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South Carolina Divorce 101

Divorce is a difficult decision for anyone, whether it's you or your partner who initiates it. It's a painful experience that can leave you feeling shattered and alone in the dark. When you made your wedding vows, you did so with the intention of being together for life. You invested a lot of time and money into your wedding, inviting friends and family from all over South Carolina to share in your joy.

Now, you're faced with the harsh reality that you and your former spouse are no longer together. As your family law attorney in Beaufort, SC, we understand how overwhelming this can be. We've assisted many clients through the divorce process and had the knowledge and tools to help them work through it and move on to greener pastures.

The CDH Law Firm Approach to Child Custody in South Carolina

Did you know that the U.S. Census Bureau states that 25% of children younger than 21 live with just one parent while the other parent resides elsewhere in the country? In such circumstances, many families must navigate the complicated and legally complex process of child custody. As seasoned family law attorneys, we have represented clients in all aspects and legal stages of child custody and support.

We focus in providing services for a range of issues, including but not limited to:

  • Drafting Reasonable Proposed Parenting Plans
  • Preparing Child Support Calculations
  • Communication with a Guardian ad Litem (if applicable)
  • Securing De Facto Custodian / Psychological Parent Rights
  • Negotiating Agreements Relating to Child Custody
  • Prosecuting Claims Related to Domestic Violence
  • Prosecuting and Defending Claims for
  • Adoption,
  • Termination of Parental Rights
  • Custody, and
  • Visitation
  • Defending Claims Alleging Abuse / Neglect by the Department of Social Services

Every family has its own distinct characteristics, and as such, child-related agreements must also be customized to fit each unique situation. In South Carolina, our team of skilled family law attorneys takes the time to understand our clients' individual goals and needs and tailor our services accordingly.

 Law Firm Beaufort, SC

South Carolina Alimony 101

When you get married, you go into the partnership believing that you'll be together forever. It makes sense, then, that most divorcing couples don't know very much about alimony in South Carolina (also referred to as spousal support). They ask questions such as:

  • Who gets alimony?
  • What is a reasonable amount of alimony?

Fortunately, working with a family law lawyer in Beaufort, SC, can answer those questions and make alimony easier to understand and approach.

 Family Support Attorney Beaufort, SC
Family Law Attorney Beaufort, SC

What is Alimony in South Carolina?

Many individuals often mistake alimony for child support, but they are, in fact, two distinct forms of financial obligation and not mutually exclusive. Alimony was established to safeguard a supported spouse in the event of a divorce or separation. For example, a spouse who did not work during the course of the marriage would generally have a stronger alimony claim than a spouse who worked throughout the marriage. Likewise, a spouse who worked throughout the marriage but made less than the other spouse would have a stronger alimony claim than a spouse who worked and earned equivalent income to the supporting spouse.

In many cases, a spouse may choose to stay at home to tend to the children and manage the household. Oftentimes, the spouse who remains at home has sacrificed their career or education to care for the family. In such instances, a divorce could leave the financially weaker spouse in a state of financial turmoil. Without that support system, they will have to start over from scratch. These are some factors the Court will consider in evaluating an appropriate alimony case. Throughout your marriage, you have structured your quality of life based on a budget determined by your finances. While all expenses are shared by both partners, what happens if you have been financially dependent on your spouse and need to support yourself?

At Cobb, Dill, & Hammett, LLC, we aim to assist you in securing the alimony you need to support both yourself and your children. At the same time, we want to ensure that you are not overpaying your spouse, if you are the one required to pay. You may be required to pay an amount that could leave you in a difficult financial situation. Regardless, it's crucial to have the right legal representation to guide you through the alimony process in South Carolina.

The CDH Law Firm Approach to Alimonyin South Carolina

Some people may assume financial responsibilities to a former partner are end with the filing of a divorce decree. However, if the court has mandated alimony payments, then the financial obligations survive. Failure to meet those obligations can lead to serious legal and financial consequences. Family law attorneys at CHSA Law, LLC have years of experience representing clients throughout the divorce process, including alimony determinations.

Our legal services cover many aspects of alimony law, such as:

  • Negotiating Temporary and Final Alimony Payments
  • Modifying Alimony
  • Providing Advice on Reasonable Alimony
  • Filing to Collect Unpaid Alimony

Though our family law attorneys are fearless negotiators and litigators, we always strive to keep your legal proceedings as seamless and straightforward as possible. Our goal is to help reach an agreement on alimony that is reasonable for both you and your spouse. However, compromises aren't always possible. If needed, our lawyers will fight aggressively on your behalf to help ensure your financial rights are protected.

