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Home in historic downtown Beaufort.

Beaufort is a coastal town in the Low Country of South Carolina.


Beaufort is located on Port Royal Island, in the heart of the Low Country of South Carolina. The city is renowned for its scenic location and for maintaining a historic character by preservation of its antebellum architecture. The city is also known for its military establishments, being close to the U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island and a U.S. naval hospital, in addition to being home of the Marine Corps Air Station (Beaufort).

European contact with the Beaufort area traces back to 1514 when Spanish Captain Diego Guilarte de Salazar arrived, becoming the 2nd landing of Europeans in North America. Further, Beaufort was founded in 1711 and thereby lays claim to being the 2nd oldest city in South Carolina, behind Charleston. Much of its architecture from days gone by, like over 70 structures, is preserved on the National Register of Historic Places. During the Civil War, it was captured fairly early by Union forces and, a bit ironically, became a refuge for escaped slaves, after serving so long as a center for slave trade and place of profit for Lowcountry planters.

The city has been featured in the New York Times, and named "Best Small Southern Town" by Southern Living, a "Top 25 Small City Arts Destination" by American Style, and a "Top 50 Adventure Town" by National Geographic Adventure.

Most scenes of the 1994 film Forrest Gump were shot around Beaufort.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

The closest airport to Beaufort is the Hilton Head Airport (HHH IATA), which is 14.3 mi (23.0 km) south of Beaufort (keep in mind you can't go direct). However, the service is sparse. The Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport (SAV IATA) is 37.5 mi (60.4 km) southwest of Beaufort. It has commercial service to all of the major U.S. airline hubs. Charleston International Airport (CHS IATA) is 49 mi (79 km) northeast of Beaufort. It has more commercial service than Savannah and Hilton Head.

By road[edit]

Interstate 95 passes right north of Beaufort. Beaufort can easily be accessed via the exits for U.S. Route 278 and U.S. Route 17 on I-95.

By train[edit]

The Yemassee Amtrak station is served twice a day-once by the nighttime Silver Meteor, which goes down to Miami and up to New York City, and once by the daytime Palmetto, which goes on the same basic route as the Silver Meteor, except it ends at Savannah.

By bus[edit]

  • Greyhound Lines, 3659 Trask Pkwy. Visitors can travel to and from Beaufort, SC with Greyhound Lines

Get around[edit]

Map of Beaufort (South Carolina)
  • Palmetto Breeze, +1 252-946-5778. This public transit service not only includes transport within the town of Beaufort, but it also provides rides to adjacent areas like Hilton Head.


Historic Beaufort Foundation (HBF) has worked hard to preserve the fabulous architecture you will see, and offers lectures and events throughout the year.

  • 1 MCRD Parris Island, +1 843 228-3650. It is a military base located about 5 mi (8.0 km) south of Beaufort. It is famous for being the place where most Marines are trained. Recruits graduate every Friday, with a Marine Day (a day to learn about the Marine Corps) on Wednesday and Family Day (a day for the families of the recruits to spend time with their recruits) on Thursday. Families are invited to each day, but keep in mind that it is a military base. Families of recruits will need their invitation, a valid driver's license, vehicle registration, and a proof of insurance to be able to enter. Families must also sign in at the Visitor's Center prior to the ceremony. In addition, there is a museum and a golf course, both of which civilians can come to invitation or not. Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island (Q1424369) on Wikidata Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island on Wikipedia
  • 2 Beaufort History Museum, 713 Craven Street. M–Sa 10AM–4PM. In a 1700s arsenal building.
  • 3 John Mark Verdier House (Lafayette Building), 801 Bay St, +1 843 379-6335. M-Sa 10ː30AM-3ː30PM. Tours on half hour.. John Mark Verdier House (Q6246760) on Wikidata John Mark Verdier House on Wikipedia
  • 4 Reconstruction Era National Historical Park (several historic sites in Beaufort County). The Beaufort area came under the control of the Union Army in November 1861. As a result, it was one of the first places in the United States where emancipated slaves voted, bought property and created churches, schools and businesses. Reconstruction Era National Historical Park (Q28336205) on Wikidata Reconstruction Era National Historical Park on Wikipedia


  • ARTworks. The arts council of Beaufort, Port Royal, and the Sea Islands This non-profit community arts center has a black box theater, resident artists working in their studios, and an Arts & Travel app guide to the area.
  • Taste of Beaufort. This three day festival celebrates Beaufort's culinary treasures. Local restaurants showcase spectacular tasting menus along Beaufort's historic Bay Street. Additional events include an Earth Day celebration, wine tasting, and contests. Musical acts are showcased throughout the festival with free concerts on festival stages and in other venues throughout downtown. The festival takes place in late April and is hosted by Main Street Beaufort, USA.
  • Beaufort River Tours, 1600 Bay St, +1 843-524-4422. 24-passenger carriage-boat, Prince of Tides, which rides from the Downtown Marina of Beaufort passing through the historic Old Point neighborhood to Pleasant Point Plantation Tour guides provide information for the passengers about the homes, the ecology, and wildlife. Dolphins are usually seen during tour. 1hr 20 min tours for $18, kids under 12 for $12. Daily tours are available, either public or private.
  • 1 The Sands (at southern end of Port Royal). Beach and boardwalk with observation tower along Port Royal Bay.
  • 2 Cypress Wetlands, 1700 Paris Ave, Port Royal. Daily 7AM-8PM. Swamp featuring boardwalk with alligator and egret viewing.



  • Magnolia Café, Bakery, and Garden Gift Gallery, 703 Congress St, +1 843-524-1961. W-Su 9AM-3PM. The menu offers deli sandwiches made from the finest deli meat, daily homemade soups, and crab cakes. Dine with a view of the scenic bay. It won “Best Bakery”, 2001 Reader’s Choice Award, The Beaufort Gazette’s Reader’s Choice Award, and featured on Carolina Morning News (1999).
  • Ladys Island Dockside, 71 Sea Island Pkwy, +1 843 379-3288. Daily 4PM-10PM. They make a little honey cornbread there. Such pretty views over the estuary and bay.
  • The Fillin' Station, 57 Sea Island Pkwy, +1 843 522-0230. Lunch and dinner. More budget priced eatery overlooking the watery channels.
  • Saltus River Grill, 802 Bay St STE C, +1 843 379-3474. Su-F 5PM-9PM, Sa 5PM-10PM. This one should really help to make your pocketbook a little lighter. $$$.



  • The Beaufort Inn. In the heart of the historic district. The inn offers activities, fine dining, and close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Comfort Suites Beaufort, 131 Big John Road (Hwy 170 and New Hanover Park), +1 843 379-9400.
  • City Loft Hotel. An upscale boutique hotel that offers 23 guest rooms.
  • 1 Quality Inn At Town Center, 2001 Boundary St, +1 843 524-2144. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Nestled among live oak trees draped with Spanish moss and offers beautiful marsh views.

Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Beaufort is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.