Serving as the Beaufort County seat, Beaufort, South Carolina has a population of 12, 361 and is part of the larger Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town is located in the center of the Sea Islands on Port Royal Island. As a small town, Beaufort possesses a large population of families and offers mostly single-family homes. The region is known for its historical preservation, and the homes in the area largely reflect its dedication to its history. The town has received multiple recognitions and has been frequently mentioned in the New York Times. Southern Living named it the Best Small Southern Town, and American Style recognized it as one of the Top 25 Small City Arts Destinations.
The town was first founded by the British in 1711, and it originally flourished as a shipbuilding hub. After the civil war, the economy was more largely focused on phosphate mining. Later the town suffered greatly from the effects of a damaging hurricane in 1893 and then a fire in 1907. During the later half of the 20th century, a number of military installations were placed near by which has greatly encouraged economical growth. Additionally, the town has become an extraordinarily attractive tourist destination. As a result, the town hosts a number of festivals and events. The Home Water Festival is a two-week event that is held in the middle of July. The Shrimp Festival was selected as one of the top 20 events by the Southeast Tourism Society, and it celebrates the local shrimping industry. Other festivals and events include the International Film Festival, a Taste of Beaufort, and the Historic Beaufort Foundation’s Tour of Homes. Additionally, the town is home to over 20 art galleries and is recognized for its extensive art culture.
Despite recent growth, the town has been dedicated to the preservation of its original antebellum architecture, and many visitors come to visit the historical sites. Locations recognized by the National Register of Historic places include the Beaufort Historic District, William Barnwell House, The Anchorage, Narnwell Gough House, John A. Cuthbert House, Beaufort National Cemetery, Fort Lyttelton Site, Laurel Bay Plantation, Hunting Island State Park Lighthouse, Seacoast Packing Company, the Marshlands, Seaside Plantation, Robert Smalls House, John Mark Verdier House and Tabby Manse. In the 1940s and 1950s, the city expanded outward from the historic district, and a number of neighborhoods were established including Pigeon Point, Higginsonville, the West End, Depot, Spanish Point, Battery Creek and Lady’s Island. With a dedication to its rich history and growing tourist activities, Beaufort provides a small but exciting community for residents.