Amazing Uninhabited Island
Pritchards Island is just southwest of Fripp and is only accessible by boat. This uninhabited island is owned by the University of South Carolina which conducts research on the island and welcomes daily visitors who enjoy strolling along the beaches and enjoying the barrier island's wildlife and tranquility.
Atlanta businessman Philip Rhodes donated the 1,600 acre island to the University of South Carolina in 1983 with the condition it not be developed commercially but rather used for coastal research. Students would stay in the "old stilt house", the Rhodes Research Center, while studying the ecosystems on the island and managing the preservation of the loggerhead sea turtles that nest on the island. The island is still managed by USCB and is used for education, conservation and research purposes by the University, other state institutions, and the general public.
In October of 2022, the abandoned research lab was removed, section by section, and hauled off on a barge.
For several years, the Beaufort County Arts Council collaborated with USCB to hold an annual artist retreat on Pritchards. Each artist was required to provide a piece of art that became the Pritchards Island Collection.
That collection now hangs in the library at the Hilton Head Gateway campus. (Source: Island Packet 2015)
If you're looking for an adventure, visit Pritchards by kayak or canoe. The Fripp Island Resort offers guided canoe trips that launch off the beach behind the Cabana Club. It's a great way to safely navigate the swift current that runs through Skull Inlet and learn more about the barrier islands. Contact the Activity Center for more information and reservations.
If you're ready to head out on your own, you can check tides and head over in your kayak or canoe. Single and tandem kayaks are also available to rent at Island Excursions. Once you get to Pritchards, you'll enjoy the peace and quiet of the island while strolling, shelling and exploring.
One of Beaufort County's most nested beaches, Pritchards Island is host to Loggerhead Sea Turtles between May and October. A group of dedicated volunteers patrol the island during nesting season to protect, mark and relocated nests when necessary.