Beaufort, North Carolina’s third oldest town, and its surrounding area offers a wealth of activities for visitors and locals alike. In addition to its quaint downtown with world-class restaurants and unique, coastal shops, an abundance of options await you on, in and around the sparkling waters of the Crystal Coast.
Immerse yourself in local history at the Beaufort Historic Site and Old Burying Ground. View the official repository of the artifacts from the infamous pirate Blackbeard’s flagship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, and learn about coastal history at the North Carolina Maritime Museum. Be one of the first to experience the new Bonehenge Whale Center, a publicly accessible center for whale and dolphin education, research, and conservation.
Explore the art of traditional wooden boat building at the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center. Head Down East to the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum & Heritage Center for hands-on demonstrations of decoy carving and quilting. Fort Macon State Park offers a perfectly restored Civil War-era fort and with cannon and musket demonstrations, a museum quality coastal education center and an unspoiled shoreline for swimming, surf fishing, and beachcombing, as well as miles of hiking trails.
Kayak or paddle board on your own or with a guide around the coastal waters and surrounding islands or take a guided boat tour (beaufortboattour.com; seavisions.net) and explore Taylor’s Creek, the Rachel Carson Reserve, Shackleford Banks, or Carrot Island where you might catch a glimpse of the wild horses that call this area home. Scuba dive in the Graveyard of the Atlantic. Charter a boat for off-shore or near-shore fishing or hop on a head boat (captstacy.com; carolinaprincess.com), surf-cast, or drop a line down from a local fishing pier. Venture over to Cape Lookout National Seashore and climb the lighthouse, hunt for seashells, birdwatch or camp under the stars.
Numerous special events throughout the year draw crowds from all over including the Beaufort Wine & Food Festival (April); Beaufort National Boatbuilding Challenge and Wooden Boat Show (May); Crystal Coast Boat Show (May); Beaufort Music Festival (May); Crystal Coast Full & Half Booty Triathlon (May); Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament (June); Beaufort Old Homes & Gardens Tour (June); and the North Carolina Seafood Festival (October), as well as many more. See resources below for event dates and details.
There’s always something happening at the Crystal Coast!