63rd Annual Beaufort Water Festival - A Sparkling Lowcountry Tradition


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Now is the time to explore one of the best places to live in South Carolina.  Folks that have never had the opportunity to explore the second-oldest city in South Carolina, chartered in 1711, should take a trip to visit Beaufort, SC located on the beautiful Port Royal Island in the heart of the Sea Islands.  This Lowcountry historical seaport town named “Best Small Southern Town” by Southern Living and a “Top 50 Adventure Town” by National Geographic Adventure truly lives up to its reputation for ideal living, endless outdoor adventures, and incredible year-round festivals. 

One of the most highly anticipated events is the 63rd Annual Beaufort Water Festival that will be held from July 13th through 22nd.  This 10-day celebration which started in July of 1956 is one of the most popular happenings for the summer and provides the perfect opportunity to explore the majestic Beaufort waterfront downtown that runs parallel to the Beaufort River where the event will be held.  With nearby Hilton Head Island, Fripp Island and pristine beaches this is the ideal spot for the ultimate summer vacation and the perfect location to shop for new homes in Beaufort, SC, one of the most affordable places to live in the state.

The charming backdrop of rich antebellum architecture with captivating views of the Beaufort River, historic landmarks and streets lined with Spanish moss draped oaks decorate this artistic yet quaint downtown area providing the perfect setting for this Southern Lowcountry festival.  Conveniently located between Charleston, SC and Savannah, GA, Beaufort is the place to be and attending the event is easy given the ideal location.  This event draws visitors from all over the country and is considered one of the premier festivals of the season.  This family friendly event has put Beaufort on the map and now is the time to make plans to attend this annual celebration.  Here is the schedule of events that attendees can look forward to at this year’s 63rd Annual Beaufort Water Festival:


Friday, July 13

  • The Festival Arts & Crafts Market sparks off the gala at the Promenade at Waterfront Park in downtown from noon to 7 pm.  Here folks will find an incredible collection of local artists selling their wares outdoors which provides a great spot to shop, people watch and sample some of the most delectable local cuisine in the South.  The market is open throughout the festival and offers a unique shopping experience.  The market is open: 
    Friday 12 pm – 7 pm
    Saturday 9 am – 7pm
    Sunday 9 am – 5pm
    Monday – Thursday: 10am – 7pm
    Friday 10 am – 7 pm

    Saturday 9 am – 7 pm
    Sunday 9am – 3pm​
  • OPENING CEREMONY to kick off the event will be held at the Waterfront Park, gates open at 6pm and the ceremony begins at 7pm featuring The Parris Island Marine Band followed by an awesome firework display at dusk.  This event is free to the public and free shuttle service is offered from the Beaufort County Government Center.

Saturday, July 14

  • Boating enthusiasts won’t want to miss the RAFT RACE being held from 8am to noon at the Waterfront Park Seawall.  This family fun event is worth getting up early so share in the competitive spirit of local rafters.
  • Festival Arts & Crafts Market at the Promenade at the Waterfront Park opens at 9am until 7pm stop, shop and explore the artisans that make this city full of expression from all genres.
  • Bocce ball players will enjoy playing or spectating the Bocce Tournament which will be held at the Waterfront Park Main Field at 9am.  Come participate or watch some competitive play of this happening sport while enjoying the food, drink and music that complements this festive affair throughout downtown Beaufort.
  • Another fun athletic event planned is a Badminton Tournament to be played at the Waterfront Park Stage Field at 9am.  Racquet lovers are encouraged to sign up to play or just enjoy cheering on those who decide to test their skills in this fun challenge.
  • Kids ages 12 and under only are invited to partake in the Children’s Toad Fishing Tournament to be held 10am to noon at the Waterfront Park Seawall.  Bring a rod, reel and tackle (bait will be provided) to test your skills at this family fun event. The event is free to attend. 
  • Another fun place to explore is the Sponsor’s Expo at the Waterfront Park Pavilion from 10am to 2pm. Thanks to the generosity of this year’s sponsors, this is a free event.
  • The Shrimp Boat Tours is a great way to see how this region has sustained a rich history of cultivating shrimp which is imbedded in the culture of Lowcountry cuisine.  Ever tried Shrimp and Grits?  There is plenty of fresh shrimp featured throughout the dining venues found at this year’s event.  This is a free event that will be held from noon to 4pm at the Waterfront Park Seawall.  Forrest Gump “never had it so good!
  • Have some fun watching some spectacular athletes demonstrate their skills at the Ski Show held on the serene Beaufort River at Waterfront Park.  This event will be held from 1pm and 3:30pm and is free to the public.  Come enjoy this exhilarating display of talent while at the festival.
  • Finish this exciting day with the Concert in the Park sponsored by New Country Bob 106.9 featuring headliner Granger Smith and Earl Dibbles Jr. accompanied by Special Guests John King and Walker County.  This upbeat musical venue will be held at Waterfront Park.  The gates open at 6pm and the show starts at 7pm.  Tickets are still available for $30.  There are no strollers, coolers, outside food or beverages or professional photography allowed.  There are no refunds but children under the age of 5 are FREE as is shuttle service from the Beaufort County Government Center.

