The county seat of Beaufort County, the City of Beaufort, is about a 45 minute drive from Hilton Head Island and is considered the heart of The Low Country. Although located directly across the Broad River from Hilton Head, access is only gained by a drive back towards I95 and heading north on SC170. It’s known for its scenic and romantic downtown directly on the Broad River. A stroll along the riverfront and time spent people watching on one of the sliding benches is a great way to spend time here. Beaufort is known for its preservation of antebellum architecture and has been named as “Best Small Southern Town” by Southern Living magazine. It’s been featured often in the New York Times as well.
The downtown historic district is divided into five neighborhoods, each worthy of a stroll and is also known for its nearby military establishments: Parris Island and Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. Pat Conroy, the novelist, is a native and has used Beaufort as the setting for several of his novels. The Prince of Tides, The Big Chill, Forrest Gump, GI Jane, Something To Talk About and The Great Santini were all filmed here.
Several major festivals and arts events occur annually in Beaufort. The Home Water Festival, a two-week extravaganza takes place in the middle of July, the Beaufort Shrimp Festival, selected as one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events celebrates the local and traditional industry in October the Beaufort International Film Festival is held the first week of March and screens independent films A Taste of Beaufort, presented by Main Street Beaufort, is held on the first Saturday in May and features many local restaurants, fine wines, and live music. Historic Beaufort Foundation’s Fall Tour of Homes and St. Helena’s Spring Tour of Homes provide glimpses into the antebellum homes on the Point and local plantations.