Beaufort  is the easternmost town in the Crystal Coast region of Carteret County, North Carolina; the county seat; and the third-oldest town in the state. Established in 1713 on the Newport River, Beaufort was named after Henry Somerset, the Duke of Beaufort. Beaufort's two main claims to fame are its intact historical homes and its connection with the dreaded pirate Blackbeard. The town's name is pronounced differently than that of its South Carolina namesake; this Beaufort is "BO-furt" (IPA ['bou.frt]).
Shops and historic homes in downtown Beaufort
Beaufort, Carolina has received many accolades in recent years. In 2014, Travel + Leisure magazine named Beaufort "America's Favorite Town." In September 2014, Beaufort was featured as USA Today’s "Charming small towns of the South." Beaufort was ranked in the Top 20, "America's Quirkiest Towns," by Travel + Leisure magazine in September 2014. Travel + Leisure magazine also ranked Beaufort #2 as "America's Most Romantic Town" in January 2014. On February 1, 2012, Beaufort was ranked as "America's Coolest Small Town" by readers of Budget Travel Magazine. Yachting magazine named Beaufort, the "Best Yachting Town 2012."
As with practically every other town in the area, you'll reach Beaufort via US-70, which runs through the middle of the town before turning north toward Atlantic.
Robert W. and Elva Faison Safrit Historical Center, Beaufort Historic Site, 130 Turner Street, 1+252728-5225. Located at the Beaufort Historic Site, the center welcomes visitors to the historic site with free exhibits and demonstrations. Town of Beaufort information and other attractions. Open Daily in Summer, Mon. to Sat. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Sun. 12 noon to 4 p.m.
Cape Lookout National Seashore Visitor Information Center, Beaufort Town Hall, 701 Front Street.
Exhibits on island ecology and history; map of the park; informational materials; and park passport stamp. Available Facilities: restrooms, first aid, and ferry ticket booth. Open Daily: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The Mullet Line Trolley, Front Street Village, 2400 Lennoxville Road, 1+252-504-4799. Take the Trolley down Lennoxville Road to Front Street, with four stops (Inlet Inn, Town Hall, West Side Turner and Dock House). Duration: Approximately 1 hour, roundtrip. Hours: Thu. 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sun. 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Tickets: $1 per ride. Memorial Day to Labor Day.
- Beaufort became international news when the Queen Anne's Revenge , the pirate ship belonging to Blackbeard, was discovered under 20 feet of water in the Beaufort Inlet in 1996. It's still underwater, but retrieval and restoration processes are underway. Until it rises above the waves, there are various Blackbeard-related activities around town, and a display highlighting his ship in at the North Carolina Maritime Museum. The museums is free to the public.
- Beaufort is renowned for its dozens of restored historic homes. The Beaufort Historical Association, founded in 1960, mounts plaques on the outside of homes that are over 80 years old and which have not been greatly altered. The oldest is considered to be the Hammock House of 1698, which was once an inn that regularly served Blackbeard. The Beaufort Historic Site offers tours of ten of these buildings, clustered in two acres of the downtown area.
- There's also a picturesque old cemetery, the Old Burying Ground on Ann Street, dating from 1709. Many of the gravestones are unmarked, the earliest inscriptions being from 1756. Tours are given June through September, from Tuesday through Thursday at 2:30PM, for $6 (adults). However, you can visit any time of the year before sundown for free.
- In fact, if you're interested in all things historical, the best thing to do would be to stop by the Beaufort Historical Association at 138 Turner Street, +1-252-728-5225.
- The Beaufort waterfront was revitalized in the 1970s, and now boasts a wooden boardwalk by the water's edge, and lots of gift shops and restaurants. Across the waterfront, you can often see wild ponies roaming Carrot Island.
- The North Carolina Maritime Museum, . Open M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM; closed around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. From towering pirate ships to modest hand-built skiffs, the NC Maritime Museum on Beaufort’s Front Street is the place to find a glimpse of North Carolina’s boating history. The Crystal Coast was built around its maritime heritage and the NC Maritime Museum serves as a vessel for passing that information and tradition from generation to generation. 315 Front Street, +1-252-728-7317, 
- Go for a tour  of historic Beaufort with Port City Tour Company, 108 Middle Ln, Beaufort, NC 28516 phone 1+252-772-9925 http://www.pctourco.com. History and entertainment collide with the best tours on The Crystal Coast! From Pirates, Wild Horses, or the Paranormal, they have an adventure for all! Since 2004, they have been offering specialties that include: the Beaufort Ghost Walk , the Legend of Blackbeard Tour  and the Shackleford Wild Horse and Shelling Safari. Tours start and just $15.