 Law Firm Beaufort, SC

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Trust the Cobb, Dill, & Hammett Difference

Dealing with family law cases can be incredibly trying, particularly when it comes to matters of separation or divorce. As your family law attorney in Beaufort, SC, we recognize the challenges you're facing. With that in mind, know that we're committed to offering empathetic legal counsel on your behalf, no matter how contentious or confusing your situation may become. Contact our law offices today for your initial family law consultation.

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Latest News in Beaufort, SC

7 Most Memorable Small Towns in South Carolina

South Carolina was admitted to the Union back in 1788, and it continues to be one of the most naturally beautiful and culturally splendid places in all the Southeastern United States. Filled with loads of charming surroundings, alluring American history, and, of course, splendid warm weather, the “Palmetto State” is a wonderful destin...

South Carolina was admitted to the Union back in 1788, and it continues to be one of the most naturally beautiful and culturally splendid places in all the Southeastern United States. Filled with loads of charming surroundings, alluring American history, and, of course, splendid warm weather, the “Palmetto State” is a wonderful destination to immerse oneself in. From awesome views of the Atlantic Ocean, majestic panoramas of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and plenty of hospitable southern charm, South Carolina and its welcoming small towns are great ways to spend a vacation and learn more about the country. So start making your holiday plans and take to the road, for these memorable small towns in South Carolina await!

Best Small Towns In South CarolinaFrom the pristine beaches to the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, the Palmetto State offers an array of small towns that carry a wealth of history and unique local culture.

Beaufort

South Carolina’s second oldest colonial settlement (after Charleston), the historic and beautiful town of Beaufort, was founded in 1711. Home to a modern population of nearly 13,000 residents, Beaufort is stunningly situated on Port Royal Island on the Atlantic Coast, where breathtaking views and an abundance of 18th-century allure await. Visit the Historic District, where a wonderful array of 18th and 19th-century buildings and landmarks still stand, including those from the antebellum period just prior to the Civil War in the 1860s. And with its hot summers and warm winters, spending time outdoors in Beaufort is always a delight. Enjoy such activities as swimming, sailing, fishing, and sunbathing while a casual stroll on the boardwalk at the Sands in Port Royal. It is truly one of the most picture-perfect places in the entire state of South Carolina.

York

Also known as the “White Rose City,” the town of York can trace its foundational history to the 1750s, and it served as an important battle center during the American War of Independence. With a modest modern population of some 8,500 inhabitants, this seat of the same named county is indeed a welcoming locale of living history. Spend time at the York Historic District, where, incredibly, the majority of all the landmarks have been included on the National Register of Historic Places, including the County Courthouse (1914) and the Allison Plantation (1860). And do not forget about the Old Town Clock, where postcard-perfect photos await all who pose with it. Add in a great assortment of truly charming local eateries, shops, and other businesses, and York not only gives South Carolina a good reputation but creates an ideal snapshot of small-town USA.

Pendleton

A must-visit for any history lover, the town of Pendleton was founded in the 1790s, and today, just under 3,500 people call this historic center home. For those curious about a genuine look at life in the 18th and 19th centuries and the days of the American Revolution, spending time at the Pendleton Historic District cannot be missed. Here, such landmarks as the Bonne-Douthit and Woodburn Plantations, amongst many others on the National Register of Historic Places, illuminate the growth of early America and the strategic importance of States like South Carolina. Meanwhile, like many small towns in the State, loads of special Southern charm can be experienced in Pendleton, where novelty stores, family-run restaurants, and a truly friendly atmosphere abound. It is indeed a great place to learn more about history and experience the allure only a small town can offer.

Georgetown

The seat of the same named county and South Carolina’s third oldest colonial settlement, Georgetown is a wonderfully scenic and historical destination in the state’s Lowcountry region. Though formally established by the British in 1729, Georgetown was originally claimed by the Spanish in 1526, and today, it stands as the second-largest seaport in South Carolina. Home to a modest population of just under 8,400 residents, Georgetown was once an indigo and rice production center, and guests can continue to experience a sense of the old world by visiting its historic streets and landmarks. Visit the Historic District and its wonderful cobblestone streets and numerous buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places that really transport one back some two hundred years. These include the Arcadia Plantation (1794) and the Battery White (1862), amongst many others. And, of course, with its seaside location, Georgetown is a great place to enjoy the water and the scenic beauty that is South Carolina and the Atlantic Ocean.

