By Jennifer McCormack | If you’re planning a family vacation, don’t forget the kids. There is plenty to do in the Beaufort area with the little ones in tow. From beaches to museums, parks and kid-friendly restaurants, too. Here are several ideas for you to explore for the younger (10 & under) visitors to town. If you’re a local with kids, you know all about them. It’s summer vacation after all, and you know it’s got to be FUN.
Take a historic carriage ride. Take in some of Beaufort’s rich history while being pulled through it’s streets by horse and buggy. Your family can pick up a tour in the marina parking lot, where you will get to spend roughly 50 minutes riding through the streets of Beaufort with a knowledgeable and charismatic tour guide. Tours are filled with stories about the history of Beaufort and some of it’s unique residents. History aside, children can experience a unique form of transportation by some very friendly horses who have been known to be movie stars in their own right. Pirates of the Caribbean…anyone? Check out Southurn Rose Buggy Tours at 843-524-2900.
Attend a USMC recruit graduation & explore the Parris Island Museum. A vitally important part of Beaufort is the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. This base and those serving on it are responsible for training male recruits from east of the Mississippi River, and all female recruits enlisted in the Marine Corps nationwide. Parris Island is not only rich in history, which can be explored in the Parris Island Museum, but it also hosts graduations of our future Marines almost every Friday. Both the museum and the graduations are open to the public and accessible through the main gate with your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. This would be a unique, patriotic experience for your family to attend, and the kids will love seeing it. Visit the Parris Island Museum online for information.
Go for a bike ride, run or walk on the Spanish Moss Trail. The Spanish Moss Trail is a rails-to-trails project owned by Beaufort County. The historic Magnolia Rail Line was acquired by Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority in 2009 as a utility corridor, and in 2011 they granted a surface easement to Beaufort County to develop in a 13.6 mile recreational trail. The trail currently winds throughout Beaufort, and Port Royal; providing a scenic trail perfect for an afternoon bike ride. See more info on the trail, including maps, here.
Rent a 2 or 4 person pedal bike at Surrey Up Beaufort. If you’re looking to take the family on a tour of downtown, while getting everyone a little exercise, Surrey Up Beaufort should definitely be your first stop! Surrey bikes are either 2 or 4 seaters and are a great mode of transportation for self-guided tours of historic Beaufort. Bike rentals range from $25 to $35 an hour, and are a great, fun way for kids to take in the scenic streets of this quaint town. Book your rental by calling Surrey Up Beaufort at 843-379-1414.
Spend an afternoon enjoying one of Beaufort’s scenic parks. There is nothing more exciting, and no better way to burn off some energy, than to run around at one of Beaufort’s parks. The first park to check out is the playground at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in downtown Beaufort. The park is located next to the Woods Memorial Bridge (connecting Beaufort to Lady’s Island) and has several play structures, swings, and slides. Not only is this park connected to downtown, but it is incredibly scenic and just outside the entrance is a beautiful waterfront park walk lined with bench swings and plenty of open green space. While you’re there, the kids get to see the rare sight of a swing bridge in operation as the Woods Bridge opens hourly for boaters traveling the Atlantic Intra-coastal Waterway. Don’t forget to look up, too. The kids will marvel at the sights and sounds of the U.S. Marine Corps aircraft flying overhead at any given time of the day.
Then, just a short drive from your downtown spot is Pigeon Point Park. This is the perfect park for children of a variety of ages. There are multiple play structures that have everything from slides, to merry-go-rounds, to a plastic treehouse for toddlers. The park is predominantly fenced it, has several shaded picnic tables, as well as a centrally located circle of bench swings for parents to have a great view of their children playing around them.
Play with some trains & shop for a fun toy. Downtown Beaufort is home to Monkey’s Uncle, a locally owned and operated toy store. Monkey’s Uncle has a wide variety of toys and books, as well as a train table that provides a great place to play to escape the heat while touring downtown. Monkey’s Uncle is located at 808 Bay Street.
Treat the kids to something cold and sweet. Downtown Beaufort has several delicious stops for some amazingly tasty treats sure to put a smile on any child’s face. It’s easy to beat the summer heat at any number of spots. Southern Sweets is a great kid-friendly restaurant with a large selection of ice cream and desserts. (They also have a special doggy dessert for the four-legged children in our families) If it’s a cold treat with plenty of toppings you’re looking for, then Yo-Yo’s is the place to be. With a wall full of unique flavors and more toppings than I can count, you are sure to find a treat that appeals to all. Not only will you get a sweet treat, but the kids can also take some silly pictures in the on-site photo booth.
