Touring Pinckney Island
Pinckney Island Wildlife Management Area
This 4,053-acre national refuge consists of salt marsh and tidal creeks, forests, grasslands, and freshwater ponds. In combination, these habitats support a diversity of wildlife species.
All trips begin and end at the parking area half a mile from the refuge entrance. Touring this beautiful island is fun on foot or by bicycle. There are over 14 miles of trails to enjoy. Coastal Discovery Museum offers walking tours of Pinckney Island, enlisting the expertise of an experienced bird watcher.
For this this trip I took bicycles and my wildlife biologist husband, who happens to be a descendant of the Pinckney family. With his extensive knowledge of the area flora and fauna, we never know what we’re going to find.
Pinckney Island is named for Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, a South Carolina founding father and previous owner of the island. The island, a once prosperous sea island cotton plantation, was donated to the United States in 1975 to be used as a wildlife refuge and a nature and forest preserve.
Pinckney Island is a great place to view, study, and photograph wildlife. The views are breath-taking. Bring lunch and picnic on the shores. Maps are available in the parking lot. I highly recommend taking one on your hike so you can judge distances and where paths connect and intersect.
The main gravel roads are very bicycle friendly. The grassy trails are a little more challenging, but well worth it.
There are many ponds and marshy areas along the way to stop and look for wildlife. Look for egrets and alligators to make an appearance. There is also a butterfly garden for your enjoyment.
Keep in mind, while hiking or biking there are no bathroom facilities. Also, visitors must also bring their own drinking water. Furry friends are not allowed on the island. Antique and artifact hunting is not allowed.
Pinckney Island is located on Hwy 278, between Bluffton & Hilton Head Island
Guided tours are available through the Coastal Discovery Museum
(843)689-6767, ext. 223.