By Will McCullough
As someone who supports his family solely via the selling of property in the Beaufort area, I’ve had to step out of my comfort zone this time in order to focus on a local piece of real estate that, while exceptionally beautiful and offering a location that puts most others to shame, is not available for purchase. This one-of-a-kind deepwater parcel offers a sandy beach and breathtaking 360 degree views of the waterways surrounding downtown Beaufort, Lady’s Island, Port Royal and Parris Island. Under normal circumstances, one would expect only a few to be able to afford unrestricted access to such an incredible property. But, here in the Lowcountry, we can all come and go as we please. Well, as long as you have a boat. Or, maybe better yet, a friend with a boat. Oh, it also needs to be around low tide.
By now, most local readers already knew the parcel of real estate I was referring to, but, for those of you visiting the area for the Water Festival, please allow me to introduce you to the Beaufort Sandbar. The Beaufort Sandbar is an island that appears just offshore from the Waterfront Park in the Beaufort River when the tide is low. Many visitors to the area are surprised to learn that the local deviations between our high and low tides can vary as much as 9 feet. This significant drop in water level can reveal sandbars, or little islands, that make excellent locations for waterfront fun, socializing and relaxation.
While there are many popular sandbar “hang outs” in the area, each with their own merits, the Beaufort (or “downtown”) Sandbar is unquestionably the most popular and iconic. Finding it is quite easy if you are in the downtown area. Simply walk out to where the swings front the river at the Waterfront Park and look out a few hundred yards in the rough direction of 2 o’clock. If it’s within a few hours of either “side” of low tide, you’ll see a collection of boats encircling a sandy little island in the middle of the river. Yep, that’s it.
One of my personal favorite aspects of the Beaufort Sandbar is, as I alluded to earlier, its utter lack of exclusivity. Beaufortonians of all ages, backgrounds, income and occupation arrive on its temporary shore via paddle boards, kayaks and boats of all size and shape. This eclectic mix of folks enjoy a relaxed sense of freedom seldom found on public beaches, with both dogs and kids running freely while grills are fired up, horseshoes are tossed and footballs are caught.
I’ve lived in the Beaufort area since I moved here in 1993 to serve as a Drill Instructor at Parris Island and I’ve always considered the Sandbar to be one of my favorite places. For me, it has always induced a pleasant and surreal feeling of being surrounded by “all things Beaufort” while seeming a world away.
Best of all, this year, the Beaufort Sandbar has finally been given its Water Festival recognition, being immortalized by local artist William Rhett III as the festival’s 2012 official logo appearing in print, online and across the back of scores of T-shirts. It’s a beautiful piece and, if you’re lucky, you might be able to pick up a print at his gallery located at 901 Bay St.
In closing, if you are visiting and considering a potential move to the area, feel free to swing by a local real estate office and pick up some information on what’s available. Just know in advance that one of the nicest examples of local real estate is not available for sale. But you’re welcome to visit it at any time.
Will and Deena McCullough of Lowcountry Real Estate can be reached directly at 843-441-8286 or via email at RealEstate@BeaufortSC.net.