Sitting right between Savannah  and Hilton Head Island  and accessible only by water, Daufuskie Island has about 500 full-time residents, most of whom ride around on golf carts or bikes (there’s only one paved road, Haig Point Road, and cars are a rare sight).
Once the home of rice and indigo plantations and rich oyster beds—the latter destroyed by pollution and overharvesting—the two upscale residential resort communities on the island, begun in the 1980s, give a clue as to where the future lies, though the recent global economic downturn has slowed development to a standstill.
The area of prime interest to tourists is the unincorporated western portion, or Historic District, the old stomping grounds of Pat Conroy  during his stint as a teacher of resident African American children. His old two-room schoolhouse of The Water is Wide fame, the Mary Field School, is still there, as is the adjacent 140-year-old Union Baptist Church, but Daufuskie students now have a surprisingly modern new facility (middle school students are still ferried to mainland schools every day).
Farther north on Haig Point Road is the new Billie Burn Museum, housed in the old Mt. Carmel Church and named after the island’s resident historian. On the southern end you’ll find the Bloody Point Lighthouse, named for the vicious battle fought nearby during the Yamasee War of 1815 (the light was actually moved a half-mile inland in the early 1900s). Other areas of interest throughout the island include Native American sites, tabby ruins, the old Baptist Church, and a couple of cemeteries.
Otherwise there’s really not much to do on Daufuskie. It’s a place where you go to see a slice of Sea Island and Gullah history  and relax, relax, relax. While at one time there was an operating resort and spa on the island, as of this writing it is deep in bankruptcy proceedings.
For the freshest island seafood, check out the Old Daufuskie Crab Company (Freeport Marina, 843/785-6652, daily 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m., $7–22).
A good public ferry to and from Daufuskie from Hilton Head  is Calibogue Cruises (843/342-8687). It brings you in on the landward side of the island, and from there you can take shuttles or rent golf carts or bikes.
For overnight stays, you can rent a humble cabin at Freeport Marina (843/785-8242, rates vary).