20 Best Things to Do in Beaufort, SC

20 Best Things to Do in Beaufort, SC
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Nestled between the hustle and bustle of Charleston and Savannah, the enchanting town of Beaufort, South Carolina, has a unique allure that is undeniable.

So put on your walking shoes, and join me as I guide you through the best things to do in Beaufort, South Carolina.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: James Jourdan, Mildred Sedgwick, Eugenia Rich, Samuel Tinsley, Connie Plummer, Diana Mader and Steven McClary.

Observe Boats at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park

Walkway of Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park
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Whenever I need a moment of peace, I find myself drawn toward the serene expanse of the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

The beautifully landscaped green space, with its sweeping views of the river, is a delight for the eyes.

One of my favorite parts of the park is the bench-style swings.

Sitting there, swaying gently in the breeze, watching the ships pass by, is a pleasure that never gets old.

And when the bridge opens to let a ship through, that's a sight that always catches my attention.

The park is also a hub for various activities.

The playground, buzzing with the laughter of children, is a place of pure joy.

The amphitheater often hosts performances that bring the community together.

Many times, I've found myself tapping my feet to the rhythm of a local band playing on the stage.

Benches along Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park
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The park also caters to my food cravings. There's a nice selection of bars and restaurants nearby where I love to grab a bite.

If I'm in the mood for a quiet meal, I simply pick a spot on the lawn and have a picnic.

Cleanliness is another aspect that I appreciate about the park. It's well-maintained and clean, making every visit enjoyable.

And the best part? The parking is reasonable at just $1 per hour.

Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, with its beautiful scenery and multitude of activities, is truly one of the most cherished parts of my town.

It's a place where I can relax, have fun, and feel connected to the community.

Daytime view of Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park
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Stepping into the Thibault Gallery, it's like being welcomed into a dear friend's home, filled with warmth and vibrant energy.

The owner is always ready with a wide smile and an effervescent enthusiasm for showcasing the talents of the local art scene.

It doesn't stop with a friendly welcome; the customer service I've experienced has been unparalleled.

Whether looking for a new piece to add to my collection or seeking advice on local attractions, they have been a constant source of knowledge and recommendations.

What truly sets Thibault Gallery apart is the eclectic selection of artwork.

It's more than just paintings and sculptures; it's a diverse collection that includes oil, acrylic, pen and ink, glass artworks, and even unique pieces made from recycled palm fronds.

Unleash Your Inner Bookworm at Pat Conroy Literary Center

Let me tell you about a hidden gem in the heart of Beaufort.

It's a place where I've lost myself countless times in the enigmatic world of American literature, where I've found myself sitting at a desk that has seen the creation of some of the greatest books in our literary history.

This is the Pat Conroy Literary Center, a place that resonates with the spirit and brilliance of the man himself.

On this ordinary day, I made my way there, anticipating the familiar thrill of entering the place dedicated to one of my favorite authors.

As I made my way around the center, I was once again lost in the spectacular collection of Conroy's works, even buying yet another copy of THE WATER IS WIDE to share the magic with others.

But the fun isn't just limited inside Pat Conroy Literary Center.

The charm of downtown Beaufort extends right outside its doors.

After my visit, I love to take a stroll around the waterfront and soak in the city's rich and tumultuous history that seems almost surreal in such a peaceful setting.

Discover the Life of a CIvil War Hero at the Robert Smalls House

Exterior of Robert Smalls House
Elisa.rolle, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When I take my daily strolls down the historic streets of Beaufort, the Robert Smalls House always catches my eye.

Smalls was a remarkable man, a freed slave, a Civil War hero, and the first-ever Black Republican US Congressman.

I've always been fascinated by his story and the legacy he left behind.

The house itself is a testament to his journey.

Built in 1843, it’s a standout feature in the landscape of our small town.

Nestled among the oaks and draped in Spanish moss, the house simply radiates history.

