Pack Up and Head To South Carolina

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If you are looking for a quiet spot to spend time as a family, where time seems to slow down but there is still plenty to do when you are feeling active, take a gander at Beaufort, South Carolina.  This sleepy town is so picturesque that Hollywood has used it as the backdrop for such films as “The Prince Of Tides” and “Forest Gump”, and while there are many lovely cafes, bakeries, chocolateries, coffee shops, and restaurants in the district, you won’t find a Starbucks or a McDonalds in town.  Welcome to beautiful Beaufort.

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Take a tour of the downtown area in a horse drawn carriage- Southern Rose Buggy Tours offers them with a covered top to protect you and yours from the Southern sun.  The tour guide and driver know the area inside and out, telling you all about not only historical landmarks and homes that you pass, but also stories and legends that go hand in hand with history (both modern and long past).  There is an amusing anecdote related to Barbara Streisand and the local Marines that is sure to have your group laughing- make sure you ask what “the sound of freedom” is if your guide forgets to tell you.  Each tour lasts about an hour, and if you bring peppermint candies along, you will be able to give the carriage horse a treat.

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Cruise around the area with Captain Dick River Tours on the Prince of Tides sightseeing boat, where you will often see dolphins, cranes, and other wildlife as you tour the river. The daily hour and 15 minute tour leaves the Downtown Marina at the Beaufort Waterfront Park at 2pm, all seats are $24 (no charge for infants).   The kids will love to see the local fauna, and mom and dad will also enjoy hearing about the historic homes, celebrity sightings, and filming stories.  There is also a 2 hour sunset cruise option two days a week (seasonally) Tuesday and Saturday evenings.

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After you are done exploring the downtown Waterfront Park and Playground, make a quick stop to Southern Sweets Ice Cream Parlor.  The kids will be thrilled with any ice cream stop, but this old fashioned ice cream parlor will be a hit with everyone.  Complete with soda fountains, hand dipped ice cream, and marble table tops, you can get anything from an ice cream cone to a banana split to an egg creme and more.  They also have home made brownies and pralines, a must try.   If you feel that your sweet tooth still isn’t satisfied, and perhaps you’d like a unique souvenir to take home with you, make sure you pay a visit to The Lollipop Shop.  Not only do they carry every kind of candy (and sweet beverage) you could desire- even the hard to find, old fashioned or “retro” stuff- but you can buy your candy in many ways.  By the piece, the pound, the box, or the stuffed animal.  You read that right- you (or your child, should you feel so  generous) can choose from two sizes and about two dozen styles of stuffed toys, which come “hollow”, so to speak.  You then stuff your toy full of candy from the baskets in the store, and when it’s full, they close it up, name it, and give you a “birth certificate” for your new buddy.  They also give you a box of stuffing to take with you, so that when the candy is eaten, you have a soft and cuddly toy to keep forever.  This was nearly everyone’s favorite find, and one that we will surely visit again next time we are in the area.

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When you feel peckish, two restaurants in the area that the whole crew will enjoy are Fat Patties and The Foolish Frog.  Fat Patties will strongly appeal to the burger loving crowd, although they are so much more then burgers ( also serving items such as bratwurst, salads, and sandwiches).  The patties (hence the name) can be ordered with nearly any topping, cheese, bun, sauce, (etc) and even several choices of meat or vegetarian patties.  For example, you can order not only a shrimp pattie, but also a half beef, half bacon pattie.  Are you packing your bags yet?  Let me help make your decision for you when I let you in on the fact that they also offer an amazing selection of craft beers.  Fan of the brews?  They have 19 on draft, including at least 6 from  hyper-local breweries (from Charleston to Atlanta).   They also make ice cream on location, in small (thus fresh) batches.  While they always have the traditional vanilla, chocolate, and most popular flavor “Burt Marshmallow”, you can also get seasonal favorites like Local Peach Cobbler, Pineapple Upside-down Cake, Maple Bacon Pancake, or Spiced Pumpkin.  The staff could not be any friendlier (even if you have a motley child or two) and will gladly give you recommendations.  Mine is to eat at Fat Patties as soon as you can get there.

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If it’s authentic Southern Lowcountry food you are seeking, head to the Foolish Frog.  Specializing in seafood, steak, and barbeque, they also have a small kids menu.  You can eat indoors or outside on a back patio with a wetland view and roof or umbrellas to shade you from the southern sun.  Dinner is a great time to stop by, as the sunset views are lovely. If you like pulled pork, theirs is excellent.

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Before you head home, visit Hunting Island State Park. Voted one of the top beaches in the state and also one of the most popular state parks in South Carolina, it’s a stop everyone will look forward to.  Bring your beach gear and a picnic, or grab some food at a nearby food stand.  There is a cute hut run by the park that sells ice cream and souvenirs as well, ice cream being a big hit on a hot day.  If you have the South Carolina state park passport, make sure you collect your stamp!  If you don’t yet, now is a great time to grab one.  Once you dry off (or a better idea, before you get wet) climb the 167 steps in the spiral staircase to the top of the lighthouse.  For a $2 and a little sweat, you can get one of the best views of the area available.  Open from March through February, hours vary seasonally.

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  1. Courtney Conover says

    OMG. The food. My mouth is seriously salivating so much that I need a towel right now…

    I’ve bookmarked this post for future reference. I’ve never heard of this town, yet I lived in SC (Columbia, a stone’s throw from USC campus) for a hot minute.

    Thanks for this!

  2. Elisabeth says

    The pictures make me think of Savannah!

  3. I would love to visit there. It looks like it has so much charm. Just looking at your pictures you feel like you are stepping back in time.

  4. Beaufort looks like the place to be!
    I would love to visit over the summer.
    i bet it is even prettier in person

  5. this looks like the best vaca ever! If I could move anywhere (within reason) it would be either south or north carolina. the magnolia trees, the weather. its all so great. Great pictures you took too! Thanks for showing us!

  6. Christy Garrett Uplifting Families says

    This looks like a great place to visit, thank you for sharing.

  7. Janet W. says

    Not too far away from us in GA. We need to take my grandsons to enjoy these sites and eat this delicious food!

  8. Anna Pry says

    where did you get that goldfish backpack? its so cute!!

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