What are the best things to do in Beaufort, South Carolina?
After all, when we think about the city of Beaufort in South Carolina, what typically comes to mind?
Well for starters, the city of Beaufort, South Carolina is considered to be the second oldest city in the state, being chartered back in 1711. The city is also located on the Port Royal Island, in the heart of the Sea Islands and South Carolina Lowcountry. It’s known for being a scenic location with various kinds of things to see and explore.
The city itself has also been featured in various publications. For instance, it was named “Best Small Southern Town” by Southern Living, a “Top 25 Small City Arts Destination” by American Style, and even a “Top 50 Adventure Town” by National Geographic Adventure.
With that being said, you might be wondering what exactly you are able to see and do while visiting this beautiful city.
Fortunately for you, the city of Beaufort is overflowing with Southern comfort and makes for a perfect getaway vacation for any girl’s night out, family trip, or even a place for solo travelers to be.
For instance, visitors who come here will be able to take in the views of the picturesque home and gardens built in an Antebellum Architecture dating back from the 1700’s. There is even a protective historical association that will allow visitors to travel back through time as they walk along the centuries-old streets lined with gigantic live oaks.
Plus, there are a vast array of historical establishments showcasing the earlier time, including iconic landmarks like the Beaufort National cemetery, the Beaufort Arsenal and even the Santa Elena Historical Center, just to name a few.
As you can see, the city of Beaufort has it all. It doesn’t matter if you’re here for romance, history or even adventure, the city of Beaufort will definitely have something for everybody to enjoy.
Which is why if you’re still wondering exactly what you are able to see and do while visiting this amazing city, do not worry.
In this post, we’ll be detailing all the best things to see and do while visiting the city of Beaufort, South Carolina.
So if you’re ready, lets get started!
- Things To Do In Beaufort, South Carolina
- Explore The Beaufort National Cemetery
- Visit Stephen Elliott Park
- Play Some Golf
- Check Out Santa Elena History Center
- Have Fun Out In the Waters
- Visit Fort Fremont
- Go On A Sea Island Carriage Ride
- Visit The Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park
- Learn From The Beaufort History Museum
- Explore The Spanish Moss Trail
- Go On A Dolphin Tour
- Try To Catch Some Fish By Fishing
- Travel Out To Hunting Island State Park
- Explore The Old Sheldon Church
- Relax On A Beach
- Enjoy Some Delicious Seafood
- Visit The Parris Island Museum
- Roam Around Beaufort Historic District
- Enjoy The Cypress Wetlands
- Attend The Beaufort Water Festival
Things To Do In Beaufort, South Carolina
In no particular order, here are the best things to do in Beaufort, South Carolina.
Explore The Beaufort National Cemetery
One of the most interesting and memerable things you can ever see and do while visiting the city of Beaufort, is to simply go visit a cemetary.
But it’s not just any ordinary cemetery that you are visiting. In fact, this is the Beaufort National Cemetery which is the resting place for both Confederate and Union soldiers that died during the Civil War. It’s a fantastic place to visit where you can pay homage and respect to those who fallen for our freedom.
Originally established during the northern occupation of Beaufort for men who passed away in Union Hospitals. Abraham Lincoln’s National Cemetery Act of 1863, helped transform this entire place into a National Cemetery, and in the year of 1997, this place was even listed on the National Register of Historic Places of America.
Visitors who come will find that the Beaufort National Cemetery doesn’t just include Civil War soldiers, as this cemetery also includes many Medal of Honor recipients and other fallen solders for every single war or conflict the United States has ever been involved in.
Throughout this 33-acre area, visitors will be able to see and explore various tombstones laid out in a really beautiful manner, surrounded by trees and plants that make this place so enjoyable. Not only that, but visitors can also drive through the entrance to view all the monuments and memorials from Boundary Street.
So if you have the time to spare, you should definitely come visit the Beaufort National Cemetery as it will definitely give you a whole new look on life as well as being able to pay your respects to the heroes who fought for this country.
Visit Stephen Elliott Park
Do you like seeing cannons? How about exploring a cool and amazing park? If both of those sound like fun and exciting things to do, then you’ll definitely have to come visit the Stephen Elliott Park.
