Beaufort — Sunsets in the Lowcountry
by Rachael Provost
Moss-draped oaks mingle with native palmettos. A sunset paints strokes of oranges, pinks and purples on a watery horizon. You have arrived in the Lowcountry. You have arrived in Beaufort, SC.
You’re in the heart of the Sea Islands, surrounded by hundreds of islands, the inhabitable ones linked together with bridges. Marsh views are available for miles. It’s not hard to see how this Lowcountry gem captures everyone’s attention. But it’s what’s inside the town that makes people want to stay, and call Beaufort home.
The best way to experience Beaufort (pronounced BEW-fort, not to be confused with North Carolina’s Beaufort, pronounced BO-fort) is on a guided tour. Whether that’s on your own two feet, on a bus or in a horse-drawn carriage is up to you. But the horse-drawn carriage tours give you the feeling of going back in time, perfect for delving into the town’s history.
Beaufort’s downtown is one of only a few that has been entirely dedicated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. During the Civil War, the Union Troops decided to spare the town instead of destroy it, and today there are more than 50 homes—some of them private—that have been beautifully restored. Get a glimpse of antebellum and Victorian structures that tell stories of the town’s past. Tours don’t stop at carriage rides though. Wait until it’s a little darker outside, and walk or ride around Beaufort, along with its ghosts, on a ghost tour.
Taking a tour doesn’t mean you’re just learning about Beaufort’s history. You’re passing art galleries and boutiques you’ll go back to later, and scoping out places to grab a bite to eat (Beaufort is full of good eateries). You’ll glimpse the Gullah culture, unique to the Lowcountry. And you’ll find yourself consumed, once again, with the charming scenery that got you here in the first place.
- Blackstone Café’s grits are surely their specialty, whether you eat them at breakfast or lunch, or with shrimp. A pet-friendly patio means your four-legged critters can come too!
- Foolish Frog boasts delicious food, gorgeous marsh views and stunning sunsets, whether you take them in for lunch, dinner or brunch on Sunday.
- Wined It Up, Beaufort’s newest wine bar, may soon be your new favorite hangout, complete with wines on tap, a specialty deli, evening tapas and so much more.
- WREN Bistro and Bar, nestled in the heart of downtown, is the go-to-spot for locals looking to relax and out-of-town guests looking for exceptional food and Lowcountry hospitality.
- Southern Graces Bistro offers indulgent cuisine in the beautiful Beaufort Inn, featuring scrumptious lunches, best-in-class brunches, afternoon tea and upscale contemporary Southern gastronomy for dinner.
Top Things To Do
- Beaufort Movie Tour From Forrest Gump to The Big Chill, see where Hollywood has left its mark around town.
- Beaufort Strolls Bring your camera along on this two-hour guided tour through the historic district’s most stunning locations.
- Hunting Island Lighthouse Built in 1859, this historic lighthouse offers stunning views from its platform—167 stairs up.
- Old Sheldon Church Ruins Explore the beautiful remains of Prince William’s Parish Church among majestic oaks and scattered graves.
- The Beaufort Shrimp Festival Competing shrimp recipes, live entertainment and more take place each year on the first Friday and Saturday in October.