For the last 14 years, we have experienced most of what Beaufort has to offer, which is a lot! Time and time again Beaufort, SC is ranked in different publications as the “Best” of some kind….small town, place to visit, most romantic, southern town, etc. I would not argue with any of these “titles.” After traveling up and down the east coast as far as Annapolis and as south as the Keys, visiting just about every coastal town in between, I feel Beaufort really has earned its top-ranked spot. Beaufort includes a number of popular towns, such as Hilton Head, a popular destination with all the activities associated with a coastal resort community. However, there are many interesting experiences that Beaufort can offer locals and tourists alike that are free or low-cost that are not as well known. Below are some ideas that we have done in the past that I would recommend.
Merrick Daffodil Farm is located in Bluffton. The kids can pick daffodils when in season for 25 cents. I would suggest arriving early in the day so you can have a field full of flowers to chose from. We recently had a great experience with our girl scout troop on a mini horse farm on St. Helena Island. Mobile Mini’s opened up their farm and mini horses for an afternoon of grooming (with bows), reading to the horses, and feeding them. It was a very unique and fun time! Hunting Island State Park has been a favorite for our family for a number of years and we recently had a first camping experience at the park’s campground. The park offers a very natural beach experience with lots of drift wood and if you get there early in the morning you can find some large shells. The Port Royal Sound Foundation is located between the town of Beaufort and Bluffton. They have a variety of eco-themed children’s programs throughout the year. We recently went to the Pollination Festival where we learned about native plants, sampled honey, and the girls had their faces painted. Morgan Island, also known as Monkey Island, for moneys that live there can be a fun visit if the monkey’s feel like being active. You can only view the monkeys by taking a boat close to the shoreline, and if you are lucky, you can get a glimpse of them swinging from the trees. And speaking of boating, there are a number of barrier islands that can be visited by boat such as Daufuski or Bull Point. One of the last remaining drive-in theaters, the Hwy 21 Drive In , is also located in Beaufort County and features two movies a night on the weekends. Beaufort is also known for its many festivals. During certain times of the year their are multiple festivals across the county going on during the same weekend. Some of our favorites are Beaufort Water Festival, Night on the Town, and Shrimp and Grits Festival. Eat, Sleep, Play Beaufort is a great website resource that could help you find all the local events and attractions.
When I tried to think of the experiences that we had not yet done with the girls, I came up with a few options and let the girls pick. Surprisingly, what they picked is a rather normal and ordinary attraction. They decided on the food truck at the local library. While a library is certainly not a unique attraction, some of the different experiences that libraries offer can be. While living on the boat, libraries in the towns we visited were a frequent stop and we participated in a number of activities from yoga to story walks. Currently, the Beaufort library, like other libraries across the country, is having a Summer Reading Program with lots of great giveaways. Also, through various partnerships, a food truck will be serving free lunch every weekday this summer at the library to kids. Yes, a FREE lunch. So, we headed to the local library to check out the free lunch and some books to help us with our research about South Carolina and where we want to visit.
The girls were interested in the food truck, so they immediately got in line and received a hot ham and cheese sandwich, tater tots, and pears with a side of milk. Avery enjoyed the meal, while Leslie was less than thrilled. After they cleaned up, we headed in the library to grab some books. We found a selection of books about our state and have been reading them and finding out some interesting facts. We learned South Carolina was the first state to have a free public library in the country, located in Charleston, making our “library trip” more relevant to South Carolina. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn of all the other offerings the library had this summer such as reading to dogs, STEAM night, lego club, mini golf and more. So, I’m sure we will be heading back soon.
The two choices that the girls did not choose were visiting Old Sheldon Church and visiting Parris Island, the Marine Corp recruit depot. Our house is literally across the water from Parris Island and we hear shooting practice in the morning. We were also married on Parris Island, so I foresee a trip out there in the near future. As for Old Sheldon Church, it is very beautiful and historic, but probably not as interesting for kids. Since it is located on the way out of town in order to get to the highway, I see this as a stop on the way to somewhere else.
The girls also left a Blessing Bracelet selectively placed next to a family cruising book in the library while on a follow up visit to return our books!