top of page

13 Great Things To Do in Beaufort, SC: Fun Activities

Welcome to the charming coastal town of Beaufort, South Carolina - a great place for a weekend getaway! Nestled in the heart of the Lowcountry, Beaufort is a perfect place for a family vacation or a day trip filled with fun things to do and beautiful sights to see. From its rich history to its natural beauty, Beaufort has something for everyone. Join me as we explore some of the best things to do in this beautiful area!

1. Hunting Island State Park

Hunting Island State Park, a 5,000-acre barrier island just 15 miles east of Beaufort, between Fripp Island and Harbor Island, offers five miles of pristine beaches, expansive marshlands, and a lush maritime forest. The park provides plenty of activities, from swimming and sunbathing to hiking and fishing.

A red and white lighthouse with American flags waving in the wind. With palm trees surrounding

Divided into North and South beaches, the former boasts a lighthouse with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean and the enchanting "driftwood beach," while the latter hosts the nature center, fishing pier, and boating area, ensuring a delightful experience for all.

Nature enthusiasts revel in the park's wildlife viewing opportunities, camping facilities, and scenic trails, while history buffs can admire the iconic Hunting Island lighthouse, a testament to the island's storied past.

Constructed in 1859 and meticulously rebuilt in 1875 post-Civil War, the lighthouse's unique design allows for potential relocation due to beach erosion. Although presently closed for tours, visitors can still appreciate its grandeur from afar while docents provide insightful interpretations. 

2. Spanish Moss Trail

A scenic path through a forest with long, gray Spanish moss hanging from the branches of the trees.

The Spanish Moss Trail, a scenic 10-mile paved path in northern Beaufort County, SC, promises a delightful journey through serene coastal landscapes, majestic live oaks, and historic landmarks.

Open from dawn to dusk with six convenient parking trailheads, this 12-foot wide trail accommodates various activities, including walking, running, biking, and fishing, all while offering scenic views of Beaufort River and surrounding marshes.

A blue bicycle with a basket parked under a shady tree next to a calm lake.

Opting for a bike ride is the best way to fully immerse oneself in the trail's beauty, with some nearby hotels offering complimentary bike rentals for hotel guests. However, a short walk along the trail also presents a charming opportunity to soak in the natural splendor of the area!

3. Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park

Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, nestled on 7 acres in downtown Beaufort, offers a serene escape overlooking the bay, drawing both locals and visitors alike. With its array of amenities including playgrounds, picnic areas, and swinging benches, the park invites relaxation and community gatherings day or night.

Surrounded by a vibrant atmosphere of dining, shopping, and artistic expression, it serves as a focal point for downtown life. Moreover, hosting renowned events like the Beaufort Shrimp Festival and the Beaufort Water Festival, the park celebrates the spirit and diversity of Beaufort, enticing countless visitors to partake in its festivities year after year.

4. Explore Downtown Beaufort's Historic District

A charming white antebellum house with a bright blue roof and inviting stairs, nestled amidst a grove of trees.

Stroll through the captivating Historic District of downtown Beaufort, where the echoes of history resonate through its antebellum homes, art galleries, and quaint shops. Do not miss the opportunity to delve deeper into Beaufort's rich heritage at the Beaufort History Museum, where knowledgeable docents unveil 450 years of captivating stories that shaped America.

Explore the vibrant Bay Street, lined with local stores, upscale restaurants, and galleries offering scenic views of the Beaufort River. Additionally, immerse yourself in the profound narratives of the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park, where the struggles and triumphs of those who fought for freedom and equality come to life, enriching the tapestry of Beaufort's cultural landscape.

5. Cypress Wetlands

A large, weathered tree stump stands in the middle of a swamp, surrounded by cypress trees and other wetland vegetation.

Discover the serene beauty of Port Royal Cypress Wetlands, a natural sanctuary in the heart of Port Royal Sound. Home to the picturesque Cypress Wetlands Rookery and a historic walking trail spanning 0.56 miles, this oasis invites exploration with its diverse landscapes and abundant wildlife. From alligators and turtles to a myriad of bird species, the wetlands teem with life amidst the lush vegetation of red maple, cypress trees, and cabbage palms.

Whether strolling along boardwalks or biking through paved paths, visitors can immerse themselves in the tranquil ambiance of this coastal haven, with peak viewing times offering glimpses of alligators basking under the midday sun and birds gracefully taking flight during sunrise and sunset. Best of all, access to this natural gem is free to the public, inviting all to experience the wonders of Port Royal Cypress Wetlands firsthand.