Hartsville

Though formally established in the 1890s, Hartsville was first settled by colonists in the 1760s, and today, just over 7,500 residents call this charming historic community home. A great place to learn about early America and the indigenous people who lived there prior, visitors can explore a number of fascinating historic sites in Hartsville. These include the Hartsville Depot Train Station and the Jacob Kelly Mansion, amongst several others that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, nature lovers will not want to miss the Kalmia Gardens, where, over an area of some 30 acres, a wonderful array of local plants and curated trails create a peaceful and reflective atmosphere. Add in Hartsville’s charming assortment of local eateries, family-run shops, and other galleries, and this is one South Carolina town that surely will not be forgotten soon.

Aiken

Situated near the border with Georgia, the town of Aiken was founded in 1835 and serves as the seat of the same named county. Home to the campus of the University of South Carolina Aiken (1961), this town is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and learn more about American history in a friendly midsized town. Visit Hitchcock Park for a chance to go horseback riding or spend an afternoon at Boyd Pond Park, where splendid hiking trails and chances to see a variety of wildlife make it a great excursion for all ages. And do not forget about the special Hopeland Gardens and its wonderful collection of locally grown flowers all bathed in the warm and welcoming Southern sun. Meanwhile, visiting the Aiken Train Museum will surely be a delight. Learn about the Eastern Railroad’s expansion and browse through various fascinating artifacts at this informative and interactive place.

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island is a beautiful resort town with centuries of history and a geographic splendor that makes it unique amongst South Carolina locales. With its nearly 12 miles of stunning Atlantic Ocean coastline, Hilton Head always has an abundance of breathtaking views, inviting waters, and hot sun. Just some 30 miles from the border with Georgia, visitors and locals alike enjoy such activities as swimming, sailing, sunbathing, and even playing games like golf and tennis in a scenic ambiance. Visit Coligny Beach Park for awesome boardwalk panoramas while a great range of shopping outlets and other fine dining establishments fill out the surroundings. Meanwhile, perhaps a helicopter tour of the area might be just the exciting rush one is looking for, especially for the truly courageous explorer!

More In South CarolinaFrom its pleasant climate, sandy beaches, and stunning Sabal Palmetto trees to its amazing culture and cuisine, South Carolina is a treasure trove of charm.

The “Palmetto State" of South Carolina is undoubtedly one of the true cultural and natural treasures of the Southeastern United States. With its warm and inviting climate, its fascinating cultural allure, and loads of intriguing American history, a visit to South Carolina and its charming towns are indeed great wonders waiting to be discovered. From the unique setting that is Hilton Head Island to the historic streets of York, these and other memorable small towns in the State serve as splendid reminders of why South Carolina is such a beautiful place. So pack your bags and take to the road; the wonders of small-town South Carolina await, all with a thirst for culture, adventure, and genuine Southern charm.

Track Covid-19 in Beaufort County, S.C.

Daily Covid-19 admissions in the Beaufort County areaAbout the dataData is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospitalization data is a daily average of Covid-19 patients in hospital service areas that intersect with Beaufort County, an area which may be larger than Beaufort County itself.The number of daily hospital admissions shows how many patients tested positive for Covid in hospitals and is one of the most reliably reported indicators of Covid’s impact on a comm...

Daily Covid-19 admissions in the Beaufort County area

About the data

Data is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospitalization data is a daily average of Covid-19 patients in hospital service areas that intersect with Beaufort County, an area which may be larger than Beaufort County itself.

The number of daily hospital admissions shows how many patients tested positive for Covid in hospitals and is one of the most reliably reported indicators of Covid’s impact on a community.

Total population

Ages 65 and up

Total population

Ages 65 and up

An updated vaccine is recommended for adults and most children. Statewide, 7% of vaccinations did not specify a home county.

Nearby hospitals

Share of I.C.U. beds occupied

About this data Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Notes: The hospitals map shows the average I.C.U. occupancy at nearby hospitals in the most recent week with data reported. The data is self-reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by individual hospitals. It excludes counts from hospitals operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the Indian Health Service. Numbers for hospitalized patients are based on inpatient beds and include I.C.U. beds. Hospitalized Covid-19 patients include both confirmed and suspected Covid-19 patients. The C.D.C. stopped reporting data on cases in May 2023.