- Take a relaxing harbor tour  along the historic waterfront in a covered Captains Launch.
- The nine-mile-long island of Shackleford Banks is home to the locally-famous Shackleford Ponies , the descendants of horses that reportedly swam ashore from a sinking Spanish ship in the 16th century. Today, the horses are endangered, but can be seen on cruises to the island for around $22 (adults).
- The Rachel Carson Estuarine Research Reserve  is a sanctuary covering 2,675 acres on a string of islands on the Taylor Creek, between Beaufort and Shackleford Banks. The reserve is also home to marine laboratories from the three main Research Triangle universities, conducting marine research and education. Features a half-mile interpretive trail highlighting the reserve's native flora and fauna, and special features. Shackleford ponies often swim across to the islands for food. The reserve can be reached by private boat from Beaufort.
- Discovery Diving Company, 414 Orange Street, +1-252-728-2265, . The shipwrecks in this area make Beaufort an appealing spot for scuba diving; charter trips are available for $60 - $110 plus equipment rental, and the company also offers classes in various types of diving (including nighttime and cavern diving), emergency rescue and underwater photography.
- Island Ferry Adventures, 610 Front Street, +1-252-728-7555, . Ferries run from 9AM daily from mid-March to November, weather permitting. Passenger ferries to Shackleford Banks, Sand Dollar Island, Carrot Island and the Bird Shoals, as well as a dolphin watch and a scenic nature cruise. $8 - $14 round-trip per adult.
- Lookout Cruises, Front Street on the waterfront, +1-252-504-SAIL, . Daily sailing excursions on a 45-foot catamaran; offering a Cape Lookout cruise, dolphin watch, sunset cruise and moonlight cruise. Private charters available.
- Fly fishing is becoming a favorite local sport.
- Carolina Coastal Maritime Adventures, 501 Marine Dr., ☎ 252-665-2473, . Individualized interactive private adventure tours by boat of the Cape Lookout National Seashore, the Carteret County NC Crystal Coast, the Rachael Carson Nature Reserve and local Beaufort and Morehead City waterfronts. Including Shackleford Banks horse observation, dolphin watching, shelling, swimming, scuba diving, picnic and sunset dinner cruises. Two hour, half-day and full-day tours. Lunch and dinner cruises.
- Hungry Town Tours, 400 Front Street, Beaufort, NC 28516, ☎ 252-648-1011, . hours vary. Visitors can pedal or walk through 300 years of Beaufort's history. Open year-round, your guide will entertain you with fascinating details, historical narratives and true stories that make up the rich history of this seaport town. Choose from several unique walking, bike, culinary and history guided tours. A Ride to Remember takes visitors to several locations in Beaufort as described in Nicholas Sparks' bestselling novels “A Walk to Remember” and “The Choice.” Explore Beaufort’s local restaurants on their guided culinary tours. You’ll nosh and sip on some of the most delicious flavors on the Crystal Coast. tours start at $20. (34° 43' 0.0084,-76° 39' 56.2752)
Beaufort plays hot to a number of annual events throughout the year. These include:
- The Beaufort Old Homes and Gardens Tour is held annually during the last weekend in June. Narrated tours take visitors through restored and under-restoration private homes, gardens and other local attractions. An antique car show is also held the same weekend. The tour starts at the Beaufort Historical Association at 138 Turner; tickets are $16 in advance, $20 at the door.
- The Beaufort Music Festival, +1-252-728-0707, . Free admission. Comes to town for one weekend in April/May, featuring musical groups on several performance stages in town.
Visitors often come to Beaufort to stroll along the waterfront and browse in the town's unique shops; it's a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.
- Handscapes Gallery, 410 Front Street, +1-252-728-6805 or +1-888-346-8334, . Handcrafted pottery, jewellery and glasswork, with an emphasis on North Carolina artists.
- The General Store, 575 Front Street, +1-252-728-7707. Open 6 days a week. Ice cream, fudge and souvenirs.
