Known as "Fish Town" in the early 1700's when Blackbeard frequented the coast, "Beaufort Town" was established as a seaport with the right to collect customs in 1722. During the American Revolution, it was the third largest port in the state.

As in most of eastern North Carolina, early trade centered around lumber products. These were shipped from the rich Newport River area plantations to the West Indies in exchange for glassware, cloth, furniture, coffee and rum.

Historically significant, the "Old Burying Ground" was deeded to the town in 1731. It contains graves of soldiers from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. Captain Otway Burns' grave with the cannon from his privateer, is perhaps one of the best known.

A salt works, which was established by order of the Provincial Congress in 1776 for Revolutionary War use, is located slightly over a mile to the east.

A whaling community, Diamond City, was located on Shackleford Banks, six miles to the southeast by boat, during the 18th & 19th centuries. This perhaps explains the "New England feel" which is blended with traditional southern colonial architecture.

Beaufort continued to prosper into the nineteenth century as a port and as an agricultural, commercial and governmental center. Nearby Fort Macon, a large brick fortress guarded the eastern end of Carteret County. Beaufort became a favorite summer retreat for the well-to-do.

Beaufort was relatively unscarred by the Civil War, due to an early and prolonged occupation by Union forces. Following the war's conclusion, Beaufort again resumed its importance as a summer retreat. Trade was strong for a time; lumber, barrel staves, rum, and molasses were some of Beaufort's exports. However, the port declined as a trade center and commercial fishing became the primary business in the area. Beaufort served as home port for a large fishing fleet and as the site of the processing plants for the menhaden trade.

In the 1970s, Beaufort again became a major summer resort as the town and waterfront were restored.

In 1997, Beaufort was highlighted in national and international news as the wreckage of what is presumed to be Blackbeard's flagship, Queen Anne's Revenge, was discovered in 20 feet of water --2 miles from Beaufort Inlet. Artifact recovery operations were immediately able to identify --and in some cases retrieve-- many pieces, including the ship's bronze bell, cannons, and deck guns. Some of these artifacts are already touring the country or are on exhibit in Beaufort. Be sure to stop by the NC Maritime Museum, it's now one of the most popular attractions in the state.

 

Kitty Hawk Kites Beaufort

Kitty Hawk Kites Beaufort

Kitty Hawk Kites has remodeled and opened its new doors directly on the Beaufort waterfront. This shop offers the leading selection of kites, wind art, toys, t-shirts and apparel, Hobie kayaks, and more. In addition, stop by and make your reservation for one of our new Beaufort adventures:

Rachel Carson Coastal Estuarine Reserve

Rachel Carson Coastal Estuarine Reserve

The Rachel Carson Reserve is a stunning stretch of barely-barrier island shoreline that’s found just off the coast of historic Downtown Beaufort. Covering 2,205 acres, this collection of three islands that are found along Taylor’s Creek at the mouth of the Newport River can be easily and scenically admired from veritably any waterfront vantage point from the heart of town, and are a stunning and undeveloped addition to the vast wildlife scene of the Crystal Coast.

Beaufort, NC History

Beaufort, NC History

Known as "Fish Town" in the early 1700's when Blackbeard frequented the coast, "Beaufort Town" was established as a seaport with the right to collect customs in 1722. During the American Revolution, it was the third largest port in the state.

Activities for Kids

Activities for Kids

Beaufort NC is distinctive in that the cool waterfront town can appeal to visitors of all tastes, styles, and ages, and this is especially evident when it comes to the region’s youngest visitors. From wild pirate-themed tours and cruises to afternoon ice cream trips, there are plenty of activities for the young and the young-at-heart to discover. Check out these essential activities for kids on your next Beaufort vacation, and get busy creating fun and amazing memories that will linger well after your Crystal Coast stay is over.