A patriotic city with a strong military presence, historic Beaufort, SC dates back to 1711. This coastal small town is situated on the mainland, tucked between Port Royal Sound and St Helena Sound. Port Royal harbor is the deepest natural harbor on the Atlantic Coast and is a fantastic place for boating during family vacations. At low tide, beautiful sandbars are scattered throughout the Beaufort River exposing oyster beds and marshland. The tide variation during the spring tides are among the greatest along the Atlantic Coast. Money Magazine named Beaufort, South Carolina as one of 6 Terrific Towns on the Water. We agree for many reasons and find this historic city to be one of the finest coastal retirement communities.
Before the Civil War, Beaufort was considered one of the wealthiest towns in the United States reflected by the antebellum mansions and historic plantation homes that make up the low country real estate. Providing a delightful quality of life, Beaufort sports unspoiled areas along the marshes are natural habitats for egrets, blue herons, dolphins and even an occasional alligator sunning on the river banks. A large deer population adds to the wildlife sharing the islands. The Sea Islands are popular for crabbing, fishing, and shrimping as seen in the movie Forrest Gump, filmed in Beaufort. The heritage and descendants of the Gullah culture still remain on the Sea Islands.
Public, sandy white beaches are east of downtown at Hunting Island State Park. Climb the island’s lighthouse and take in the view of the Port Royal Sound meeting the Atlantic Ocean. Ten scenic hiking trails meander through the state park under mature, live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. Trip Advisor named Hunting Island as a Top 10 Beach because of its secluded, unspoiled beaches. Just east of the state park, Fripp Island is at the end of the island chain and is a popular place for family vacations. Port Royal Landing Marina is located at MM 244 on the Intracoastal Waterway and caters to the Lowcountry boating community.
Three military installations, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, and the U S Naval Hospital Beaufort, provide an economic foundation to this area. Throughout the day, you may hear a military jet flying overhead, which locals affectionately call "the sound of freedom". Let us know if you’d like to receive a Beaufort SC Relocation Information.
The most popular neighborhoods to find Beaufort SC real estate include:
- LADY'S ISLAND - The first island northeast of the downtown Beaufort waterfront is being transformed into a popular residential area. The majority of the island borders the Intracoastal Waterway leading to Saint Helena Sound. Beaufort County Airport is located on Lady’s Island, and the average home prices are in the mid $200k’s.
- ST. HELENA ISLAND - The largest Sea Island, the majority of which is still an agricultural area, is home to the Gullah culture. The island does not have ocean frontage; instead, it is surrounded by scenic marshland, tidal pools, and lush forest. The average home prices are in the high $200k’s.
- PORT ROYAL ISLAND - It is located on the south side of Beaufort overlooking Parris Island. This is where the movie Forrest Gump was filmed. Accommodating young military families, the average home prices range around $100k.
- DOWNTOWN - Pigeon Point, Spanish Point, West Point, and Battery Creek are the most popular neighborhoods on the mainland. Small one-story homes and elegant mansions are found in these neighborhoods and along the waterfront. Home prices range from under $200k to over $1 million.
If you’re searching out where to retire in Coastal South Carolina, here are reasons to consider Beaufort SC real estate:
ARTS AND CULTURE
Named as one of the Top 100 Art Towns in America, there are 11 art galleries in Beaufort SC. The ART works Community Art Center, Theater and Gallery provides educational opportunities and live performances throughout Beaufort. The Beaufort Symphony Orchestra’s concert series can be enjoyed, as well as art festivals including the Gullah Arts and Crafts Festival and the Annual Spring Art Show.
At an elevation of 10 feet, the climate is warm to hot in the summers with over 200 sunny days. The average winter temperature is 50 degrees. The average annual snowfall is 1 inch. The average summer temperatures range from the high 70’s to the mid 80's. Hurricanes and flooding are Beaufort’s biggest weather hazards for coastal retirement communities.
LIFELONG LEARNING EXPERIENCES
The University of South Carolina Beaufort offers an extensive list of year-round courses designed for mature adults through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Online college courses and campus classroom settings include intriguing lectures, hands-on courses, and interesting field trips.
South Carolina law provides tuition exemption for residents 60 and older taking classes at state colleges (nominal fees may apply). Seniors can take any class offered, but many colleges also have specialized senior learning programs or it's easy to online college courses.
MEDICAL AND HEALTH CARE
Beaufort Memorial Hospital is a 197 bed hospital affiliated with Duke University. The hospital is the largest hospital between Savannah and Charleston, SC. Specialties include cancer care, heart services, orthopedics, women’s health and imaging.
Naval Hospital Beaufort consists of the hospital and two Branch Medical Clinics - one at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD), Parris Island and the other at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS), Beaufort. Naval Hospital Beaufort provides general medical, surgical, and emergency services to all Active Duty Navy and Marine Corps personnel, as well as retired military personnel and all military dependents residing in the Beaufort area, a population of approximately 35,000 beneficiaries. Interestingly, it is one of the few military facilities which is a complete military compound in itself, rather than a tenant of a larger command.
Field & Stream magazine named Beaufort a Top 20 Fishing Town in America. Both power boaters and kayakers will wonder if they will ever have enough time to explore all the waterways winding throughout the Sea Islands. Bicycling is also a popular on the islands because of the navigable roads and expansive, scenic views of the marshland. There are a handful of golf courses in the area; some are open to the public. Hunting Island State Park on the Sea Islands is home to one of the most beautiful secluded beaches to explore during family vacations.
SHOPPING AND DINING
Big box stores and large shopping malls have not taken over the heart of Beaufort; they can be found nearby in Bluffton. Art galleries, outfitters, and outdoor cafes abound along the downtown waterfront. The Low Country is home to some of the finest seafood restaurants in South Carolina and is the birthplace of the oyster roast. The best Beaufort restaurants include the Wren, Plum, and Dockside. There is a charming Beaufort Farmers Market in downtown where local produce is sold. Working farms are popular on the Sea Islands; some are U-Pick farms filled with strawberries and other produce.
HOME AFFORDABILITY AND TAXES
The average price of homes for sale in Beaufort County is $175,000. The estimated property tax millage rate is $.2520 per $1000 of assessed value. Depending on the Beaufort SC real estate you purchase in, there may be additional county tax for the fire district. Second homes in South Carolina are assessed the school taxes. Visit our library to find help and to learn how to calculate property taxes.