Beaufort through the eyes of a tourist

By Gail Ankney |  Beaufort is a very tourist oriented town, and you can spot our visitors all over the area on most days.  Tour buses roll into downtown on a daily basis stopping at our Visitor Center.  Tour buses also let folks off at the Downtown Marina for sightseeing, shopping and dining almost daily.  Families visit Parris Island for the first time on Graduation Day, and some of our tourist-friends are here revisiting Parris Island decades after graduating there themselves.  Tourists travel to Fripp Island, Hunting Island Beach, and St. Helena too.  They go to the beach, enjoy learning our history, visit our Waterfront, and enjoy the Beaufort experience.  We are the Happiest Seaside Town in America, after all.

We are blessed to have all of these wonderful places to visit, and amazing sights to see. But what one impressionable thing makes Beaufort…well…Beaufort?

That’s an easy question to answer.  It’s people.

We hear stories all the time and we make it a point to meet our tourist friends whenever possible.  Jennifer Gomez, from Oceanside, CA traveled almost 3000 miles to visit her family in Brunswick, GA and then she traveled an additional 3 hours north to spend some time with a longtime friend who lives in here in Beaufort. As a former military brat and wife, Gomez has traveled the world and visited many coastal cities but she said that “Beaufort has made an impact on her like no other city or town ever has”.

It seems that falling in love with Beaufort is quite easy for some folks.

“It is astonishing how you can travel all around the world and never quite feel at home, until taking a short walk down Bay Street” exclaims Gomez.  “The people in the town are so friendly and welcoming!  I have never experienced anything like this anywhere else.”

Gomez currently resides in Oceanside, CA which, much like Beaufort, it is a military town located along the ocean.  Oceanside, too, is a tourist-oriented town.  There are always festivals and other events taking place there just about every other weekend, just like it is here in Beaufort.  They’re very similar in so many ways. According to Gomez, the biggest difference between the two towns is that the atmosphere here in South Carolina is more friendly and welcoming.  “Everywhere I go, people do more than just say ‘hello’, they actually want to talk you and get to know you.  They are very kind and generous.  Most of the shops we went into even had snacks and water set out for my pets” she said, with a smile.

Home is about more than just where you hang your hat at the end of the day.  When visiting or moving to an area, it is very important to check out the local scene.  “I can’t move here right now, but one day I will call Beaufort my home. I feel like it is already” she said.

Jennifer will be relocating to the East Coast. Though she will be living closer to her family, however, Gomez plans to spend as must time here as possible.  She is most excited about all of the historical sites and family oriented activities that she and her children can enjoy together.

Jennifer is “completely blown away” by the friendly and welcoming attitudes she was met with by all Beaufortonians.  “I was never treated like a tourist the entire time I’ve been here.  It felt more like I was family than anything.  I look forward to coming back here as often as I can in the future”.

Ms. Gomez, Beaufort is quite happy to have you, even if for just a little while….