Hotel at a Glance: Beaufort Inn
Arriving at Beaufort Inn is like traveling back to the Old South. Spanish moss covers oak trees and a bright, peach-colored Victorian mansion stands as the centerpiece to an entire block of gardens, shaded courtyards, and historic cottages. Out on porches, guests can sip drinks in rocking chairs and catch cool breezes coming in from the ocean nearby. It’s no wonder that this spot was picked by Congressman William Sidney Smith, who had the main inn constructed in 1897 as a summer retreat. Other notable guests have visited over the years, including actor Gary Sinise and the crew behind Food Network’s Dining Around.
- Timeless charm: Heart pine floors, wrought-iron patio furniture, and claw-foot soaking tubs help define the ambiance.
- Fresh seafood influences the menu at Southern Graces Bistro, where chefs cook a complimentary breakfast and later-day meals like shrimp and sweet potato grits.
- Unwind in the The Beaufort Day Spa’s relaxation room or near its outdoor fireplace.
- In-room amenities: mini fridges, bathrobes, and front porch access
- Venture offsite: Carriage and walking tours delve into the history of the area; other nearby attractions include golf, fishing, and The Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.
Beaufort, South Carolina: Historic Seaport with Coastal Beauty
A historic Lowcountry seaport just north of Hilton Head, Beaufort imbues classic Southern charm so well that it served as a backdrop for such films as Forrest Gump and The Prince of Tides. Home to well-preserved antebellum mansions and pristine beachfront, this photogenic town topped Coastal Living’s list of the happiest US seaside cities. Downtown, you can browse knickknacks at antique stores and munch on fresh-caught shrimp at dockside restaurants.
One of the area’s most photographed sites is at the end of a long country road about 17 miles north of town. Take Old Sheldon Road off of Route 17 to find the faded red-brick ruins of the pre-revolutionary Old Sheldon Church. Built in the late 1740s, the church was destroyed during the Revolutionary War, rebuilt in 1826, and then destroyed again (local lore states that it was set on fire during Sherman’s March to the Sea in 1865, but this has not been confirmed). It’s shaded by large, old growth oaks draped in spanish moss, making it a popular spot for wedding and graduation pictures.
South of Beaufort lies a barrier island occupied by Hunting Island State Park, which includes a 5-mile stretch of beach and thousands of acres of marsh and tidal creeks. Climb to the top of the park’s 133-foot black-and-white lighthouse to look out on panoramic views of the ocean. Those visiting during the summer might also spot the loggerhead turtles nesting on the beach.