Step On To Beaufort Beaches
Hop in the car a drive east from downtown Beaufort on Sea Island Parkway. You will quickly pass through the Village Center of Ladys Island where our real estate office is (honk as you go by) and the vistas will soon open as your leaving Ladys Island and bound for the beaches. Sea Island Parkway soon crosses through the large island of St Helena where if you blink too long you might miss downtown St Helena which has the historic name of Frogmore. Named Frogmore, not because there are more frogs there, but because the population of French Huganauts in the 19th century got to a high enough level to warrant the name.
As your leaving St Helena Island you will come upon a vast expansive of marsh with the bridge across Harbor River in the distance. The islands that you can see at this point are Beaufort's barrier islands with beaches that front on the Atlantic Ocean. Off to your left will be Harbor Island with beaches that lie along the south side of the entrance to St. Helena sound and the entrance to Harbor River. The beaches of Harbor are wide and flat with shallow water extending out for several hundred feet. This make for calmer surf and a beach with views of the Atlantic Ocean, the St Helena Sound and the Harbor River. We lived on Harbor Island and our home was located on the Ocean Marsh section of Harbor. We enjoyed beautiful views of the marsh, Johnson Creek inlet and the Atlantic Ocean. Homes and condos on the front beach range from one bedroom condos, standard beach getaways to grand oceanfront family vacation homes. The beaches of Harbor Island are usually very quiet and uncrowded.
Passing Harbor Island you will cross over Johnson Creek and then be on Hunting Island. Hunting Island is a SC State Park and a beautiful island that the State has done a great job of preserving. Just as you come on the island you will see the entrance to the Hunting Island State Park which is located directly on the beach. Feel free to drive in and tell the gatekeeper you would just like to drive through and take a look. It is a great campground with excellent amenities. Campsites range from sites just behind the dunes fronting the beach to wooded sites within easy walking distance to the beach access. You will find folks camping in small tents to luxury style motor coaches.The main entrance to the park and the public beach access is a little farther down the road from the campground. There is a small entrance fee and once in the park you can choose from several beach access points including the area located around the Hunting Island Lighthouse. On the south end of Hunting Island there is a fishing pier and bait shop along with some trails you can explore that take you out to the beach fronting on Fripp Inlet.
The bridge leaving Hunting Island and heading over to Fripp Island is open to the public but once you get across you be at the entrance and the security gate to Fripp Island which is a private resort and vacation destination. The beaches of Fripp Island are private to residents and guests.
Fripp Island is as far as you can go by car. South from Fripp to the Port Royal Sound the islands and beaches are only accessible by boat.
South of Fripp Island is Pritchards Island which is basically uninhabited and only accessible by boat. It has been donated to the University Of South Carolina and is used for coastal maritime studies. Usually there is no problem visiting the beaches by boat just so long as your respectful and keep your distance from the cabin built for the university students to use when they are on the island.
Heading south across Pritchard's inlet there are two remote beaches only accessible by boat. These are the islands of Capers Island and Little Capers Island. These islands are home to some privately owned beach camps that are used for weekend getaways and fishing retreats. You can access the beaches by boat or beach your boat on the back side of the inlet. Just watch the tides, and again, be respectful of the private camps and properties on the islands.
South of Capers Islands is Trenches Inlet which is a major inlet full of channels and sandbars. You can access the inlet from the Atlantic but you had better know your way around the shallows and know where the channels are to be safe. The beach on the south side of Trenches is part of St. Phillips Island and is privately owned.
The island just south of St. Phillips Island is also privately owned but the beaches are public up to the high tide line. So you can beach your boat and enjoy the island's beaches but just do not venture inland.
Beaufort is blessed with some great beaches. Our favorites are the ones that are only accessible by boat but the beaches of Harbor, Hunting and Fripp all have their attributes and we enjoy them often.
Too see oceanfront homes that are available on Harbor and Fripp Island you can visit our real estate page that shows homes on the water and oceanfront by location and type. Click Beaufort SC Waterfront.
If you would like to see a "Birds Eye View" of our beaches, check out my aerial photo slide shows of the beaches by going to Beaufort Waterfront Photos and choosing the Fripp / Harbor and Barrier Island section.
Russ Fielden "The Coastal Guy" specializing in waterfront property. Deep water, tidal creek, marsh view and oceanfront.