There are many day trips someone could have written about within a short distance of Hilton Head. The close and wonderful towns of Savannah and Charleston are two glaring omissions. Those are definitely great day trips. But also within shooting distance are Myrtle Beach with all it’s glitz, sleepy Tybee Island GA just below Savannah and the great town of Beaufort S.C. about 40 miles away from Hilton Head.

Beaufort, a small town of about 12,000 residents is the 2nd oldest town in South Carolina. Like Hilton Head it’s located on an island off the coast to the north. The drive there from Hilton Head is very scenic and also very short.

The small downtown is very picturesque and it’s enjoyable just to walk around the town and poke around the many shops. A block off the main street there is a small wharf where you can while away some delicious lazy time sitting on one of the many porch swings that line the promenade. The town was a summer retreat for many of the wealthy plantation families so there are numerous antebellum homes there. You can drive around and see many of them, but it can be quite a chore. Luckily there are reasonable tours in town that take you on an air-conditioned coach to show you these gorgeous old treasures and tell you the history behind them.

The tour includes a drive out to the big federal cemetery in town. The cemetery dates back to the Civil War and it holds countless soldiers that were casualties of the numerous skirmishes that occurred in the area. The hundreds of crosses and other monuments make it a very imposing sight to see. What was not included but is also available is an excursion into the huge U.S. Marine Corps Station on neighboring Parris Island.

The short drive, the gorgeous scenery and the charm of this old and very Southern town make it a very enjoyable and worthwhile day trip from Hilton Head.