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Best Places For Travel and Retirement in South Carolina: Beaufort On the Intracoastal Waterway

Updated on December 8, 2012
Boardwalk across the marsh.
Boardwalk across the marsh. | Source

Best Places In America

The organization at selected Beaufort, South Carolina as Number Seven in its Top 10 Best Places to Retire in America - that's from the larger list of the Top 100 Best Places To Retire.

First explored by Spanish visitors in the early 1500s, Beaufort was founded as a city in 1711 and experienced its Tricentennial Celebration in 2011. The Downtown Historic District is full of activities and sights to see among friendly residents and shop owners. Tours are given to commemorate the American Revolution, Indian Wars, the Civil War, exploration by the Scottish, English, French Huguenots, the Spanish, and others. Tour guides wear period dress and keep visitors highly entertained with narratives and songs.

Aside form all the downtown events and celebrations, a Farmers Market operates May through October from 3-7 PM on West Street.

Downtown Historic Beaufort

A marker101 West Street, Beaufort USA -
101 West St, Beaufort, SC 29902, USA
get directions

Mayor Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park


Top 10 Of the Top 100 Best Retirement Cities In the USA

1. Asheville NC
2. Sarasota FL
3. Austin TX
4. Venice FL
5. Prescott AZ
6. Ft. Myers FL
7. Beaufort SC
8. Paris TN
9. San Diego CA
10. Green Valley AZ

A markerIntracoastal Waterway, Beaufort South Carolina -
Beaufort, SC, USA
get directions


The Intracoastal Waterway

Beaufort is just one of the many US Cities along the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coasts embraced by the Intracoastal Waterway.This waterway is 3,000 of navigable water from the Manasquan River of New Jersey southward, around Florida to the west and on to Brownsville, Texas.

The waterway combines many sorts of natural and man made inlets, canals, sounds and similar features. Port Royal Sound in Beaufort County is one of these and was first visited by Spanish explorers in 1521, providing some of this historic interest in Beaufort SC. A Scottish settlement and villages of local Native Americans from the 1600s add to the history of the area.

St. Helena Sound is located just east of Hunting Island State Park in Beaufort County. The Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge is located in this area, protecting the endangered species of the American alligator, bald eagle, and wood stork. Besides these species, hundreds of other bird species are seen all year long. To the southwest, the Pinckney Refuge protects other wildlife and native plants at Hilton Head.

Fresh waters flowing from inland rivers run into the Atlantic Ocean at Beaufort to create interesting marshes and tidal creeks shorebirds and other sorts of wildlife gather. Birding is one of the most popular recreational activities here.

Beaufort County offers almost 600 square miles of islands, with over 60 islands of good size as well a many smaller ones. The local climate enables boating, fishing, kayaking, sailing, and swimming nearly every month of the year.

End Points, Intracoastal Waterway

show route and directions
A markerManasquan Inlet, New Jersey -
Manasquan Inlet, Manasquan, NJ 08736, USA
get directions

B markerBrownsville, Texas -
Brownsville, TX, USA
get directions


Additional Attractions and Events


  • Autumn Shrimp Festival - The shrimp is the city mascot. First Saturday every October.
  • Christmas Boat Parade - Nighttime fun.
  • Gullah Festival
  • International Film Festival - Each February
  • May - Migratory Bird Day at Hollings
  • October - National Wildlife Week
  • Penn Center Heritage Days on St. Helena Island
  • The Waterfront's Beaufort Water Festival, mid-July


  • Over 300 acres of this community have been designated a National Historic Landmark by the US Government.
  • 1st SC Infantry of African Descent - Slaves from Port Royal joined this Union regiment during the Civil War. 1602 Boundary Street in Beaufort carries a Historic Marker.
  • Beaufort National Cemetery
  • Intracoastal Waterway, especially Port Royal Sound and St, Helena Sound.
  • Grove Plantation House, built in 1828 at the Hollings National Wildlife Refuge (established 1990), as a rice plantation.
  • Spring Tour of homes and plantations.
  • Statue of Thomas Heyward - Signer of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Various forts, memorials, schools, and churches.


  • Boat rentals and fishing excursions all year long
  • Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park- Downtown Waterfront Area
  • Film shoot locations for Forrest Gump, The Great Santini, The Big Chill, GI Jane, Prince of Tides.
  • Golf courses on the Intracoastal Waterway
  • The Spirit Of Old Beaufort Tours - Guided tours, van tours, walking tours, Ghost Walks, many others. Headquarters at 1001 Bay Street at the corner of Charles and Bay Streets.

