BREAKFAST: At Kiawah Island, drop in at the Southern Kitchen, in the Straw Market, for biscuits and gravy, chicken and waffles or other fine Southern style fare. (There are 11 restaurants on the resort; if you’re vacationing full-tilt, make dinner reservations at The Ocean Room steakhouse at the Sanctuary.)
AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE: Kiawah Island Golf Resort ( www.kiawahresort.com) offers five nationally-known 18s, and the Ocean Course, which hosted the 2007 Senior PGA and the 2012 PGA championships – always hovers near the top of lists of public links in America. The Pete Dye-designed Ocean Course has 10 holes along the Atlantic. (Ever see the movie “The Legend of Bagger Vance”? It was filmed there.) The other four courses are stellar, and Kiawah’s courts are No. 1 among the top 25 tennis spots by tennisresortsonline. Check for packages that pair your sport with a spa visit and/or lodgings.
You drove or passed U.S. 17 to reach Kiawah; now ride it southwest through the ACE Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve ( http://1.usa.gov/VPoXOK) to U.S. 21, and take that down to Beaufort ( www.beaufortsc.org), whose roots go back to the 1700s and which has a multi-neighborhood historic district second to none.
LUNCH: Try the seafood at Plums ( www.plumsrestaurant.com) or one of the other places overlooking the waterfront. 2
P.M. Stroll the waterfront – then take a self-guided walking tour ( http://bit.ly/14Caoxm) and keep your eyes peeled for places that served as locations in “The Big Chill,” “The Prince of Tides,” “Forrest Gump” and other movies. (Guided film tours: www.beaufortmovietour.com). After, drive over to St. Helena Island, the heart of South Carolina’s African American Gullah culture, which is outlined at the York W. Bailey Museum in Historic Penn Center ( www.penncenter.com; closed Sundays).
DINNER: In Port Royal, try MoonDoggies Cafe & Grill ( www.moondoggiescafe.net) for local seafood or phenomenal steaks.
BREAKFAST: Drop into the Magnolia Bakery Cafe ( www.thefoodscoop.com/mbc.html) for coffee and artisan bread on the Beaufort waterfront. 1
0 A.M.: Beaufort is home to – no fooling – the Kazoo Museum ( www.kazoomuseum.org). The free-admission site moved here from the Pacific Northwest in 2010 and has proven to be surprising popular. Or head to Parris Island, where the famed Marine Corps facility has a free-admission museum ( www.parrisislandmuseum.com) that covers Lowcountry history as well as the Marines’ story.
LUNCH: On Paris Avenue in Port Royal, keep your eyes peeled for a one-time one-room schoolhouse. It’s now Mikki’s All American Cuisine, a great place for a hand-crafted cheeseburger or overstuffed Reuben.
1 P.M. Take a tour of Port Royal Sound with Captain Tim Deckard – a scenic voyage aboard a restored 1930s Elco yacht ( www.beaufortvintagevoyages.com) or a four-, six or eight hour in-shore fishing trip ( www.beaufortcastawaycharter.com). Be sure to make reservations in advance; the Elco also does sunset and dinner cruises. Of if you’re hankering for more golf, head down to Hilton Head and try some of the resort island’s celebrated links (details/reservations: www.hiltonhead.org).
DINNER: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, in nearby Bluffton, is a golf/tennis/spa resort ( www.palmettobluff.com) that has repeatedly been singled out as one of the best in America. While the resort is gated, its riverside village is open to the public. Go ahead and splurge at its elegant River House Restaurant on the banks of the May River.
WRAP UP: Downshift at Luther’s ( www.luthersrareandwelldone.com), Hemingways ( www.hemingways.org) or Panini’s ( www.paniniscafe.net) – all next to each other on Bay Street in downtown Beaufort. At least one of the places is sure to have live music.
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