How trends have changed in Beaufort County

About this data Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Notes: Weekly county death data prior to Jan. 2021 was not reported by the C.D.C. and is sourced from reporting by The New York Times. Hospitalization data is a weekly average of Covid-19 patients in hospital service areas that intersect with Beaufort County. Hospitalization numbers early in the pandemic are undercounts due to incomplete reporting by hospitals to the federal government.

Historical trends in Beaufort County

The data in these charts has been archived and they are no longer being updated.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data in these charts has been archived and they are no longer being updated. Weekly county case data prior to Jan. 2021 was not reported by the C.D.C. and is sourced from reporting by The New York Times. The C.D.C. stopped reporting data on cases in May 2023. Test positivity data is based only on test results reported to the federal government and is a seven-day average.

The Best Things To Do In Beaufort, South Carolina

There's a moment at Hunting Island State Park as you're biking along the Lagoon Trail—ocean breezes and intoxicating beach vistas playing peekaboo to your left—when the sandy path turns inland and a sign points to Diamondback Rattlesnake Trail. A good idea? Yes."Yes," it turns out, sums up the best way to ...

There's a moment at Hunting Island State Park as you're biking along the Lagoon Trail—ocean breezes and intoxicating beach vistas playing peekaboo to your left—when the sandy path turns inland and a sign points to Diamondback Rattlesnake Trail. A good idea? Yes.

"Yes," it turns out, sums up the best way to experience Beaufort, South Carolina, and its environs, including Hunting Island. Yes, the path less taken is an excellent idea, as is the Sweet Tea Float at Scout Southern Market. Spending hours strolling through The Old Point and gazing at historic homes and even older live oaks offers endless enchantment. But with my eyes peeled for rattlers, I was (yes) relieved that the only serpentine thing I discovered was more of the winding trail along old dune ridge lines through a primordial wonderland.

The trail affirms why Hunting Island, a breathtaking 25-minute drive from Beaufort, is South Carolina's most popular state park. With a dozen similar paths and 5 miles of pristine beach, this place leads you back eons in time through an untouched maritime forest with towering pines and ospreys soaring overhead as well as magnolias and saw palmettos tangled with yaupon hollies and wax myrtles in the dense understory. Here you breathe deeper and look more closely. Life slows down, and a sense of awe percolates up.

Take In The Scenery At Waterfront Park

Take a seat on one of the bench swings at Beaufort's Waterfront Park. Wide and welcoming, they move back and forth in a rhythmic lullaby. You can't help relaxing, especially if you happen to catch a sunset or tune into the soft lapping of the Beaufort River against the floating dock, hearing the jingling clink of pulleys against sailboat masts—a mariner's wind chime.

Saltus River Grill, where the scenic setting rivals the exceptional food and drink. PHOTO: Peter Frank Edwards A slice of the sweet life from Beaufort’s upscale Saltus River Grill. PHOTO: Peter Frank Edwards

Waterfront Park showcases the smart civic planning that makes Beaufort such a delight: The town's best vistas are protected and preserved. There are thoughtful amenities (parking, public bathrooms, an amphitheater, picnic tables, and plenty of green lawn for kids and dogs to play on). Plus it's all conveniently adjacent to an enticing array of restaurants, coffee shops, and stores along Bay Street. What better nightcap than to sit and swing a spell after enjoying grilled scallops or top-notch sushi at Saltus River Grill?

Historic Craven Street. PHOTO: Peter Frank Edwards A rooftop sunset at Anchorage 1770. PHOTO: Peter Frank Edwards

Appreciate Beaufort's Subdued Beauty

Beaufort is subdued in the best possible way. She has the same deep history and stunning architecture that her nearby sisters, Charleston and Savannah, are celebrated for, but she's fine staying slightly out of the limelight. Wise and mature, Beaufort wears her age like the badge of honor it is. Her Lowcountry aura feels elemental, with more patina and less pomp. Along Short Street at the edge of The Old Point, moss-heaped limbs cradle historic mansions. Beaufort's treescape shouts of grandeur in whatever language oaks speak. Gardens and yards aren't so much manicured as they are magical. It's easy to see why Hollywood frequently comes calling (a stairwell at The Beaufort Inn features posters from major motion pictures filmed here). Longtime resident Pat Conroy was so smitten that he wrote, "When I came to Beaufort I had struck upon a land so beautiful I had to hunt for other words."