Stephen Elliott Park or Cannon Park as it is also known as, is a park located in Beaufort, South Carolina that is a really interesting place for people to see and explore.
For instance, the highlight of this park is that there are a few cannons located on the premises of this park. Now you might be wondering exactly why some cannons might be on a park’s property, but in fact there is a really cool reason behind it.
These cannons came from a British Ship known as Vigilant. The ship was originally a merchant vessel named Grand Duchess of Russia and served as a transport until it was bought by the British navy and renamed into Vigilant back in 1777. The ship has then played an important role throughout many battles as it served in operations against Philadelphia during the American Revolution and also came south the support British campaigns in Georgia and South Carolina. And after further more battles, the ship was later declared derelict and burned.
The cannons however were removed prior to that and are the only remains of what is left of that once impressive ship. Which is why visitors who come here will be able to sit and enjoy the beauty of these cannons and envision their use throughout a long and hard fought history.
Play Some Golf
If you love to play golf, then you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of different areas here in Beaufort for you to play the sport of golf.
In fact, visitors who come here will find that Beaufort makes for a perfect place to play as the moderate climate and excellent quality of numerous courses makes for some of the most enjoyable experiences ever.
Golfers of all kinds of skill levels and experiences will be able to enjoy themselves and even improve their game with either individual lessons or even group lessons as well from local professionals.
One of the most popular places which people can go play some golf at is one called “TGC at Pleasant Point Plantation“. Originally opened up in 1973, this 18 hole course which was designed by Russell Breeden is located on Lady’s Island, which is a really close drive away from Beaufort. Visitors who come will find that it has water on 12 of its 18 holes, abundant coastal water birds, a few resident gators, huge moss draped live oak trees, and native Palmetto and palm trees.
Plus the rates for playing at “TGC” is pretty affordable as they take both credit and cash. Do note that if you are paying cash, you will be paying a cheaper price than compared to if you were to pay with credit.
Aside from TGC, you can also find various other courses around like “Secession Golf Club“, “Olde Beaufort Golf Club“, and more all available for you to play. So whether you are wanting to go to one of them or all of them, you will definitely have your fill of golfing fun for you to enjoy.
Check Out Santa Elena History Center
Did you know that the first European settlement in the New World was not actually at St. Augustine, but actually somewhere else?
In fact, the first European settlement in the New World was actually at Santa Elena on Parris Island.
It’s because of this reason that there is an entire building dedicated to showing people exactly how things came to be. Located on top of Bay Street, visitors who come can find a building called “Santa Elena History Center“. This building is one of the most popular places for people to visit as there is so much information here for people to learn and explore.
For instance, inside this building visitors can expect to find an exhibit that showcases the 16th century explorations and settlements with a focus on the Spanish town of Santa Elena. There will also be a short film that introduces the history of the area as well as a self-paced tour through the main exhibit which engrosses visitors in the earliest years of American History. Visitors will be able to learn exactly what life was like for settlers back then, how the French attempted settlements, as well as how the Spanish reclaimed the place by establishing towns in the surrounding areas.
Not only that, but the center also has a variety of different activities for people to see and do. For example, there is an “Archaeology Learning Experience” where kids can lead their own excavation to find artifacts representing what archaeologists discovered at the site of Santa Elena. There’s also things like “Navigation in the 16th Century”, “History of 1501 Bay Street”, “Jail Cells” and more all ready for people to see and explore.
Overall, if you are a fan of history and love learning new things, than the Santa Elena History Center is the perfect place for you to visit.
Have Fun Out In the Waters
The area of Beaufort, South Carolina is filled with plenty of different waterways for you to visit and explore. After all, the unique waterways in this city are one of the many qualities that make this place so special.
And what better way to explore these waterways than by doing something fun like paddle boarding or kayaking.
Both of these activities make for a great choice to do as you will be able to explore at your own leisurely pace surrounded by nature and taking in all the beautiful scenic views that surround you.
Visitors who are wanting to do some water activities will find out that they can either do these activities by themselves or use one of the several companies out here that’ll provide tours of these waterways. Tours are definitely recommended because they can show you things that you won’t ever realize was there. For instance, among the tall grass and wetlands, you’ll be able to see a range of wildlife. From things like mullet to terrapin or even fiddler crabs and more, can all be found roaming around the area.
