There are many reasons folks decide to move to a new home and community. Growing families need more space and good schools, retirees want to downsize and be able to walk everywhere, new employment opportunities arise, or people just want to live in a climate where there is no more snow to clear!

Whatever your reason for finding a new home, you may be reading this because you are curious about living in South Carolina and you love Lowcountry architecture and ambiance. 

You may have also heard the buzz about South Carolina’s happiest town, Beaufort. Southern Living magazine votes Beaufort as the best and happiest seaside town, year after year.

Beaufort’s accolades also include its designation as “America’s Favorite Town” (Travel & Leisure magazine), and “America’s Coolest Small Town” (Budget Traveler Magazine). The New York Times included Beaufort in their piece about the 52 best places to visit in the whole world!  Explore Beaufort SC most recently reported the following: “Beaufort SC just did it again. Our little Lowcountry town was named the Most Charming Small Town in the South by popular travel website”

There are many reasons why this small town wins so many hearts but its quaint charm and unspoiled beauty resonate first with every visitor.

Nestled between Charleston and Savannah, on the southeast Atlantic coast, Beaufort is part of Port Royal Island, one of the largest of the coastal sea-islands.

Founded in 1711, Beaufort boasts stately mansions built before the Civil War, avenues lined with moss-draped live oak trees, a charming downtown historic district, and a bustling waterfront that offers the finest seafood feasts and festivals anywhere.

What do people typically look for when they are considering a move?

Ideal Living asked families, retirees, and other folks that very question in their lifestyle survey. Not only was Beaufort SC one of the top 10 counties favored by those relocating, the town also offered a large number of amenities most people sought such as shopping, fine dining, cultural activities, and opportunities for healthy exercise.

26 reasons why you should move to Beaufort SC.

Skip to the section that interests you the most.

Cultural Events and Festivals

Beaufort is an art-lover’s paradise. 

Arts writer John Villani recognized Beaufort as a cultural center in his book, The 100 Best Art Towns in America. The National Arts Administration, in its introduction of Villani’s book, wrote: Small art towns have come to epitomize rural cultural coolness because who wouldn’t want to visit a lively, open-minded town. In this book you’ll find communities across the United States and Canada that are attracting a new wave of cultural tourists, immigrant artists, culturally minded retirees, art gallery owners, musicians, mobile career professionals, theater directors, restaurateurs, arts festival promoters and coffee bar entrepreneurs.

Beaufort SC has much to offer those who love Visual Arts. Paintings, sculpture, pottery, textiles, and art glass are just a few of the gorgeous mediums that inspire artists to create. 

There are a variety of independent art galleries in Beaufort where you can enjoy viewings and openings all year round. 


USCB Centre For the Arts on the historic Beaufort campus holds a 460-person auditorium, two public art galleries, a ceramics studio, a drawing and painting studio, and a 3D design studio.

 As the cultural hub for Beaufort County for over thirty years the USCB CFA has a long-standing tradition of endorsing and supporting the arts, including 

The Beaufort Theatre Company, and countless performances of internationally acclaimed performing artists and Beaufort Children’s Theater.  


The USCBCentre For the Arts offers a wealth of operas, concerts and soloists including cellists, pianists, and more.

Movie Nights

Enjoy cinematic entertainment featuring independent films and documentaries.

Film Festival

Beaufort celebrates its love of film and literature every February by holding the Beaufort International Film Festival (BIFF) and honoring actors, screenwriters, technical and art directors with achievement awards.


The fascinating history of the American South provides writers, artists and the movie industry with rich fodder for their novels, essays, poetry, films, and art.  The annual Pat Conroy Literary Festival celebrates this diversity in literary arts.

Seasonal Events and coastal festivities

Beaufort SC enjoys a year-round calendar of festivals and special events, including several popular seafood festivals, (shrimp, soft-shell crabs) the big annual Water Festival in summer, Gullah heritage events, the fall tour of homes, Holiday Market, Light up the Night and more.

Shopping and Dining

Shopping in downtown Beaufort is the best!

Farmer’s markets, charming gift shops, well-stocked bookstores, handmade chocolates and ice cream, elegant contemporary fashions, and exquisite home décor boutiques are just some of the offerings in this extraordinary town. You will never get tired of exploring Beaufort.

Fine dining

Whether dining out at one of Beaufort’s excellent restaurants or licking your fingers at a local barbecue stop you are in for a treat. 


South Carolina waters are teeming with fresh snapper and other finned fish as well as shellfish like oysters, shrimp, and blue crab. Enjoy a delicious seafood feast at one of Beaufort’s fine seafood restaurants or at a family-friendly low-key beach café or bar.

Farmers’ markets

Tomato pie? Fresh sourdough bread? Mouth-watering pastries? Look no further than Beaufort’s plethora of markets. Local farms produce fine meats, cheeses, fresh vegetables, honey, and fruit. 

Raising a Family

Family friendly? Yes.

Eat, Stay, Play Beaufort has this to say.Time and time again, Beaufort is named a top place for families, and for good reason. From family friendly events all year around to promising education – and let’s not forget the tight-knit community that holds us all together – Beaufort is the perfect place to spend the weekend or spend the rest of your life!”

Good schools with lots of choice

Public school K-12 education in Beaufort, SC revolves around choice, with both public and private schools offering many educational options for primary and secondary students. You’ll find the right fit when considering your relocation. For higher education, Beaufort serves as the home of the Technical College of the Lowcountry and University of South Carolina Beaufort, named one of the top ten colleges in the state.

Family friendly trails for walking, cycling, and hiking

Beaufort County boasts some of the most beautiful recreational trail environments in the USA. The renowned Spanish Moss Trail (sometimes referred to as the Beaufort Rail Trail or the Magnolia Line Trail) follows the former Port Royal Railroad that was constructed in 1870. The planned 13.6-mile scenic trail is perfect for walking, is wheelchair accessible, and bicycle friendly. The Trail Link Guide provides a comprehensive listing of Beaufort County trails. There is something for everyone in the whole family.

