Not only was Beaufort the voted "America’s Coolest Small Town in American" in 2014 by Budget Travel Magazine but it is also the third oldest town in North Carolina. There is nothing finer than strolling down the boardwalk, gazing at the boats and feeling a cool breeze blowing. Originally called “Fish Towne,” Beaufort is full of history. Once roamed by Otway Burns and Edward Tech (Blackbeard), Beaufort thrives on its own history. From the centuries old, but restored, homes to the beautiful churches, this town is a must-visit spot along the Crystal Coast. Stop by the Beaufort Historic Site and the NC Maritime Museum during your stay.
Beaufort also hosts events such as the Wine and Food Weekend, NC Maritime Museum Wooden Boat Show and the Old Homes and Gardens Tour. Springtime features an annual Easter Egg Hunt and the ever-popular Publick Day. Return for the summer for the Beaufort Historic Site’s renowned Old Homes and Gardens tour, Antiques Show and Sale as well as the annual Summer Party. A variety of shows and sales by the Carteret County Arts and Crafts Coalition rounds out the annual events. For more information, please visit www.beaufortnc.org.
The NC Maritime Museum has much to offer its visitors. See artifacts found just off our coast that are believed to be from Blackbeard’s flagship, Queen Anne’s Revenge. You are encouraged to browse the museum at your own pace, to ensure you get the most out of your visit. You will see historical exhibits of the US Lifesaving Service, whaling along the NC coast, pirates and interesting species of land and sea. The museum also offers a library and gift shop. Take an excursion to the Rachel Carson Reserve or walk across the street to visit the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center, a working boat and model shop where visitors can watch the restoration and creation of wooden boats. The museum is open 10AM – 5PM Monday through Saturday and 1PM – 5PM on Sundays. For more information, please call 252.728.7317 or visit www.ncmaritimemuseum.com.
Come experience North Carolina in a quaint seaport village setting. Originally a fishing village and port of safety dating from the late 1600s, Beaufort has been visited by patriots, privateers, merchants and skilled craftsmen who built Bahamian and West Indian-style homes and public buildings. More than a 100 of these have been restored and proudly bear plaques proclaiming their names and dates of construction. Recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, the Plan of Beaufort Town, laid out in 1713, survives a 12-block area. The Beaufort Historic Site depicts 18th and 19th century coastal Carolina. Tucked away in the 3rd oldest town in North Carolina, the Site includes restored buildings like the Carteret County Courthouse of 1796, the Carteret County Jail c.1732 and the Rustell House, which houses the Mattie King Davis Art Gallery. During your visit, take a tour on a double-decker bus, where you’ll receive facts and information on historic Beaufort. While you’re here, see the resting place of Confederate and Union soldiers and some of Beaufort’s earliest residents at the mysterious Old Burying Ground, shaded by hundred-year-old live Oak trees.
The Beaufort Historic Site is open Monday through Saturday year-round. For more information and hours of operation, please call 252.728.5225 or visit www.beauforthistoricsite.org.
Visitors looking for a “greener” vacation will quickly find the Crystal Coast is a natural wonder, teaming with wildlife. There is perhaps no better place to discover this than the Rachel Carson Reserve, a component of the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve.
This breathtakingly beautiful area is a series of islands referred to by locals as Bird Shoal or Carrot Island and lies just across from the Beaufort waterfront. The 2650-acre reserve is a favorite place for hiking, shelling and exploring the natural and human processes that affect coastal areas. The site was named for Rachel Carson, the famous scientist and author who conducted research on the islands coastal habitat.
Comprised of salt marshes, salt flats, tidal flats and eelgrass beds, the area is a favorite place for beachcombing, swimming and sunbathing, but is only accessible by boat. While there, you’ll spot water-birds, wild horses and other natural attractions.
More than 200 species of birds have been cited on the reserve and a checklist of these feathered-friends is available. The site is an important feeding area for Wilson’s plovers in the summer and piping plovers in the winter.
Guided nature tours are offered. For more information call 252.838.0883 or www.nccoastalreserve.net.
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