But, unlike a museum, it’s a living piece of history. People still reside in it, which adds another layer of intrigue to it.

Every time I pass the house, I'm reminded of Smalls' bravery and perseverance.

Historic plaque of Robert Smalls House
Elisa.rolle, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The fact that Robert Smalls Hous is a private residence and cannot be entered only adds to its charm.

It's not just an artifact behind museum glass; it's a living piece of history that continues to inspire us.

If you haven’t heard of Robert Smalls, I strongly recommend looking him up. His story is inspiring and gives true depth to the house.

I feel lucky to live in a town with such a rich history and powerful reminders of our past.

Who knew that the pursuit of an antique map could lead to discovering a treasure trove of art right here in our own backyard?

That's exactly what happened to me at the Rhett Gallery.

Stepping into the gallery feels like stepping into a time capsule of low country-inspired art. But let me tell you, this isn't just any art, this art is soul-stirring.

The small pieces are delightful - they draw you in, pique your curiosity and before you know it, you're standing in awe before the larger-than-life paintings.

Each stroke on the canvas seemed to tell a story, a story that I, as a local, felt connected to.

Meeting William Jr. and Nancy was the cherry on top of a perfect afternoon.

Their warm personalities made the gallery experience feel much more personal.

And can we talk about their son's art? Simply breathtaking.

But what initially brought me here was their extensive map collection, boasting maps from all corners of the globe.

I found myself captivated by a map print of the South Carolina Improvement Co. on Port Royal Harbor from 1877. The print was so detailed that I couldn't resist purchasing it.

Now, I can't wait to frame it and hang it on my wall as a piece of history.

The Rhett Gallery is a gem, a place that keeps calling me back.

Have a Tranquil Retreat at The Parish Church of St Helena

Exterior of The Parish Church of St Helena
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Oh, how I love my Sunday mornings! A leisurely walk through the leaf-laden lanes of our small town leads me to the majestic Parish Church of St Helena.

The charm of this 18th-century church never fails to enchant me.

As I step through the time-worn wooden doors, I'm welcomed by a serene sanctity, a feeling so profound, it's almost tangible.

The church's docent, a lovely lady with an infectious enthusiasm, greets me with familiar warmth.

Her knowledge of the church's rich history is impressive, laced with fascinating anecdotes about notable personalities buried in the church graveyard.

Each visit feels like a history lesson, except it's far more enjoyable.

The architecture of Parish Church of St Helena, a stunning mix of Gothic and Colonial, is a sight to behold.

On sunny days, the light streaming through the stained-glass windows illuminates the hallowed interiors, creating an ethereal ambiance that tugs at your spirituality.

Top part of The Parish Church of St Helena
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I often find myself lost in the sublime serenity, my prayers merging with the harmonious hymns resonating through the church.

Midweek, I attend the Wednesday at St. Helena (WASH) sessions, a series of spiritually uplifting activities and discussions.

These sessions provide a great opportunity to engage with the community and deepen our faith in a welcoming environment.

Another pastime I cherish is exploring the old gravestones.

Each stone tells a story, a testament to the lives lived and the legacies left behind.

It's a poignant reminder of our mortality but strangely comforting too.

Strolls through Pigeon Point Park

"You haven't really seen the charm of Beaufort until you've taken a quiet stroll through Pigeon Point Park."

That’s what I often tell my friends visiting from out of town.

I live just a few blocks away, and I can't start my day without a morning walk amidst the beautiful, age-old oak trees with their long, enchanting strands of Spanish moss.

The park is a green haven, with well-maintained playgrounds that are a magnet for children.

As you step through the park’s gate, you'll be welcomed by the sweet smell of various flowers and the soothing melodies from the percussion playset, a favorite amongst the little ones.

Pigeon Point Park, despite being compact, has something for everyone.

There’s a toddler playground for the tiny tots, a midsize playset for the slightly older kids, and metal speed slides that are a hit with all the children.

