The Barefoot Mermaid’s Guide to Beaufort, South Carolina Part I

My family has spent years in and around Beaufort. And by years I mean almost every summer since my mom was three. It was not until planning our last trip with my in-laws that I decided I needed to write a travel post about it. My roots and love for the Lowcountry run deep. Moving there crosses my mind at least monthly but sometimes daily. Hopefully one day. Until then I will just dream and visit at least once a year. Below are some of our favorite things in and around Beaufort. Some are on our to do list, I will update as we actually do them. I have noted our favorites as part of our Always List meaning every time we are visiting the are we eat/shop/visit.



There are many chain hotels in Beaufort  as well as houses, spaces and rooms for rent in Beaufort and the surrounding Sea Islands on Airbnb, VRBO,  and Home Away.

Area Bed and Breakfasts include Beaufort Inn, Rhett House Inn, Cuthbert House Inn and others. I would love to stay in one of these Downtown one day.

We have stayed in the Holiday Inn which some rooms have lovely marsh views. Quality Inn in Frogmore is a good location in between the beach and downtown. I will say its not super fancy or nice but its decent enough and generally a great price. Recently, we staying at the Sleep Inn. Great marsh views on the back. Friendly staff and they had a pool for Em. I will say a few years ago we stayed at the Quality Inn at Town Center around July 4th. We wont be staying there again. The room was smokey and the staff was not helpful when we asked to change rooms. Ryan even looked for another room at a different hotel through Priceline or whatever booking website we used but all the hotels were booked.



The Chocolate Tree was discovered by Aunt Amy and Uncle David on their honeymoon in 1981. Our family has been buying their chocolate by the pounds ever since. Honestly, I wonder how many pounds of shrimp and chocolate we have purchased over the years. Certain days of the year they offer candy classes. Ryan and I took one a few summers ago. It was wonderful and fun. The other people in the class cancelled so they called to reschedule, when I told them we were from Alabama and would not be around the next weekend she decided to still host the class for us. I can not promise that you will have your own personal class as we did but I feel that really speaks to the care and love for their customers.  They have an annual all you can eat night in August. We have never gotten to go but its on my list. The night this year is August 18, 2017. There are two sessions and tickets are $20.00 in advanced or $25.00 at the door. A member of our always list and sometime always everyday list.

Palm and Moon Bagels is another one we have discovered in recent years. They have bagels with flavored cream cheese, breakfast bagel sandwiches, and lunch bagel sandwiches. Always List.

Lowcountry Produce is a cute shop and eatery located in Downtown Beaufort. The have cute home items, pantry specialties, and a delicious menu which includes pimento cheese, tomato pie and breakfast. The Ooey Gooey with pimento cheese, bacon and pepper jelly,  is my favorite here.


Panini’s on the Waterfront is home to Beaufort’s best she crab soup, in our opinion. We have tried the she crab soup at Emily’s, Dockside, Boondocks, Gilligan’s Seafood, Foolish Frog, and pretty much every other restaurant where it has been on the menu. In the past few years Ryan and I have made it our mission to find the best she crab soup in Beaufort, maybe one day we will expand that search to the entire Lowcounty. Many people rave about Emily’s but to us Panini’s wins above all the rest. If you have a favorite place for she crab soup let us know so we can try it out. Always list.

Plums is a seasonal lunch and dinner place located off Bay Street on the Waterfront. Ryan and I had dinner here a few years ago. This time ordered mac & cheese and sweet potato fries to go for our picnic. The Gouda mac & cheese is delicious. That night one of the specials was a stack of fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese and bacon jam. Had I know about that I would have ordered it to.

Luther’s Rare & Well Done is also located on Bay Street. It’s been around for a while and we have eaten here in the past but not in recent years. Take a look at their menu to see if something might tickle your fancy.


Common Ground is a coffee and dessert hangout. They also have breakfast items which I had hoped to get back into try but did not make it. We tried a few desserts there. I had a very tasty peanut butter pie. I fun hangout and great spot to grab a coffee and dessert.

Other eats located in the downtown area that we have never tried include; Saltus River Grill, Q on Bay (not sure if this is new, it does not seem familiar, but it looks yummy), Breakwater Restaurant & Bar, Wren, Crave Cupcake Boutique, Magnolia Bakery Cafe, Blackstone’s Cafe, Old Bull Tavern and Agave Mexican Grill (we have never eaten here, but it’s been around a while and won some awards). Do you have any other suggestions we should try on our next visit? Comment or message me if you do.

