There’s lots of buzz about rumors of a fun park in Beaufort, though we’re not too far removed from when the last one closed down. The truth is there have always been plenty of things for kids and teens to do in Beaufort. It’s just that it sometimes requires imagination and the ability to step outside of the house walls. Literally.
That’s my message to young people today: Before you complain, explore your surroundings.
The tennis court on Battery Creek Road has a hitting wall. With it you can play your hardest opponent and almost always win. You can pretend to be Roger Federer and let the wall be Rafael Nadal. The wall has always been left-handed, after all. You can relive classic tennis matches there with the imaginary crowds spilling out into the surrounding Southside Park. You can play Connors vs. McEnroe or McEnroe vs. Borg or even McEnroe vs. McEnroe just to see who loses this temper first.
If tennis isn’t your thing, there’s always the water. It’s a repetitive theme here, but you can swim off most any dock or beach. Always throw a leaf on the water to see which way the tide is moving. That’s so you’ll know to swim against it starting out and let yourself float back to where you started when you’re tired. None of it matters when you’re snipped by a stingray or a fish surreptitiously jumps out of the water next to you and scares the bejesus out of you. You may take a while to get back in the water at that point no matter which way the tide flows.
Another water-related activity is boating. Let’s say that as a reward for good grades, your father helps you purchase a small, used boat. It may or may not have the name “L’il Sassy” on it, which despite having been rubbed off remains a silhouette of shame. The engine on L’il Sassy is not reliable, so when taking it to the sandbar you need to plan ahead to make sure there’s someone who can tow you back. Bringing your own rope helps them comply.
We also have some truly magnificent pine and oak trees in Beaufort, and in the fall their leaves take their rightful places among the brown fields of grass. A great thing to do, especially if you don’t have a trampoline, is rake them into a pile and jump into them. The bounce is not the same, but the initial jump is sweet. It’s even better if you didn’t have to rake the pile in the first place, but instead feigned sickness while you watched your elderly grandmother rake the leaves.
Parking lots are also good hangout spots. At least they used to be. Groups of teenagers would gather in the parking lot of Roses, which is now Big Lots. This was before Shoney’s was torn down and before the “improvements” on Boundary took place. You could never be sure what these groups were doing in the Roses parking lot, but at least they were gathered in a highly lit and patrolled area. It was once a dream of all Beaufort children to live long enough to hang out in the parking lot, and some of us never got to realize it.
I only mention all these things because I’ve done them all. Beaufort is a scenic, friendly town with numerous options for entertainment.
Sometimes it just takes initiative - and a bit of imagination.
Ryan Copeland is a Beaufort native. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.