If you would like to get a real southern treat, then stop in at Scout Southern Market and try a sweet tea float at their Sweet Tea Bar. You can choose between 2 large scoops of either peach or lemon sorbet that will be served in a cup of ice cold sweet tea. That’s tasty, and so is the selection of Pino Gelato over at Common Ground Coffeehouse.
Visit the Chocolate Tree. One of Tom Hank’s favorite places to go while he was here filming Forrest Gump in Beaufort was The Chocolate Tree. They have every kind of chocolate treat you can imagine, as well as an extensive selection of jelly beans. Children can watch the chocolate being made and get a sample too. It’s a kid’s dream come true! The Chocolate Tree is located at 501 Carteret Street in downtown Beaufort.
Grab a bite to eat in a kid-friendly restaurant. There are a lot of restaurants in Beaufort, but some really stand out as being extremely kid-friendly. If you’re looking for a quick bite you should definitely pop into Chick-fil-A on Boundary Street. Chick-fil-A has several highchairs with disposable place mats hanging over the back to accommodate your littlest. They have several healthy options on the kids menu, a container of antibacterial wipes and a fun play area, too. Finally, they have an incredibly friendly staff who bring your food to the table while you situate the high chair and secure the children. Another great quick stop is Moe’s Southwest Grill at Beaufort Town Center. Moe’s also has several high chairs, healthy food options, friendly staff and they have a kid’s night every week with great deals.
If you’re looking for a sit-down restaurant, our two recommendations are Gilligan’s Seafood and Fat Patties. Gilligan’s has an impressive stack of highchairs the minute you walk in the door and a great kid’s menu. Fat Patties also has a great menu, coloring sheets with crayons and an impressive selection of ice cream that is made in-house.
Both restaurants are just plain fun.
Enjoy a picnic, build a sand castle, and splash in some waves at a local beach. One of the best things about Beaufort is the amazing beaches. For a small fee, you can take the family to visit Hunting Island Beach and State Park. Not only can you splash in the waves, play in the sand and see lots of local wildlife, but the family can also climb to the top of the 130-foot lighthouse, the only publicly accessible lighthouse in the entire state. See more about Hunting Island Beach here.
Another favorite local beach is The Sands beach in Port Royal. This beach is unique because you can drive your car onto the beach and unload the kids and beach supplies right into the sand. You’ll see sunbathers, sandcastle-makers and forks scouring the sand for sharks teeth. The beach has a view of Parris Island, as well as a very unique wooden boardwalk that you can enjoy walking, fishing or enjoying the beautiful Lowcountry sunsets. See more about The Sands here.
Escape the heat and indulge in some stories. Sometimes you just need to get out of the heat or rain. A great place to visit when you have a few hours to spare is Beaufort’s Public Library in downtown. It’s a very active library that boasts a great children’s section with a wide selection of books and several computers that children can play educational games on. The library also hosts two story times a week, a Lego playtime and plenty of clubs and summer activities. The Beaufort County Library is located at 311 Scott Street in downtown, and can be reached at 843-255-6430.
We know we said 11 things to do with kids in Beaufort, but there are so many more, we’ve decided to add a few to the list.
Visit the Kazoobie Kazoo Museum. The Kazoo Factory offers a Kazoo Museum, Factory Tours, a Gift Shop and more. Tour the Kazoo Factory and learn how kazoos are made, imprinted, packaged and shipped all over the world, and the kids can make their own to take home.
Enjoy some family time at the Highway 21 Drive In. Beaufort is home to a family-owned, family-friendly drive in theater on Highway 21 near the Marine Corps Air Station. Open 7 nights a week during the summer season, it offers two screens, a fun playground area and a concession stand that supplies all you need for a great family outing.
It’s plain to see there is no shortage of things to do with the kids here in Beaufort. And, we’ve only scratched the surface. We hope you enjoy our ideas and can incorporate some of them into your visit to ensure that your time Beaufort is enjoyable for kids of ALL ages and you’ve created some priceless family memories.