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Port Royal Island Real Estate - Lowcountry, SC

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Port Royal Island Real Estate - Lowcountry, SC
Port Royal Island Real Estate - Lowcountry, SC
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Port Royal Island, SC

Residents of Port Royal Island, where the city of Beaufort and the town of Port Royal are located, are scarcely aware they are living on an actual island entirely surrounded by salt water and tidal marshes. With 46 square miles, it is the largest of the Beaufort County sea islands. Only Hilton Head and St. Helena are close in size.

The waters surrounding Port Royal Island are actually inlets and tendrils of the Atlantic Ocean that rise with the tides to meet fresh water streams flowing toward the coast. These waters combine with the marshes to form a coastline of unbelievable beauty that nurtures the beginning of sea life for much of the Atlantic. Their names, starting at 6 o’clock and moving clockwise around the island, are Port Royal Sound, the vast Broad River, the Whale Branch of the Coosaw, the Coosaw River and the Beaufort River.

The intracoastal waterway winds through these waters which form a playground for all water sports. Fishermen get a shot at both northern and southern species including cobia and the mighty tarpon. Boaters find waters for every type of vessel, from a tiny kayak or canoe skimming along a tidal creek to an ocean-going yacht headed for the Gulf Stream.

Port Royal Sound, the second deepest natural harbor on the east coast, first attracted explorers in 1561. For 200 years the Spanish, the French, the British and native Americans fought over the land. The deep water port is soon to be put to local use.

The city of Beaufort is the county seat. In reality, it is a beautiful walk-around small town of antebellum mansions and sturdy white cottages. [See downtown Beaufort] .

Smaller than Beaufort, the town of Port Royal also is a walking town, a fishing village home to a small shrimping fleet and a seafood restaurant where the catch of the day may be the catch of “a few minutes ago.” Artsy shops offer original artistic accents for home and garden. Mysteries of tidal marsh ecology are unraveled with at the low-key Lowcountry Estuarium, the project of a local artist and naturalist. An area along the Beaufort River called “the Sands” is popular among residents for crabbing, fishing, launching boats and hunting for fossilized sharks’ teeth.

The military is a presence on Port Royal Island. Adjacent to the town of Port Royal is the famous Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island. A Naval Hospital is ranked as one of the best Naval hospitals in the country, and some veterans retire to the area just to be near its services. Another arm of the military is the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort where pilots are trained.

Recent years have seen the birth of newer neighborhoods. Habersham, a Duany Plater-Zyberk community, is patterned after traditional Lowcountry architecture. Stuart Point overlooks the banks of the Whale Branch. Still in the planning stage is Ribaut Island, new luxury condominiums in Battery Creek off the Beaufort River.
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