- A little Antique Shop, 121 Turner Street, ☎ 252-728-7325, . Nice collection of antiques, uniques, curiosities and collectables. Nice American antique furniture and vintage jewelry. Nationally certified appraiser available for consult.
Discover the culinary and specialty shops in Beaufort:
- Beaufort Olive Oil, 300 Front Street, 1+252-504-2474. Specialize in premium extra virgin olive oils, aged balsamic vinegars, gourmet & flavored salts, in addition to numerous artisanal and local culinary provisions. Over 60 different oils and vinegars. Free sampling. Shipping available. Open Daily.
- The Fudge Factory & Ice Cream Shop, 400 Front Street, 1+252-728-6202 or 1+800-551-8066. The master candy makers continue the tradition of making fudge the old-fashioned way, by hand. A Beaufort tradition for over 30 years. Shipping available. The Ice Cream Shop offers hand dipped ice cream in a variety of flavors. Yogurt (fat free and no sugar added), Milk Shakes, Banana Splits, Sundaes, and Root Beer Floats. Open Daily.
- Aqua, 114 Middle Lane, +1-252-728-7777, . Originated as a tapas restaurant. While the menu has changed, their commitment continues to create dishes with fresh seasonal items and a creative touch. Serving Dinner. Reservations recommended. Closed Sunday and Monday.
- The Bean and The Egg, 500 Front Street, 1+252-728-4506. Enjoy a full breakfast and complete coffee bar. Espresso, Lattes, Cappuccinos. Located upstairs over the Dock House Restaurant. Open Daily.
- Beaufort Café, 817 Cedar Street, 1+252-728-4400. A local favorite for breakfast. Breakfast Platters, Pancakes & Waffles, Biscuit & Breakfast Sandwiches, and Omelets. Open Daily.
- Beaufort Grocery Company, 117 Queen Street, 1+252-728-3899. Subtle grace and charm reminiscent of a French country Bistro. Premier wine list. Delicatessen. Serving Lunch, Dinner & Sunday Brunch. Reservations recommended. Closed Tuesday. Celebrating 25 years in business.
- Blue Moon Bistro, 119 Queen Street, 1+252-728-5800. Casual fine dining in the heart of downtown historic Beaufort. Farm/ocean to fork, made from scratch daily cuisine. Chef/owner focuses on regional ingredients. Serving Dinner. Reservations recommended. Closed Sunday & Monday.
- Blackbeard's Grill and Grog, 1644 Live Oak St, +1-252-728-3335, . Open for lunch and dinner M-Sa from 11am-10pm with a late night menu on Friday and Saturday from 10pm-2am. Free Delivery. Delicious daily specials. Offers only local seafood, fresh cut steaks, and sushi. Family friendly atmosphere. Unique Grog cocktails. Exciting nightlife every weekend.
- Clawson's 1905 Restaurant & 1905 Pub, 425 Front Street, +1-252-728-2133, . Open for lunch and dinner M-Sa. Formerly a general store at the turn of the 20th century, now an award-winning restaurant famous for their mud pie. Offers seafood, steaks, pasta and "dirigibles" - large potatoes stuffed with vegetables, cheese, and meat or seafood.
- Front Street Grill at Stillwater, 300 Front Street, +1-252-728-4956, . A waterfront restaurant with excellent views of Taylor's Creek and Carrot Island. Raw and baked oysters, gourmet appetizers and salads, and entrees with an emphasis on seafood. (Entrees range from $9.95 - $30.95.)
- Hungry Town Tours, 400 Front Street, +1-252-648-1011, . Tour and sample several of Beaufort’s best restaurants all in one tour by bicycle or by foot on a culinary tours. You’ll nosh and sip on some of the most delicious flavors on the Crystal Coast. You’ll enjoy delicious seafood, wine tastings, and more! The Beaufort Culinary Bike Tour and Food by Foot Culinary Walking Tour. Specialty tours include the North Carolina Shrimp Tour and North Carolina Oyster Tour. These tours are built around a three-course progressive dining experience. (Culinary Tours $69)
- The Sandbar Restaurant and Tiki Bar, 232 W Beaufort Road, +1-252-504-7263, restaurant and tiki bar. Open daily for lunch and dinner; closed Sundays during the off season. Great views enable diners to watch the fishing boats and spectacular sunsets in the Caribbean-style outdoor bar. Live bands perform on weekends.