Grove Plantation House

Grove Plantation House,
Grove Plantation House, | Source

Beaumont County Plantations


Active Retirement Living Around Beaufort

For retirees interested in purchasing homes in Beaufort SC, three communities come highly recommended for active Seniors 55 years old and better. These three sites offer hoes at the price of $150,000 and over, including:

  • Bull Point at 97 Bull Point Dr Beaufort SC 29940
  • Islands of Beaufort at De La Gaye Beaufort SC 29902
  • Shadow Moss at 26 Shadow Moss Dr Beaufort SC 29906

Other living options include:

Emeritus at Hawthorne Inn at Hilton Head; 15 Main Street; Hilton Head Island, SC 29926.

About 15 miles from Beaufort, this residence offers Assisted and Independent Living options. The campus offers landscaped courtyards, large apartments and enjoyable decor. The staff ensures an atmosphere that is inviting, relaxed, and full of the local culture of Hilton Head. A library and an ice cream parlor are good respites when tired of walking on the local beaches. A retail district is nearby, along with historical installations, entertainment, and sports like golf. Cats and dogs are accepted as pets.

Indigo Pines at 110 Gardner Road; Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

Also located on Hilton Head Island, this is an Independent Living community. A professional chef prepares three meals a day and linen/housekeeping is provided weekly. This all makes retirement less time consuming when you want to do something besides cook and clean. Transportation is also provided to a number of local spots. One very good feature is the Emergency Pull Cord in each apartment in case anyone needs help. Live-in managers make the residence a welcoming home. Cat and dog pets are always welcomed.

Tide Pointe master-planned community at 801 Lemon Grass Court; Hilton Head Island, SC 29928

A continuing care retirement community on Hilton Head Island, residents pay a one-time purchase for real estate, a membership fee, and a monthly service fee; spo this retirement option is a little more pricey than some others. As of 2013, the community offers 19 one bedroom, two bedroom, free-standing veranda, and cottage floor plans near a beach and scenic marshes. The community provides all of Senior Apartments, Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Nursing Home Care. Fine dining, a beauty salon, transportation, and other amenities are also standard fare. Cats and dogs are welcomed as pets.


Colleges That Offer Progams Seniors Enjoy

Several programs at military colleges and universities in the area are open to the public, including swimming and other activities.

  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Beaufort
  • Park University - MCAS Beaufort Campus Center
  • Technical College of the Lowcountry
  • University of South Carolina--Beaufort
  • Webster University
  • Whale Branch - Early College High School - Of interest to families.


Major Jobs and Careers

During November - December 2012, over 3,100 job openings were advertised in Beaufort. Most were seeking people for these positions:

  1. Physicians
  2. Engineers
  3. Truck Drivers - CDL required
  4. Registered Nurses (RNs)
  5. Various positions at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia
  6. Physical Therapist and Assistants
  7. Store Managers
  8. General Business Managers
  9. Occupational Therapists
  10. Managers, Cashiers, and Clerks at Harris Teeter Grocery in Hilton Head

Largest Employers in Beaufort County

  1. Beaufort County School District
  2. Beaufort Memorial Hospital
  3. Beaufort County Government
  4. US Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island – Civilian and Military Personnel
  5. US Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort – Civilian and Military Personnel
  6. Hilton Head Medical Center
  7. WalMart Stores
  8. Hilton Head Marriott Golf and Beach Resort
  9. Westin Resort
  10. Crowne Plaza Resort



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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Thanks! It's a beautiful part of the United States.

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Great researchas always, Patty!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Hi wtaylorjr2001 - Thank you for your kind words.I first traveled to the Carolinas as a child and have always been an admirer of the waters and landscapes since then - and the developments like the Hunger Games adventures, the wildlife, and all the tours available. It does seem like magic to me and I like your visualization of motoring along the waterway and playing in the Hunger Games. That's a special dream to have and OI hope you can visit these places soon. Thank you very much for your great comments!

    • wtaylorjr2001 profile image

      William H Taylor 5 years ago from Binghamton NY

      You have a magic of bringing places to life with words and images that is so captivating that I find myself motor boating through the inter-coastal waterway, playing in the hunger games, and dreaming of when I can do something such as this. Thank you very much for this opportunity to learn from you how to bring places to life with such magical trance-like words and images.