Top 10 Outdoor Activities in Beaufort & Port Royal

After a year of working from home in Minneapolis, my boyfriend and I took a break from winter and spent a few months in South Carolina before our offices reopen. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’d know that I am an ‘outdoorsy’ person. Give me some hiking boots and a trail over crowds and lines any day. We spent about 2 months in Beaufort in February and March and here is the list of my favorite outdoor activites.

Keep in mind that this list was curated amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and a number of businesses and activities were shutdown. I highly recommend calling ahead anywhere you go because websites and Google Maps are not always accurate.

1. Hunting Island State Park & Light House

This is an obvious one. Hunting Island State Park is the most visited park in South Carolina for a reason. It has 5 miles of beautiful beach, a driftwood boneyard beach, hiking trails and the only publicly-accessible lighthouse in the state.

I have an entire post dedicated to Hunting Island State Park that can be found here.


2. History Tour

There is so much history in Beaufort and a history tour is the perfect way to take it all in. You can do a walking tour or I would highly recommend the golf cart tour through Emma’s Earth Shop. It takes about an hour and you’ll get all of the details on the historic buildings, churches and monuments.


3. Spanish Moss Trail

The Spanish Moss Trail is 10 miles of multi-purpose trail that was formerly a railroad. It’s perfect for biking, running or walking the dog and takes you through some beautiful wetlands and historic sites.


4. Old Sheldon Church Ruins

Another great way to spend some time outside is by heading out to the Old Sheldon Church Ruins. The ruins are breathtaking and the live oak trees make it feel very whimsical. I also have a full post about the history behind these ruins here.

Bonus ruins: If you’re really digging the old churches, head out to Lady’s Island and St Helenas Church of Ease Ruins. They are smaller than Old Sheldon but because there isn’t a fence around them, you can get a closer look at the tabby walls.


5. Beaufort National Cemetery

President Lincoln established the site in 1863 as one of six national cemeteries for fallen soldiers and today it includes veterans from every major American conflict, from the Spanish American War to the Gulf War. Again, the moss-covered live oak trees make this place so peaceful. You’ll walk away from a deepened appreciation for the freedoms we have today.


6. Henry C Chambers Waterfront Park

You can’t visit Beaufort without checking out the Waterfront Park. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the bridge swing open for a passing sailboat.


7. Fishing Charter

A fishing charter is a great way to get out on the water while you’re away from home. They bring the equipment, bait and expertise it takes to navigate the intercostal waterways.


8. Port Royal Farmers Market

Buy some fresh produce or flowers, try the cinnamon roll from Yummy Buns and if you’re lucky meet the Low Country Raptor owls!


9. Sands Beach and Boardwalk Tower

If you’re looking to go to the beach but don’t have a State Parks pass, there is a beach right in Port Royal. You can even drive your vehicle right onto the sand.

Next to the beach is the boardwalk and observation tower. We got lucky and spotted a dolphin from the top!


10. Cypress Wetlands

You don’t have to go far to get a glimpse of some alligators. Just check out the Cypress Wetlands in Port Royal. There is a 0.5 mile boardwalk loop and you’ll see lots of wildlife.

Casey

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