The Beaufort area of South Carolina, USA is famous for its history as it maintains an aura of Southern days gone by, with many magnificent antebellum homes. On many of the sea islands the native language of Gullah, a combination of English and African can still be heard. The Gullah Festival is celebrated the weekend of Memorial Day at Waterfront Park. Downtown Beaufort’s Waterfront Park is comprised of seven waterfront acres with swinging benches, a children’s playground, amphitheater, picnic tables, covered pavilion and waterfront boardwalk for strolling and fishing. The coastline is a boater’s paradise with its saltwater creeks and rivers that wind between the sea islands. Outside dining is a favorite of locals as the sea islands are teaming with fresh local seafood and southern sweets, temptation for all taste buds. Seasonal crafts markets as well as numerous festivals are held here including the Soft Shell Crab Festival in April, Water Festival in July, Shrimp Festival in October, Penn Center Heritage Days in November and Night on the Town in December.
Parris Island Recruit Depot Museum is an all-encompassing view of the history of Parris Island. Exhibits range from the attempted colonization by the Spanish in 1521 to photographic depictions of the recruit training process. Admission is free and open to the public daily 10-4 pm.
Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS): During the Revolutionary War, the British landed at what is now the Laurel Bay military housing base, located right off MCAS, and battled American troops at Gray’s Hill. Tours provided to visitors on request. Locally, MCAS pilots perform air shows at various local festivals and events. Located just north of Beaufort on US Highway 21.
Penn Center Historic District: Established during the Civil War, it was the first school for freed slaves in the south. The center is active in community services, and its York W. Bailey Museum holds material and exhibits on the history of African-Americans of the Sea Islands. Located on Land’s End Road on St. Helena Island.
Low country wildlife: Beaufort and the surrounding local communities are home to numerous species of birds and other wildlife, some which are endangered and protected by law. Egrets can be found in numbers, deer roam free on most islands and raccoons scavenge for food nightly.
A breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding islands can be viewed from Hunting Island State Park’s 132” tall lighthouse. Approximately 4 miles long and one mile wide, with well developed dune vegetation, it holds great appeal for nature lovers. Once a hunting ground of both Native American and settler and encompassing 5,000 acres, white-tailed deer and raccoon are abundant and frequently observed by park visitors. More than 125 species of birds have been reported at the park, including significant numbers herons, gulls, terns, and egrets. Open year round.
Golfing is a low country staple with breathtaking views and seasonal tournaments that pull locals and visitors to the green. Horseback trail rides are available that take the rider along the Atlantic Coast or through the beautiful low country scene