Believe me, the laughter and screams of joy echoing through the park will make your day.

The park also has several amenities to ensure your comfort.

There are picnic tables, benches, and my personal favorite - the swinging benches.

Sitting on one of those with a book in hand is my idea of a perfect afternoon.

And, if you're worried about cleanliness, then let me assure you, the park authorities have done an excellent job at maintaining the park.

You'll find dog poopy stations with filled bag rolls and private single-toilet bathrooms that are always clean and stocked with soap and warm water.

Delve into History at Parris Island Museum

It's always a thrill to step into the Parris Island Museum, where history comes alive right before your eyes.

Nestled in the heart of the Port Royal region, the museum is a tribute to the proud legacy of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Every visit is a unique journey that takes you back in time, exploring the stirring history of the Marines and the people who served America with unflinching bravery.

Upon entry, I was met by a welcoming gentleman — a dedicated volunteer since the mid-2000s.

His knowledge and professionalism made my entire visit more engaging.

I could tell he was passionate about what he did, answering my questions with such depth and detail.

The museum is filled with exhibits and artifacts that span over centuries — from the birth of the Marines to the modern weaponry they use.

It's more than just a museum; it's a time capsule, preserving the memories of the past and honoring the sacrifices of our Marines.

One thing that particularly struck me was an exhibit dedicated to the Medal of Honor recipients who trained at Parris Island.

I stood there, awestruck by their heroic feats, reminded of the great people who served this country with all their hearts.

Parris Island Museum’s layout is impressive — two stories filled with interactive exhibits and a wealth of historical information.

It offers a comprehensive look into the Marines' evolution, their equipment, and the battles they fought.

But the real gem is the museum staff.

They're friendly, insightful, and always eager to share their knowledge.

Stroll through History at Beaufort National Cemetery

Headstones at Beaufort National Cemetery
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Every day, I pass by this immaculate field of honor, Beaufort National Cemetery, where the neatly aligned rows of headstones stand tall and firm, just like the heroes they represent.

As every blade of grass is meticulously maintained, and there isn't a trace of litter or fallen tree limbs, one cannot help but feel awestruck at the serene beauty and the profound respect that this place commands.

One of the most notable graves here is of Colonel Donald Conroy, perhaps more widely recognized as the character played by Robert Duval in the movie The Great Santini.

His epitaph can be found in Section 62, all the way to the back, two sections to the left of the center - a quiet corner for a man who has left an indelible mark in our memories.

When the day is clear, the surrounding scenery gets bathed in an ethereal light that makes the place look straight out of a painting.

The symbolic patriotism of the place is visible on every corner, making it a must-visit spot for anyone who happens to be in town.

Lucky for me, it's just a short walk from my place, allowing me to soak in the tranquility at my leisure whenever I need a dose of inspiration.

Entrance gate of Beaufort National Cemetery
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Another grave that holds a special place in my heart is of Msgt. Mason L. Langston, a decorated serviceman from the "Mighty 8th Air Force" who passed away on March 12, 1969.

Nestled under a beautiful oak tree, it's a peaceful resting place for a man who has left a gaping hole in the lives of his loved ones.

His wife, now 89, waits patiently to join him and often makes the journey from Savannah with their children to visit him.

Beaufort National Cemetery is not just a cemetery, it's a tribute to the brave hearts that have fought for our country.

History board at Beaufort National Cemetery
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Socialize Your Fido at Southside Dog Park

It's always an adventure going to the Southside Dog Park.

This is one of the best spots in town to let your furry friend off the leash and watch them run, play, and socialize with other dogs.

Nestled between the woods and the water, this park is heaven for not only dogs but also for their human counterparts.

The wide open spaces are plenty for your dogs to run around, and the ample shade provided by the trees keeps them from overheating.

The Southside Dog Park also provides water fountains for both the dogs and the owners.

Go Fishing at Broad River Fishing Pier

There's something magical about the Broad River Fishing Pier.

