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A Day Trip to Beaufort, South Carolina: What to See and Do

A Day Trip to Beaufort, South Carolina: What to See and Do | CosmosMariners.com


Head out of Charleston south on Highway 17, and then hang a left onto 21. You'll think you're headed into a swamp never to be found again--but you're actually on the way to one of coastal South Carolina's cutest towns: Beaufort.

It's proximity to Charleston makes it an excellent day trip from the Holy City, and Beaufort's small town charm is the perfect antidote to Charleston's high-falutin' ways (and, as a native, I mean that in the best way possible!).



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A Day Trip to Beaufort, South Carolina: What to See and Do | CosmosMariners.com


The first thing we've got to get out of our way is the pronunciation.

It's Bee-you-fort. Only call it "Bo-fort" (as in the place in North Carolina) if you want to be laughed to the county line.

Got it? Then, you're ready to venture into town.

Beaufort's main attraction is, well, Beaufort. The town has a small historic district, and you'll want to spend the majority of your time wandering around it.


Fun fact: South Carolina was itching to get out of the Union until tensions escalated into shots being fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston. Although Charleston gets all of the credit for being the birthplace of succession, the Ordinance of Succession actually first was signed in a house on 113 Craven Street in Beaufort. The document was then taken to Charleston for dissemination.

A Day Trip to Beaufort, South Carolina | CosmosMariners.com


The historic homes--some of which are notable and some which are just pretty--can easily taken up a few hours of your time. Don't forget to pause at 411 Craven Street, where "The Castle" stands. In addition to serving as a Civil War hospital and morgue, the home is also supposedly haunted by Gauche, a little person who lived there as a jester at some point in Beaufort's very early history. By the 1940s, Gauche was a well-known apparition to the family who lived there, showing up to tea parties with the young daughter and communicating with the parents via tapping. (You can check out more on the legend here, if you're interested).

Even today, there are sightings of a small wisp of a man in the backyard, so stop and say hi. I imagine that Gauche gets lonely after centuries of being dead!

A Day Trip to Beaufort, South Carolina | CosmosMariners.com


You've probably worked up quite an appetite after sightseeing, so head over to the newly renovated waterfront area for lunch. There are several spots near the marina, so you can sit on the back decks and enjoy the coastal breezes.

Don't forget to relax on the swings, too. They're a favorite photo op spot!

A Day Trip to Beaufort, South Carolina | CosmosMariners.com




You can see the historic district on a walking tour (either self-guided or through a local guide) or by a horse and carriage tour. The last time that I visited, I went the horse and carriage route, and it was a lot of fun. There were only 8 people onboard, so it was an intimate tour--we had a great guide which made the experience even better.

And, if you're extra good on the tour, you can line up with the five-year-olds when the tour is over and give the horse a carrot.

A Day Trip to Beaufort, South Carolina | CosmosMariners.com


There are also some adorable shops in the downtown area, including a lollipop shop, a sweet tea bar, and several boutique clothing stores. Don't forget to stop by the Chocolate Tree and sample of few of their delicious treats!

A Day Trip to Beaufort, South Carolina | CosmosMariners.com

Beaufort is also a great day trip from Hilton Head or Savannah. The larger Beaufort area has a military base, and it's close to Parris Island--if you're in the area for boot camp or to visit relatives in the military, make sure to check out the historic area. 

What is your favorite day trip to take? What makes it special?


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A Day Trip to Beaufort, South Carolina: What to See and Do | CosmosMariners.com