Planning a Trip to the Historic Island of Beaufort – What Are the Essentials?

Beaufort is a city in South Carolina known for its historical ties and pristine coastal location. Located in the Lowcountry region of the United States, Beaufort, or “Bofort,” as the locals call it, has a population of about 14,000.

It sits on Port Royal Island and boasts many historic properties and scenic natural attractions. If you are planning a trip to Beaufort, check the weather radar in Beaufort before planning a trip to this charming little town.

The city of Beaufort got its name after Henry Somerset, who was Duke of Beaufort when founded around 1711.

Downtown Historic District

Beaufort’s Downtown Historic District is a great place to explore on foot. Pick up a free walking map from the Visitor Center, and you can leisurely wander around this charming area for an hour or take your time looking at historic homes, dorms, churches, and more.

The historic downtown is also home to a variety of restaurants, shops, galleries, and museums. Salty Dog’s flagship store has all your favorite branded clothing plus lots of souvenirs if you’re looking for something to take home from your trip.

For a light bite or dessert, try MacClare’s Cafe on West Street, where you can sit back in comfortable chairs with freshly made coffee and beignets. Pop over to Bay Street for antiques galore at Beaufort Antiques Market or shop local at Roger Martin Designers.

Discovering the Beauty of Beaufort

If you consider a horse a beautiful and magical creature, you might enjoy riding on horseback through the sandy beaches or Beaufort’s magnificent woods. Happily, this is something you can do.

There are several stables in town, and some offer one-on-one riding lessons for beginners as well as guided trail rides for people with a more equestrian experience. If you want to ride your horse through the surf of an Atlantic beach (as long as your horse is OK with that), all it takes is a short drive to Hunting Island State Park to make this dream come true.

If walking around town seems pleasant enough but not quite as exciting as taking a horseback ride through the woods or along the shoreline, don’t despair. There are many other options for activities in Beaufort besides visiting historic locations and shopping at local stores.

The Old Burying Ground

One of the most famous cemeteries in Beaufort is the Old Burying Ground. Established in 1710 and restored in 1816, this cemetery includes several original graves from the late 17th century when the town got first established.

Although you may still find some unmarked graves on-site, several more recent gravestones have got added throughout the years. It includes ones belonging to former mayor John Henry Dickert and South Carolina senator J. William Stokes.

Other notable gravesites include those belonging to local textile manufacturing pioneer George Wightwick and his wife, Elizabeth Barnwell Wightwick. George Wightwick served as a captain during the Revolutionary War.

Other prominent citizens buried in this cemetery include local politician Joseph Johnson and his father-in-law Henry DeSaussure. Joseph Johnson served as governor of South Carolina for 20 years. It also has the Henry DesSaussure buried, an inventor who patented numerous inventions such as gunpowder and fireworks during his lifetime.

A visit to Old Burying Ground can provide insight into Beaufort’s rich history. It also allows tourists to pay their respects at these historical sites while they’re visiting town!

Verdier House Museum and Garden

The Verdier House Museum, located at 801 Bay Street, houses the history of Beaufort and its citizens. The house was first built in 1804 and was home to a local merchant and his family until 1971.

In 1974, the house became a public museum with several of its rooms furnished just like an Oyo flagship, as they were in the early 1800s. There is also a formal garden on the property, open for visitors to explore. If you have an interest in how people lived two hundred years ago, definitely stop by here while you’re in town!

Spanish Moss Trail

Next, if you are planning on staying on the island or even just visiting for a few days, make sure to stop by the Spanish Moss Trail. This 12-mile-long pedestrian and bike trail will allow you to see some of the most beautiful areas in Beaufort.

It is a great place for nature lovers as well as photographers. There are several rest stops, so don’t worry about getting too tired during your walk. It is perfect for those who wish to visit with family and friends or enjoy having a nice picnic under a tree after a long day at work!

Fort MacArthur Days

You can not miss Fort MacArthur Days, a free community festival held in March. It is your opportunity to meet the locals and enjoy a range of fun activities.

You can try great food and drinks and experience first-hand the island’s history through military reenactments and demonstrations. There’s also lots of entertainment with live bands, kids’ activities, a beer garden, and artists selling their wares.

Go Kayaking or Canoeing

A trip to Hunting Island State Park is a chance that one can not miss to get out on the water. The park offers kayak, canoe, and stand-up paddle board rentals, all of which are a great way to explore the park, especially if you want to get away from crowds at the beach.

If you don’t feel comfortable navigating on your own, you can take a guided kayak tour or take your group on a leisurely canoe ride along Pepper Creek. Kayaking or canoeing is also an excellent way for families with older children and teens to have some fun together.


Beaufort is a wonderful destination for anyone who wants to relax on the beach or sightsee, but there’s something here for everyone. Those who enjoy learning new things will also have plenty of chances to do so. Whether you’re looking to build sandcastles or learn about the town’s rich history, Beaufort has it all.

Mia Harrison

Mia Harrison, a graduate with a BA in Geography from UC Berkeley, has been a professional travel planner for 15 years. Her experience ranges from boutique travel agencies to corporate travel management. Her journey in travel planning also encompasses global expeditions and cultural tours. Mia joined our editorial team in 2021, sharing her expertise in crafting memorable itineraries. Outside of work, she's an avid hiker and enjoys exploring different cuisines.

Leave a Comment