BEAUFORT, SOUTH CAROLINA ITINERARY AT A GLANCE
The tranquility of Beaufort, South Carolina, coupled with its enchanting origin story makes this Lowcountry region an intriguing place to explore. With extraordinary war and maritime stories, Gullah heritage, ancient ruins and Reconstruction-era history, this alluring preserved time capsule is a magnificent odyssey.
Enjoy These Great Beaufort, South Carolina Attractions and More:
- Beaufort History Museum
- Reconstruction Era National Historical Park
- Gullah Heritage Tour
- Fort Fremont
- Spanish Moss Trail
BEAFORT, SOUTH CAROLINA DAY-TO-DAY ITINERARY
DAY 1: IN BEAUFORT
Check into The Beaufort Inn, an impressive historic hotel located in the heart of downtown for the perfect central location to explore on foot. Sip a drink in one of the many rocking chairs lining the expansive porch or enjoy beautiful verandas, blooming gardens and water fountains throughout the property.
(Alternative lodging: Rhett House Inn is a luxurious B&B set in three buildings, one a mansion located on Craven Street, while Tru by Hilton on Trask Parkway is a great budget-friendly hotel)
10 a.m. – Begin your Lowcountry adventure with a history lesson at the Beaufort History Museum located in The Arsenal on Craven Street. Groups can arrange tours through the museum office for discounted rates with tour leaders admitted for free. Ascertain Beaufort’s early beginnings from Native American inhabitants to early Spanish settlers and view artifacts from the Revolutionary War, Civil War and Spanish-American War.
12 p.m. – Refuel at Lowcountry Produce & Cafe just down the street with their Everyday Brunch menu serving classic breakfast and lunch dishes. While there, shop for sundries and other homemade goods.
1 p.m. – A traditional tour of Beaufort is fitting, especially when taken via horse-drawn carriage. Board a Sea Island Carriage or Southurn Rose Buggy and meander through the historic district on a 50-55-minute narrated tour. Swooping live oaks dripping with Spanish moss, pre- and post-Civil War architecture, historic churches and famous movie sites are on the agenda.
2 p.m. – After getting a memorable introduction to Beaufort, head to Reconstruction Era National Historical Park headquarters in the Old Beaufort Firehouse at 706 Craven Street. Take a journey back in time to learn about Beaufort’s origins at the park’s four locations – Beaufort National Historic Landmark District (downtown Beaufort), Camp Saxton (Port Royal Island), Brick Baptist Church (St. Helena Island) and Penn Center (St. Helena Island).
6 p.m. – After refreshing at your hotel, join the group at Breakwater Restaurant & Bar on Carteret Street in the historic district. Savor fresh seafood, steaks and Southern delicacies along with craft cocktails and fine wines.
(Alternative dining: Bricks on Boundary for savory burgers, salads, seafood, fried chicken and other comfort foods)
DAY 2: ACTIVITIES IN SOUTH CAROLINA
9 a.m. – Grab a coffee and breakfast at the Red Rooster Cafe on Boundary Street for classic American comfort fare before heading out for the day.
10 a.m. – Board a Gray Line bus and take the Gullah Heritage Tour with Kelly Tours Beaufort. Enjoy air-conditioned comfort as your group heads on an expedition to the sea islands. Ascertain Gullah/Geechee heritage along the 3-hour sojourn. Historic sites on the route include the Gullah Plantation House, the old church ruins and the cemetery with commentary from your guide.
1:30 p.m. – Enjoy a late lunch at SANDIES at the Gullah Jazz Cafe on Bladen Street in Beaufort. Experience savory Southern soul food of the Gullah culture with dishes like shrimp and grits, po’boys, liver and onions, fried okra, fried chicken and waffles and other recipes with a Caribbean flair.
(Alternative dining: Lost Local on Bay Street in downtown Beaufort for an ever-changing fresh and local menu featuring diverse tacos, seafood, chicken and libations)
2:30 p.m. – Take a self-guided tour of Penn Center, a monumental site on St. Helena Island significant to Gullah/Geechee history. The Penn Center, formerly the Penn School, is one of the nation’s first schools for formerly enslaved African-Americans and a central part of the Gullah heritage.
4 p.m. – Soak up the serene setting along the enchanting Spanish Moss Trail, a 10-mile greenway (ultimately 14 miles when complete) that connects the City of Beaufort with the Town of Port Royal. You can hop on the trail at the Spanish Moss Trail Train Depot in Beaufort on Depot Road. Witness majestic Lowcountry mansions, exquisite live oaks, unobstructed views along the bluff of the Beaufort River, and local wildlife and marshland bird species. The walking and cycling path provides a 12-foot-wide paved wheelchair-accessible path.
6 p.m. – Enjoy dinner at any local eatery and retire to your accommodations or explore the area at night.
DAY 3: THINGS TO DO IN BEAUFORT
9 a.m. – Enjoy breakfast at a local eatery before heading to St. Helena Island for the morning.
10 a.m. – On St. Helena Island, see the breathtaking Chapel of Ease ruins. Built of tabby in 1740, the church served the area until Union troops came ashore in 1861. In 1886, the church was destroyed by a forest fire and was never restored to its former glory.
11 a.m. – While there, visit Fort Fremont, a Spanish-American War fort built in 1899 as a coastal battery. Used to protect the U.S. Naval Station in Port Royal, the 15-acre site boasts high-bluff coastal views of the area.
12:30 p.m. – Enjoy lunch at The Gullah Grub Restaurant for authentic Gullah cuisine including shrimp and chicken gumbo, BBQ and fried proteins, cornbread and peach cobbler.
1:30 p.m. – Spend the rest of your trip on nearby Hilton Head Island at the Santa Elena History Center at the incredible Coastal Discovery Museum. Explore both at your leisure and discover even more unbelievable Lowcountry history.
Beaufort, South Carolina still has plenty more for travel groups to experience, so be sure to Subscribe to Leisure Group Travel for FREE and get even more travel ideas and tips