Beaufort, SC Named Best Small Town in the South for Second Time

Civic planning that produced gems like Waterfront Park. Pre-war architecture. History of Gullah. Close to wild wonders like Hunting Island State Park. And a chill atmosphere.

These are some of the reasons Beaufort is the best small town in the South, according to Southern Living magazine, which released its best ranking of small towns in the South on Tuesday morning.

“Beaufort is mastered in the best possible way,” writes Stephanie Hunt in a Southern Living story about Beaufort titled “The Best Small Town in the South 2022: Beaufort, SC.” “It has the same deep history and stunning architecture that its neighboring sisters, Charleston and Savannah, are celebrated for, but it’s fine to stay away for a bit.”

It’s the second time Beaufort has topped the charts: it was also named the magazine’s Best City in 2017, the first year Southern Living announced its top awards – a collection of top 10 lists including best bar, best restaurant and the best small towns.

In a landscape packed with places to visit, says Rob Wells, president and CEO of the Greater Beaufort-Port Royal Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Southern Living’s recognition amplifies the town’s position as one of the best places in the South to visit, live and work.

Biking in Hunting Island State Park, which is about 15 miles east of Beaufort, is highly praised in Southern Living’s city review. The same goes for the historic homes of The Point neighborhood, home to antebellum homes and live oak trees draped in Spanish moss.

Henry C. Chambers sign.jpg
The town of Beaufort was named the best town in the South by Southern Living magazine. Submitted City of Beaufort

But Southern Living also nods to city planning efforts that have produced storefronts like Waterfront Park overlooking the Beaufort River and amenities like an amphitheater, picnic tables and expansive green spaces. , all conveniently located within walking distance of downtown shopping on Bay Street.

Don’t forget to visit the First African Baptist Church, “a neo-Gothic gem built by freedmen in 1865 that speaks to African-American, Gullah, and Reconstruction-era Beaufort history,” writes Hunt. .

Beaufort topped Williamsburg, Virginia, Fairhope, Alabama, Fredericksburg, Texas and Beaufort, North Carolina in the list of top 20 small towns.

Beaufort ranked #6 on the magazine’s list of Best Small Towns in 2018 and second in 2019.

This 19th century house overlooks the Beaufort River. Tony Piero AJPierro Photography

Conde Nast Traveler, a New York-based luxury travel and lifestyle magazine, has identified the city as one of the 26 Most Beautiful Cities in America for 2021.

Wells of the city’s visitors bureau said the 2022 Best Small Town honor was “huge” because tourism is a key economic driver for the region.

“It’s a big deal for a small coastal town,” Wells said. “Those who love Beaufort have always known how special it is. Now we are excited to introduce our destination to new travellers.

Photo of the waterfront park
Beaufort’s Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. Staff File photo

This story was originally published March 8, 2022 11:25 a.m.

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Karl Puckett covers the town of Beaufort, the town of Port Royal and other communities north of the Broad River for The Beaufort Gazette and Island Packet. The Minnesota native has also worked at newspapers in his home state of Alaska, Wisconsin and Montana.

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