Historic Port Royal, a free must see Beaufort attraction on your way to Hilton Head

When in Beaufort, or on your way to golf-paradise Hilton Head, make sure to stop by historic Port Royal. Port Royal was the first settlement in the New World predating Jamestown by 45 years and St. Augustine by 3 years. It is adjacent to the deepest natural harbor on the Atlantic Coast, the Port Royal Sound and it boasts the only public shrimp dock in South Carolina. Not only that, but here the memorable hurricane scene from beloved Forrest Gump movie was shot!

Best time to visit is late afternoon to catch breath-taking sunset views of the serene Carolina marshes. Better yet you can have dinner at the Dockside Restaurant located, you guessed it, at the edge of the dock :-).

Shrimp Boats in sunset

Fun thing to do with kids is visiting the Lowcountry Estuary to see and play with the interactive exhibits about the coastal environment.

Another Port Royal attraction is the Union Church museum located on 11th Street. Built in 1878 it was active until the mid-1970s and shared by Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists, who rotated Sundays.

You can also drive up to Parris Island built as a fort by the Spaniards in 1566. They called their settlements Santa Elena and made it capital of La Florida Province but abandoned it 10 years later after Native Americans attacked it. Parris Island became a Naval Station in 1876 then a prison in 1906. In 1915 the island became a recruit training station for the U.S. Marines. On the base there is a military museum open to the public.

If time permits take the scenic drive to Hunting Island State Park for some fun at the beach. Check out the historic Lighthouse, the only one open to public along the South Carolina coast.

Here is a map on how to get to Port Royal. Below are some sunset pictures I took last week from the shrimp dock at Port Royal.

Didn’t you wish you were there?

Happy vacation on the amazing South Carolina coast!

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