Why We Love To Visit Dog-Friendly Beaufort

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.

We love visiting Beaufort, South Carolina. And it’s so dog-friendly, Honey loves it too.

Honey looking pretty in Chambers Waterfront Park is one reason we love dog-friendly Beaufort.


Discovering Beaufort

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.

Waterfront home in Beaufort.

One of the lovely waterfront homes in Beaufort, complete with cannon. Photo credit: faungg’s photos

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.

Shaded porch in Beaufort.

One of the inviting porches in the Beaufort historic district. Photo credit: Ken Lund.

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.

Honey the golden retriever running in Chambers waterfront park .

The grass is so soft it feels like floating. Wait, I am floating.

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.

Backstage at Chambers waterfront park in Beaufort.

We enjoyed the Taste of Beaufort festival and the band got everyone dancing.

Water For Pups

Not only will you find water bowls in front of several shops, they actually get refilled regularly with fresh water.

Honey the golden retriever wants a Mutt-garita.

Outside water bowls are nice but this one could use a little freshening. Better go back to Beaufort.

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.

Honey and Pam wait outside a store in Beaufort.

Maybe if we wait here on this nice bench, the man will go in and buy us a treat.

Dog-Friendly Restaurants

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.

Honey wants to dine at this pet-friendly patio in Beaufort.

Why am I posing in the sun when we could order something on the shady patio?

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.

Honey the golden retriever and Pam go down the ramp to the Beaufort dinghy dock.

We’re headed back to the dinghy. Aren’t you going with us? I’m not sure I trust the woman’s driving.

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.

Marina in Beaufort.

The view of the Beaufort marina from the waterfront walkway. Photo credit: Ewen Roberts

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.

Sweet grass baskets.

These sweetgrass baskets must have taken hours to weave. Beautiful, aren’t they? Photo credit: Don McCullough

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.

Old Bay Marketplace building in Beaufort.

This repurposed building includes a unique book store, an import store, and an ice cream shop. Photo credit: Michael Stokes

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.

Honey the golden retriever gets some ice cream.

You should visit Beaufort while we’re there. I’ll share an ice cream with you.

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.




  1. Looks like quite the lovely place to visit with loads of terrific things to do. Just my kind of place!

    • It is very nice. But the bugs might chase you back to the mountains. They are pretty awful. 🙂

  2. I was so intrigued I took a little Zillow trip looking for homes. 🙂 Yes, I would love to hear about all the places you are visiting.

    Honey looks like she’s enjoying it quite well.

    • So glad you liked it, Jodi. Maybe I should start a sideline on sharing lovely retirement options for dog-lovers. We’ve found some beautiful spots.

  3. It’s been a LONG time since Sam and I spent a long weekend in Beaufort (SC). It was just before we brought Callie home to live with us. It’s a beautiful little city and we enjoyed our time there very much. I’d love to go back at some point. As for the movies that were filmed there – at least in part – you left one out. “Something To Talk About” (with Julia Roberts, Dennis Quaid, Kyra Sedgwick, Robert Duvall).
    Anyway, I hope that if we do go back, we’ll be able to meet up with you, Mike, and Honey!

    • Oh, I missed several movies filmed here. I stuck with the ones I’ve seen. Apparently this is quite a popular area for moviemaking.

      Would love to meet up with you someday. But I also have a dream of doing some land travel as well someday. I may just have to stalk you. 🙂

  4. I’m glad you mentioned the flyover thing, that means I won’t be visiting here. It sounds beautiful though. I would like to hear more about places you go.

    • The flyovers are monstrous. But for some reason, we’ve only had 2 this month. In previous visits, they’ve been more regular.

      And we’ll definitely share more about the places we visit. Thanks!

  5. Sounds like a very nice place. Mom has been to most states and many countries around the world, but has never made it to the Carolinas. Hopefully one day we will get there. Enjoy.

    • For a long time, I had been to more foreign countries than U.S states. I’m really enjoying the chance to see more of my country.

      One of my future goals is to do the Great Loop. It’s a 5000+ mile loop up the eastern US, through the canals and Great Lakes and down the Mississippi and other rivers. It would be a great way to see some of the midwestern states I’ve not visited yet by water.

      Seeing your pictures from Minnesota have definitely gotten me wanting to visit there.

  6. This makes me me the south! It sounds like a great place to visit with a dog (I’ve been before, just not with a dog!)–but my snow puppies do not handle the south well. Even when we visit Alabama in the winter, the pups are usually panting after a few minutes outside, so I’m not sure they’d enjoy Beaufort as much as Honey does. My best friend lives in SC, though, so if the pups and I plan a trip that way, we might add Beaufort to the list for a day trip!

    • Honey also adores the snow. Managing her comfort is a major part of our travels. But we’ve found that there is nearly always a breeze off the water and getting her in shade usually keeps her comfortable.

      That’s one reason we enjoy the low country–there are huge live oak trees everywhere. Yesterday we walked to the farmer’s market and were in shade the entire way there.

      So if you visit your friend in the spring or fall your pups should be okay as well.

  7. Beaufort looks like a great place to visit! I think the Carolinas are beautiful.

  8. That does sound like a lovely place to visit with the dog! I love the photos. It looks so bright and cheery there. Enjoy the rest of your stay

  9. Yes! Even though we don’t travel with our pets, or travel much at all, I love reading about places and living vicariously through you! It must be one of the best things about your lifestyle – getting to find and then return to places you love, thereby having many places you can call “home”.