Strapped for time?  Beaufort can still be enjoyed in a day.  Even a half-day visit is quite enjoyable, especially for visitors driving between Charleston and Savannah.  Below are some suggestions to make your brief visit enjoyable. 

 

Itineraries

Please note that these itineraries are assuming you are coming from the Charleston area and heading toward Savannah, as most day visitors come from that location.  Day trips are also very easily made from Hilton Head Island, Savannah, or for travelers just needing a break along Interstate 95.

Half DayWhole Day

07:30 - leave Charleston
08:30 - visit Old Sheldon Church Ruins    
09:15 - arrive in Beaufort
09:20 - breakfast
10:30 - tour the Historic District
11:30 - shopping / strolling
12:00 - lunch
13:00 - leave Beaufort
14:00 - arrive in Savannah
.
.

07:30 - leave Charleston
08:30 - visit Old Sheldon Church Ruins
09:15 - arrive in Beaufort
09:20 - breakfast
10:30 - tour the Historic District
11:30 - shopping / strolling
12:00 - lunch
13:00 - afternoon activity (see below)
18:00 - dinner
19:30 - leave Beaufort
20:30 - arrive in Savannah

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Activities

Morning Activities

The Old Sheldon Church Ruins is a quick, but highly recommended stop for those travelling between Charleston and Beaufort.  Best viewed in the early morning when dew or fog are blanketing the site, the ruin is a hauntingly beautiful relic that captures the best of the Lowcountry's natural beauty and deep history in one spot.  This spot is very popular for photographers and usually is not too crowded.  There is no admission fee, but there are also no facilities or shops nearby.

Exploring the Historic District is THE essential part of your visit to Beaufort and should not be missed.  From the catching breezes at the Henry Chambers Waterfront Park to walking amongst the mansions and moss-covered streets of The Old Point neighborhood, you are sure to be taken in by Beaufort's charm and beauty. No matter your interest, seeing the historic district will give you the best appreciation of Beaufort's history and charm.

There are several ways to see the Historic District, but it's usually agreed that the best way is to get out of the car.  A self-guided tour is easily made, as Beaufort's downtown is relatively compact and pedestrian friendly.  Guided tours by foot, carriage (horse and buggy),  bike, or by van/bus are also available.  The Visitor's Bureau can help you schedule a guided tour based on your timing and preference.

Shopping in downtown Beaufort is activity enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year.   A variety of unique stores ranging from art and crafts to gifts and antiques line Bay Street and Carteret Street, the principal commercial streets in the historic district.

Coming in on a Saturday?  You may be interested in the Port Royal Farmers Market, which runs from 9 to 12 during warmer months.


Afternoon Activities

Many people often spend the afternoon walking once more through the historic district or shopping.  However, you may want to consider additional activities that may cater to your specific interests.  Some of these places, tours, and activities are also rated on Trip Advisor under Beaufort's "Things to Do" section.


Nature

Hunting Island State Park is the natural gem of the Lowcountry and is worth the 20 minute drive.  This semi-tropical paradise has four miles of beach, several hiking and biking trails, and endless opportunities to see nature at its finest.  Among the favorite activities include climbing to the top of the 19th century lighthouse, taking a walk down the marsh boardwalk, fishing from Paradise Pier, and learning about the island's nature through a ranger's program at the visitors center or nature center.

Beaufort River Tours often compliment a historic district tour with a view of Beaufort from the intracoastal waterway.  See riverfront homes that are hard to see from the street and enjoy the natural delights of the river and its marshlands.  This is a great opportunity to watch for dolphins and a wide range of birds. Tours depart every afternoon from the downtown marina by the Waterfront Park.

The Cypress Wetlands and the Sands Boardwalk in nearby Port Royal offers visitors a chance an unforgettable opportunity to witness the nature of the Lowcountry without having to travel far down the road.  The wetlands have nearly a mile of trails traversing the space and offers several opportunities for observing birds, reptiles, and amphibians in a close-up yet unobtrusive manner.  The Sands offers a small beach and a marsh boardwalk, including a 40-foot tall observation tower.

Beaufort Kayak Tours also engage visitors with Beaufort's maritime location and offer a more active way of enjoying the scenic sites and bountiful nature of the Lowcountry.


Culture & Art

View some of Beaufort's more historic buildings up close.  The John Mark Verdier House on Bay Street in downtown is a wonderfully restored Federal style building and the only home in Beaufort that is open to the public for tours and inspection.  The St. Helena's Episcopal Church is striking for its beautiful spire, pleasant interior, and eerie graveyard.

St. Helena Island is the center of the remarkable Sea Island and Gullah cultures.  Enjoy the special craft shops at the island's commercial area (affectionately known as Frogmore) and visit Penn Center to learn more about the African-American diaspora that has shaped the culture of the Lowcountry and the country as a whole. Be sure to check out the various arts and crafts on display at the Corners, the commercial core of the island.

Stroll through Beaufort's many galleries along Bay and Charles Street and be sure to see the resident artists at ARTworks, a community based organization that supports both visual and performing arts in Beaufort.  You may even be able to catch a performance in the black box theater at ArtWorks or at the USCB Performing Arts Center on Carteret Street.

If music is of interest to you, be sure to tour The Kazoo Factory, located about 5 minutes west of downtown Beaufort.  Explore the only place in the country that manufactures kazoo instruments and browse through the museum's collections.  The Factory is great for families and you can even make your own kazoo.


Military Sites

See the Military Sites section for full information on Beaufort area installations and military sites.

Parris Island is the large military installation where thousands of men and women are trained to become Marines.  If you are coming through Beaufort on select Fridays, graduation ceremonies are open to the public, but are actually held in the morning.

The Beaufort National Cemetery is a beautiful memorial to nearly 10,000 soldiers who have served in the armed forces and is a beautifully manicured location to pay your respects.

 

Dining

Beaufort's dining scene ranges from local fare to international tastes and can fit every appetite and budget.  Over a dozen restaurants can be found in downtown, with many other options in uptown Beaufort, along Boundary Street, or in neighboring areas like Port Royal, Lady's Island and St. Helena Island.  Trip Advisor's Beaufort Restaurants page lists restaurants in downtown, uptown, Boundary Street, and Lady's Island.