Call Us Free: 1-843-681-7066

Gullah Neighborhoods

Most traditional Gullah neighborhoods in the Sea Islands are uniquely autonomous, similar to their ancestral villages in West Africa. Historically, Gullah neighborhoods contained clustered extended families, a Praise House, essential skill bearers, spiritual leaders, food processing mills, and access to the waterway. Together these qualities ensured sustainability. Like other Sea Islands, Hilton Head Island exemplifies this phenomenon in its villages that were established in the late 1860’s:

Stoney – The gateway to Hilton Head Island that was once known as “downtown Hilton Head.”

Jonesville – Known for its wheelwrights and shoemakers and also had businessmen and carpenters.

Spanish Wells – Extends from the river used by Spanish explorers who came ashore. Its residents are known for their fishing, crabbing, and oyster harvesting in the Broad Creek.

Gardner Marshland – This neighborhood is a part of large acreage purchased by an African American immediately following the Civil War. Today, an extended Gullah family occupies a portion of the land. However, much of the original purchase has become a private community.

Simmons Fishing Camp – Was established around 1928 as the site of the embarkation point of transportation to Savannah. The original dock and building were rebuilt to accommodate visitors and fisherman.

Chaplin – Named for one of the Planters families whose lifestyle focused on farming and fishing. Basket weavers and fishnet makers were distinguished residents.

Union Cemetery – Established during the Civil War for Black Union soldiers, this cemetery has remained active ever since.

Queen Chapel AME Church – The site of one of the first AME Church organizations in South Caroline when, in 1865, a group of African Americans landed on the beach at Mitchellville and organized a church under oak trees at this site.

First African Baptist Church – Organized in 1862 in Mitchellville, it was the first church for free African Americans on Hilton Head Island.

Squire Pope – Gum Tree Road is perhaps the largest Gullah neighborhood in population and area on Hilton Head Island. Families of this neighborhood were once distinguished famers and shrimp boat captains.

Tour Highlights

  • Gullah Family Compounds
  • Old Debarkation Point
  • Old One-room School House
  • Plantation Tabby Ruins
  • First Freedom Village Historic Marker

Latest News

Hours and Location

Pick Up Location
70 Honey Horn Drive
Hilton Head Island, SC
Monday - Sunday
8:00am - 5:00pm