The moment you set foot on it, you feel a stirring sense of serenity, as if you're stepping into a sanctuary.

Smack dab in the heart of our little town, it’s the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

The pier offers an idyllic setting for both casual and serious fishermen.

Fishing here is nothing short of a delight. You never know what you're going to reel in.

Every catch is like a pleasant surprise, and the fish bite pretty well around here.

The fishing community here is warm and inviting.

I've met so many wonderful people on this pier, folks who share the same passion for fishing.

Apart from fishing, Broad River Fishing Pier is my favorite spot for picnics, too.

Its scenic beauty makes it a perfect spot for a quiet and peaceful lunch.

You can munch on your sandwiches in your car or walk out on the pier, where there are picnic tables.

Take a Step back in Time at John Mark Verdier House

Exterior of John Mark Verdier House
Elisa.rolle, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Oh, the stories the John Mark Verdier House could tell if its walls could talk!

This grand mansion, a relic of 1804, stands in all its Federal-style glory in our quaint town Beaufort.

And let me tell you, there's something utterly magical about stepping into this timeless piece of history.

Once, on a stifling summer day, the house offered me a respite with its refreshingly cool interiors.

As I walked through its cavernous rooms, each filled with remarkable antiquities, it felt as if I was navigating through a maze of time.

The tales of the past resonated within these walls, whispering stories of lavish parties, wartime secrets, and an era when cotton was king.

There's this captivating aura of resilience around this mansion, too.

I remember hearing about the great fire that ravaged our town, consuming numerous structures but sparing the Verdier House.

Quite the survivor, isn't it? And it's not just the past that makes this place remarkable.

The dedication of the local community towards its preservation is evident in the ongoing efforts to raise funds for exterior painting.

The charm of this house is further amplified by the passionate docents who guide you through it.

Their knowledge, combined with the fascinating insights they provide, make every tour a truly engaging experience.

It's not just a tour, it's a journey through time, a fascinating story, a treasure trove of history right here in our own backyard.

And let's not forget, the John Mark Verdier House is not just a sight to behold, but it's also a trove of intriguing artifacts.

Every visit unveils another layer of history, another artifact, another story.

It's a constant source of delight and curiosity and doesn't fail to amaze me every single time.

Have a Picnic at Whitehall Park

Nestled next to the historic district of Beaufort, Whitehall Park is just like a scene out of a movie - quite literally so, as the adjacent bridge was featured in the iconic film 'Forest Gump.'

The recent completion of its development has transformed it into a delightful haven, a perfect blend of nature and urban design.

As I stroll under the sprawling canopy of towering Oak trees, the gentle rustling of leaves evokes a sense of tranquility that's hard to put into words.

The park is great for a leisurely walk, and the path, though still under construction, is already shaping up to be an excellent route.

As I walk, I often find myself pausing to rest on the benches scattered along the path, simply to bask in the beauty surrounding me.

The park has an extension for parking, which is particularly convenient for boating enthusiasts heading to Lady’s Island.

But even those without trailers will find ample space, a testament to the excellent space utilization.

A few picnic tables are strategically placed around the park, making it a great spot for a family day out.

One of my favorite things to do at Whitehall Park is to walk across the bridge and back.

The views of the river are simply breathtaking.

I've seen several hawks and painted buntings on my walks, making each visit a unique experience.

My only wish is for the public restrooms to open again.

Bond with Your Fur Baby at Burton Wells Dog Park

Who needs dog heaven when we've got Burton Wells Dog Park right here in our backyard?

It's my favorite spot to bring my furry friend for a day of unleashed fun.

What I love best about this park are the two fenced-in areas where my pup can run free, no leash required.

One of these fenced areas even leads up to a lake.

On hot days, my dog loves to take a dip - the park has a sandy beach and is large enough that he can dive right in.

For safety, I recommend checking the surroundings first, though, since gators have been spotted occasionally.

