Seeking a vacation that delights all your senses? Then look no further than Beaufort, SC, an idyllic town that delivers a bewitching blend of history, charm, culinary delights and more. Located an easy drive from Charleston and an even briefer journey from Hilton Head, Beaufort is a graceful, welcoming place. Soft-pink facades and porches shaded under ancient oaks, foot-worn paths through moss and lighthouses looming over palms—all welcome visitors to the true spirit of the Lowcountry.
From the mid 16th Century to the present day, explorers and romantics of all ages have landed in Beaufort for a sojourn or for a century. Now, your road trip to Beaufort begins with:
Located at the old Arsenal building constructed in 1798, the Beaufort History Museum is the natural place to explore the city’s lore. Explore 450 years of world-shaping settlements, battles, secessions, and liberations in artifacts and bygone flags.
Study the antebellum decades, then stroll past the antebellum homes nearby. Imagine the joyous cries of 10,000 freed slaves as you meet and learn from their Gullah descendants on the historic Lowcountry Island tours.
Of special interest is Beaufort’s role in the Reconstruction. Led in spirit and deed by local legislator, freed slave and hero, Robert Smalls, the region presents a seldom-told story of strength and perseverance. Look out all over town for special commemorations of Smalls and his efforts to right generations of wrongs.
Film buffs adore carriage rides and an hour-long amble under live oaks, past churches and dream-like homes, and near shooting locations for such films as Forest Gump and the adaptation of Lowcountry icon Pat Conroy’s famous novel, The Great Santini. You can even visit the Pat Conroy Literary Center celebrating the wordsmith’s work and continued legacy.
Beaufort’s past is amazing, but its current culture is no less captivating. In Beaufort, “Lowcountry lifestyle” means welcoming everyone as a neighbor, whether they actually live there or not.
Guests experience that on Bay Street where pristine waterfront views complement independent bookstores and restaurants specializing in local flavors. Your visit could not be complete without authentic shrimp and grits from Blackstone Café, Plums, or Saltus River Grill.
Beaufort is bejeweled with specialty stores and galleries, selling works of art rendered in paint, clay, oyster shells…or even sugar. The Chocolate Tree has been a sweet-smelling Beaufort institution for nearly 40 years. These master candy-makers serve hand-made truffles, fudges, brittles, and toffees to delighted guests from around the world.
If colder sweets are more your speed, you can enjoy a premium ice cream creation from Kilwin’s while taking in the bluest-blue waters of the Beaufort Riverfront.
Full of history and local delicacies, you’re encourged to explore:
Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park eases you into the diverse ecology and enchanting natural vistas that define Beaufort. From your swing, you can watch the azure skies stretch to a distant shoreline while palm fronds rustle above the gardens.
Beaufort river tours led by beloved local Captain Dick Goodenough give visitors a chance to stretch their sea legs and take to the waves.
Afternoon tours show the historic city from a different angle and educate visitors on the salt marsh’s spartina grass and wildlife. For couples, romantic sunset cruises provide the perfect venue to take in the last, sherbet-light of day.
Or if you’d like to get even closer to those , rent a kayak from a local outfitter and hit the waterways. Plying the wild spaces of this genteel town provides the perfect way to enjoy Lowcountry living, today always in your memories.