Learn About Beaufort's History

Not far from Short Street, the First African Baptist Church, a Gothic Revival gem built by freedmen in 1865, bears witness to Beaufort's African American, Gullah, and Reconstruction-era history. "Robert Smalls was a member here. This document notes his Sunday school attendance and that he put a few cents in the offering plate," says the Rev. Alexander McBride, a jovial former marine and the church's pastor of almost 20 years, pointing to framed, yellowing pages hanging behind the sanctuary. A statue of Smalls, an enslaved crewman who heroically commandeered a Confederate ship and later served as a U.S. Congressman, is less than a mile away at Tabernacle Baptist Church, where a monument to Harriet Tubman is also planned.

Both churches are worthy stops, along with the Penn Center, the first Southern school for formerly enslaved people, across the bridge on St. Helena Island. Each place gives a deeper insight into the region's vibrant and enduring African American and Gullah Geechee culture.

Providing an overview of Beaufort's past, Capt. Henry Brandt of Coastal Expeditions offers a boat tour that cruises through the area's Native American, Spanish, and French history; Union occupation; and a view of Camp Saxton's tabby ruins, where the Emancipation Proclamation was first read in South Carolina—all interspersed with musings on estuary ecosystems and the fecund marvels of pluff mud.

"You don't fully experience Beaufort until you see it from the water," Brandt claims. After watching dolphins curl and glide from the boat's bow and admiring the town's steeples rising in the background, I absolutely believe him.

Where To Stay

Anchorage 1770 Boutique hotel in an 18th-century mansion with fine dining at the Ribaut Social Club; anchorage1770.com

The Beaufort Inn Historic main inn plus several cottages clustered around a courtyard; beaufortinn.com

Rhett House Inn Historic Greek revival mansion that's been a favorite of movie stars; rhetthouseinn.com

What To Eat And Drink

Blackstone's Café Classic diner-like options; blackstonescafe.com

Red Rooster Cafe Extensive breakfast menu, whether you like it country, continental, Lowcountry, or Tex Mex; facebook.com

Lowcountry Produce Kitchen Locally sourced salads and sandwiches and a legendary tomato pie; lowcountryproduce.com

Chapman's Grocer Grab-and-go items plus beer, wine, and snacks; facebook.com

Plums Waterfront dining featuring soups, salads, and sandwiches; plumsrestaurant.com

Saltus River Grill Fine dining with fresh local seafood, Southern fare, steaks, sushi, and a well-curated wine list; saltusrivergrill.com

Old Bull Tavern Gastropub featuring a lively bar scene anda lamb shank that does not disappoint; oldbulltavern.com

Breakwater Restaurant and Bar Seafood, steaks, and seasonal dishes with Southern flair; www.breakwatersc.com

Paninis on the Waterfront Stone-baked pizzas, paninis, seafood, and pastas; www.paninisonthewaterfront.com

Where To Shop

Scout Southern Market Unique gifts and home goods as well as delicious treats like the famous float at the Sweet Tea Bar; scoutsouthernmarket.com

The Beaufort Candy Shop Classic candies and sweet treats of every kind; facebook.com

Lisa Rivers Fine Art Gullah-inspired art, prints, and gifts; www.lisariversart.com

Cassandra Gillens Art / Gullah Art in De Woods Paintings, posters, and gifts; www.cassandragillensarts.com

Good Aura Sustainable clothing and jewelry boutique; shopgoodaura.com

Monkey's Uncle Toys, fun, and games for children of all ages; www.monkeysuncletoys.com

What To Do

Hunting Island; southcarolinaparks.com St. Phillips Island Pat Conroy Literary Center; patconroyliterarycenter.org Coastal Expeditions; coastalexpeditions.com Reconstruction Era National Historic Park; nps.gov/reer Spanish Moss Trail; spanishmosstrail.com Craven Street en route to The Old Point to explore historic neighborhoods

Historic Beaufort County Jail to become residential development

The former Beaufort County Jail is being transformed into a condominium development.Columbia-based developer Wheeler & Wheeler Properties is developing Justice Place, the conversion of the jail at 1409 King St., into nine individual residential condominiums, according to a news release.Construction on Justice Place has begun, and units are expected to be available for lease in the summer of 2024.Garvin Design Group of Columbia, which has won numerous awards across the state for its preservation efforts, is the archit...