6. Port Royal Boardwalk and Observation Tower

A close-up view of a harbor filled with a variety of boats, all moored securely at the docks. The calm water reflects the surrounding landscape and boats.

Discover the charm of Port Royal Island with a visit to the boardwalk and observation tower. Enjoy the panoramic views of Battery Creek, spot wildlife, and enjoy activities like fishing, hunting for shark teeth, and photography.

Towering four stories high, the observation tower offers unparalleled vistas of the surrounding marshlands and sound. With its stunning sunsets and free access, it is the perfect destination for experiencing the tranquility and natural beauty of the South Carolina coast.

7. Old Sheldon Church Ruins

The ruins of Old Sheldon Church, a historic brick church built in the 1700s and located in Beaufort County, South Carolina.

Located in Yemassee, approximately 17 miles north of Beaufort, the Old Sheldon Church ruins stand as a poignant reminder of the region's tumultuous history. Ravaged first by the British during the Revolutionary War in 1779 and later by Union troops during the Civil War in 1865, the church now stands in a hauntingly beautiful state of unrestored ruin.

Despite its scars, the original architectural beauty still captivates visitors, offering a glimpse into the past. Spread across 5 acres, the ruins encompass an ancient graveyard adorned with dozens of tombstones dating back centuries, providing a solemn yet fascinating exploration of the area's rich heritage.

8. Visit St. Helena Island

St. Helena Island - A green field surrounded by trees

St. Helena Island, spanning 64 square miles, is one of the Sea Islands nestled within the Hilton Head Island-Beaufort Micropolitan Area. Home to numerous small, family-owned restaurants boasting local produce and fresh seafood, it is a haven for culinary enthusiasts.

Delve into the island's rich history at the St. Helena Parish Chapel of Ease Ruins, an Anglican chapel dating back to the 1740s, tragically destroyed by Union soldiers during the Civil War. For an immersive journey into military history, explore the 3-acre expanse of Fort Fremont, a coastal defense installation constructed in 1898.

Surrounded by marshes, forests, and beaches, the fort offers not only insights into its role in the Spanish-American War but also opportunities to commune with nature and observe wildlife in its natural habitat.

9. Penn Center

Darrah Hall, a historic white house in the middle of a field, part of the Darrah Hall Penn Center on St. Helena Island, South Carolina.

Penn Center on St. Helena Island is a cornerstone of Gullah culture and African American heritage.  As the First School in the South for formerly enslaved West Africans, its significance echoes through history.

Recognized as a National Register of Historic Places and a cornerstone of the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park, Penn Center offers a profound journey into the past, where visitors can walk in the footsteps of those who fought for freedom and equality.

Founded in 1862 by visionary abolitionists and missionaries, its legacy is woven with the threads of education, empowerment, and social justice. Today, Penn Center continues to be a beacon of hope, promoting historic preservation, economic sustainability, and community development, honoring those who fought for progress.

10. Parris Island Museum

A field displaying the United States Marine Corps, and Navy flags, along with the text "UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS" and "UNITED STATES NAVY." There are also some American flags in the back and another white one on the right

The Parris Island Museum in Beaufort offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of the United States Marine Corps. From its origins in 1775 to modern-day operations, the museum's exhibits cover Marine training, weaponry, and uniforms, showcasing artifacts from various conflicts. Free admission, guided tours, and special events make it a compelling destination for military history enthusiasts.

11. Run or Walk across the Woods Memorial Bridge

A used and old book cover of Tom Hanks is Forrest Gump with Forrest Gump sitting on a bench

Take a scenic run or walk across the iconic Woods Memorial Bridge in Beaufort, South Carolina, featured prominently in the classic film Forrest Gump. This famous landmark, immortalized as the stand-in for the Mississippi River Bridge in the movie, also serves as the backdrop for the annual Run Forrest Run 5K event. Join runners as they traverse this historic bridge, reliving cinematic moments and embracing the picturesque views of Beaufort's waterfront.

12. Beaufort Inn

Indulge in a luxurious stay at the historic Beaufort Inn, nestled in Beaufort's downtown area. Originally built in 1897 as a summer retreat by William Sidney Smith, this charming hotel boasts elegant rooms and southern charm. Conveniently located within walking distance of shops, restaurants, and museums - the inn offers a perfect blend of comfort and convenience.

Spread across several blocks, guests can explore guesthouses, manicured gardens, and communal sitting spaces. Enjoy modern amenities such as free WiFi, complimentary parking, and private porches or balconies.

