Sometimes we just want our girls. A girlfriend getaway is always a good idea, and a getaway to an island is even better. But a getaway to two islands? Well, that’s just a double slice of heaven.
Fortunately, you can catch island fever at the combo destinations of Hilton Head Island and Daufuskie Island, two enticing getaways – for entirely different reasons – just a 30-minute ferry ride apart. Hilton Head is a playground for outdoor adventure and bustling activity, while Daufuskie is a haven for outdoor tranquility and peace.
Start your trip at Hilton Head, nicknamed The Golf Island for its estimated million rounds of golf played each year! A little online research will provide you with a list of public courses, their level of difficulty, special features, and cost, so you can customize your experience to your group.
If golf seems a little sedate for your wild crowd, buckle up and zipline over a canopy of live oaks, rent a bike and hit a designated bike path, or hike on the hundreds of trails including Audubon Newhall Preserve and the Jarvis Creek Fitness Trail.
Water sports are, of course, all the rage here, and for good reason. You can kayak and sail, fish for the local redfish and bluefish, or, if you’re really feeling wild, parasail above the island for a bird’s-eye island view and an adrenaline rush all in one.
When you’re exhausted from a day of fun in the sun, head to Hilton Head Health, a coastal wellness retreat that holds programs customized to guests, such as stress management, nutritional balance, and healthy cooking tips and tricks. Rainy day? Not to worry. This resort offers more than 30 fitness classes to suit every style (so you can yoga while your friend HIITs), and when you’re good and sore, their luxurious Indigo Spa is designed to help you recover and relax.
After some time in bustling Hilton Head, hop the ferry to Daufuskie Island, a beautiful journey that will instantly take you back in time. This little-known, five-mile-long island is rich in Native American and Gullah heritage and traditions, and its only modes of transportation are golf carts, bicycles, and your own two feet. The slower pace makes you stop and take notice, and what you will notice is beauty at every turn. From the moment you step off the ferry onto the dock, you are surrounded by live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, the chirping of birds, and the lapping of waves against the shore. Take a deep breath because this is where you will find your peace.
This sweet little island will draw you outdoors, and your first stop should be Daufuskie Trail Rides, where you can customize your horseback excursion according to time and skill level. As you clippity-clop along the path, your friendly local guide will answer all your questions about the island, and before you know it, you’ll emerge onto the wide beach and ride along the surf, a magical experience you will never forget.
Then take a tour of the island to discover its Native American and Gullah histories. You will marvel at how the locals have kept it all alive, with restorations of original buildings such as the one-room schoolhouse where author Pat Conroy taught and the First Union African Baptist Church dating back to 1881.
If you prefer quality shopping over your typical island souvenirs, this is the place to browse. The island features an indigo shop, Daufuskie Blues, in honor of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, who oversaw the first successful cultivation of South Carolina indigo in 1744. It is filled with one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories. Daufuskie Soap Company offers handmade and wonderful-smelling soaps and lotions for pampering or gift-giving. For island-inspired art, check out Iron Fish Gallery for eye-catching iron fish and crabs you can purchase on the honor system. Feel free to take the item you like with you, leave a note for artist Chase Allen, and send him a check in the mail. It’s that kind of place and that kind of island.
At the end of a beautiful day, watch the sunset while devouring the local devilled crab. Stargazing is stupendous, as the island allows no ambient light. And if you fall in love with Daufuskie, you can make it your permanent home by requesting a tour of the island’s premier residential community, Haig Point. Occupying one end of the island, this gated retreat has its own golf course, private beach, equestrian center, and restaurants – an oasis within an oasis.
If you’re searching for balance in your life, this girls’ getaway offers the perfect combination of outdoor adventure and non-stop beauty. After all, why have just one island when you can have two?
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