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Let’s face it – Charleston, SC, and Savannah, GA, get a whole lot of love, and for a good reason. They’re gorgeous Southern towns far enough away from the hustle and bustle of larger cities but are still chock full of history, culture, delicious food, and beautiful homes. But if you’re willing to take a bit of a drive from either locale, you’ll discover another hidden gem filled with all of these characteristics and more – Beaufort, SC. While this city may be a bit off the beaten path, it won’t stay that way for long. So what exactly makes this spot a must-see, and what activities can you fit into a quick weekend visit? Check out our list of recommendations, and then go see for yourself!

5 Reasons to Visit Beaufort, South Carolina

1. Immerse yourself in Beaufort’s historic past.

Did you know Beaufort is the second-oldest town in South Carolina? History buff or not, you’ll surely get a kick out of its dazzling old houses and storied past (and while wandering through town, you may even recognize the exterior of one of the area’s most famous homes, which appeared in the 1983 movie The Big Chill). Sprawling Southern mansions are abundant throughout Beaufort, and interior tours are available during the Fall Festival of Homes & Gardens, currently scheduled for October 23-25, 2020. Many of these private homes are decorated with exquisite furnishings paying homage to their historic roots, so the festival is a design lover’s dream!

Once a year, Beaufort gives people the chance to tour some of its most legendary and historic mansions during the Fall Festival of Homes & Gardens.

2. Enjoy the comforts of a charming Southern town.

Many of the homes in Beaufort are quaint and colorful and make for excellent photo ops if you’re itching to update your Instagram grid while exploring the city. After snapping a few pics, take an afternoon stroll down some of Beaufort’s charming streets and make your way to Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park for a picnic. Grab a book and picnic blanket and enjoy a carefree afternoon by the water – don’t miss the sunset!

Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park

Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park is the perfect spot to cozy up with a book or watch the sunset with a loved one.

3. Get to know the town’s ghosts.

If you’re looking to get a bit spooked while learning about the Beaufort of yesteryear, make sure to schedule your visit during the month of October (which is also when the Fall Festival takes place). During the last three weekends of the month, you can embark on an hour-long walking tour of the town filled with stories – and even some reenactments – that will surely give you goosebumps. The whole neighborhood comes together to put on an amazing show that you won’t forget – whether you’d like to or not! The tours are available both by foot and by horse-drawn carriage, so whether you’re looking to get some extra steps in or take a ride down memory lane, there’s something for everyone.

4. Grab a bite – or several!

Chow down on your favorite Southern delicacies at the cafes and restaurants around Beaufort. Whether you prefer a cozy collegiate vibe (head to Blackstone’s) or are looking for an intimate date night spot (don’t miss Old Bull Tavern), there’s something for everyone. And because no weekend getaway is complete without ice cream, be sure to grab a cone at Southern Sweets, which you can enjoy while exploring the shops on Bay Street. Just looking to grab a drink or two? Hemingway’s is a casual local hangout that’s open until 2 a.m. – late-night burgers, anyone?

Grab a tasty bite at Old Bull Tavern. Image: Old Bull Tavern

5. Take time to unwind.

Beaufort is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking to truly just get away from it all. Put your phone on silent and head to The Beaufort Day Spa, which is conveniently located just a few blocks from The Beaufort Inn. The Inn makes for a fabulous home base during your stay, as it’s within walking distance of most of Beaufort’s main attractions. Boasting oversized bedrooms with screen porches, the Inn is reminiscent of a traditional bed and breakfast but features all of the modern amenities one could desire. You’ll wake up feeling rested and ready to embark on a day full of adventure!

Exterior of The Beaufort Inn

The Beaufort Inn will make you feel right at home with its handful of amenities, including a day spa and oversized bedrooms.

Enjoy your time exploring this unique Southern destination. Safe travels!

All images courtesy of Discover South Carolina unless otherwise noted.