41miles NE of Downtown Savannah
Full of old-fashioned inns, rustic pubs, and tiny stores along the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park, Beaufort (Lowcountry pronunciation: Bew-fort) is an old seaport with narrow streets shaded by huge live oaks and lined with 18th-century homes. Officially founded by the British in 1711, the oldest house remaining (at Port Republic and New streets) was built in 1717, though the town’s history goes back much further. This was actually the second area in North America discovered by the Spanish (1520), the site of the first fort on the continent (1525), and the first attempted settlement (1562). Several redoubts have been excavated, dating from 1566 and 1577. In more recent times this quaint town was the inspiration for the setting of Pat Conroy’s novel The Prince of Tides (1986). In fact, parts of the 1991 film were shot here, as were certain scenes from Forest Gump and The Big Chill. Conroy himself still lives in Beaufort, and actor Tom Berenger has a home here. Unbeknown to most hip-hop fans, DJ Jazzy Jay was actually born here in 1961, his Gullah family moving to New York City soon after.
Today not just tourism but the military keeps the city going: Beaufort’s military bases employ thousands of locals (directly and indirectly), and pump millions of dollars into the local economy.