Bricks has what I think of as bar food. We ate here on Thanksgiving two years ago. The food was decent but the service was slow but maybe we just hit it on a bad night. We would try it again if we had eaten all the hundreds of other delicious places.

Papaya Thai and Sushi Bar is located off Boundary Street. We visited here on our last trip. It was surprisingly good. I believe we sampled some items at Shrimp Festival then decided to give it a try. If fresh local seafood is not your cup of tea or you just want something different this is a wonderful restaurant to try.

Herban Marketplace is an organic market places located behind Papaya. Em and I stopped in one morning. This would be a great stop if you needed special diet items. They have a deli in there as well but we just browsed the market. I definitely want to go back next time.

Sea Eagle Market falls under two categories: where to eat and where to buy fresh, local seafood. This was also a place we discovered while at the Shrimp Festival last year.

Athenian Gardens is heavenly with specialties such as pastitsio, hummus, gyro pits and plates. Located across from the hospital, its a great spot if you want a break from seafood.  It’s run by a Greek (read lively) son and his mom who cooks. They are always very sweet and their baklava is award worthy. I always have trouble not eating fresh local seafood at every meal but this is on our always list.


Maryland Fried Chicken we tried this for the first time on our recent trip. We got a few things to go and had a picnic on the waterfront. The chicken was good and got Ryan’s stamp of approval. He is a self proclaimed chicken connoisseur.  The fried shrimp and fries were lacking but it is a fried chicken place after all.


Jason’s Seafood and Wings was a pleasant surprise. We tried this one night for quick and easy after a day at the beach. The fried shrimp tasted fresh as well as the sides of slaw, fries and baked beans.

Alvin Ord’s is a sandwich shop located on Ribaut Road introduced to us by Uncle Charles who, like us, knows where to find some good eats. Similar style to Scholtzsky’s if you have ever been to one of those. The sandwiches travel well and get better with time after they marinate a little. So pick some up to add to your cooler for your beach day,  a waterfront picnic, or on your way home. They are also good right in the restaurant. This is on our always list and often we eat it again on the way out of town.

Fat Patties after some poor planning this year we found ourselves dining here. It was good with lots of options to customize. I was glad after all these years we got to try it.

Moondoggies Cafe and Grill has been around a while as well. We finally stopped by so I could try the fried pickles. They did not disappoint after years of seeing pictures of the thinly sliced friend pickles. They other items were good as well. I had the crab cakes just to try something different. Ryan had the fried shrimp and some yummy mac and cheese.

Dockside has become a favorite of ours in recent years. It has been around since 1990 but with 6 children plus adults we did not eat out much when we were younger. Ryan and I have expanded our dining out exploration in recent years. Always List.

Groucho’s is a small chain out of Columbia, SC. They have salads and sandwiches.

The Upper Crust seems familiar, maybe we have just driven by multiple times but never eaten there.


Carolina Cider Company has the best cider and tea. I love the Carolina Tea which is mint tea with peach cider. They have a few gifts, jams, jellies, canned items, pies, cider, and other treats. We just discovered this last year. There are a few locations one on the way to Charleston close to Old Shelton Church and one one the way to Hunting Island. Always list as in every single time we drive by.

Lowcountry Store is also located in Frogmore. They have cute items and some food.

Foolish Frog is located  in Frogmore, SC. We have gotten she crab soup and fried okra to go from here. The okra was yummy and came with a good dipping sauce. The soup was good too but not our favorite. Would like to try this again soon.

Bella Luna is and Italian restaurant across from the Foolish Frog. We have not eaten here but it is on our list. They do also have some traditional Lowcountry dishes. We want to try the shrimp & grits and the she crab soup, sadly we discovered that they don’t have soup or maybe they did not the day we called. Still on our to try list.

Gullah Grub has been around as long as I can remember. Ryan and I finally went a few years ago. We were a bit disappointed but maybe we ordered the wrong things.


Shrimp Shack has been a family favorite for many years. They are closed on Sundays and have different winter hours so check before you go. In the past they have only taken cash or check but I will check when we are there next. Go for the shrimp burger which is a deep fried shrimp patty or the fried shrimp. You won’t be disappointed.  The have seemed to up their prices in the past few years but paying for fresh seafood to local business is somewhere I feel good about spending my money. Always List.

Johnson’s Creek Tavern is located on Harbor Island just over Johnson’s Creek. We have eaten here in the past. It is good for grabbing food close to Hunting Island.




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