What comes to mind when you think about the beaches around Beaufort? We can’t help but think about how different they all are. Although there are a few private spots on the ocean that few know about in Beaufort, three in particular are more prominent during our summer season here, and all are family friendly too! Whether you are spending the day at Hunting Island, or staying closer to town and heading to The Sands, or checking out the more remote Lands End beach, each one has something different and each of Beaufort’s beaches have something special to offer.
Let’s visit them…
Not easy to find if it’s your first time, but worth the travel, is Land’s End. We followed the fence along what was left of Fort Fremont to the end and turned down the dirt road. There was just about enough room for two or three cars to park on the side of the road there.
At the end of a shady path emerged the beautiful open and serene waters where the Beaufort River meets the Port Royal Sound, we immediately caught a glimpse of several playful dolphins less than 50 feet from the shore. The beach was deserted but we were also there during high tide so there was little beach to speak of. Off in the distance there were some local fisherman enjoying the quiet morning.
The water at Lands End was smooth with waves barely more than ankle deep. It’s quiet here. It’s peaceful.
Past all of the small stores dotting St. Helena and Harbor Islands along Sea Island Parkway sits the long and narrow Hunting Island. This is, quite understandably, the most popular beach for Beaufortonians.
After turning into the park and winding down the narrow road that connects US-21 to the Atlantic Ocean, we are faced again with the decision of heading left towards the North Beach to see the famous and historic Hunting Island lighthouse, originally constructed in 1859, or continuing straight to the South Beach which puts us closer to the water.
Load up your beach buggy and find the perfect spot at the beach. You’ll see some with half buried tree trunks that cause large pools of water to form as the tide recedes. These pools, which can be found throughout the beach, are great places for your little ones to splash in without worrying about losing their sand toys to the depths of the ocean.
One downside to Hunting Island is that it can become a little pricey. Unless you buy the $75 annual pass (which allows you to bring in as many people as you can cram in a single vehicle, and allows unlimited access to any of South Carolina’s state parks), it costs $5 per adult, $3.25 per SC senior, and $3 per child age 6-15. Children 5 and under are free. Not high-priced by any means, but think of how it can add up if you go every other weekend for an entire season. The yearly pass is definitely the way to go.
If you want to stay closer to home and just want to spend your day in the sand, visit The Sands in Port Royal. One of the best things about The Sands is that you don’t have to cart along all of your beach gear. You can drive you car right onto the beach! And, if you decide that you don’t want to take the beach home with you in your shoes and car, you can take a walk along the scenic boardwalk to the observation tower where you can get a spectacular view of the scenery below, before heading home.
Weekdays, The Sands attracts a lot of parents and kids, while on the weekends the area takes on more of a party atmosphere. If you are not interested in getting in the water, The Sands is wildly a popular place for hunting shark teeth. You can almost always see someone searching the beach for sharks teeth every time you visit. If you do plan on getting in the water, you will want to be wearing a sturdy pair of shoes, as oyster shells are plentiful.
Whichever spot you choose, you’re guaranteed a great family time.