It’s definitely a great way to explore the place as you’ll be in a totally relaxed state while peacefully surrounding yourself with all the nature and wildlife in the area. Definitely one of the best things to ever see and do here in the city of Beaufort.
Visit Fort Fremont
Located on St. Helena Island, just a few minutes away from Beaufort, visitors will be able to find one of the most interesting things they’ll ever see in this area.
Fort Fremont is a Spanish American War fort that was built back in the year of 1899 and was then later abandoned in 1921. This fort was once an important link in the country’s coastal defense by protecting the fueling station of Parris Island. However in todays age, the fort is mostly lain in ruins.
Although in recent years, Fort Fremont has gone under construction, with a multi-million dollar renovation set to take place. The plan is toe make this destination more relevant and informative to the area’s history. For instance, once completed, the area will include an interpretive center, a picnic pavilion, walking paths, public restrooms and much more for the public to enjoy. No date is listed yet for when the renovation will be completed, but do check their website which will provide all the information for you to know.
Fort Fremont is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in America as part of the Historic Resources of St. Helena Island. Once the renovation is completed, it’ll be a really beautiful place for people to come visit and explore.
Go On A Sea Island Carriage Ride
One of the best things you can ever see and do while visiting the city of Beaufort, South Carolina, is to simply roam around and explore what the city has to offer.
And one of the best ways to do that is by carriage! The Sea Island Carriage Company is the premiere carriage company that’ll take visitors all around the city exploring many different things.
The entire ride lasts around 1 hour and will provide visitors with a rich history and unique charm of the city. You’ll be guided by a very knowledgeable host who will narrate the entire adventure detailing all the interesting and unique things you should know about many different places.
For instance, visitors who choose to ride with this company will be able to slip back into the Beaufort’s elegant past as the carriage meanders under moss covered Live Oaks, past beautifully constructed Antebellum homes, historic churches, movie sites and more. It’s truly a breathtaking experience and one that everybody should try.
Best of all is that prices are really affordable. For adults, the ticket price is only around $24 dollars while children prices are $10 dollars.
So if you’re in the mood for exploring new things and learning all about this charming city, then the Sea Island Carriage Company is definitely the way to go.
Visit The Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park
One of the first things visitors might see when they are visiting the city of Beaufort, South Carolina is most likely the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.
The Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park is one of the most beautiful places you can ever visit here in the city of Beaufort. Not to mention that it is also one of the most popular places for people to visit.
For instance, this area is lined with a huge array of dining options, shops, art galleries and more. Plus, it is the location where many of the city’s annual festivals and events come to be held. From things like Beaufort Shrimp Festival to Arts & Seafood Festival to even the Beaufort Water Festival can all be seen in this area.
And being as how it is a park, visitors will be able to find many swings and picnic tables for them to enjoy. As well as many areas which lets them do various types of activities. For example, fishing is a popular thing to do here as the waters nearby provide an ample amount of fish for you to catch. There are also many jogging/walking paths for you to roam around on which provide really scenic views for you to take in.
It’s a pet friendly place and one where you will find a bundle of things to see and do. It’s no wonder this waterfront park is always listed as being one of the best places to visit when visiting the city of Beaufort.
Learn From The Beaufort History Museum
If you love history and learning about all types of history and events, then one place you might be interested in visiting is the Beaufort History Museum.
The Beaufort History Museum is one of the best places to visit where you can learn about the deep and rich history of the Beaufort District. It was originally established back in 1939 and provides so much information for you to see and learn from.
For instance, when visitors come here, they’ll be able to find many historical documents, artifacts, and ephemera detailing the rich history of the city of Beaufort. Not only that, but there is also a timeline that highlights the arrival of Native Americans, the first settlers, the Revolutionary War, the rice, indigo and cotton Plantation Culture, the antebellum decades, secession and the Civil War, the Spanish American War and much more.
Plus, the museum will also be host to a variety of rotating exhibits that come and go all throughout the year. For example, some special exhibits that were on display includes “The Melody Makers”, “Beaufort in Films” and more.
Not only that, but the museum is also host to a variety of events as well that comes and goes all throughout the year too. They also offer many community programs for kids and parents to come and learn or interact with certain exhibits.
