The 2018 Beaufort Water Festival

The 2018 Beaufort Water Festival

Wherever you are in the state of South Carolina you’ve probably heard the word “water festival”.  Every year about this time and up until late July locals to Beaufort County and the state begin scrambling to find accommodations and someone with a boat to get out on the water.  After all its always better to have a friend with a boat, than to actually own a boat.  The Beaufort Water Festival is a unique event that year after year draws large crowds to an otherwise sleepy southern town.  This being the 63rd Water Festival says a lot about its popularity and ability to put on a good time for all those participating.   Whether you experience all that is available on land, the sandbar party or a little of both you will leave with an experience unlike any other in the state.

The Sandbar


It begs the question, what’s so special about an island of sand only available at low tide?  Honestly, that is one of those age-old questions that have no good answer except, why not?  This sandbar in particular, however, is situated facing downtown Beaufort and is exceptionally large in size.  Boaters from all over migrate to it in that first weekend and anyone passing by would assume they stayed all week and into the second and final weekend as boats come and go all week.  In most everyone’s opinion, the second weekend and finale are the favorite weekend of the two to experience the festival.  A new tradition that has surfaced is to have a barge placed over the center of the sandbar and at low tide, a concert is given by a different artist every year.  The second weekend also typically comes with watersports teams putting on shows near Waterfront Park and an air show with dazzling plane aerobatics.

If you plan to experience the sandbar side of the Water Festival, it is best to plan ahead.  The trip by boat is half the fun and can be done by renting one of our boats or putting your own in at the marina.  From there you will take the winding creeks out to Port Royal Sound (don’t worry the channels are marked) where you will likely start to see large groups of boaters making the mass migration to downtown. It doesn’t take much time and suddenly you’re squarely in the mix of it all.  Make sure you have all required safety equipment as you will more than likely be checked by local police.  Upon arrival find a place to anchor and wait for the Sandbar to appear or tie up at the new day dock downtown and go for a walk to see more of the land-based activities.

The Waterfront Park


The activities at the Waterfront park range from vendors selling amazing local food to nightly entertainment that serves as the perfect backdrop to any low country night.  The event is kicked off with The Marine Corp Band playing at dusk with fireworks at night.  The rest of the week, bands from all over the low country and coastal empire perform for the crowd and can be heard on and off the water.  In years past even The Lieutenant Dan Band performed starring Gary Sinise who famously portrayed Lieutenant Dan on the locally filmed movie “Forest Gump”.

The finale is The Commodores Ball that is organized by The Commodore of the Water Festival who is a different local appointed every year to oversee festivities.   However you choose to experience the activities in the park, you will always be reminded that this is a celebration of Beaufort and its waterways more than anything.

Ready to Enjoy Water Festival?

For those needing a little extra encouragement, it’s worth mentioning that on week-long stays between July 7th and August 4th you will save 20% on our rentals.  So if you were looking for a late summer reason to get away don’t miss all that the Water Festival and Fripp has to offer. (Restrictions apply, so check the rentals link above for all the details.)