Sunday, July 15

  • Festival Arts & Crafts Market opens at 9am until 5pm at the Promenade at the Waterfront Park.
  • The River Rally will be held in local waters from 9am to 1pm.  Come explore the nautical adventures offered on the sunlit Beaufort River in downtown and share this fun outdoor   experience with fellow boaters.
  • Children’s Day will be held from 11am to 3pm and is a family friendly event that features games, kid’s activities, shows, bounce houses and prizes.  This is a great FREE event for all to enjoy.
  • Don’t miss the Shrimp Boat Tours from noon to 4pm at the Waterfront Park Seawall to experience the tradition of the shrimp industry embedded in this rich Lowcountry cuisine and the way of life for continuing the cultivation of this exquisite local delicacy. Great event that is FREE to attend.
  • Rock the night away at the Teen Dance with live entertainment from DJ Donna at the Waterfront Park from 6pm to 9pm for just $10.  Dance under the stars in Beaufort with this venue offered for ages 13 to 17 (ID required), no entry after 8pm, clutch purses only, appropriated clothing and no refunds, outside food, beverages or coolers.

Monday, July 16

  • Festival Arts & Crafts Market at the Promenade at the Waterfront Park opens 10 am until 7pm.
  • Motown Monday is a great way to rock the night away with some awesome music, incredible food and endless dancing just like the good old times of yesterday.  The show starts at 8pm and the gates open at 7pm.  The admission is $15 and there are no refunds, outside food, beverages of coolers allowed.  Kids under 5 are FREE as is shuttle service from the Beaufort County Government Center.

Tuesday, July 17

  • Festival Arts & Crafts Market at the Promenade at the Waterpark Park opens 10am until 7pm.  Come shop and experience the wonderful artwork and local crafts while enjoying the incredible scenery found in this charming seaport town.
  • Hometown Tuesday is a super fun FREE event sponsored by the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce that will be held at the Waterfront Park.  The show featuring the Steel Rail Express starts at 8pm.  The gates open at 7pm and there is no outside food, beverages or coolers allowed inside.

Wednesday, July 18

  • Festival Arts & Crafts Market is a daily adventure at the Promenade at the Waterfront Park open 10am until 7pm.  Come and find the perfect artifact to add to your collection of memories from the historical seaport town of Beaufort.
  • “Think You Got Talent?” If so, then the Talent Show hosted by the Preceptor Omega Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority should be on the list of events at this year’s Beaufort Water Festival.  This event will be held at the Waterfront Park at 7pm and amateurs are encouraged to join in.  The entry fee is $10 or FREE with an official 2017 62nd Annual Water Festival t-shirt.  The gates open at 6pm.  Be advised there are no refunds, outside food, beverages of coolers.  Kids under 5 are FREE.

Thursday, July 19

  • Festival Arts & Crafts Market still trying to make a decision on that original piece of art or collectible jewelry?  The market opens at 10am on the Promenade at the Waterfront Park.  Shop until 7pm.
  • One of the highlights for the Beaufort Water Festival is the LOWCOUNTRY SUPPER that offers headline entertainment from 20 Ride and opening vibes from Andrew Beam featuring The Whistlers.  This family fun will be held at Waterfront Park with gates open at 6pm.  The cost of the event is $15 with dinner served from 6pm to 7:30pm.  Children age 5 and under are FREE.  As with most events offered at this festival, there are no refunds, outside food, beverages or coolers allowed.  This is one party you don’t want to miss!