Roasting marshmallows in an active fire pit

Additionally, take advantage of the complimentary on-site bike rental to explore the area or cozy up by the fire pit for seasonal s'mores. Start your day right with complimentary breakfast vouchers for use at local partnering locations, completing your unforgettable stay at Beaufort Inn.

13. Boat Tours of Beaufort, South Carolina

Embark on a boat tour of Beaufort, South Carolina, for a memorable experience exploring this charming coastal town. Whether you opt for a narrated tour, sunset cruise, or private charter, it is a great way to discover Beaufort's rich history and abundant wildlife.

Consider joining Living Waters Boat Tours for an array of options, from eco-tours to dolphin-watching excursions, led by Captain Tyler. Set sail and immerse yourself in the beauty of Beaufort's Sea Islands, offering a delightful adventure for the whole family.

Anything Else?

Scoops of ice cream in different flavors

This is just the beginning - there is plenty to explore in beautiful Beaufort, from ice cream and coffee shops to checking out the works of local artists and enjoying live music.

Beaufort is also known for having plenty of guided tours - you can go on a walking tour, a golf cart tour, a carriage tour, and even a ghost tour! You will need a full weekend to explore the Beaufort area!

What is the best time to visit Beaufort?

Spring and fall are ideal times to visit Beaufort, South Carolina, with milder temperatures and fewer crowds. In April and October, you will find vibrant outdoor dining and scenic waterfront views.

While summer can be hot, it is perfect for beachgoers seeking a refreshing coastal breeze. Beaufort offers something for everyone year-round, whether you are into cultural festivals in the spring or beach relaxation in the summer.

What are some of the best places to eat in Beaufort, SC? 

Waterfront dining with a colorful table and set up

Experience the delicious variety of Beaufort, South Carolina's food scene, with everything from fresh seafood to Southern comfort food! Here are some great spots:

- Ladys Island Dockside: Enjoy casual waterfront dining with a menu featuring fresh seafood, steaks, poultry, pasta, and more.
- Bricks On Boundary: This American restaurant and bar serves up favorites like Crack fries and Fried shrimp, with live performances and trivia nights for entertainment.
- Plums Restaurant: A local staple for Southern Lowcountry cuisine and cocktails, offering good food and good fun.
- Panini's On The Waterfront: Experience a mix of old-world Italian and modern cuisine with a great view of the waterfront.
- Hearth Wood Fired Pizza: Located in Historic Downtown Beaufort, indulge in wood-fired pizza, comfort food, small plates, and vegetarian options.

Happy Exploring!

A rustic wooden bridge extends over a still lake, surrounded by lush green trees. A hammock hangs between two trees on the shore, inviting relaxation.

Beaufort, South Carolina, offers plenty of delightful experiences for visitors of all ages and interests. From exploring the natural beauty of Hunting Island State Park to delving into the rich history of the area at sites like the Old Sheldon Church Ruins and Penn Center, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Indulge in the diverse culinary scene, take a boat tour to discover Beaufort from a different perspective, and do not miss the chance to stay at the historic Beaufort Inn for a truly memorable experience. With its charming ambiance, vibrant culture, and abundance of activities, Beaufort is sure to capture your heart and leave you longing for your next visit!

Have you been to Beaufort, SC? Let me know in the comments below - I would love to know what your favorite things to do were! Share this article with the person or people you want to go on your next adventure with! Also, be sure to SUBSCRIBE below to learn about other places you should add to your "To Visit" List! Ready? Okay, vamos. Time to have fun!

Related Article:

A few of the homes in Rainbow Row

11 Best Weekend Getaways from Charleston, South Carolina - Looking for a weekend getaway near Charleston, South Carolina? Well, you are in the right place! Check this blog for the 11 best places!

Did you enjoy and find this blog post helpful?

If yes, subscribe at the end of this page to "Join the Fun 🥳" and receive our weekly newsletter so you do not miss out on a blog post!

You can also show your support and rep Dale, Let's Travel! by purchasing our 3x3 inch glossy sticker for $5! Free shipping within the United States. Are you interested in purchasing a sticker or two? Email us at with the subject line "DLT! Sticker" or "Blog Sticker," we can finalize your payment method and grab your mailing address there! Thank you for supporting my small business! 😊

Illustration of the Dale, Let's Travel! Sticker
Illustration of the Dale, Let's Travel! Sticker

*This article is not sponsored by any of the above-mentioned locations/businesses, or their affiliates.*
** A majority of the images above are not from the actual place but rather a representation of the place or its description. **

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page