Beaufort’s economy is growing at a swift rate.
The proximity of the city to other fast-growing areas including Hilton Head Island and Bluffton as well as good access to Savannah, Georgia, the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, and a container port on the Savannah River make the city a desirable choice for residential and business development opportunity.
Beaufort has several geographic areas of economic activity.
The downtown area is the historical center of commerce and is now primarily focused towards visitors, tourists. Much of the day-to-day service businesses for locals has moved along the Boundary Street corridor, the Robert Smalls Parkway corridor, or towards Lady’s Island. There are several areas with limited industrial uses that exist primarily in the northwestern sections of the city, close to the intersection of Boundary Street with Robert Smalls Parkway.
The largest sector in Beaufort’s economy is the military presence in and around the community.
Having supplanted agriculture and aquaculture in the last decades of the 20th century, Beaufort’s military bases employ thousands of jobs directly and indirectly related to base operations and pump millions of dollars into the local economy. As a result, economic downturns do not hit the community as hard as in other similarly sized communities.
Its attractive location, history and culture boosts the economy from the tourism and hospitality industry.
Nearly 2 million visitors a year come to Beaufort and the Sea Islands of northern Beaufort County, with spring and fall seasons being peak times.
The primary attractions of these visitors include golf and beach vacations, history, water sports, and local arts and crafts. As a result, Beaufort is home to many accommodation options. They range from upscale bed-and-breakfasts in the downtown area to standard motels along Boundary Street. There are several dozen dining establishments in the city that cater to locals and tourists alike.
One of the areas larger employers is Beaufort Memorial Hospital (BMH).
The hospital is a 197-bed, non-profit hospital on the banks of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. An acute-care hospital and regional referral center, it is the largest medical facility between Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia.
Other sectors of note are agriculture/aquaculture, local government, and retail.