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Parris Island in Beaufort, South Carolina

Experience a vacation like never before when you visit Parris Island in Beaufort, South Carolina. This beautiful area serves as the home of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, and the training grounds for thousands of recruits every year. History buffs will appreciate the historical significance of the island and enjoy celebrating its place in American history outlined at the Parris Island Museum. Learn more about what awaits you at Parris Island from Visit Beaufort.

History of the Island

Parris Island has a long history of contributing to American history, even to this day. In the early years, the island saw many attempts at a permanent settlement between 1526 and 1722. Several countries have laid claim to this island, first French explorers, followed by the Spanish conquistadors, and finally the English settlers who would remain for centuries.

After the Revolutionary War, Parris Island’s landscape was lined with plantation homes and cotton fields. When the Civil War came, Union troops landed on the island and took over the region in 1861. The island then transformed into a coaling station for the Union Navy and continued to serve as one in the years following the war, headed by a former slave turned United States Congressman, Robert Smalls. Congressman Smalls’ work did not stop there as he led an initiative to create a new federal military installation on the island. His efforts came to fruition in 1891 when the first group of Marines was stationed at the desolate Lowcountry Isle.

On August 27, 1983, a hurricane, known as The Great Sea Island Storm of 1893 ripped through the region, causing much destruction. Soon after, several homes and military buildings were constructed in the area, many of which can be admired today as they still stand in the Parris Island Historic District. After a steady period of growth, on November 1, 1915, Parris Island was officially designated as a Marine Corps Recruit Depot and training station. Today, it is where thousands of recruits begin their careers providing service to their country.

About the Area

Parris Island is home to one of the most recognizable Marine Corps bases in the country. The island itself is located on the Atlantic coast, just south of Port Royal. It is common to see individuals in uniform in these parts as an estimated 17,000 new military personnel call this place home every year.

Things to Do

A great way for visitors to learn about Parris Island and its importance in American culture is by visiting the Parris Island Museum. The 10,000-square-foot museum located on Marine Corps Recruit Depot features thousands of artifacts, images, and other materials that illustrate the history of Port Royal and Parris Island.

The exhibits focus primarily on the time-honored traditions of the Marine Corps and display artifacts depicting Port Royal's important military role. In addition, the museum showcases how this region became the landing spot for one of the most prestigious bases in the country.

History enthusiasts and military gurus are not the only ones who will enjoy a trip to Parris Island. The area still provides plenty of outdoor activities for visitors to consider. Tee off at the Legends Golf Course, where visitors can engage in a one-of-a-kind golfing experience. The 72-par course winds its way along salt marsh wetlands and deep-water creeks. Other great activities guests can partake in include biking, hiking, and swimming.

Explore Parris Island for Yourself

Parris Island, SC, offers visitors a unique experience unlike anything else in the area. This sea island rests just south of Port Royal, SC, and is home to thousands of military personnel serving their country. While visiting, guests can learn about the rich history of the island and its military significance and engage in thrilling outdoor activities.

To learn more about these unique offerings and the various hotels near Parris Island, turn to Visit Beaufort for guidance. We can help you plan your visit to Parris Island by recommending the best times to go and providing you with other important information. To learn more about Parris Island and other sites around Beaufort, Port Royal, & Sea Islands, contact us today.

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