Beaufort is a city in and the county seat of Beaufort County, South Carolina, USA. Chartered in 1711, it is the second-oldest city in South Carolina, behind Charleston. The city's population was 12,361 in the 2010 census. It is located in the Hilton Head Island-Beaufort Micropolitan Area. Beaufort is located on Port Royal Island, in the heart of the Sea Islands and Lowcountry. The city is renowned for its scenic location and for maintaining a historic character by preservation of its antebellum architecture. The city is also known for its military establishments, being located in close proximity to Parris Island and a U.S. Naval Hospital, in addition to being home of the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. The city has been featured in the New York Times, and named "Best Small Southern Town" by Southern Living, a "Top 25 Small City Arts Destination" by American Style, and a "Top 50 Adventure Town" by National Geographic Adventure.
Tourism and events:
Beaufort is a romantic and popular tourist destination known for its history. Major festivals and arts events include the Home Water Festival, a two-week extravaganza in the middle of July; and the Shrimp Festival, celebrating the local and traditional industry, is in the first weekend in October. In 2007, The Beaufort Shrimp Festival was selected as one of the Southeast Tourism Society's Top 20 Events. The Beaufort International Film Festival held the first week of March screens independent films. A Taste of Beaufort, presented by Main Street Beaufort, is held on the first Saturday in May and features 20 local restaurants, fine wines, and live music.
Historic Beaufort Foundation's Fall Tour of Homes and St. Helena's Spring Tour of Homes provide glimpses into the antebellum homes on the Point and local plantations. The town is also the home of The Kazoo Museum, which opened in October 2010 and is located in the Kazoobie Kazoos Factory. Hunting Island is nearby and the state's most visited state park. For more information on all events and visiting the area, please contact the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.
The location of the City to other fast growing areas including Hilton Head Island, and Bluffton as well as good access to Savannah, Georgia, the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, and a future container port to be built on the Savannah River make the city a desirable choice for residential and business development opportunity. Beaufort has several geographic areas of economic activity. The downtown area is the historical center of commerce and is now primarily focused towards visitors, tourists. Much of the day-to-day service businesses for locals has moved along the Boundary Street corridor, the Robert Smalls Parkway corridor, or towards Lady's Island. There are several areas with limited industrial uses that exist primarily in the northwestern sections of the city, close to the intersection of Boundary Street with Robert Smalls Parkway.
Three local institutions comprise the current extent of higher education in the Beaufort area. Both the University of South Carolina Beaufort North Campus and the Technical College of the Lowcountry Main Campus are located within the city limits. Clemson University also operates a university extension office in the city with ecological and agricultural programs.
Libraries and museums:
The Beaufort area has close to 70 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in addition to the downtown area being listed as a historic district. The John Mark Verdier House at 901 Bay Street is the only home in the city open year-round to the public that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located in downtown, the Beaufort County Library serves residents of Beaufort and northern Beaufort County. Additional branches are found elsewhere in the county. The University of South Carolina Beaufort also has a campus library, located in the original Beaufort College building.