The very nature of Beaufort is sort of anti-giant-chain-hotel; instead, the town has several quaint bed-and-breakfasts and vacation rentals for visitors who are looking for a little something special to complete their stay.
- Sunset Lane Condos, ☎ +1-877-690-8382, . Charming 2 Bedroom, 2 Bath, located in the Historic District just steps from downtown shopping and dining. $150-$200/nt $750-$1200/wk.
- Anchorage House Bed and Breakfast, 211 Turner Street, +1-800-934-9968, . 4 rooms. An 1866 Gothic Revival cottage with a gift shop, porch and foyer for relaxing, pine floors and electric simulated wood-burning stoves. $75 - $150.
- Beaufort Bungalow Vacation Rentals, 1527 Front Street, +1-877-690-8382. Luxurious 3 Bedroom, 3 Bath, Private Suites, decorated with antique reproductions and oriental rugs. $175-$225/nt $900-$1300/wk. Beaufort Bungalow
- Carteret County Home B&B, 299 Highway 101, +1-252-728-4611, . 10 rooms. A county home dating from 1914, and Beaufort's only bed and breakfast listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Kitchenette with fridge, complimentary breakfast (juice, fruit, yogurt, warm muffins and bagels, tea and coffee), complimentary wine, two gas grills, croquet, darts and an old piano. Guest bicycles available. $85 - $105.
- The Cedars by the Sea, 305 Front Street, +1-252-728-7036, . 12 rooms. Built around 1768, internationally recommended and awarded the title of one of North Carolina's Ten Best Inns. Private baths, antique tubs and fireplaces. $130 - $180.
- Delamar Inn Bed and Breakfast, . 4 rooms. Built in 1866 and considered by many to be Beaufort's most authentic historic bed and breakfast. Antique guest rooms, three common sitting areas, an upper and lower porch, an English courtyard garden and a complimentary continental breakfast. $88 - $124.
- Langdon House Bed and Breakfast, 135 Craven Street, +1-252-728-5499, . 4 rooms. Built in 1733 with first and second floor porches, a parlor and landscaped gardens. A two-course full breakfast is served in the morning, including fresh fruit, Belgian waffles and stuffed French toast. $78 - $115 off-season, $88 - $125 peak season.
- Pecan Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast, 116 Queen Street, +1-252-728-6733 or +1-800-728-7871, . 7 rooms. Originally a Masonic lodge and schoolhouse in 1866. Three breezy porches, a 5,000-square-foot flower and herb garden, and a bountiful complimentary continental breakfast. $100 - $140 off-season, $130 - $175 peak season.
- The Red Dog Inn, 113 Pollock Street, +1-252-728-5954, . 3 rooms. Dog-friendly accommodations, with a bottomless candy jar and pine floors. $90 - $140 off-season, $100 - $150 peak season.
If you want someplace less intimate but with a similar down-home feel, there are a couple of larger inns in town:
- Beaufort Inn, 101 Ann Street, +1-252-728-2600 or +1-800-726-0321, . 44 rooms (some overlooking Gallant's Channel), exercise room and outdoor hot tub, a boat slip and bicycles for rent. A hot breakfast is served in the dining room; owner Katie Etheridge's breakfast pie (with egg, sausage and cheese) is delicious.
- Inlet Inn, 601 Front Street, +1-252-728-3600 or +1-800-554-5466, . 36 rooms (some waterfront), complimentary continental room-service breakfast. $75 (non-waterfront, weekday off-season) - $155 (waterfront, weekend peak season).
- Taylor's Creek Cottage, 113 Queen Street, Beaufort, NC 28516, ☎ (252) 838-1495, . Hotels in Beaufort NC, Places to stay in Beaufort NC, Bed and Breakfast Beaufort NC, Taylor's Creek Cottage is a charming vacation rental with all of the modern amenities you could desire. Spacious rooms and close to the local boardwalk.
Crystal Coast Tourism Visitor’s Center, 3409 Arendell Street, Morehead City, 1+252-726-6962 or 1+786-6962. The Crystal Coast Tourism Authority operates a regional visitor’s center with Information about what to do and where to go during your Crystal Coast vacation or getaway. Open Daily: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m
The Crystal Coast area has a variety of other areas to visit:
Further afield, there are some interesting destinations for daytrips:
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