Last week, my mom and I took a little road trip from Charleston to Beaufort, South Carolina for a quick overnight stay. My mom had been before but it was my first time to the beautiful seaside town. The quiet and romantic charm of the little city stole my heart the moment we arrived. Based on the abundance of live oak trees with dangling sea blown spanish moss that we saw upon driving into town, I just knew I was going to love it there. Beaufort is known for it’s beautiful landscapes and very impressive preservation of antebellum homes, which we enjoyed thoroughly. We also had a few delicious meals and popped our heads into some lovely shops. If you are planning a trip to Charleston or Savannah, then I definitely suggest squeezing in an extra day to visit Beaufort as it sits right in between the two cities.
Beaufort Travel Guide
Anchorage 1770: we stayed here last week and found it to be the perfect spot for our stay. The inn is an 18th-century Victorian house that has been converted into a handful of specious, bright, and comfortable suits. The porches are huge, the views of the water are spectacular, the breakfast is yummy, and they have the cutest bikes for hotel guests.
Rhett House Inn: an utterly charming bed & breakfast right in the heart of town. The inn has a lovely garden and an equally lovely front porch, both of which will make you want to move to the south. The bedrooms are traditional but with modern touches so you’ll be more than comfortable.
City Loft Hotel: an old motel that has been transformed into a modern retro ’50s inspired hotel. You’ll love the hotel’s coffee shop, gym, pool, & the fact that you can bring your pet.
The Beaufort Inn: perhaps the most traditional hotel in town, the Beaufort Inn provides heaps of old southern charm and serves up a mean Sunday brunch. Bonus: the inn is pink!
The Cuthbert House Inn: believe it or not but the house was built in 1805 and is still as charming as it ever was. Its beautiful seaside location and stately decor give guests a true Beaufort experience.
Old Bull Tavern: an intimate gastropub known for its innovative cocktails and outstanding burgers. We went here for drinks and an appetizer at the lively bar and absolutely loved our experience. I’d definitely recommend it for dinner too.
Low Country Produce: the spot to go in town for breakfast and lunch. We had a delicious lunch here and adored perusing the walls and counters of fresh baked goods, sundries, pies, cheeses, soups, preserves, relishes and more. I came home with a handful of different yummy items to cook with. You’ll love the open green and white atmosphere but, if you prefer, you can get food to go and enjoy it outside by the water as a picnic.
Wren: a happening neighborhood restaurant that is great for lunch or dinner. We went for dinner and really enjoyed the menu of locally grown ingredients.
Saltus River Grill: the most upscale dining experience in Beaufort. You’ll find the most sophisticated menu in town here of local seafood and steaks along with an extensive wine list. Bonus: it’s overlooking the water.
Griffin Market: authentic Italian food with a very extensive wine list. This restaurant is the only restaurant that Pat Conroy ever wrote a restaurant review about. He stated, “by a long shot, the best Italian food ever served in the state of South Carolina.”
Emily’s Restaurant & Tapas Bar: the spot to go in town for a wide selection of sharable tapas. Bonus: their shrimp & grits is award winning!
Plums: a great place to go for a seafood lunch or to grab sandwiches and salads. In the spring, you’ll love their seasonal soft shell crab sandwich. Get there early for lunch to try to snag at seat at the tile and reclaimed wood oyster bar.
Shrimp Shack: a local and family owned shacklike restaurant that serves up every shrimp dish you can imagine on its casual porch. It’s an iconic spot for Beaufort.
Dockside: just over the bridge, on Lady’s Island, you’ll find this local favorite for seafood and sunset views. It’s right on the water so there isn’t a better spot around to sit outside and grab some hushpuppies and peel and eat shrimp.
Blackstone’s Cafe: a local favorite for three decades. It serves up a perfect menu all day until 2:30pm. Expect pancakes with bacon for breakfast and burgers with fries for lunch.
Breakwater Restaurant: new Southern fare that combines Southern food traditions with modern, lighter twists.
The Chocolate Tree: if you have a sweet tooth for chocolate, then pop into this yummy little chocolate shop. I left with a bag of delicious treats (caramels, chocolate dipped rice krispies, and more!).
Common Ground Coffeehouse: the best place to go for your morning coffee run. Relax with your coffee on the waterfront porch or settle in inside to get some work done using their free wifi before exploring town all day. Bonus: they also serve breakfast, lunch, and gelato.
Scout Southern Market: my favorite shop in town (see below in my “Do” section) has an old school style soda fountain counter in the back that serves up the most delicious sweet tea floats. My float was sweet tea with two scoops of peach sorbet on top!
Shop Along Bay Street: the majority of shops in Beaufort are on or just off the main drag in town, Bay Street. I highly recommend what quickly became my favorite store in town, Scout Southern Market. It sells the best of the best of southern products from southern designers including a great selection of decor, coffee table books, and local sweets (see above in my “Drink” section). Also shop at Bay Street Outfitters for outdoors gear and wear from brands like Patagonia and Barbour. Pop into M Home & Garden to shop where the locals shop for home decor. Poke your head into Monkey’s Uncle for adorable children’s toys. Stop into Nevermore Books for a unique book selection, hard to find books, and signed first editions. Lastly, stop by Lily! Lily used to be located in Charleston but the shop relocated to Beaufort. It’s a lovely little jewelry, stationery, and gift store. Lily carries jewelry that the owner has found in markets in Paris. I have a few earrings from here that are among my favorite pairs I own.
Historical Carriage Ride: spend an hour getting the lay of the land with a historical carriage ride through downtown. You’ll explore the Historic District and learn a few centuries worth of South Carolina history. You’ll also be surprised to learn how much Hollywood loves Beaufort.
Bike Ride through the Historic District: if your hotel doesn’t have bikes for its guests (ours did – Anchorage 1770), then rent bikes at Lowcountry Bicycles and spend an hour or two biking through the Historic District neighborhood of Beaufort to see the Antebellum and Victorian architecture the city is known for.
Hunting Island State Park: make the 16 mile drive out to neighboring sea island, Hunting Island, to visit the 5,000 acre preserve. You’ll find lush foliage, a beautiful fishing pier, a historical lighthouse circa 1859, and a few miles of gorgeous Atlantic Ocean beach.
Kayak and Stand Up Paddle Board: rent kayaks and SUP boards at Higher Ground Outfitters and spend part of your day gliding through the intercostal waterways. Bonus: you’ll probably spot dolphins on your outing.
Fishing: spend a day on the water with Castaway Fishing Charters to fish redfish, cobia, sea bass, flounder and more Lowcountry fish.
Port Royal Farmer’s Market: enjoy the local farmer’s market every single Saturday of the year. Great fresh produce and yummy things to eat while you browse.
Dempsey Farms: on nearby St. Helena Island, visit this farm April through mid-November to harvest everything from strawberries to sweet corn to watermelons to pumpkins.
As always, feel free to email me at [email protected] if you are planning a trip to Beaufort and have any questions. xx