"Beaufort, North Carolina" Beaufort by BrianAtTheBeach

Beaufort Travel Guide: 48 reviews and 111 photos


Beaufort is the third oldest town in North Carolina (after Edenton and Bath). It is situated on the Intracoastal Waterway about halfway between Florida and New York. There are two annual pleasure boat migrations through Beaufort - in the spring heading north and in the falll heading south. There is a town spelled the same way in South Carolina, but they pronounce it differently. Beaufort in North Carolina is pronounced "BOW - furt". South Carolina pronounces their town as "BYEW - furt".

Until the last 30 or so years Beaufort was a small town dependent on commercial fishing, primarily menhaden. Now the town is much more dependent on tourism as a historic town and the proximity of the Outer Banks. Not too many years ago much of the commercial part of the town shut down from December through March. Nowadays, more and more businesses are staying open all year around. Most of the major restaurants stay open all year except that many do close for a few weeks in winter for vacations. This town has no large hotels. There are two inns on the water - Beaufort Inn and Inlet Inn. There are innumerable B&B's in the historic district. The area is small enough that walking from B&B to a restaurant is not an issue. Downtown Beaufort is "growing", but really, the commercial parts of town are on two main streets - Front St that parallels the waterfront and Turner St. that runs perpendicular to Front St. Businesses are located on one of these two streets or just off of these two streets. It is a charming place to spend a weekend any time of year.

Old Burying Ground

This is the real deal. This is a 250 year old southern cemetery, complete with giant live oak trees and spanish moss. (If you're there in warm weather, there are mosquitos, too. Go prepared and don't say I didn't warn you.) Many different folks are buried here including Revolutionary War soldiers, British soldiers (including one buried vertically facing northeast towards England and saluting), a little girl pickeld and buried in a keg of rum, privateers and the like. Admission is free. It's locate on Ann St. just off of Turner Street. Before going there, go into the Beaufort Historical Site on Turner Street and buy a guide to the cemetary. I think it costs all of a dollar and maps out a tour with descriptions of the graves. In spite of the mosquitos, you shouldn't miss this place.

Carrot Island

You owe it to yourself to go to Carrot Island. Carrot Island is no more than a quarter mile away from Front St. Many people walk the boardwalk along the water looking for the wild ponies that live there, but miss out on the opportunity to walk out among them. The ponies are descendants of wild spanish mustangs shipwrecked off North Carolina's Outer Banks from centuries ago. But Carrot Island is much more than wild ponies. It has maritime forests, sand dunes, tidal wetlands, beaches, and the ponies. The island has no development at all. There are no trails except the ones that the horses have made. You must wear shoes as there are prickly things and horse turds about. Hey, that's nature. That means there are no bathrooms, too. You must carry everything you need with you. There is no camping allowed on the island. But a couple of hours on Carrot Island are definitely worth it. If you don't have a boat, you can go by water taxi or rent kayaks (both are located next to the Maritime Museum's boat house on Front St). You negotiate with the water taxi people when and where you want to be picked up and they will be there to get you at the appointed time. Take a picnic lunch. Didn't bring one? Go by the Stillwater Restaurant a few doors down from the kayak rental place and see if their deli will put something together for you, or try the Boardwalk Cafe, near the east end of the boardwalk on Front St. Carrot Island is pure heaven and yet so close to civilization. Chances are you will see more of the 35 or so horses that live there than you will other people. Remember, these horses are wild. They live off the land and no one owns them so be cautious near them. They tend to be bothered by people in kayaks less than motor boats or people on foot. Take your camera. You will be amazed.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A beautiful historic small southern town
  • Cons:Parking in summer
  • In a nutshell:This is truly the southern part of heaven. Just watch out for those hurricanes in summer!
  • Intro Updated Oct 14, 2005
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Comments (1)

  • Clairea's Profile Photo
    Nov 13, 2005 at 9:01 PM

    Live in New Bern and dream about living in Beaufort on the water. I love visiting because it feels like a vacation and it's so close. Glad to see another VTer in our area!

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