Information and History

29 Jun 12 Alissa

Fripp Island in the 1960’s

Fripp Island, the most seaward of the beautiful South Carolina Sea Islands, is located eighteen miles east of inland town of Beaufort, South Carolina. Fripp Island holds a fascinating history, and bears an exciting future to match.

In days of yore, this majestic 3000-acre island was a popular oasis for world explorers and a quiet retreat for treasure hunting pirates who sailed the seas preying on ships of all nations. Because of it’s reputation for being a pirate’s hideaway, stories about buried treasure on the island still persist.

Fripp Island’s history can be traced back to the 17th Century when the island was deeded to the Captain Johannes Fripp, a swashbuckling privateer who, like other letter-of-marquee men and pirates at that time, sailed the Seven Seas in search of gold and treasures. Captain Fripp was a big powerful man whose reputation as a skillful sea warrior marked him as a fearful foe. For reasons unknown, Captain Fripp never gained the notoriety of Blackbeard and other scurrilous pirates of the time. Being a privateer of sorts made it possible for Captain Fripp to take sides with any nation paying the highest price for his services. England needed all the help she could get at the time, so King Charles of England made Captain Fripp an offer he couldn’t refuse and it proved to be a good arrangement for them both. Fripp was given the responsibility of defending the British encampment located in nearby Beaufort against marauding Spanish and French, which he successfully did. With the French and Spanish unable to penetrate the English stronghold in Beaufort, the English had time to reinforce their coastal defenses which eventually led to the successful British colonization of this southeastern territory. As a reward for his successful defense of Beaufort on behalf of England, King Charles officially deeded this island to Captain Johannes Fripp. The island became known as Fripp’s Island. Captain Fripp settled here, married a lady named Martha Scott and had a family. His family, over time, became one of the wealthy Southern plantation families prior to the Civil War.

Amazingly, Fripp Island was a much larger island than it is today. However, in 1854, the ocean broke through two places on the island to form three separate islands: Fripp, Pritchard’s and Capers. Today, a growing number of travelers, like the 17th Century seafarers, are attracted to this palmetto-studded island because of its mild climate. This “private world of beauty”, resplendent with tropical foliage, a gentle sloping beach that is swept by refreshing trade winds, the magnificence of the sunrise over the Atlantic, and the soothing sound of the surf, has never lost and will never lose its appeal.

The development of Fripp Island was started in 1961 when the only way to reach the island was by boat from Hunting Island, a South Carolina State Park. A half-mile access bridge was completed in 1963 (see photo) and a security gate stands at the entrance to protect the tranquil beauty and privacy of the island. Today there are approximately 1,474 privately owned homes and villas on the island with more under construction.

Hollywood has found Fripp Island fascinating as well. In fact, it was at the Ocean Creek venue and the surrounding tidal marsh that was used as a film set for both Forrest Gump and Disney’s The Jungle Book! Additionally, Jacques Cousteau has said that Ocean Creek is framed by some of the world’s most fertile and pristine salt marshes.

Fripp Island Resort, just like its history, is popular for those who seek to avoid the commonplace. Some of our guests desire to stay in intimate villas, while others rent large luxurious homes.  At Fripp Island Resort we are committed to one simple goal: something for everyone. So whether your preference is enjoying an action packed week of family activities, or  if you look forward to lounging on the beach with a good book, search Fripp Island Resort for your perfect  island rental home.