The former Beaufort County Jail is being transformed into a condominium development.

Columbia-based developer Wheeler & Wheeler Properties is developing Justice Place, the conversion of the jail at 1409 King St., into nine individual residential condominiums, according to a news release.

Construction on Justice Place has begun, and units are expected to be available for lease in the summer of 2024.

Garvin Design Group of Columbia, which has won numerous awards across the state for its preservation efforts, is the architect for the jail, and notable features of the jail have been retained and incorporated into the design, the release stated. For example, the visiting area has been converted into a breakfast area in one of the units, hallways have been preserved, and portions of old jail bars have been used as accents.

“The conversion of the former county jail into residential condominiums is a great example of adaptive reuse,” said Jeff Wheeler, a partner in Wheeler & Wheeler, in the release. “It allows us to take a deteriorating property and adapt it for another use while preserving the historic character of the structure, a structure that might well have been torn down and lost.”

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Total investment in the project is $3 million, according to Wheeler.

The adaptive reuse project will consist of six one-bedroom, one-bath units ranging in size from 605 to 735 square feet and three two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath units ranging from 900 to 1,050 square feet. Five units will be on the first floor and four on the second floor. Parking for the residents will be on site.

Hill Construction of Columbia is the general contractor. Hill, Wheeler & Wheeler, and Garvin also teamed up for the renovation of the Fannie McCants Elementary School into 11 townhomes in the historic Earlewood neighborhood in Columbia, according to the release.

Development brings history back to life

Constructed on the site of an earlier jail, the present jail was built in 1939 and expanded in 1961, according to the release. A small addition was added to the rear of the building around 1975. The original 1939 jail was designed by Beaufort architect Jules D. Levin and is a well-developed example of Art Deco/Moderne architecture.

However, the building has sat vacant and deteriorating for several decades in the historic Northwest Quadrant, the release stated.

Preserving the historic character of the jail, while at the same time meeting modern housing standards, was a challenge achieved through a collaboration among the South Carolina Department of History and Archives, the National Park Service and Garvin Design Group, the release stated. Garvin created a design that is functional and architecturally consistent with the area. The jail is on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing building to the Beaufort Historic District.

Located near the city center and shopping, Justice Place is expected to appeal to urban professionals, the release stated. Following approval of the jail project, Wheeler and Wheeler began discussions with the county through the County Attorney, Brittany Ward, about the remaining portion of that block. “The negotiations have been collaborative and proactive with a goal of developing affordable housing. Both the City and the County have been supportive of this project,” Wheeler said.

Developers envision a residential community

Justice Place is now a part of Justice Square, a proposed two-block residential community envisioned by Wheeler & Wheeler in Beaufort’s historic Northwest Quadrant, according to the release.

“The Justice Square development will meet a range of housing needs and is envisioned as a catalyst to spur further revitalization in the heart of that historic area,” Wheeler said.

In addition to Justice Place, the proposed urban infill development of Justice Square may include, according to the release:

“The Beaufort Housing Study identified four critical elements which Justice Square will meet: affordable rental housing, for sale housing to moderate income households, residential development that will appeal to millennials and young professionals, and adaptive reuse of existing vacant structures for residential purposes,” said Zack Wheeler, also a partner in Wheeler & Wheeler Properties, in the release.

This Small Coastal Town in South Carolina Has Charleston-like Charm Without the Crowds

Charleston may get most of the attention when it comes to South Carolina’s many cities, but the history, culture, and (of course) Southern charm that make it so special can also be found in smaller and less expensive places in the region. If you’ve ever watched “Forrest Gump” or read anything by the late author Pat Conroy, you ma...

Charleston may get most of the attention when it comes to South Carolina’s many cities, but the history, culture, and (of course) Southern charm that make it so special can also be found in smaller and less expensive places in the region. If you’ve ever watched “Forrest Gump” or read anything by the late author Pat Conroy, you may be familiar with Beaufort, a harbor town on Port Royal Island. Its narrow streets, oak trees, and historic district that pre-dates the Civil War are similar to those in Charleston, but Beaufort is remarkable and magical in its own right. Plus, it doesn’t draw the same crowds that tend to flock to notable Holy City hangouts like King Street, Folly Beach, and the Battery.

