Beaufort is frequently recognized as a top small town is the US. based on livability of the place, beautiful neighborhoods and civility of their residents. This historic city, where life centers around the water, also has a vibrant arts community and thriving dining scene. Nestled between Charleston and Savannah, Beaufort is a growing visitor destination and is gradually becoming a place for professionals who place a premium on place and livability.
At the Beaufort Digital Corridor, our recipe is simple – take one of the most livable coastal communities in the country, leverage all relevant resources and then layer on a set of targeted, value-oriented services to help tech businesses thrive. Beaufort, founded in 1711, is experiencing a twenty-first century renaissance. Spend a weekend here and you will be hooked.
The Coolest College Towns in AmericaSOURCE: The Discoverer Blog, September 2018
"Midway between Charleston and Savannah, you’ll find USCB, a public university with around 2000 students. This school lucked out – Beaufort is as charming as its bigger neighbors and right on the coast."
Prettiest Town in South CarolinaSOURCE: Architectural Digest, July 2018
Beaufort was name South Carolina's Prettiest Town as part of Architectural Digest's "The Prettiest Town in Every U.S. State" article. "This town in coastal South Carolina—on Port Royal Island—is the second-oldest in the state, with historical buildings and walking tours documenting its 500 years of history."
The South’s Prettiest Towns 2018SOURCE: Southern Living, July 2018
"There’s not just one thing that makes the South so beautiful. It’s the... beaches that belong in a screensaver, fields of wildflowers that stretch to the horizon, ...and marshes that look like a movie set. Whether you’re a lake person or a beach person, prefer the mountains or wide-open plains, the South is full of small towns, filled with charm, nestled among such enchanting scenery. "
2018 Richard H. Driehaus Form-Based Code AwardSOURCE: Smart Growth America, May 2018
"Achievement in the writing and implementation of form-based zoning codes. Sometimes invisible to the average person, zoning plays an important role in shaping the way our communities grow and change over time. Form-based codes can be a powerful way for cities to reform their zoning, incorporating smart growth principles to foster mixed-use, walkable communities that preserve their unique look and feel."
The Most Romantic Locale in Every StateSOURCE: The Active Times & MSN , January 2018
"Whatever you imagine southern charm to be, Beaufort has it – Antebellum architecture, moss-laden oak trees, parks, Civil War-era homes…Explore the nearby Hunting Island State Park, its maritime forest, the only publicly accessible lighthouse in the state, and the white-tipped waves of the Atlantic."
The South's Best Small TownSOURCE: Southern Living, November 2017
"Beaufort is more than a vacation spot or a photo op,” writes novelist Cassandra King. “It’s literally and figuratively halfway between Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia—not as grand as Charleston or as funky as Savannah but a homey, comfortable in between."
The 14 Cutest Small Towns in the SouthSOURCE: Pure Wow, September 2016
"Look, we have this thing for Beaufort. The poster child for adorable towns, it has all the Southern charm you could ever dream of: friendly people, a low-country culture, a slow-paced lifestyle, antebellum architecture and Spanish moss as far as the eye can see."
One of South Carolina’s Most Charming Small TownsSOURCE: Vogue Magazine
Down in South Carolina’s Lowcountry is Beaufort, an alluring waterside town hidden away on Port Royal Island in the heart of what the locals call the “Sea Islands.” The town, which is pronounced as if saying “beautiful,” has all of the trimmings of the big city—culture, history, stellar cuisine—while remaining quaint, quiet, and ever-so charming. Trees kiss over the many bike paths, park benches overlook the water views, and Spanish moss dangles above the walking paths that crisscross throughout the town.
52 Places to Go in 2016SOURCE: NY Times
Petite Beaufort has the appeal of a much larger city (restaurants, festivals and art galleries) without giving up its small-town, Low Country charms (bike lanes, walking paths and romantic park benches overlooking the water).
Top 100 Best Small Cities in USASOURCE: Livability
Beaufort ranked #48 in the Top 100 Best Small Cities in the USA published by Livability. They examined more than 40 data points each for more than 12,000 towns with populations between 1,000 and 20,000. These cities and towns allow for the tight-knit communities key to small-town living coupled with the amenities you’d expect in larger cities.
10 Best: Small towns with big adventuresSOURCE: USA Today
Life centers around water at this historic city, with everything from sea kayaking and sailing in the Atlantic, to paddling on inland rivers and marshes. It almost seems a little bit like Charleston. You’ve got a thriving foodie scene with all that great seafood. It’s not quite as touristy, but it has all the great stuff you can expect from a coastal town.
18 of the Most Charming Small Towns Across AmericaSOURCE: Country Living
Chock-full of historic sites, a vibrant arts culture, outdoor activities, and a bustling dining scene, this little Lowcountry town simply oozes with charm.
Small Towns We LoveSOURCE: Southern Living
The curving, tidal Beaufort River wraps around the 303-year-old downtown and offers up terrific scenery in most directions. And then there’s the leafy historic district itself, filled with 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century architecture, from tiny cottages and fish shacks to indigo-planters’ mansions with wide piazzas. It’s a Lowcountry town where characters abound. And the river’s pristine waters surrender such high-quality seafood that it seems folks are always gathering for a shrimp or crab boil or an oyster roast.
America's Happiest Seaside TownsSOURCE: Coastal Living
Lowcountry friendliness and urban refinement strike just the right balance in this beautiful South Carolina town known for its historic antebellum architecture, exquisite local cuisine, and rich African-American heritage.
Top 25 Small Cities for ArtSOURCE: American Style Magazine
Beaufort lands spot #22 for top small cities for art.