Overall, it’s a fun filled exhibit where everybody of all ages and experiences will be able to learn something new and interesting about the history of Beaufort.
Explore The Spanish Moss Trail
Have you ever seen a Spanish Moss?
If you haven’t, then you are in for a world of surprise.
After all, the Lowcountry area of the Carolina’s are known for many different things. For instance, they have delicious seafood mixed in with their amazing hospitality and Southern Charm. However the most popular and well known thing around here is definitely the Spanish Moss.
And here in Beaufort, South Carolina, there is a place where you can see the Spanish Moss in all its glory. And that place is the Spanish Moss Trail.
The Spanish Moss Trail is a trail that is around 10 miles long where you can walk or bike around in a peaceful manner. While you are roaming around the trail, you’ll notice that surrounding the entire area are a bunch of Spanish Moss. These Spanish Moss are are actually a bromeliad, not actually a moss, and they are not parasitic either. The moss basically gets its nutrients from the weather conditions and airborne dust and debris.
Plus, along the way, you’ll also see views of the water, marsh and maybe even a fighter jet flying from the nearby Marine Corp Air Station.
These Spanish Moss are really a sight to see and makes for a pleasant experience when roaming around the area.
Go On A Dolphin Tour
As you know, the area of Beaufort, South Carolina is perfect for many types of water activities.
However, it isn’t just fishing or kayaking or maybe even paddle boarding that you can enjoy here in the waters. There is another thing visitors can do which is equally as enjoyable. And that thing is dolphin watching.
The waters around the area of Beaufort are the perfect place for visitors to come and watch some playful bottlenose dolphins prancing around. It’s one of the best experiences you can ever witness as these dolphins are so fun and energetic.
For instance, one of the most unique experiences you can witness here is them strand feeding. This is where the smart dolphin pod herds a prey (usually a mullet) onto a sandbar by synchronizing their body movements. The prey is then stranded for the dolphins to easily make them into a meal.
And if you aren’t able to find any yourself or just don’t know how to find them, do not worry. There are many companies in the area which will provide tours for you to watch the dolphins play around on the river or even out on the open waters. For example, one of the most popular tour companies to do this is one called “Coastal Expeditions“. They provide an hour long tour where you are able to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat.
It’s a really fun and enjoyable experience that you should definitely not miss!
Try To Catch Some Fish By Fishing
As you know, the area of Beaufort, South Carolina is surrounded by many beautiful areas with water.
It’s true! in fact, twenty-five percent of the U.S east coast marshland water is here in Beaufort county. Which means that one of the best things you can ever see or do here in Beaufort is to simply go fishing.
All you’ll need is to simply bring your fishing equipment and go to any one of these marshlands or beaches and start casting your line out. You’ll never know what you might catch!
For instance, some of the fish you can catch in the waters around here includes things like giant cobia, schools of Jacks, ladyfish, Spanish mackerel or even trout. The possibilities are endless.
Or you can even take things up a notch where you’ll book out a ship with one of the companies around here which will take you out into the tide waters and grassy marshes. The captain of the ship are very knowledgeable and will ensure your success in catching whatever it is you are wanting to catch.
So if you ever find yourself wanting to try out fishing here in the area of Beaufort, South Carolina, then you are in good hands.
Travel Out To Hunting Island State Park
One of the best places you can ever visit here in the area of Beaufort, South Carolina is a place called Hunting Island State Park.
Hunting Island State Park is a 5,000 acre secluded semitropical barrier island located just 15 miles east of Beaufort. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions to visit as the island is so beautiful and has many things for you to see and do.
For instance, one of the most popular things for you to do here on this island is to visit the historic Hunting Island Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built back in 1859, and is the only one open to the public in the entire state of South Carolina.
Visitors who are wanting to see the lighthouse can go in and climb the 167 step spiral staircase and be rewarded with some of the most majestic views of the Atlantic and the surrounding Lowcountry landscape. The lighthouse reaches a staggering 132 feet high, and will make visitors gain an appreciation for all the things that vessels would face while being offshore.
Aside from the lighthouse, Hunting Island also provides a really fantastic beach for people to come out and play. And not too far from the beach, visitors will also be greeted with the sight of the bottlenose dolphins which are eagerly playing around in the waters around you.
