Sultry style and Lowcountry charm reign in this historic waterfront community.
Photographer: Peter Frank Edwards
On the island-dotted coast between Charleston and Savannah lies a Lowcountry gem. The South Carolina town of Beaufort (pronounced BYEW-furt), at the east end of Port Royal Island, combines Southern warmth and a history as piquant as Beaufort stew (a spicy seafood boil). Founded three centuries ago, downtown Beaufort is a National Landmark Historic District, with restored 18th- and 19th-century buildings that live today as family housing and retail space. Walk down waterfront Bay Street and you're following in the footsteps of bold pirates, Colonial shipbuilders, rich planters, and (during the Civil War) Union soldiers. Nearby, huge live oaks draped in Spanish moss loom over streets lined with handsome antebellum houses, signs of wealth from the indigo, rice, and cotton trade.