This Small Coastal City in South Carolina Has Charleston-like Appeal With out the Crowds

Charleston could get many of the consideration on the subject of South Carolina’s many cities, however the historical past, tradition, and (in fact) Southern attraction that make it so particular will also be present in smaller and cheaper locations within the area. If you happen to’ve ever watched “Forrest Gump” or learn something by the late creator Pat Conroy, chances are you’ll be conversant in Beaufort, a harbor city on Port Royal Island. Its slender streets, oak timber, and historic district that pre-dates the Civil Warfare are much like these in Charleston, however Beaufort is exceptional and magical in its personal proper. Plus, it doesn’t draw the identical crowds that are inclined to flock to notable Holy Metropolis hangouts like King Avenue, Folly Seaside, and the Battery. 

Earlier than you learn any additional, although, you have to know find out how to correctly pronounce the identify. To not be confused with Beaufort, North Carolina (stated like “bow-fert”), the coastal city has a pronunciation extra akin to “bew-fert.” Mistaking the 2 will instantly determine you as a vacationer — and it gained’t sit too properly with the locals. After you have that squared away, you can begin planning your journey to Beaufort, the second-oldest metropolis in South Carolina.

In 1969, Beaufort grew to become one of many few U.S. cities with a whole downtown designated as a historic district by the Nationwide Belief for Historic Preservation, so exploring the neighborhoods crammed with Victorian, Greek Revival, Neoclassical, and Federal-style properties is on the prime of most vacationers’ lists. At Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, you’ll spot Woods Memorial Bridge, recognizable from the aforementioned Tom Hanks blockbuster. Stretching your legs can also be inspired alongside the Spanish Moss Path, a 10-mile greenway that weaves by Beaufort’s marshes and thru timber draped in Spanish moss. Given its waterfront location, Beaufort also needs to be skilled by boat; e book a Dolphin & Historical past Boat Cruise with Coastal Expeditions or an ecology tour with Beaufort Kayak Excursions. Paddleboarding is another choice, with rental tools accessible at Increased Floor Outfitters. 

Beaufort’s ties to the literary world are sturdy; visiting the Pat Conroy Literary Heart (Beaufort was Conroy’s adopted hometown) or one of many three unbiased bookstores on the town — NeverMore Books, McIntosh E-book Shoppe, and Beaufort Books — is a should for e book lovers. For these considering native artwork, there’s the Gullah Artwork Gallery and Museum, Legacy Artwork Gallery, Rhett Gallery, Thibault Gallery, or Atelier Off Bay. 

Lots of the greatest issues to do in Beaufort are discovered additional exterior of downtown. About 17 miles east is Searching Island State Park, with its pristine seashores, marshes, maritime forest, saltwater lagoon, and the Searching Island Lighthouse, which was destroyed through the Civil Warfare and rebuilt in 1875. St. Helena Island (a 13-minute drive away) is dwelling to Penn Heart — one of many United States’ first faculties for previously enslaved people — in addition to the family-owned Dempsey Farms, the place you’ll be able to decide in-season fruit and veggies. Native produce will also be acquired on Saturdays on the close by Port Royal Farmers Market.

An in a single day journey to Beaufort is greatest accompanied by a keep in one of many city’s upscale inns. Gradual Southern mornings paired with a home-cooked breakfast may be loved on the expansive picket porch at The Rhett Home Inn. Friends also can e book the extra trendy Rhett Home Inn Cottages, which sit throughout the road from the primary constructing. As soon as a Union Military hospital, Anchorage 1770 overlooks the Beaufort River and presents a advantageous eating expertise on the Ribaut Social Membership. The Beaufort Inn first opened its doorways in 1897, and the property’s modern-day chapter options a number of totally renovated buildings throughout the city’s historic district.

As with most Southern cities and cities, meals is a significant a part of the native tradition. If you happen to’re a traveler who plans their holidays round meals, you’ll need to begin your day at Blackstone’s Cafe or Herban Market and Cafe. If you happen to’re exploring Beaufort through the day and wish one thing fast, order a fried rooster sandwich or po’boy from Lowcountry Produce Market & Cafe. Chapman’s Grocer additionally has grab-and-go treats, wine, and craft beer. Previous Bull Tavern is a vigorous gastropub open just for dinner, Saltus River Grill is nice for indulging in seafood, and people craving Italian ought to dine at Griffin Market. Gullah Grub Restaurant on St. Helena Island is among the space’s most well-known eating places (it appeared on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations); get the shrimp gumbo.

A South Carolina summer time is scorching and humid — there’s no getting round that. To discover Beaufort in essentially the most snug local weather, your greatest wager is to go in both early spring or late fall. April and October are perfect for having a lot to do (winter is way from bustling) whereas concurrently avoiding the sweltering climate synonymous with the South.

If you happen to’re flying into Hilton Head Airport (HHH) or Savannah/Hilton Head Worldwide Airport (SAV) — each are below an hour away  — you’ll must hire a automobile to totally expertise Beaufort and its surrounding space. Charleston Worldwide Airport (CHS) can also be an possibility, though it’ll take about 90 minutes to get to Beaufort.