicopter. “Stay and Play” packages can be customized to include horseback rides along the miles-long stretches of sand or rounds of world-class golf with ocean views.

Photo by Claire Aitken

In your free time, hop in your electric golf cart to explore the island at your own pace, from sampling Kona Edition Rum at Daufuskie Rum Company to souvenir shopping at Daufuskie Blues.

Whatever your preference, you won’t want to leave.