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Dog-Friendly Guide to Exploring Beaufort, South Carolina

Beaufort is a quaint, little town located on Port Royal Island in South Carolina. It is one of the largest Sea Islands along the southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States. Situated nearly perfectly between Savannah, Georgia (43 miles away) and Charleston, South Carolina (71 miles away), it is a beautiful place to explore for a day trip or in our opinion multiple days to truly experience everything Beaufort has to offer.

Sunset from the Observation Tower in Beaufort, South Carolina

When thinking about Beaufort, you cannot overlook the history of the area. It is one of only a few towns in the US with its entire downtown designated as a historic district by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This is a must-see when visiting. There is also a desire for the

preservation and celebration of the Gullah Culture (African Americans who live in the Lowcountry region of SC/GA who are known for preserving their African linguistic and cultural heritage). Take a moment to learn more about the history of the area during your visit!

We spent a week exploring Beaufort, Port Royal, and the Sea Islands in October and fell in love. We lived about an hour north in Mt. Pleasant, SC for 1.5 years and always wanted to visit this adorable town. But, unfortunately we never got the opportunity. So, when we started planning our seventh wedding anniversary trip to South Carolina, we knew we wanted to add Beaufort to the agenda. We honestly are so happy we did! This will definitely not be our last visit :)

Woman and man with two dogs standing on the beach in front of a lighthouse at Hunting Island State Park, South Carolina.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Visit Beaufort. All opinions are our own.

Our furbabies, Ollie and Baxter, love traveling to new locations and because they are our best friends we prefer bringing them with us, even if it is a 1,700+ mile drive that takes over 25 hours!

To help you plan a visit to Beaufort with your furbabies, we put together a list of our favorite dog-friendly activities!

Hunting Island State Park

The most visited State Park in South Carolina, Hunting Island State Park, is located only 25 minutes from Beaufort. There is an entrance fee of $8/adult, $5/seniors, $4/children(ages 6-15) per day. With 5 miles of beach to explore and multiple miles of trails to hike, it is a great place to let your furbabies stretch their legs. There is even a stunning lighthouse to see as well. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed in the lighthouse when it is open. Dogs must be kept on a leash. This was one of our favorite places we saw while visiting. The beach is Baxter’s favorite place and he absolutely loved squiggling in the sand (so much so he did for about 5 minutes straight).

Port Royal Boardwalk and Observation Tower

We experienced the most beautiful sunset from the Port Royal Boardwalk and Observation Tower! There are no fees to visit. We arrived just after the sun fell behind the horizon and were treated to a rainbow of colors as the night took over. This is a great location to look for dolphins, coastal birds, and other wildlife. The best advice we can give about this location is to make sure you climb the Observation Tower. Standing above the water as the light dances across it is something we still haven’t forgotten!

Downtown Beaufort

After strolling along Bay Street, it is easy to see how it was designated as a historic district. You will meet other dogs while walking around. The local restaurants and stores were also very friendly and welcoming. We loved all of the dog-friendly patios that overlooked the water. Waterfront Park is maybe the best part of downtown. With great views of the water and marsh and fun swings, it’s hard not to have a good time while visiting. You also have to walk across the Woods Memorial Bridge (which may look familiar as it was in Forrest Gump!)

City Loft Hotel

If visiting for multiple days, finding a great lodging option is key! We stayed at City Loft Hotel and really enjoyed it! Not only was it extremely dog-friendly, but it was within walking distance to downtown. Walkability is key to us when exploring a new location. The finishes were very modern. We also received freshly baked cookies every night! We definitely recommend staying here.

Cypress Wetlands

One of the most unique places we visited in Beaufort was the Cypress Wetlands. There are no fees. The wetlands offer a little under a mile of trails (even a boardwalk trail). There are also incredible opportunities to view wildlife (like alligators and various bird species).

Old Sheldon Church Ruins

As we mentioned above, Beaufort is full of history. Stopping by the Old Sheldon Church Ruins allows you to step back in time. There are no fees. The church was originally referred to as Prince William’s Parish Church. While the actual date of construction is unknown, it is believed to have been built between 1745-1753. The oak trees surrounding the church were amazing! Their size and beauty are not something you see everyday.

Old Sheldon Church Ruins in Beaufort, South Carolina

We spend a lot of time revisiting our favorite places. But, it was so great getting to experience a location for the first time and having those “first-visit excitement jitters” leading up to our time in Beaufort. Although we were only there for a week, we know that it will make the rotation of places we would love to revisit one day. A big reason for this is because of how dog-friendly Beaufort was. We love bringing our boys to explore with us and really appreciate how they could join us everywhere we went. Be sure to add Beaufort to your list of must-see places!

Boats in the water with palmetto trees in Beaufort, South Carolina

Until next time, keep adventuring!


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