Beaufort is a beautiful coastal seaside town nestled between Charleston and Savannah. It is a short drive from Charleston, so we have enjoyed it as a quick and easy little escape for a change of pace. I’ve stayed overnight before on a mother-daughter getaway and also stopped in for afternoons on drives down south, most recently for an afternoon on the way to Palmetto Bluff for our babymoon. The quiet and romantic charm of the little town stole my heart the moment I arrived for the first time. 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.
Beaufort is known for its beautiful landscapes and very impressive preservation of antebellum homes. There are a few delicious meals and some lovely shops, making it the perfect stop for a night’s stay. 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 on your drive.
Beaufort Travel Guide
Where to Stay in Beaufort
I stayed here when my mom and I first visited Beaufort and found it to be the perfect spot for our little trip. 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.
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.
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 provides a nice dose of old southern charm and is known for their Sunday brunch. Bonus: the inn is pink!
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.
Where to Eat in Beaufort
An intimate gastropub known for its innovative cocktails and outstanding burgers. I’ve dined here and been for drinks at the lively bar and absolutely loved my experience. I’d definitely recommend it as a top rec for Beaufort!
The spot to go in town for breakfast and lunch. I’ve had a few delicious lunches here and love perusing the walls and counters of fresh baked goods, sundries, pies, cheeses, soups, preserves, relishes, and more. I always come 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.
A happening neighborhood restaurant that is great for lunch or dinner. I’ve been for dinner and really enjoyed the menu of locally grown ingredients.
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.
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.”
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 a seat at the tile and reclaimed wood oyster bar.
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.
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.
New Southern fare that combines Southern food traditions with modern, lighter twists.
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!).
Where to Drink in Beaufort
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. They also serve breakfast, lunch, and gelato.
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. I love the float with sweet tea and two scoops of peach sorbet on top!
Where to Explore in Beaufort
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 one of my favorite stores 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 Bachelor Hill Antiques! It is the best antique store in Beaufort.
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.
If your hotel doesn’t have bikes for its guests, 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.
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.
Rent kayaks and SUP boards at Higher Ground Outfitters and spend part of your day gliding through the intercostal waterways. You’ll probably spot dolphins on your outing.
Spend a day on the water with Castaway Fishing Charters to fish redfish, cobia, sea bass, flounder and more Lowcountry fish.
Enjoy the local farmer’s market every single Saturday of the year. Great fresh produce and yummy things to eat while you browse.
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@example.com if you are planning a trip to Beaufort and have any questions. xx