If you’re looking to experience all that the Lowcountry has to offer, Beaufort is the perfect place for you. Established in 1711, it is the second oldest city in South Carolina. Today, it’s known for its history, charm, and friendly locals. We recently spent a week living in Beaufort, and had such a relaxing time exploring the town and sipping drinks on the water while watching the most beautiful sunsets! This Beaufort travel guide includes how to get around, where to stay, things to do, and where to eat/drink. If you’re spending a weekend in Beaufort, be sure to check out the weekend in Beaufort itinerary.
Beaufort Travel Guide:
- Anchorage Inn (splurge)
- The Beaufort Inn (splurge)
- Cuthbert House Inn (splurge)
- The Rhett House Inn (splurge)
- Best Western Sea Island Inn
- Hampton Inn
- Home2 Suites
Beaufort is relatively walkable in the downtown area. It’s recommended that you rent a car to really explore all parts of the area, such as Port Royal and Lady’s Island.
- Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park: The main attraction of Beaufort, the waterfront park is not to be missed. It offers beautiful views of the bay front, plenty of grassy areas, and even swings. It’s a peaceful spot to take in all of Beaufort’s beauty. Nearby, you’ll find restaurants and bars.
- Spanish Moss Trail: The Spanish Moss Trail is a 10 mile trail that offers gorgeous views of the Lowcountry. You can walk, bike, or jog along the trail, or just sit and admire the views.
- The Historic District: The Historic District of Beaufort is made up of 5 neighborhoods and a number of historic sites. For the most part, it’s fairly easy to walk the district.
- Bay Street: Bay Street is essentially Downtown Beaufort and is lined with shops and restaurants to explore.
- Carriage Ride: A carriage ride is perfect if you’re looking for a guided tour of Beaufort. You’ll learn about Beaufort’s history and see beautiful homes/landmarks. The tours are usually around 55 minutes.
- Hunting Island: Hunting Island is 5,000 acres filled with beaches, hiking trails, and a lighthouse. You can spend the day exploring or just relaxing on the beach. There is a small entry fee per person, but it gives you all day access to the entire park.
- The Sands: Here you can walk along the beach and up the observation tower for views of the Lowcountry. If you’re pressed for time, you can successfully walk around and see everything here in less than 30 minutes. Otherwise, you can spend time relaxing on the beach.
- Pat Conroy Literary Center: If you’re a big reader, don’t miss the Pat Conroy Literary Center. Pat Conroy, famous author of “The Prince Of Tides“, “The Great Santini” and many more, came to Beaufort as a teacher. He then went on to become a best selling author. Today, the Pat Conroy Literary Center serves the public with tours and events.
- The Old Point: If you love historic homes, be sure to take a stroll through The Old Point. It’s located at the end of Bay Street, so easy to explore from the downtown area. Here you’ll find many beautiful mansions, dating back to the 1800s.
- Movie Filming Locations: Beaufort has quite a few filming locations you can visit, including:
- Fripp Island: Forrest Gump & The Prince of Tides
- Hunting Island State Park: G.I. Jane & Forrest Gump
- The Point: The Great Santini
- Tidalholm Mansion: The Big Chil, The Prince Of Tides, and The Great Santini
- Beaufort River: Forrest Gump & The Prince of Tides
- Beaufort National Cemetery: A United States National Cemetery, Beaufort National Cemetery is the resting place of over 19,000 veterans.
- Kayak Tour:
- The Chocolate Tree: The Chocolate Tree has been a staple in Beaufort since the 1980s. It’s most known for the role it played in Forrest Gump and the “life is like a box of chocolates” scene. They offer over 60 speciality, delicious chocolates.
- The Avenue Of Oaks: Arguably one of the most beautiful roads in Beaufort, The Avenue of the Oaks is located in Coffin Point Plantation on St. Helena Island. Walking under the oaks makes for great photos and and gorgeous stroll.
- Cypress Wetlands: The Cypress Wetlands are home to so much wildlife. It’s the perfect spot for birdwatching and even gator watching.
- Beaufort History Museum: The Beaufort History Museum offers exhibits showcasing the towns history and culture. It’s open Monday – Saturday and admission is less than $10 per person.
- Boat Tours: Another great way to see Beaufort is from the water. Beaufort offers boat tours, providing you a different perspective of the town. You’ll also get to experience the Lowcountry waterways.
- Corner Perk ($): Located in Port Royal and great for a quick breakfast/coffee. They offer delicious coffee and breakfast options. Be sure to try the biscuit sandwich! If you find yourself waiting for your meal, walk down to the Cypress Wetlands to find baby alligators and other wildlife in the water.
- Rain-N-Bagels ($): Great if you’re looking for a quick breakfast spot.
- Blackstone’s Cafe ($$): Another staple in Beaufort, great for brunch. They offer the breakfast classics along with their specialities such as the Cajun Shrimp & Grits and Corned Beef Hash Brisket.
- Red Rooster Cafe ($$): Open for breakfast and lunch, serving classic Southern comfort dishes.
- Herban Market and Cafe ($$): Vegetarian cafe, open for breakfast and lunch. They serve breakfast dishes along with smoothies, juices, and coffee. For lunch, they serve sandwiches, wraps, and salads – with a few grab and go options too.
- Plums ($$): A local favorite, offering dishes made from locally sourced ingredients.
- Panini’s On The Waterfront ($$): Known for their paninis (of course), but also other delicious sandwiches.
- Fat Patties ($$): Delicious, grass fed burgers. Dine in or take out.
- Dockside ($$): Dockside offers casual dining with waterfront views. They serve delicious seafood, steaks, and classic southern dishes – all at a reasonable price.
- Hearth Wood Fired Pizza ($$): As the name states, Hearth offers delicious wood fired pizzas and Italian food.
- Old Bull Tavern ($$): A gastropub serving comfort food and delicious craft cocktails.
- Saltus River Grill ($$$): The restaurant offers beautiful views of the Beaufort River and serves a variety of fresh seafood and southern style food. One of the more popular dishes is the Blackened Dorado which comes with Blue Crab and Fingerling Potato Gratin.
- Ribaut Social Club ($$$): The Inn was built in 1770 and showcases its historical charm. Have dinner on the beautiful historic patio, and enjoy gorgeous views of the water.
- Luther’s: A local favorite for many years, offering reasonably priced drinks and live music on select evenings.
- Fillin Station: If you’re looking for a local dive bar, head to the Fillin Station after dinner. They offer reasonably priced drinks with a great view of the bay and friendly staff!
- Ribaut Social Club @ Anchorage Inn: If you don’t plan on eating here, at least come for a cocktail. Grab a drink, sit on the patio, and admire the beautiful views of the water.
- Saltus Bar: Even if you’re not eating at Saltus, be sure to check out the bar. They offer delicious cocktails with a great vibe.
- RLB Distillery Company: Distillery offering tours and tastings of their spirits (vodka, rum, bourbon, and gin).
*This Beaufort travel guide is not affiliated with any of the establishments listed.