Before you read any further, though, you need to know how to properly pronounce the name. Not to be confused with Beaufort, North Carolina (said like “bow-fert”), the coastal town has a pronunciation more akin to “bew-fert.” Mistaking the two will immediately identify you as a tourist — and it won’t sit too well with the locals. Once you have that squared away, you can start planning your trip to Beaufort, the second-oldest city in South Carolina.

8 Charming Small Towns in South Carolina — From the Mountains to the Beach

Best Things to Do in Beaufort, South Carolina

In 1969, Beaufort became one of the few U.S. cities with an entire downtown designated as a historic district by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, so exploring the neighborhoods filled with Victorian, Greek Revival, Neoclassical, and Federal-style homes is at the top of most travelers’ lists. At Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, you’ll spot Woods Memorial Bridge, recognizable from the aforementioned Tom Hanks blockbuster. Stretching your legs is also encouraged along the Spanish Moss Trail, a 10-mile greenway that weaves by Beaufort’s marshes and through trees draped in Spanish moss. Given its waterfront location, Beaufort should also be experienced by boat; book a Dolphin & History Boat Cruise with Coastal Expeditions or an ecology tour with Beaufort Kayak Tours. Paddleboarding is another option, with rental equipment available at Higher Ground Outfitters.

Beaufort’s ties to the literary world are strong; visiting the Pat Conroy Literary Center (Beaufort was Conroy’s adopted hometown) or one of the three independent bookstores in town — NeverMore Books, McIntosh Book Shoppe, and Beaufort Books — is a must for book lovers. For those interested in local art, there’s the Gullah Art Gallery and Museum, Legacy Art Gallery, Rhett Gallery, Thibault Gallery, or Atelier Off Bay.

Many of the best things to do in Beaufort are found further outside of downtown. About 17 miles east is Hunting Island State Park, with its pristine beaches, marshes, maritime forest, saltwater lagoon, and the Hunting Island Lighthouse, which was destroyed during the Civil War and rebuilt in 1875. St. Helena Island (a 13-minute drive away) is home to Penn Center — one of the United States’ first schools for formerly enslaved individuals — as well as the family-owned Dempsey Farms, where you can pick in-season fruits and vegetables. Local produce can also be acquired on Saturdays at the nearby Port Royal Farmers Market.

The Best Things to Do in South Carolina, According to a Local

Beaufort Hotels

An overnight trip to Beaufort is best accompanied by a stay in one of the town’s upscale inns. Slow Southern mornings paired with a home-cooked breakfast can be enjoyed on the expansive wooden porch at The Rhett House Inn. Guests can also book the more modern Rhett House Inn Cottages, which sit across the street from the main building. Once a Union Army hospital, Anchorage 1770 overlooks the Beaufort River and offers a fine dining experience at the Ribaut Social Club. The Beaufort Inn first opened its doors in 1897, and the property’s modern-day chapter features several fully renovated buildings within the town’s historic district.

Where to Eat and Drink in Beaufort, South Carolina

As with most Southern cities and towns, food is a major part of the local culture. If you’re a traveler who plans their vacations around meals, you’ll want to start your day at Blackstone’s Cafe or Herban Market and Cafe. If you’re exploring Beaufort during the day and want something quick, order a fried chicken sandwich or po’boy from Lowcountry Produce Market & Cafe. Chapman’s Grocer also has grab-and-go treats, wine, and craft beer. Old Bull Tavern is a lively gastropub open only for dinner, Saltus River Grill is great for indulging in seafood, and those craving Italian should dine at Griffin Market. Gullah Grub Restaurant on St. Helena Island is one of the area’s most famous restaurants (it appeared on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations); get the shrimp gumbo.

Best Time to Visit

A South Carolina summer is hot and humid — there’s no getting around that. To explore Beaufort in the most comfortable climate, your best bet is to go in either early spring or late fall. April and October are ideal for having plenty to do (winter is far from bustling) while simultaneously avoiding the sweltering weather synonymous with the South.

Getting There

If you’re flying into Hilton Head Airport (HHH) or Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV) — both are under an hour away — you’ll need to rent a car to fully experience Beaufort and its surrounding area. Charleston International Airport (CHS) is also an option, although it’ll take about 90 minutes to get to Beaufort.

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