450th Anniversary Celebration Events

Thanks to all who participated in the events commemorating the 450th anniversary of Santa Elena and the Grand Opening of the Inaugural Exhibit .  Go to our “Visit” Page to plan your next trip to the Santa Elena History Center and check out all the wonderful “Events” we have each week.

450 years ago, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés sailed into Port Royal Sound to settle Santa Elena, a Spanish town lasting more than two decades.



Come one, come all to commemorate the 450th anniversary of the founding of Santa Elena and the Grand Opening of the Santa Elena History Center in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Fri-Sun. April 1-3, 2016 The Santa Elena Regatta
Including the Jean Ribault Cup and Pedro Menéndez Cup

Hosted by Beaufort Yacht and Sailing Club
The Santa Elena Regatta will take place in Port Royal Sound, named by Jean Ribault. The beautiful, naturally deep harbor was sought by many early European settlers and gave strategic importance to the Spanish settlement of Santa Elena that lasted more than two decades.
download Notice of Race
with full schedule
Thursday, April 7, 2016 Parade to the Santa Elena History Center
Commencing from Beaufort Elementary
Third grade students will take part in this exciting time by walking in a parade to the Santa Elena History Center.
Teachers, download the National Parks Service Lesson Plan about Santa Elena
Arriving at the Santa Elena History Center at 10:00am
Friday, April 15, 2016 The Santa Elena Conference 2016
Location: USCB Center for the Arts
This one day conference brings together a group of eminent historians and archaeologists to share their understanding of the importance of Santa Elena in the history of Spanish Florida and the world.
Click to visit Conference website for full details and to register.
8:30 am to 5:00 pm
April 22 to May 1, 2016

BON VOYAGE PARTY: April 30, 8PM, $15/adult, BYOB

DEPARTURE: Monday, May 2, approx. 10AM

El Galeón visits Port Royal Sound
El Galeón is a 175-foot, 495-ton authentic wooden replica of a galleon that was part of Spain’s West Indies fleet.  She will retrace the voyage by Pedro Menendez de Aviles from St. Augustine to Santa Elena in 1566.Visitors will have the chance to learn about the history that began 450 years ago while admiring the craftsmanship and grandeur of the galleons that reached the coast of Spain’s La Florida centuries ago.Location:  Town of Port Royal
1699 11th St., Port Royal, SC 29935
10:00 am to 7:00 pm

Tickets available for purchase as you board this amazing vessel or online by clicking here
Preview the ship in this video

Saturday, April 30, 2016 Grand Opening Celebration
Location: The Santa Elena History Center
– Ribbon-Cutting: Santa Elena History Center and Inaugural Exhibit
– Barbeque Festival, Music and Performances, and Demonstrations…Join community leaders and supporters for the Grand Opening of the Santa Elena History Center. The inaugural exhibit will be unveiled and open to the public for the first time. Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a Barbeque Festival will be held in the courtyard across North Street from the History Center.Admission to the Exhibit will cost $10/adult, $5/children (ages 5-12), free to men and women in uniform. The first floor of the History Center and Introductory Exhibit are free to the public.Barbeque lunches will be sold for $12/adult, $8/child age 12 & under) — provided by Q on Bay. Spanish Guitar, face painting and more!

11:00 am Ceremony
12:00 – 3:00 pm Festival

 Monday, May 2


Commemorative Catholic Mass

At the Historic Santa Elena site on Parris Island

 1:00 pm


450th Anniversary Commemoration Events sponsored by:



Did You Know? The Santa Elena 450th is reason enough for the entire county to celebrate!

Click hereBeaufort Spring Tour to learn more about the events and opportunities happening all around the county and hosted by multiple partner organizations during April 24-May 1. Enjoy the inaugural “Beaufort Spring Tour!”