Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge

South Carolina

(912) 652-4415

Map Directions

Things To Do


Pinckney Island NWR, established December 4, 1975, was once included in the plantation of Major General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, a prominent lawyer active in South Carolina politics from 1801 to 1815. Few traces of the island's plantation in the 1800's exist today. From 1937 to 1975, when it was donated to the Fish and Wildlife Service, Pinckney Island was privately owned and managed as a game preserve. The 4,053 acre refuge includes Pinckney Island, Corn Island, Big and Little Harry Islands, Buzzard Island and numerous small hammocks.

Map of Pinckney Island NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 32.244022, -80.763073



  • Boating

    Kayaking is allowed at the island.

    Fishing is prohibited from the land portions of the refuge. The island is used exclusively "as a nature and forest preserve." However, saltwater fishing from boats is allowed in the surrounding waters of Skull and Mackay Creek. Boats may access these areas from the public boat ramp located off U.S. Highway 278 across from the refuge entrance and are not allowed to come ashore or moor their boats at any other point on Pinckney Island. Shellfishing is also allowed in designated areas. Consult refuge brochures for regulations.

  • Bird Watching

    Birds commonly observed on Pinckney Island include waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, raptors, neo-tropical migrants and large concentrations of white ibis, herons and egrets.

  • Bicycling

    There are several biking and hiking trails.

  • Hiking

    There are several biking and hiking trails. A trail network of 2 to 10 miles traverse the island. The trails are easy and flat, and appeal to even novice hikers. The salt marsh environment is lush with birds and other wildlife.

  • Hunting

    Contact the refuge for more information about hunting.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Alligators are commonly seen basking on the banks of the ponds during spring, fall, and winter on mild, sunny days. Fox squirrels and white-tailed deer may be encountered at any time of the year by observant visitors. Bucks, with newly grown antlers in velvet, are sometimes seen in the summer months.



The refuge is located in Beaufort County, South Carolina and is 1/2 miles west of Hilton Head Island off of U.S. Highway 278. The island is bounded by Skull Creek (the Intracoastal Waterway) on the east, Mackay Creek on the west, and its northern tip faces Port Royal Sound. From I-95, take SC Exit 8 east towards Hilton Head Island approximately 16 miles to the entrance gate on the left.

Phone Numbers


(912) 652-4415