If your pup is a runner or tends to wander, you might want to check the border where the fence meets the lake before unleashing them.

There could be a small place where they could sneak out, although my dog has never bothered to venture that far.

Burton Wells Dog Park isn't just for dogs, though.

There's a basketball court and a walking trail around the lake, which I often use for a quick jog.

The park also has a well-maintained bathroom and water fountain - handy for both me and my canine companion.

While my dog loves the freedom of the park, he sometimes misses the company of other dogs.

It's not as crowded as other dog parks, which can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on how sociable your dog is.

Discover Local History at Beaufort History Museum

Exterior of Beaufort History Museum
Deborah McCague / Shutterstock.com

Have you ever been captivated by the rich tapestry of a small town's history?

That's precisely the sensation I felt when I first stepped into the Beaufort History Museum.

It's an intimate gem tucked away in an 18th-century arsenal, showcasing the vibrant history and culture of Beaufort.

Every time I walk in, I feel like I am stepping back in time, immersing myself in the tales of the past.

Beaufort History Museum may seem modest in size, but don't let that fool you. The exhibits are engaging and well-curated.

Each visit feels like a fresh experience, replete with intriguing historical narratives waiting to be explored.

Despite the town's deep-rooted history, the museum does leave you wanting more, a testament to Beaufort's rich cultural heritage.

The docents at the museum are a treasure trove of knowledge.

Their passion for Beaufort's history is infectious, giving life to the centuries-old artifacts and exhibits.

The grounds of Beaufort History Museum
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Their friendly demeanor and engaging storytelling make each visit memorable, leaving you eager to return for another foray into Beaufort's past.

What sets the museum apart is its focus on interactive learning, especially for children.

During one visit, I saw a group of kids captivated by a tour guide who made history come alive for them.

He involved the youngsters in the narrative, asking questions and maintaining their interest throughout the tour.

The children were given scavenger hunt sheets, turning the history tour into an exciting adventure.

The experience is not just restricted to the museum; the Tourist Information Center downstairs is equally welcoming, always ready to help visitors with any information they need.

I particularly remember one representative, a transplant from Connecticut, who was extremely knowledgeable and helpful.

Embark on a Historical Journey through the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park

Believe me, there's nothing like a leisurely stroll through the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park to give you a real sense of our nation's history.

This expansive park, which happens to be one of the newer additions to our national park system, spans three separate locations and is just a short drive from my home.

Like any typical day, I start by making my way through the park's areas, each a few miles apart from the other.

The fascinating history that unfolds before my eyes never ceases to amaze me.

As a history buff, it's a living, breathing testament to a period of time that truly transformed our nation.

One of the highlights of Reconstruction Era National Historical Park for me is the incredibly dedicated and knowledgeable staff.

The park rangers are not just experts in their field, but they are also engaging and make learning fun.

Their love for the park and its history is infectious, and their enthusiasm creates an unforgettable experience.

Catch the Sunset at Broad River Boat Landing

Have you ever experienced the serene tranquility of a river at sunset?

If not, let me take you on a journey to Broad River Boat Landing, one of our tucked-away treasures here in Beaufort.

On any given day, you'll find me sitting on the sturdy dock, my fishing line lazily cast in the water.

The dock makes a perfect spot for fishing or just taking a breather from the day.

The moments are even more spectacular when a storm rolls in, the sky crackling with fierce lightning strikes dancing in the distance over the river.

It’s a sight so captivating it makes you forget about the world outside.

There's also a solid ramp for launching your boat into the water.

Not a lot of folks around usually, so you get the peace and quiet you need.

And let’s not forget about the sunsets at Broad River Boat Landing...nothing beats the sight of the sun dipping below the horizon, painting the sky and river with hues of orange, pink, and purple.

It’s a spectacle that no picture could ever do justice.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Take in the Sights from Port Royal Boardwalk and Observation Tower

Daytime view of Port Royal Boardwalk and Observation Tower
Carrie A Hanrahan / Shutterstock.com

Finding peace amidst the hustle and bustle can be tough sometimes.