Overall, Hunting Island State Park is a must-see attraction when visiting the area of Beaufort, South Carolina. It is not your typical island and is filled with so many things for you to see and do.
Explore The Old Sheldon Church
One of the coolest and most interesting places we can ever visit here in the area around Beaufort, is a place called the Old Sheldon Church.
The Old Sheldon Church is one of the oldest churches in the area being originally built back during the 1700’s. It was originally known as the Prince William’s Parish Church and was built in the Greek Revival style many years ago.
However as time passed, the church was later burned down by the British back in 1779 during the Revolutionary War. But in 1826, the church was rebuilt only to have been burned again by General Sherman in 1865. In today’s era, the current state of the church still stands in ruins with little left but the stone foundation, walls and the portico.
However even in its current state, the Old Sheldon Church is still a very popular place for people to visit. As all around the church, visitors will be able to find beautiful oaks and scattered ancient graves all around. Inside the ruins of the church, there is a burial site of Colonel William Bull, who, along with General Oglethorpe, was key in establishing the physical layout of Savannah, Georgia.
Aside from being an ancient church, the place is now a popular spot for many historians, nature lovers, photographers, bridal parties, and more who are wanting to capture the essence of the beautiful area. Plus, there is even an annual worship serve held here every year during the second Sunday after Easter.
Overall, the Old Sheldon Church is a really cool place to visit as you’ll get a sense of beauty and history all in one.
Relax On A Beach
Sometimes exploring the city life can be a bit tiring to do. In that case, you might be interested in visiting a beach!
And here in Beaufort, you can find many areas around the city which offers a splendid beach for you to go play at.
For instance, Land’s End Beach on St. Helena Island which is just a few minutes away from the city of Beaufort offers an array of things for you to see and do. It is a favorite place among locals to visit for its peaceful nature. It is there where you can swim around, fish for some trout, or just bask in the sun and enjoy your day. Truly a wonderful experience.
Another beach that offers some splendid and fun things for you to see and do is one called The Sands in Port Royal, which is conveniently located at the southern tip of Port Royal. It’s a very easy access as you can literally drive right up to the beach and picnic right out of your car. Plus it is here where you can roam around and scavenge through the sands and try to find some amazing shark teeth, fly a kite, go for a swim or even just sun bathe in the white sands.
Plus, depending on which beach you decide to visit, you might even see some amazing wildlife as well. For instance, bottlenose dolphins are a common sight here around the area of Beaufort as they are out and about having tons of fun.
In the end, it doesn’t matter which beach you are wanting to visit, they all provide you with some nice peace and quiet as well as having a ton of fun.
Enjoy Some Delicious Seafood
One of the best things you can ever see or do here in the area of Beaufort is to simply go around to all the amazing restaurants and eat some food.
But not just any food, seafood is the one you are after.
Mainly because the areas around Beaufort are surrounded by the open waters which means that the seafood you’ll find here in any of the restaurants are sure to be the freshest you’ll ever see.
For instance, one of the most popular restaurants you can visit here in the city of Beaufort is one called “Dockside Restaurant“. This restaurant specializes in serving seafood type dishes for you to eat. So you’ll find things like Coconut Fried Shrimp, Steamed Mussels, Buffalo Oysters, Buttermilk Flounder, Alaskan Crab Legs and more all waiting for you to eat.
Or if you are wanting something more non-seafood related, then you’ll be happy to know that there is a restaurant called “Panini’s on the Waterfront” that specializes in serving Italian foods or pizza for you to eat. You’ll be able to find things like Mediterranean Pizza, Capri Pizza, Pastrami Rueben Panini, Pesto Grilled Chicken Panini , Baked Ziti, Philly Cheese Steak and more all made fresh daily.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter which restaurants you decide to visit. Almost all of which will provide you with some really high quality foods for you to enjoy.
Visit The Parris Island Museum
As you know, the United States Marine Corps has a long standing history here in this country.
So if you are a fan of them, then one place you will definitely love to visit is the Parris Island Museum located on Paris Island.
This museum is only a few minutes drive away from Beaufort and offers a really interesting and fun experience where you can learn about so many different things, especially dealing with the United States Marine Corps.
