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Living a Small town Lifestyle in Beaufort, South_Carolina

Beaufort (pronounced b'yoofurt), South Carolina is a small town that embodies Old Southern charm. Known as the “Queen of the Carolina Sea Islands," this popular retirement community of 11,000 was discovered by the Spanish in 1514 and chartered by the British in 1711. It lies in the Sea Islands area of South Carolina, just north of Hilton Head. 304 acres of the town have been designated as a National Historic Landmark. That history is reflected in the horse-drawn carriages that roll along streets in the town’s charming historic district that are overhung with Spanish moss The area offers a laid back atmosphere that most people find very relaxing. Beaufort is located in Beaufort County. Savannah is 39 miles away.

There are 3 major military installations here that provide a solid economic underpinning and a lowering of the average age in the area. Those include the U.S. Marine Corps Recruitment Depot at Parris Island, the Naval Air Station, and the Beaufort naval hospital.

Photo of downtown waterfront courtesy of Wikipedia and Cdamgen.

Where to Retire in Beaufort and Home Prices

The area has developing rapidly with many upscale communities aimed at baby boomers and adults 55+ looking for vacation and retirement homes (see link at left). Most of these new planned communities are heavily oriented towards golf. There are many nice neighborhoods within Beaufort such as Spanish Point, as well as in surrounding towns like Bluffton. For more detailed information about Beaufort see our Retire in Beaufort guide. Zillow reports the median home value was $335,440 in early 2023, which reflects a 14.2% increase over the past year.

What Is Special about Beaufort

Charming old town in the Low Country with numerous awards including Best Small Southern Town, Small Town Arts, and Best Fishing Town. It offers proximity to Hilton Head Island and Savannah, and home to luxurious golf course communities. The town has 304 acres designated as a National Historic Landmark.

What Is Not Special about Beaufort

It can be over run by tourists in season, not for people in the fast lane, See comment in Medical section.

Climate and Physical Environment

Beaufort is located on Port Royal Island and the Beaufort River. This area between Charleston and Savannah is often referred to as the Sea Islands or Low Country because it has so much water and so little elevation. This diverse city has a mild climate in the winter - the average January low is 39 and the average July high is 91. August is the rainiest month.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Beaufort has many art galleries and has won numerous awards as an arts town. Additionally, there is the Arts Council of Beaufort County with its 12,000 square foot community arts center, the Beaufort Orchestra Society, the University of SC-Beaufort's Performing Arts Center, and the Penn Center. Festivals such as the Water Festival and the Shrimp Festival keep things interesting. Nearby Hilton Head Island has cultural opportunities, as does nearby Savannah.


City-Data reports that crime is higher than the national index, but the rate has steadily fallen the last several years. That said, retirees should remember that crime is all about neighborhood - in the areas they are likely to live and frequent, crime is undoubtedly lower.

Medical Facilities

Beaufort Memorial Hospital. Hilton Head Hospital a 5 star hospital is 17 miles away. One visitor to Topretirements wrote in: "Is there a rheumatologist in the area? The answer is: yes I have found several in the area of Beaufort, Bluffton....Goggle or look in yellow pages..With the baby boomers retiring in the area more and more specialist are appearing in the area...


Savannah/Hilton Head International is about 40 miles away, and 2 smaller airports are closer.

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