With pet friendly Charleston just to the north and Hilton Head a bit south, it would be easy to drive right by Beaufort and not even realize it’s there. In fact, we have … several times. And what a shame, because it’s the perfect spot to spend a few hours stretching your legs, investigating the fun boutiques, and enjoying a relaxing picnic in the park!
Beaufort finally made it onto our radar when we swung by to visit friends who had their sailboat moored just across the Beaufort River. Just a glimpse of the meandering streets lined with moss-draped oaks and antebellum homes, and the lively downtown with it’s waterfront park had us hooked immediately! A few days later we went back to spend an afternoon taking it all in.
The city is located on Port Royal Island and started out as a shipbuilding center. Later it became popular with Lowcountry plantation owners, and both industries depended on the river for transportation.
Over the years, Beaufort has done an exceptional job of maintaining its historic character and its connection to the water. Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park stretches from Woods Memorial Bridge to the downtown marina and acts as the city’s front yard. Even the businesses on the south side of Bay Street, Beaufort’s main drag, have entrances in the front and back, truly connecting the park and the river to the city.
Life in Beaufort now seems to move at a leisurely pace, where beauty is fostered and appreciated. Strolling the quiet streets, we enjoyed the lush gardens that are meticulously tended, the intricate details of the century-old homes that have been lovingly restored, and the dead ends that provided us with sweeping views of the vast marshlands. And Waterfront Park – with all its benches, swings, and seating areas – seems to extend a warm invitation to settle in and watch the river pass by.
We’ve been in many cute towns over the years, but few have felt as comfortable for us and the dogs as Beaufort. If you’re passing this way, I highly recommend dropping by for a visit. Wander the streets, and then have lunch on one of the dog friendly patios – or get take-out, find a nice spot on the lawn, and do some people watching.
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