There are certain towns that epitomize Southern charm, and Beaufort is one of them. The city has a historic riverfront downtown, moss-draped oak trees draping over the streets, a thriving arts and cultural scene, and abundant natural resources. The lifestyle is refined, but also relaxed and friendly.
Beaufort is located near the South Carolina coast in a region known as the Lowcountry. Designated by Southern Living as a “Town We Love” and Coastal Living as the nation’s Happiest Seaside Town, Beaufort is also known for its beautiful parks and beaches, picturesque marches, classic Southern architecture, and dining that ranges from fresh seafood to traditional barbecue. Beaufort is home to a wide cross section of people, from young artists to families to retirees. If you’re looking to build a home, here are 10 reasons to consider Beaufort.
- Climate – Beaufort has the best of both worlds in this category: a mild climate, but with four distinct seasons. The winters are mild and the summers are warm. On average, there are 215 sunny days each year.
- Dining – The entire Lowcountry region is known for its fresh-off-the-boat seafood. Feast on wild-caught shrimp, crab and oysters that were swimming the ocean only hours earlier. The region is also known for classic Southern food such as gumbo, collard greens and barbecue. The restaurants range from fine dining to charming seaside shacks.
- Arts & Culture – Beaufort has a reputation as a strong arts community. The town is full of galleries, artists’ studios, museums, performing arts centers and more, and it is home to many renowned writers, musicians, painters and photographers. After a long day of touring the city, you can cap off the night with a waterfront concert in the park.
- Natural Resources – The Beaufort River wraps around the charming downtown, creating an idyllic backdrop. There are beautiful salty marshes, ample parks and green space, fishing docks and pristine beaches. Hop on a fishing charter or boat cruise to take full advantage of the water.
- Shopping – Beaufort’s downtown has boutiques, bookstores, antique shops, gift and souvenir shops, gourmet markets, candy shops and more. Just about everything you want or need can be found in this historic district.
- Walkability – Beaufort has a walkable downtown that perfect for strolling through on a casual afternoon and taking in the sites. Don’t miss the scenic walking tour along historic Carteret Street, a take a trek down the 14-mile Spanish Moss Trail, a rail-trail with water views.
- History – The second oldest city in South Carolina, Beaufort has a rich history that combines Spanish, French and African American influences. Parris Island, located at the tip of the peninsula just outside of Beaufort, was the first French colony in the country. The town is also an important part of civil rights history — Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a portion of his “I Have a Dream” speech here. Historic homes and landmarks abound in Beaufort. Don’t miss the horse-drawn carriage ride through the historic district.
- Architecture – Some of Beaufort’s architecture dates back more that 300 years. The tree-lined historic district is filled with architecture from the 18th, 19th and 20 centuries. You’ll see everything from tiny fishing shacks and cottages, to bed and breakfasts, to palatial mansions.
- Location – Beaufort offers a quieter and more relaxed lifestyle than nearby tourist destinations such as Hilton Head and Savannah, Georgia, but it’s close enough to make these charming cities a short drive away. The town is within an hour’s drive of both Hilton Head and Savannah.
- Affordability – Particularly for a picturesque coastal town, Beaufort has a reasonable cost of living that nearly mirrors the national average. The average home costs $124 per square foot, also almost identical to the national average.