Our Eat & Burn series showcases destinations through their cuisine and inviting ways to burn off the calories.
By Hope S. Philbrick
Beaufort, South Carolina, boasts a photogenic waterfront and South Carolina’s largest National Historic Landmark District, with buildings representing a variety of architectural styles over the past 200 years.
Live oaks draped with Spanish moss sway in the salty air while the breezes carry whiffs of seafood, welcome relief from summer heat, and the good-time vibes of laid-back Southern hospitality.
Located in the heart of the Lowcountry, midway between Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga., Beaufort is one of only a few American towns where the entire downtown has been designated as an historic district. Today, Main Street is filled with art galleries, antique shops, boutique stores and restaurants.
Best of all, Beaufort is home to people so open and welcoming that you’ll feel like a friend more than a tourist.
It’s a community you’ll want to visit often.
This quintessential Lowcountry destination does Lowcountry cuisine proud. Food here is so scrumptious you’ll want to belly up to the table, roll up your sleeves and eat—often. The good news is that it’s easy to burn off those calories.
This casual diner is where locals meet for breakfast and lunch. Go for a cup of coffee and stay for the cooked-to-order eggs. Come back to grab a grilled sandwich or fresh salad.
Emily’s Restaurant & Tapas Bar
This award-winning restaurant is buzzing with activity from the first chime of happy hour at 4 p.m.— it’s 5:00 somewhere!—through last call shortly before 10 p.m. Fill up on seafood like baked grouper, spicy shrimp & grits (which won “Best Dish / Best Restaurant” at the 2006 Beaufort Shrimp Festival), and shrimp & scallops curry, or, if you crave a break from seafood, one of the turf options like rack of lamb, grilled ribeye and lemon chicken marsala.
Lowcountry Produce Market & Café
Come for the coffee and glazed yeast doughnuts, stay for the cinnamon bread French toast, eggs with grits and smoked salmon, and/or homemade almond granola with fresh yogurt and blueberries. Everything on this menu is made fresh and features local, seasonal, all-natural ingredients made from family recipes. Breakfast is served from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., so there’s no need to skip it. Before you leave, stock up on a selection of the small-batch, hand-packed products like Lowcountry gumbo, sweet potato butter, pickled okra, peach chutney and more so you can savor authentic Lowcountry fare at home with ease.
Saltus River Grill
Overlooking Beaufort’s Waterfront Park and the Beaufort River, this restaurant transforms fresh, locally-sourced ingredients into sophisticated, contemporary fare. Whether you opt for Lowcountry classics like crab bisque, crab cakes, shrimp & grits, grilled fresh catch or modern global favorites like spicy tuna roll, wood-grilled Scottish salmon, Maine lobster or Parisienne herb gnocci, your taste buds will be delighted. Don’t miss “The Jenny,” a nod to Forrest Gump’s true love billed as “the official lowcountry sweet tea martini,” it’s a sweet-yet-tart grownup treat.
Southern Graces Bistro at Beaufort Inn
This award-winning restaurant defines casual elegance with its upscale preparations of Southern classics, attentive service and refined yet cozy environs. Brunch, lunch and dinner menus showcase Lowcountry classics like shrimp & grits—which get a creative spin with “sweet potato grits”—crab cakes, fried green tomatoes, she crab soup, BBQ-glazed salmon, pecan-crusted chicken and more. Afternoon tea, available Tuesday through Friday, offers an elegant presentation of tiny sandwiches, Southern pastries and sweet desserts with a pot of tea.
Wren Bistro & Bar
This casual neighborhood bistro serves generous portions of fresh salads and sandwiches at lunchtime and Lowcountry classics like sautéed grouper, steak and frites and pecan-crusted chicken for dinner. Starters like pimento cheese and shrimp & artichoke dip satisfy any time. One plate can easily feed two or fill a to-go bag for later snacking. With its laid-back attitude, intriguing décor that offers plenty to look at even if visiting on your own, full-service bar, and wide range of options, this is new addition to the Beaufort dining scene is embraced by locals and visitors alike.
Exercise legs and brain cells during a historic walking tour with Beaufort Touring Company. Get a good look at residential architecture—including homes that have lured Hollywood film crews to Beaufort—and learn the community’s history from its founding through the Civil War to today.
Climb the historic lighthouse (circa 1873) or hike eight miles of trails at Hunting Island State Park, located 16 miles east of Beaufort. South Carolina’s most-visited state park has been named one of America’s Top 10 beaches. The three-mile beach along the Atlantic Ocean is a key attraction, but there is much to do at the 5,000-acre park including camping, fishing, swimming, kayaking and more.
Kayak the Beaufort River with Lands End Tours for a workout that will get your heart pumping and take your breath away with its sheer beauty.
For a second opinion, read “Visit the Town of Tides” on Deep South Magazine.
Beaufort, South Carolina was among the stops of the #DSGetaway shared by Deep South Magazine and Getaways for Grownups. To read more related features, click on the DSGetaway tag on this site or on DeepSouthMag.com. On Facebook and Twitter, search #DSGetaway.
– Photo Credits: kayaking and lighthouse courtesy Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce; remainder © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.