The NASCAR season ended recently and Jeremy and I decided to take a mini vacation to Beaufort, SC to unwind. We are such big fans of Charleston and Savannah, but had never visited this gem in between. It has a similar feel to its neighboring cities – historic colonial homes, a waterfront park, and famous lowcountry cuisine – but with a small-town vibe.
Visiting the coast in November was such a pleasant surprise! The crowds had thinned, but the weather was still mild enough to enjoy activities on the water. We packed our days full with the best the city had to offer and our only complaint was that we wished we had more time there. And while the views, food, and accommodations were second-to-none, the hospitality of the town’s residents was what struck me most about Beaufort.
WHERE TO STAY IN BEAUFORT
The Beaufort Inn is reason enough to visit Beaufort, SC. Positioned walking distance from popular restaurants and shops, as well as the waterfront, The Beaufort Inn is an updated (pink!) colonial home from the early 1900’s. The rooms have a historic feel to them and are each unique, situated in a cluster of buildings around the main house. This gives each room a really private feel to them. My favorite feature was the claw-foot tub!
Upon check-in, you are greeted with sweet tea and cupcakes and the hospitality carries throughout your trip. One night, the front desk called up to our room to let us know they lit the fire pit and we could swing by after dinner to grab s’mores kits to roast!
If you are looking to have you own The Notebook house moment, this bed and breakfast is for you! Built over two hundred years ago as a vacation home for a wealthy plantation owner, the Cuthbreth House Inn has gorgeous views front and back. Enjoy wine and a good book on one of the verandahs facing the waterfront or unwind in the backyard beneath one of the towering living oaks the city of Beaufort is famous for.
The Anchorage 1770 is an opulent 18th-century Victorian mansion . With a little White House look to it, this bed and breakfast is an updated colonial home with 21st century updates, but all of the Southern charm of the 18th century.
One of the most unique features of the Anchorage 1770 is third-story porch which features amazing views of the marina. The second-story porch has a swinging daybed would be amazing for relaxing after a day of watersports.
WHAT TO DO IN BEAUFORT
Our first full day in Beaufort was spent on a fishing charter through the oyster beds in search of red drum. Our guide was super helpful since Jeremy and I are novice fishermen and while the fish weren’t biting heavily due to a recent temperature change, just being out on the water was fabulous. The Marine Corps Air Base is located right off the water and fighter jets flew back and forth overhead throughout our trip, which was a really unique experience.
Tip: Be sure to hang on to your catch because there are a few restaurants that will cook it for you!
I don’t think I have experienced something more relaxing in my life than kayaking through the Fripp and Hunting Island inlet. In November, tourists are scarce and it is just you and nature out on the water. We were surrounded by dolphin throughout our trip, as well as pelicans diving for their food. Our guide, Eric, had such a passion for the native plants and animals which was evident in the wealth of knowledge he shared about the ecosystem.
I love learning about the history of the cities I visit and have found my favorite way to do so is on a horse-drawn carriage. The Sea Island Carriage Company, located on Bay Street at the marina parking lot, will take you through Beaufort’s historic district, all the while explaining how miraculous it is that these homes from the 1700’s and 1800’s still stand (hint: The Great Beaufort Scedaddle). With one of the largest clusters of antebellum homes per square mile, and with living oaks and Spanish moss hanging over you, it really was a ride through our country’s history.
This is a give-in for me in every city I visit! Beaufort features a bustling downtown shopping and dining district on Bay Street. Highlights included vintage bookstores, unique art, and women’s apparel.
My favorite shop downtown was Scout Southern Market. The owner, Ann, is a San Fransisco transplant with a love of all things Southern. The homegoods are perfect for any Southern belle, but head to the back of the shop for a unique surprise, the Sweet Tea Bar. We opted for Scout’s Original Sweet Tea Float, their specialty. This twist of the classic features sweet tea and peach sorbet! It is the perfect light dessert after visiting one of Bay Street’s famous restaurants.
WHERE TO EAT IN BEAUFORT
Lowcountry Produce is not only a fabulous restaurant, but also a bakery, cannery, and homegoods shop! I ordered the salad plate (chicken, egg, and pimento) and Jeremy got the shrimp and grits. Locals suggested the hot dogs, as well!
Old Bull Tavern is a unique break from the popular seafood restaurants in the area. It has a casual vibe, an unconventional menu, and was also the eatery most suggested by Beaufort residents. I loved the servers’ uniforms: a hipster, suspendered get-up.
This gastropub is almost always busy, so be sure to make a reservation. The menu featured classic dishes with a twist, but the small plates were where its at! Be sure to try the black olive tapanade and goat cheese or the green eggs and ham.
My favorite meal of the trip came at Breakwater Restaurant. The menu featured upscale versions of southern classics. The scallops were the biggest I had ever seen and the lamb lollipops and brussel sprouts were to die. Plus, the trendy vibe of the restaurant was perfect for date night.
Other recommended places: Plum’s (bistro on the waterfront, perfect for lunch), Saltus River Grill (we heard it had great sushi, but is also known for its steak), Q on Bay (people raved about their BBQ), Common Ground (AMAZING gelato!)
WHEN TO VISIT BEAUFORT
I don’t think there is a bad time to visit Beaufort, SC; it is honestly up to what you are in the mood for. Visiting in late November was perfect for a nice, relaxing trip. It was mild enough to enjoy boating and kayaking, but still chilly enough to enjoy roasting marshmallows by the fire.
With beaches like Hilton Head and Fripp Island close by, summer would be fabulous as well!
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