South Carolina has a reputation as a superior business location largely due to an exceptional economic climate that helps companies hold down operating costs and increase return on investment.
Notable highlights include:
- 5% corporate income tax
- 7% maximum personal income tax
- No state property tax
- No local income tax
- Tax credits for Research & Development
- No unitary tax on worldwide profits
- Tax credits for new jobs
- Tax credits for corporate headquarters facilities
- No inventory or intangibles tax
Other local and state resources:
- SC Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
- SC Lowcountry SCORE
- Beaufort County Economic Development Corp
- Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce
- SCRA, SCBIA, and SC Launch
- SC Commerce Office of Innovation, Scribble
- South Carolina Department of Commerce
In addition to business incentives by the State of South Carolina, the Beaufort Digital Corridor provides tech and tech-related companies a host of high value services that stay with the company throughout the different stages of growth.
Notable highlights include:
- Reduced Business License Fees
- Streamlined Permitting
- Assistance with Infrastructure Providers
- Access to Digital Corridor's services
For brand new companies, or tech companies relocating to Beaufort, view our locally curated Business Start Up Steps HERE.
Also, LowcountryWorks is a great resource for tech companies (a free listing!) and tech talent. A collaboration with the Don Ryan Center for Innovation and the BDC, read more about the upgrade and revitalization of this resource HERE.
The availability of an abundant, stable and competitive business infrastructure is the vital underpinning of Beaufort's tech community. Businesses operating in the Digital Corridor benefit from reliable and competitive business services and transportation infrastructure provided by a host of recognized local, national and international service providers.
The Beaufort Digital Corridor is pleased to facilitate business services for start-ups, expanding tech and tech-related companies, as well as companies seeking to expand or relocate to Beaufort.
Beaufort is easily accessible from anywhere in the world. Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport is conveniently located 45 miles from downtown Beaufort.
Due to increased demand, the Charleston International Airport, located 70 miles northwest of Beaufort, is in the midst of a major expansion to accommodate their expanding flight schedule.
The Beaufort region features a fiber optic, digital, IP-based network that offers businesses reliable, state-of-the-art communications services. Businesses in the Beaufort region tap into everything from the latest feature-rich voice and data services to advanced wireless solutions - all provided by leaders in the telecommunications industry including Hargray Communications.
Talent is the currency of the 21st century. Business and community leaders in the Beaufort region understand the critical role education plays in advancing a knowledge economy. From pre-kindergarten through doctoral level studies and even, computer code schools, Beaufort is committed to providing the best educational opportunities possible.
The Beaufort area is served by the Beaufort County School District (BCSD) To see highlighted tech in our schools, check out the BCSD Information Technology page here.
In addition to this public school District, other education options include:
- A number of private schools
- South Carolina's Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities or the Governor's School for Science and Mathematics, ranked among the best academic secondary schools in the nation
For additional information on area public and private schools, visit the South Carolina Department of Education.
Beyond K-12, more than two-dozen college and universities provide easy access to a full spectrum of higher education opportunities, from computer science to the culinary arts. Colleges in the region are regularly ranked among the nation's best by Peterson's, U.S News & World Report and other respected guides. Notable Higher Education Institutions in Beaufort include:
The Beaufort region is within reasonable proximity to several top-tier research universities, including those in Atlanta and Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill (RTP). The state of South Carolina is also home to three universities with highly respected, growing research programs:
- Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)_
Research funding fiscal 2015: $247 million
- Clemson University
Research funding fiscal 2013: $176 million
- University of South Carolina
_Research funding fiscal 2015: $242.8 million
Beaufort is within close proximity to computer code school – CODEcamp.
- CODEcamp is a community-sourced training program offered by the Charleston Digital Corridor Foundation to provide instruction in open source Web and mobile technologies. Classes now offered in Beaufort.
- SC Codes is a no-cost online coding platform where students can learn at their own pace or in-person at local area meetups.
Nestled between Charleston and Savannah, Beaufort, founded in 1711 has its share of beautiful historic architecture and an abundance of water that is perfect for sailing, kayaking or just hanging out at the beach. Beaufort has award-winning restaurants, a lively arts & cultural scene, and fashionable boutiques. One big difference: Beaufort offers the perfect scale and civility for the human experience and some of the most friendly people in the country.
Beaufort is gradually being discovered as a destination for business and talent, where young entrepreneurs, established professionals, growing families, college students, and retirees can all thrive and come together.
Arts, Culture and Entertainment
The beauty and history of the Beaufort is rivaled only by its lively culture. The daily arts scene includes musicians, actors, authors, storytellers, painters, weavers, sculptors and jewelry artisans. Thriving art galleries and craft shops are filled with the work of local artists inspired by the Lowcountry's scenery, history, and spirit.
Local entertainment embraces everything from historical revues and Gullah-inspired productions, to the magnificent Beaufort Orchestra. Performances are staged in a variety of venues including the University of South Carolina Beaufort's Performing Arts Center.
Notable resources include:
Sports and Recreation
With its wealth of natural beauty, Beaufort has much to offer in terms of sports and recreation activities. From spending time on the water kayaking, sailing, fresh or salt water fishing, or paddle boarding, to enjoying land activities such as golfing, bicycling, playing tennis, bird watching or horseback riding, there are activities for all levels of outdoor adventure enthusiasts. Beaufort also hosts annual events including the annual Beaufort Water Festival, Beaufort Shrimp Festival, Beaufort International Film Festival, Beaufort Twilight Run and more.
Notable resources include: