Parris Island Graduation Tips for Guests and Visiting Families

Located in Beaufort County, South Carolina, Parris Island welcomes more than 125,000 visitors per year who come to celebrate and honor new marines. In fact, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island ranks among the top military facilitates in the world. If visiting the island to attend graduation or looking for things to do, here are some Parris Island graduation tips.

Top Parris Island Graduation Tips for Marines and Their Loved Ones

parris island graduation travel info

Book Accommodations Early

Parris Island graduates approximately 20,000 marines every year and hosts graduations two or three times a month. Due to demand, book accommodations in advance.

While the area has several hotels, vacation rentals offer better arrangements for groups. Many vacation homes in Beaufort have multiple bedrooms, large living spaces, full kitchens, laundry facilities and outdoor spaces — all included in the price. Additionally, vacation rentals typically cost one-third the price of a hotel.

beaufort vacation rental parris island graduation

Then Book Flights and Vehicles

It’s no secret the early bird gets the worm when it comes to booking flights and rental cars. The earlier visitors book the more they save, and have more flexible arrival and departure times.

The county operates Beaufort County Airport, but most fly into Savannah Hilton Head International, which is only an hour’s drive from Beaufort. Other airports near the city include Lowcountry Regional Airport and Hilton Head Island Airport, which offer direct flights from cities in the Carolinas. After landing, ask for car rental options.

Want to drive the entire trip? Beaufort is less than an eight-hour drive from many major cities in southeast U.S. For example, those in Charlotte (NC), Knoxville, Chattanooga (TN), Birmingham, Montgomery (AL), Orlando, Tallahassee and Jacksonville (FL) are all with six to eight hours away from Beaufort.

Important Items for Vehicles and Motorcycles

In order to attend Parris Island graduations, visitors must have a valid U.S. government-issued photo identification card. Those driving should also bring the vehicle’s registration, rental papers and proof of insurance.

Visitors riding motorcycles adhere to strict guidelines. All operators and passengers must wear protective clothing, gloves, hard-sole footwear, long-sleeve shirt, pants, eye protection and helmets. In addition, motorcycle drivers should have a valid license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.

parris island graduation dress code

What to Wear

No Parris Island graduation tips list would be complete without discussing dress code. The good news is those attending Parris Island graduations as guests don’t have a dress code. Visitors are welcome to wear anything, but should keep in mind climate and weather.

Parris Island’s climate depends on the season. In winter, January highs can reach 60 degrees and lows hover around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Spring and fall months offer mild temperatures in the 70s, but summers are typically hot and humid. In July, average highs reach the mid-90s, so wear cool and comfortable clothing. In addition, guests are encouraged to wear specific colors to support graduate battalions.

Attend Family Day and Ceremony

Families and friends are welcome to visit during Family Days, which occur the last two days of recruit training. On Wednesday, attend orientation day at Parris Island when families find special events, check-in, and behind-the-scenes and dining options. Thursday provides the opportunity to spend time with graduates. Examples include touring the depot museum, library ceremony, bunker open houses, family buffet lunch, prayer time and family dinners.

Friday is graduation day. The ceremony begins at exactly 9 a.m. EST, and all visitors should be seated well in advance. Once settled, prepare for an hour-long ceremony. Afterward, enjoy lunch and explore Beaufort.

beaufort parris graduation family activities

Photo: iTrip Vacations South Carolina Sea Islands

Plan Fun Beaufort Activities

Many graduates, families and friends make a vacation out of Parris Island graduations. After honoring new marines, explore some of Beaufort’s top attractions and things to do.

Beaufort is a part of South Carolina Sea Islands, a destination with beaches, parks, historical sites, museums, shopping and dining. For fresh air, relax on spacious beaches, look for shells, swim, and soak up sun. Other outdoor activities include fishing, playing golf and boat tours.

To see sites, learn and have fun, book Beaufort historic tours. These guided and unguided options provide a way for groups to spend time together and see the city’s top attractions. When visiting, don’t miss Fripp Island, Huntington Island, Penn Center, art and culture at St. Helena Island, and downtown Beaufort. Read about the top Beaufort historic sites.

Enjoy a Special Dinner

Looking for a good dinner spot? Panini’s on the Waterfront blends old-world Italian flavors with modern dishes. Order sandwiches, large salads, stone-baked pizza, pasta entrees and fresh seafood. The restaurant overlooks Beaufort’s Waterfront Park, providing a place to enjoy the view as well. For more local flavor, head to Old Bull Tavern, Wren Bistro, Saltus River Grill and Bricks on Boundary.

After reading these Parris Island graduation tips, book a Beaufort area vacation rental. It’s time to celebrate your Parris Island graduate!