Do you follow our travels? Then you may have noticed from the map in the sidebar that we’ve been in the same place for a month–dog-friendly Beaufort, South Carolina.
We love visiting Beaufort. And it’s so pup-friendly, Honey loves it too.
It’s fate that we discovered Beaufort (pronounced “Bew-fort”; Beaufort pronounced “Bo-fort” is in North Carolina).
After all, we have to go ashore somewhere every day to take Honey off the boat. And we travel around 30-40 miles per day. It was inevitable that we would land somewhere in the Beaufort area.
On our first trip south, we stopped when we got to the warm. That was Lady’s Island Marina in Beaufort where we stayed a month to build our new
composting head er, euphemism before heading back to the Chesapeake Bay.
Since then, we’ve stopped at Beaufort every time we travel through the area. On our 5th visit, Beaufort is starting to feel quite homey. And it’s a fun place to explore with our dog Honey.
What Makes Beaufort So Dog-Friendly?
Beaufort is a small city with a walkable historic district shaded by mature trees. With views of the water, it’s a lovely place to walk with a dog.
But besides being a great place to walk, Beaufort has a bunch of reasons it’s fun to visit with your dog.
Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park
Southern, waterfront towns often have exquisite parks. But Beaufort’s is one of the best.
Chambers park has soft grass that feels like walking on a pool table. Best of all, the lawn has none of those nasty sand burrs Honey picks up nearly everywhere else she walks south of North Carolina.
There are swings overlooking the Beaufort River and picnic tables that make an even roomier option for eating out if your dog isn’t up to a crowded patio.
The park catches cool breezes off the water and the trees make it a cool spot to people and dog watch all day. And it’s the site of all sorts of fun festivals and events.
Water For Pups
Not only will you find water bowls in front of several shops, they actually get refilled regularly with fresh water.
Honey is a bit of a snob when it comes to sharing water bowls with other pups. We always carry our own. But a water fountain in the park and a couple of public bathrooms make it easy to refill Honey’s bowl.
Benches In Front Of Shops
Even when stores allow us to enter with Honey, I don’t usually take her in. Let’s just say there is nothing more frightening to me than a friendly golden retriever with a fluffy tail in a shop with breakables.
But with benches in front of several shops downtown, I don’t feel guilty leaving Mike and Honey out front while I check out the store filled with hand-blown glass on my own.
Many of the restaurants on Bay Street have patios overlooking the park and waterfront. And we have yet to find one that doesn’t welcome Honey too.
In Beaufort, we’ve had brick oven pizza, barbecue, paninis, gelato, and more. There are also high-end restaurants that allow dogs on their patio but they’re out of our price range.
Best of all, between the tall trees and table umbrellas, the shaded dining porches are as comfortable for Honey as they are for us.
Floating Dinghy Docks
If you visit Beaufort by car, you won’t care about this (although the docks are a nice place to take a sunset selfie). But for those of us traveling by water, floating dinghy docks are a real treat.
Beaufort has two free docks for the public to use. Whether anchoring, taking a mooring ball, or docking at one of the area’s two marinas, it’s easy to take Honey off for a walk around town.
And speaking of traveling by water…
Visiting Beaufort By Boat
The Beaufort River is easy to navigate. And it has two marinas and a handful of anchorages.
We’re spending the month at Lady’s Island Marina, across the Lady’s Island swing bridge from downtown. Walking distance from provisions and with a roomy workshop, Lady’s Island is our first choice for working on boat projects.
We can walk across the bridge to get to the downtown in about half an hour. But a dinghy ride is faster.
South of the swing bridge is the Beaufort Municipal Marina. Although they have docks, we usually opt for a mooring ball which gives us access to laundry and showers for a reasonable price.
There are still a few spots to anchor off the channel near the mooring field. And the marina allows anchoring cruisers to use their showers and laundry room for a reasonable fee.
Whether you prefer to use your own tackle or tie up to a floating dock, Beaufort has lots of options for visiting by boat. And all of them are pet-friendly.
More To See in Beaufort
We’ve only scratched the surface in getting to know Beaufort. Without a car, we only travel as far as we can walk. Or dinghy.
We’re heading to the farmer’s market tomorrow. Can’t wait to see it.
But there are many places nearby that we can’t see unless we have access to a car.
Beaufort is a central place to visit sites on the Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor. Enslaved Africans brought to the sea islands of South Carolina and Georgia had to learn how to communicate with each other despite coming from different cultures and speaking different languages. The result is a creole language (Gullah) that retains traces of its African origins thanks to the speakers’ island isolation.
Sites along the heritage corridor include museums and gardens. And if you’re traveling in the area, look for the beautiful sweet grass baskets, a craft kept alive through generations by Gullah descendants.
Also nearby is Parris Island, the training facilities for the United States Marine Corps. Frankly, the deafening flyovers are one of the only downsides of this area for me. But I know others find it soul-stirring.
And Beaufort is part of the Hilton Head area and close to many beaches, including Hunting Island State Park.
Beaufort may already be familiar to you as it has served as a backdrop in many films, including Forrest Gump, The Great Santini (novelist Pat Conroy lived in Beaufort), and The Big Chill.
We’ve found Beaufort a wonderful place to visit by boat with Honey. We bet you’d find Beaufort just as pet-friendly as we have.
What do you think? Would you like to visit Beaufort with your pups?
Thank you to the photographers on Flickr who allowed me to use their images under a Creative Commons license. Check them out to learn more: faungg’s photos, Ken Lund, Ewen Roberts, Don McCullough, and Michael Stokes.
Okay, I finally got around to writing about one of the places we’ve visited. Do you want to hear more about the places we stop? Let me know yes or no in the comments.