Downtown and Historic Beaufort, SC
Beaufort is one of the few Southern coastal towns with surviving antebellum homes, and is designated a national historic landmark district. Residents can choose elegant-historic or charming-historic living in a peaceful small-town waterfront setting. The post office, library and pre-revolutionary churches are always a short walk away, and every other street ends in a breathtaking waterfront vista.
Back when lowcountry planters and merchants were the wealthiest men in the U.S., they built magnificent and hospitable summer mansions along Beaufort’s waterfront. Designed to catch every breeze, these homes incorporated high ceilings, gracious wrap-around porches, pillars, pitched tin roofs and double staircases. One by one they have been lovingly restored. Meanwhile, the sturdy and breezy cottages, originally the homes of “the working class,” have also been carefully modernized creating the charming walking neighborhoods of Beaufort today.
Setting for much of Forest Gump and all of The Big Chill, Beaufort truly is beautiful. Ancient live oaks, southern gardens, and the waters and marshes of the Beaufort salt-water river are the backdrop where shorebirds and raptors share their hunting grounds with kayaks and sailboats. The Intracoastal Waterway, a protected water highway running north and south, runs right by Beaufort’s waterfront park and provides access to the ocean. The main street, Bay Street, is a collection of art galleries, specialty shops and a growing number of excellent restaurants.
Culturally, Beaufort is an arts town, creating, supporting and enjoying an expansive repertoire of music, theater, dance and art exhibits. Beaufort is regularly named one of the best small towns for arts in the country. Special events are often staged at Waterfront Park. A series of festivals such as Beaufort’s 10-day water festival and the equally famous Gullah festival, plus all kinds of musical events, bring families and friends to meet, mingle and picnic while enjoying an outdoor performance.
Continued education is offered at the University of South Carolina Beaufort campus, at the Technical College of the Lowcountry and by Clemson University Extension. Community activism is a way of life, particularly in the areas of conservation and the environment. On the more practical side, Beaufort has an excellent hospital associated with Duke University, new cardiac and cancer centers, and a highly respected medical community.
Bridges and highways have recently been widened on both sides of Beaufort. Beaches are 30 minutes away, the Savannah/Hilton Head Airport an hour’s drive, and I-95 is about 30-40 minutes. A small airport across the river is used by private aircraft.
Beaufort is essentially a small town offering a small town way of life. Neighbors are friendly and residents feel safe and comfortable with one another.