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Pirates of Port Royal Charters

Port of Call – Beaufort, South Carolina

South Carolina Lowcountry Charters

Come set sail with Cap’n Q and explore the South Carolina Lowcountry and Port Royal Sound like a Pirate!

Port Royal Sound is a coastal sound, or inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, located in the South Carolina Lowcountry Sea Islands region, in Beaufort County. It is the estuary of several rivers, the largest of which is the Broad River.

Port Royal Sound offers amazing charter opportunities that include: sightseeing; sandbars and beaching; drifting and sunning; sunset cruises; special occasions; photography; and waterfront dining and shopping throughout the Port Royal Sound area.

Location and History 

Port Royal Sound is also located just north of Savannah, GA, and south of Charleston, SC.  In Beaufort County, the major towns and cities include Beaufort, Port Royal, Bluffton, and Hilton Head, SC.  Beaufort County is also home to the U.S. Marine Corps Parris Island Recruit Depot and Marine Corps Air Station.

Port Royal Sound has over 500 years of history. Spanish explorers sent by Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón in 1521, and de Ayllón himself in 1526, were probably the first Europeans to visit Port Royal Sound, although there is debate over their exact routes.

Port Royal Sound was named in 1562 by Jean Ribault, who founded a short-lived Huguenot colony at the bequest of the French admiral Gaspard de Coligny, called Charlesfort, on Parris Island.  Port Royal Sound is thus the second oldest surviving French place name in the U.S.

In 1566 Pedro Menéndez de Avilés founded the settlement of Santa Elena in the Port Royal Sound area. It remained an important Spanish colony until about 1587.

In 1663 the Province of Carolina was founded. While Charles Town (today’s Charleston, SC) became the colony’s center, the Port Royal Sound area was important strategically and economically from the colony’s earliest years.

In early 1684, a group of about 150 Scottish immigrants founded a settlement called Stuarts Town on the shores of Port Royal Sound.  After these colonists encouraged the Yamassee Indians to begin raiding Spanish Florida the Spanish retaliated and, in 1686, destroyed Stuarts Town.

Port Royal was one of the first British settlements established in the colony of South Carolina. Beaufort, founded in 1711, became the island’s main settlement and the island became the core of St. Helena Parish.

Fort Frederick was built on Port Royal Island in the 1730s. Today the Fort Frederick Heritage Preserve contains the remains.

During the American Civil War, the Union naval commander Samuel Francis Du Pont reduced the forts guarding Port Royal Sound.  It remained in Union control for the rest of the war and became a major naval base.

Fort Fremont was an Endicott Program coast defense fort on St. Helena Island from 1899-1921.  

According to the USGS, variant and historical names for Port Royal Sound include Brayne Sound, Winneau River, Weenea River, Portus Regalis, Port Royal River, and Port Royal Entrance.