Wildlife in Beaufort County will amaze and thrill your family

Carolina Wildlife Magazine contributor Bill Hilton Jr. writes of birding in Hunting Island State Park. “Where else can you walk a causeway with a freshwater pond on your right with Great Egrets, Least Bitterns, Common Gallinules, and American Alligators?” And a saltwater mudflat and marsh on your left with Long-billed Dowitchers, King Rails, Black Skimmers, and Fiddler Crabs, and a sky full of Brown Pelicans, Ospreys, Rough-winged Swallows, and Painted Buntings?”

Where else indeed? Watch for dolphins and manatees along the coast and for sea turtles on the shoreline. 

Health care

Beaufort Memorial Hospital is the largest hospital between Charleston SC and Savannah GA. Its child-focused wing with special décor, located on the third floor, is designed to make children and their families as comfortable as possible during their hospital visit.

Cost of Living

Lower taxes

No taxes on Social Security means that your retirement income goes even further in South Carolina. You can claim up to $10,000 in retirement income deductions. In addition to no taxes on Social Security, those over 65 are also able to deduct up to $10,000 in retirement income, from pensions, IRAs and the like.

Lower cost of living

Our cost of living indices are based on a US average of 100. An amount below 100 means Beaufort is cheaper than the US average. A cost of living index above 100 means Beaufort, South Carolina is more expensive. Beaufort’s cost of living index is 94.1.

Lifestyle and Retirement

Beaufort always ranks as one of the best retirement cities in the United States. One of the reasons is there are so many ways to have fun.


Beaufort is open for fishing year-round and you will find many types of fish in the local waters. Redfish, sea trout, flounder, tarpon, black drum, sharks, sea bass, Spanish mackerel, sheepshead, whiting, cobia and many more species await your bait in Beaufort SC.


The Visit Beaufort website describes the joys of playing golf.  “Golfing is available and enjoyed in the Beaufort area year-round due to the moderate climate and excellent quality of numerous courses designed by professionals such as Tom Fazio, Davis Love III, Arthur Hill and George Cobb.  Golfers of all skill levels can enjoy themselves and even improve their game with a group or individual lesson from local professionals.  Golfing in the Lowcountry also provides the added benefit of enjoying our many species of wildlife and some of the most beautiful scenery in the area.”


In Beaufort’s Lowcounry setting, proximity to the water means endless opportunities for sailing, kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding.

Warmth, beauty, and ecological responsibility

You’ll fall in love with Lowcountry architecture

A beautifully designed Lowcountry home is breathtaking with its air of elegance, grace, and history. 

Developed in the late 1700s, Lowcountry style architecture is one of the most distinctive elements of the region. Originally designed to accommodate residents of the subtropical climate of South Carolina, the historical features and designs of these stately homes are still loved by southerners and admired by visitors today.

The spacious rooms and porches of these elegant homes also facilitate that famous Southern hospitality – the heartbeat of the Lowcountry. 

Southern warmth

Beaufort is the beloved home of some of the friendliest people you could ever hope to meet. Wherever you go, you’ll enjoy an unpretentious down-home welcome.

Ecologically responsible

The Beaufort County Open Land Trust protects significant ecological and cultural places that define the natural landscape while contributing to the health and spirit of the extraordinary Lowcountry region.

The landscape is breathtaking

Massive live-oak trees festooned with fronds of Spanish moss line the streets. Camellias, azaleas, gardenias, roses, jasmine, and crepe myrtle grace many gardens and perfume the air with their sweet fragrance. The sunsets and sunrises are astounding.


On average, there are 216 sunny days per year in Beaufort. The US average is 205 sunny days.

An annual snowfall of 0.1 inches in Beaufort means that it is one of the least snowy places in South Carolina. December is the snowiest month in Beaufort with 0.1 inches of snow, and no months of the year have significant snowfall.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Beaufort SC known for?

Beaufort South Carolina is known for its stately antebellum mansions, its towering live oak trees draped with Spanish moss, and warm, welcoming, and friendly people. 

Is Beaufort SC A good place to live?

Beaufort South Carolina is a good place to live. It always ranks among the top towns with designations its designation like: “America’s Favorite Town” (Travel & Leisure magazine), and “America’s Coolest Small Town” (Budget Traveler Magazine). The New York Times included Beaufort in their piece about the 52 best places to visit in the whole world!  Explore Beaufort SC most recently reported the following: “Beaufort SC just did it again. Our little Lowcountry town was named the Most Charming Small Town in the South by popular travel website”

How far is Beaufort SC from the beach?

Beaufort SC is close to three beaches. It is also located on Port Royal Island and surrounded by inlets and spectacular salt marshes.

The three closest Atlantic Ocean beaches to Beaufort all lie along U.S. 21 South, with the closest being Harbor Island, a private resort island between St. Helena Island and Hunting Island approximately 15 miles from downtown Beaufort

Is Beaufort SC expensive?

Beaufort is less expensive than many other towns with a cost-of-living index of 94. An amount below 100 means Beaufort is cheaper than the US average. 

What more could you ask for?

What about an opportunity to visit Beaufort for a few days?  For only $299 two people cans spend two nights (with breakfast) in your choice of one of three charming inns. Explore Beaufort night and day on foot, bicycle, or by horse drawn carriage. We will give you a tour of Celadon, one of South Carolina’s finest neo traditional planned communities where the focus is on wellness, nature, and graceful new Lowcountry homes.

Discover Beaufort – discover Celadon. You just might fall in love!

Book your Discovery visit now.

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