Friday, July 20

  • Festival Arts & Crafts Market don’t miss this incredible collection of fine arts and crafts found along the Promenade at the Waterfront Park opening at 10am until 7pm.
  • No sleeping for this fun-filled event.  The popular “Bed Race” will be held at 5pm on the corner of Bay and Harrington Streets.  There is an entry fee of $25 per team and same day registration is allowed based on availability.  Check in time is 4:30pm, so don’t sleep in for this one!
  • Groove Town Assault” will rock the house at this year’s RIVER DANCE held at 8pm at Waterfront Park.  Souls Harbor opens the show that will guarantee a night full of exciting entertainment under the stars in Beaufort dancing the night away.  The event costs $15 and the gates open at 7pm.  Attendees must be 18 with valid ID, and no refunds, outside food, beverages, coolers of strollers are allowed.  There is free shuttle service provided from the Beaufort County Government Center.   Come and rock the night away, Lowcountry style!

Saturday, July 21

  • Festival Arts & Crafts Market one more day to buy that perfect collectible from the Beaufort Water Festival at the Promenade at the Waterfront Park from 9am to 7pm.
  • Don’t miss the WATER FESTIVAL GRAND PARADE organized by the Beaufort Lions Club.  This show-stopping FREE event will take place downtown from 10am to noon.
  • After the parade, head to the Waterfront Park Pavilion for the Non-Profit Expo that will be held from noon to 4pm to check out a few of the local charities that support the community.
  • Looking up to the beautiful skies of Beaufort, enjoy the stimulating AIR SHOW at Waterfront Park that will be held from 1pm to 4pm.  The show will feature stunt planes, US Coast Guard Search and Rescue demos.  This is yet another great way to enjoy the fabulous outdoor adventures that await in this island oasis found in the Sea Islands of South Carolina.  The event is FREE to the public.
  • The COMMODORE’S BALL is the perfect end to a perfect week of fun and outdoor adventures at this happening summer extravaganza.  This signature event held at the Waterfront Park will feature entertainment from the Emerald Empire which will keep folks dancing the night away.  The gates open at 7pm and the show starts at 8pm.  Admission is $10 however this is a family friendly event and kids under 5 get in Free.  No refunds, outside food, beverages or coolers are allowed.

Sunday, July 22

  • Last chance…Festival Arts & Crafts Market will open at 9am and closes at 3pm. The Promenade at the Waterfront Park is the stop for one last shopping trip at this year’s Beaufort Water Festival.
  • Following tradition, the “Blessing of the Fleet and Parade of Boats” will end this annual event on the Beaufort River in front of the Waterfront Park Seawall.  The closing ceremony starts at noon and runs through 2pm.  There is FREE registration for the boats entered in the regalia, all boats must register to be eligible for prizes and applications must be at judges’ stations by noon.  Good luck to all those sharing the love of living by the sea in Beaufort!

While visiting Beaufort, take the time to venture out and explore the impressive antebellum architecture downtown that is built on 304 acres along the Beaufort River that has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.  Travel back in time by taking a carriage ride to explore this city where the movie “Forrest Gump” was filmed.  Relax at the austere Pigeon Point Community Park after checking out all the historical points of interest scattered throughout the area.  Stroll through the numerous antiques stores, rare boutiques and art galleries that are found in this quaint preserved piece of history in the South.  For outdoor enthusiasts, consider a paddle board excursion or kayaking along the Beaufort River to get an entirely different vantage point for viewing this amazing city.

When it comes to Lowcountry cuisine there is no better place to enjoy some of the best and freshest seafood than those cultivated in the waterways surrounding Beaufort.  Crabs, shrimp, fresh fish and oysters are all signature ingredients for succulent dishes prepared by local chefs.  Traditional meals include, Shrimp and Grits, She-crab Soup and the world-famous Lowcountry Boil.  There will be several restaurants showcasing their delicacies throughout the city during the Beaufort Waterfront Festival. Open your palate to enjoy some of the most amazing food selections offered in the region ranging from casual “shrimp shacks” to exclusive 5-star dining venues. This is one incredible city with non-stop action throughout the year drawing many folks to come to realize that Beaufort is one of the best places to live in South Carolina.

In addition to being as known a fabulous historic seaport town, this city has a lot of Beaufort waterfront properties still available and highly affordable.  Take the time to see some of the incredible new homes in Beaufort, SC and discover that this is a prime place to relocate or retire in the South.  Not to mention that there are some incredible sandy white beaches nearby and favorable year-round temperatures that add to the overall appeal of living on this amazing island oasis in South Carolina.