The Parris Island Museum spans a whopping 10,000 square foot and is located on the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. It is here where you can find a variety of exhibits that focuses on the time-honored traditions of the Marine Corps and find artifacts depicting the Port Royal’s crucial military role from the American Revolution to the Civil War.
Not only that, but this museum also showcases the island’s Marine Corps installation after the Spanish-American war. Plus, you’ll also be able to learn about the history of the surrounding area from the Native Americans who lived here all the way to present day life on Parris Island.
Overall, it’s a really unique and interesting museum that offers a glimpse into the long standing life of the Marine history, as well as many other informative things. So if you have time to spare, I definitely recommend you visit this museum as it is truly worth every bit of your time.
Roam Around Beaufort Historic District
One of the best things to do in Beaufort, South Carolina is to simply roam around and see all the interesting things that it has to offer.
And what better place to do that than at the Beaufort Historic District.
The Beaufort Historic District which is located only a few streets down from the downtown area features many interesting and unique things for you to see and do.
For instance, one of the most popular things you’ll able to observe are the beautiful rows of Antebellum houses that line the area. These Antebellum houses will give tourists insight into the complexed layers of the past that circle through this city. In fact, many of these houses are also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Not only that, but many areas around the historic district are lined with trees and Spanish moss, which invites visitors to walk casually through the shade as they gaze into the various architecture highlighting this entire area.
Plus, it is here where you can find various art galleries around where local artists are working on their craft and allow you to explore their offerings. There are also many restaurants and cafes in the area which will put out a powerful scent of delicious foods drawing you in to visit.
It’s a very fun place to visit and one where you will definitely get a lot of joy out of exploring.
Enjoy The Cypress Wetlands
If you love nature and surrounding yourself with scenic views, then one amazing place you definitely have to visit is the Cypress Wetlands.
The Cypress Wetlands are located on Port Royal, just a few minutes drive away from the city of Beaufort, South Carolina.
It is here where you are able to see nature at its finest moment.
For instance, visitors who come here will be able to find a trail that loops around the entire place and is about a half mile long in length. During this trail, visitors will be able to see all kinds of wildlife that calls this place home. From herons to owls or even falcons and hawks, you will see a bunch of different migratory birds flying around.
But birds aren’t the only thing of interest here in the Cypress Wetlands. In fact, nature is also abundant as there are many different environments here which are full of things for you to see. For instance, the environment is full of Spanish moss, Cypress trees, ponds, and other elements visitors will love to know about here in the Lowcountry.
Just be careful when you are roaming around and stay on the trail because sometimes there are dangerous animals laying about. Alligators and snakes call this place home and you definitely do not want to run into them when exploring this beautiful area.
Attend The Beaufort Water Festival
If you are ever visiting the city of Beaufort, South Carolina during the month of July, you might be interested in attending one of the biggest festivals of the year.
Known as the Beaufort Water Festival, it is a festival where locals and tourists from all around gather together and have a whole lot of fun. With various different activities and events happening all throughout the day, it is one of the best things you can ever do here in Beaufort.
The Beaufort Water Festival is a 10 day long event starting in July and brings family friendly activities, sporting events, daily & nightly concerts, kid’s fun, fireworks displays and more for people to enjoy.
For example, one of the days might consists of a raft race, bocce tournament, badminton tournament, shrimp boat tours, and a concert at the park. Where as another day might consists of things like ski show, teen dance, talent show, Lowcountry supper and more all ready for you to enjoy. Each and every day is a different event or activity which means the fun never stops.
Overall, it’s a fun filled event where kids and adults can come together and have a bunch of fun. It’s definitely something you do not want to miss if you are ever visiting the city of Beaufort during the month of July.
The city of Beaufort in South Carolina is definitely one of the most interesting places you can ever visit. Once you visit, you’ll notice that this city offers plenty of things for you to see and do.
So hopefully this post about the “20 Best Things To Do In Beaufort, South Carolina” was able to help you out in some sort of way. This way if you ever find yourself visiting the city of Beaufort in South Carolina, you will know exactly what things you are able to do for some fun.
Also if you are interested in reading some of my other posts about traveling, you can do so by clicking these links:
- Essential steps for planning a trip
- How to find cheap flights
- There is no such thing as a perfect time to travel
Or you can check out all my blog posts by click this link.
Have fun traveling and let me know how it goes~