Luckily, I've found my slice of serenity at the Port Royal Boardwalk and Observation Tower.

The soft, sandy beach, the tranquil waterfront, and the lush marshes, all viewed from the boardwalk, are a sight to behold.

There's a certain charm to be had at the end of the day, watching the sun kiss the horizon goodnight.

It's a spectacle that never fails to take my breath away.

And the observation tower?

It's a four-story wooden marvel that gives you a bird's eye view of Battery Creek and the mouth of the Beaufort River.

But it's not all about the sunset and the views at Port Royal Boardwalk and Observation Tower.

Hunting for shark teeth has become something of a pastime for me, too.

There's something incredibly calming about strolling along the beach, scanning the sand for these tiny treasures.

And let me tell you, when you find one, it's mini celebration time!

And don't get me started on the fishing pier! It's not just a pier that parallels the shoreline.

It's more than that.

It's a window to the marshes, a chance to spot a diverse array of wildlife in their natural habitat.

Oh, and the best part? It doesn't cost a dime!

Soak Up the Sun at The Sands

No need to travel far and wide to find a peaceful haven, it's right here in our own backyard at The Sands.

This hidden gem is a delightful destination to unwind on a sunny afternoon.

The Sands is a petite yet charming beach that quietly nestles in our community. Its calm waters and uncrowded shores make it an ideal spot for a relaxing day out.

Many a Sunday, I find myself here, basking under the warm sun, admiring the gentle waves, and feeling the cool sand under my feet.

Parking is never a hassle here.

There is ample free space, so you don't have to worry about finding a spot.

However, do take note that cars are only allowed in the designated sandy parking lot.

You may not be able to drive your car right up to the shore, but the beach is just a short walk away.

The Sands has its own unique charm.

The shoreline is littered with broken oyster shells, and occasionally, you might even find a shark tooth or two, a thrilling treasure hunt for the young ones!

There's also plenty of room for water sports enthusiasts, who often bring their jet skis.

For those who prefer a quieter interaction with nature, sightseeing is a wonderful option.

From the shores of The Sands, you can spot the famous Parris Island, a sight that never fails to amaze me.

Learn the Historical Significance of Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve

Just another day in our charming town, I found myself wandering through the Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve, a tranquil haven tucked away from the bustle of the city.

The park's immense oak trees provided a cool and silent refuge, perfect for a picnic or just to unwind.

As I looked up, I found my gaze drawing towards the Emancipation Oak, standing tall and proud on the neighboring Naval Hospital property, a symbol of freedom.

Walking through the park, I was reminded of the significant historical role that this fort played, not as a colonial structure, but as a platform that led people towards their celebration of freedom.

A moment of pride and joy etched in the annals of American history, forever immortalized here.

The fort isn't just a fort; it's a testament, a monument in stone and earth to that incredible moment of liberation.

Beyond its historical significance, the park is a visual treat.

The view of the river from the ruins of the old Fort Frederick is nothing short of breathtaking.

The fort’s foundations, the remains of the tabby structures, are the most substantial I've seen anywhere along our beautiful southeastern coast.

A stroll through the park offers more than just historical insights and beautiful views.

Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve is brimming with various species of birds, making it an excellent spot for birdwatching.

However, it's a bit of a bummer when people let their dogs off the leash.

This is a preserve after all, a place for all creatures to enjoy in harmony.

Final Thoughts

Having made my home in Beaufort and having experienced the rich history, natural beauty, and vibrant culture that this charming little town offers, I can confidently say that there's no shortage of things to do and places to see.

Whether you're an art enthusiast, a lover of literature, a history buff, or a nature lover, Beaufort ensures you'll never have a dull moment.

If you find yourself in Beaufort, don't just pass through.

Take your time to explore and fall in love with this southern gem, just like I did.

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