Beaufort is close in proximity to some of the most beautiful and naturally preserved white sandy beaches in the world.  This popular vacation destination provides the perfect retreat for fishing, swimming, sunbathing, boating or bird watching.  There are several islands nearby to visit and each is unique in its offering of breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.  Here are a few to check out while attending this year’s Beaufort Water Festival:

FRIPP ISLAND is located only 21 miles from Beaufort on US 21.  This is a captivating wildlife sanctuary where folks can enjoy spectacular views of wildlife species both on land and in the sea and is a first-class option to stay for that perfect island retreat.  There are 2 championship golf courses, tennis courts, kayaking, fishing charters, a full-service marina for boat and kayak rentals, a seaside water park for kids and some amazing ocean-front restaurants to choose the ultimate in fresh regional cuisine.  The island has controlled access to the 3.5-mile beach, but once visitors discover the awesome sunsets and majestic scenery, many decide that this is the place to shop for new homes in Beaufort, SC.  There are excellent accommodations offered on the island from hotel rooms to private villas for visitors.  Golf carts are the best way to get around and help the environment.  Bicycling is also popular making this a fun, friendly and adventurous place to visit in the beautiful beaches of the Sea Islands.  Imagine waking up everyday with a sunrise stroll on the white sandy beaches while watching dolphins frolic…priceless!  Explore Beaufort waterfront properties on the Atlantic Ocean and be amazed at this incredible real estate value.

HARBOR ISLAND is a 1400-acre private resort island located about 15 miles from downtown Beaufort between St. Helena Island and Hunting Island. Harbor Island is comprised of tidal marshes features a 3-mile natural white beach accessible only by those who are staying at one of the island’s vacation rentals and residents.  There are outdoor pools, tennis courts, bike rentals and beach volleyball courts for those who enjoy the benefits of staying on this exclusive Beaufort retreat.  The scenery is captivating and serenity prevails throughout this pristine beach escape.  There are excellent restaurants available and many hours of enjoying sunsets while sipping a glass of crisp wine defining this stress-free lifestyle.

HUNTING ISLAND can be found only 17.5 miles southeast of Beaufort.  On this barrier island, the 5000-acre Hunting Island State Park is a major tourist attraction with maritime forests, a historic lighthouse and 200 campsites near the ocean available for outdoor adventurers.   Here travelers and residents enjoy a nature center, hiking/biking trails, ocean fishing off a 1200-foot pier as well as the world-famous (circa}1875 lighthouse that provides amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding Sea Islands.  Exotic palm trees, indigenous marshlands and exotic wildlife including residential dolphins and pelicans make this island one of the most popular vacation destinations in South Carolina with over a million visitors annually.  Be advised there is a fee to enter the park.

LADY’S ISLAND is considered the shopping and dining crossroad of Northern Beaufort County.  Connected by two distinctive bridges that connect to Beaufort and Port Royal, this area has experienced considerable residential and business growth in the past 20 years.  Miles of breathtaking water views and easy access community boat ramps are some of the reasons for expansion from neighboring cities. Many of the homes found here sit on large plots of land and feature equestrian estates and maritime forestry surrounding the property.  This incredible island once housed impressive indigo plantations and now provides harmony living alongside local fishermen and shrimpers who still thrive in the region.  It provides the ideal location to enjoy the happening city life of nearby downtown Beaufort with the peace and serenity of country living just minutes away.  This is a great place to shop for new homes in Beaufort, NC.  It’s one of the best kept secrets for finding incredible values.

Besides great beaches, awesome year-round festivals including the upcoming Beaufort Water Festival, rich history, spectacular cuisine, golfing, tennis, antique shopping, kayaking or paddle-boarding down the Beaufort River through downtown, watching dolphins swim parallel while enjoying white sandy beaches and glorious sunsets, what else do you need to book your next trip to this amazing vacation destination found in the unbelievable city of Beaufort, SC.  Come explore the Beaufort waterfront, take a look at the incredible values found in the prices of new homes in Beaufort, NC and discover that this is for sure the best place to live in South Carolina, “The Best Small Town in the South.”

If this is your first time visiting, ask for our complimentary Beaufort relocation information to help you learn more about the area.

Request Free Real Estate Information

Timeframe for Purchase*
General Price Range*

Request Free Real Estate Information

Timeframe for Purchase*
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