Why We Love Sea Islands | Natural Retreats
Your Guide to Sea Islands
with xplore expert Charissa

Why We Love Sea Islands

Considered a true, Southern beach haven, the Sea Islands of South Carolina are brimming with history, adventure, and plenty of sandy beaches and fresh, ocean breezes. Explore the town of Beaufort, or spend the day at Hunting Island State Park to watch the wildlife. The local community and small town feel continue to draw visitors from generation to generation, and it's not difficult to see why!

The Sea Islands of South Carolina, comprised of Harbor, Fripp, Dataw, and St. Helena Islands, are home to gorgeous, sandy beaches and some of the country’s most dramatic tidal changes. A short drive from the historic town of Beaufort, Sea Islands offers vacationers privacy that’s just a stones-throw away from rich culture and activities. Paddleboard, canoe, or kayak through marshes and find the perfect spot to cast your line. Back on dry land, climb the Hunting Island Lighthouse, hike through Hunting Island State Park, or visit the Parris Island Museum. Movie buffs can visit settings from several classic American movies, including The Big Chill, Prince of Tides, and Forrest Gump.

Day 1

Explore Downtown Beaufort

Take the short, 30-minute trip to to downtown Beaufort and feel transported back in time.


Downtown Beaufort

Named "America's Happiest Seaside Town" by Coastal Living Magazine, and by Southern Living Magazine in "Small Towns We Love", Downtown Beaufort is a southern gem, providing guests and locals with shopping, dining, sight-seeing, and captivating, small-town.


Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour

Begin your visit to Sea Islands with a narrated horse-drawn carriage tour of Beaufort. Learn about the history of the town, including the Civil War and Hollywood sites.


Breakwater Restaurant & Bar

With a mission to be "seasonal, artisanal, and original", the Breakwater Restaurant & Bar is a hotspot for great seafood and handcrafted recipes.

A Quintessential Southern Town

Day 2

Entertainment & Natural Beauty

Reenact scenes from your favorite films and explore the state park.


Beaufort Movie Tour

Get a taste of Hollywood right here in the south and see your favorite movie settings come to life. The guide will point out historical, movie landmarks like where Forrest Gump ran out of his leg braces, where the Great Santini was buried, among many others.


Hunting Island State Park

Explore the 5,000-acre barrier island or find a shady stop on the beach (yes there is shade even without an umbrella!). Hike the beach, swim in the surf, or kayak the waves. There's always something to do in Hunting Island State Park!


Highway 21 Drive-In Movie Theater

End your evening right with a drive-in movie. This outdoor theater shows two pictures a night, from Friday to Sunday, with schedules for upcoming movies found online. Pack a blanket and enjoy your double feature!

A Perfect Day in Sea Islands

Day 3

Adventure & Thrills

Enjoy a guided tour of the pristine, South Carolina waters.


Boating Tour

Departing from the Downtown Marina of Beaufort, explore the rivers and salt marshes with the guide of First Mate Linda. Keep your eye out for the marine life and maybe even an alligator in the marshes.


Southern Grace's Bistro

Prepare for a historically delicious dining experience. The bistro provides decadent cuisine and offers the feeling of old, Southern charm. A perfect way to end your day.


Beaufort Ghost Tour

Follow the guide, by carriage, or by foot and hear the spine tingling stories of downtown Beaufort. Walking tours are $12 and carriage tours are $22. Call and make your reservation for an evening you won't forget.

Pack your Tackle Box

Local Tips & Expertise

Call the Xplore Team to find out more

Our Top 3's in the Area


US Xplore Team

"Enjoy fresh seafood, panoramic views from the Hunting Island Lighthouse, and see where Forrest Gump started his famous run."

Charissa has a passion for providing great customer satisfaction and making sure guests have a relaxing, comfortable, and enjoyable stay. To put it plainly, she aims to provide a "home away from home." She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and reading travel magazines.