Beaufort, North Carolina

“America’s Favorite Town”
Travel + Leisure magazine

“Hungry Town” and “Fish Towne” were some of the early names for Beaufort, North Carolina. That was over 300 years ago. Many changes have taken place since that time in our history.

Today, Beaufort possesses an old-world, southern charm, steeped in maritime history and the adventure brought by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. With world-class fishing, North Carolina’s Crystal Coast is famous for its local seafood. Beaufort is no exception. But, the sea is only where our cuisine starts in our historic seaport.

Boats dot the waterfront, from private yachts and massive sailboats to trawlers bringing locally owned restaurants “fresh from the docks” sea fare. Cozy inns line the harbor, inspiring Nicholas Sparks to set several of his novels in Beaufort, including “A Walk to Remember” and “The Choice.”

Plan a trip to Beaufort, North Carolina where you’ll find whimsical shops, casual to world-class dining and overnight accommodations in our historic inns and B&B’s

Beaufort is the “coolest small town in America.” – Budget Travel


Our Early History

Though “traditionally” dated circa 1709, the township of Beaufort was laid out and named October 2, 1713. After obtaining permission from the Lords Proprietors, Robert Turner, then owner of the 780-acre land patent, hired deputy surveyor Richard Graves to lay out a 100-acre town, with 106 lots for sale.

According to legend, Beaufort was called “Fish Town” during the 1600s because American Indians used the waters for their fishing grounds.

“The Indians who inhabited the Core Sound area before the white settlers arrived were of the Coree tribe. Little is known about the tribe. It may be assumed that they were once a rather numerous group, but by the time of the arrival of settlers into their area, their number had been reduced by intertribal conflicts to the extent that John Lawson, surveyor-general of North Carolina, described them as having only twenty-five fighting men during the first decade of the eighteenth century.”

Named in honor of Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort, the town was incorporated in 1723 and has been the seat of Carteret County ever since.

Street names reflect the early development of the town: Ann Street for Queen Anne; Craven Street for the Earl of Craven; Turner Street for Robert Turner, owner of the land that was surveyed for the town; Pollock Street for Gov. Thomas Pollock; and Orange Street for William, Prince of Orange, who became William III of England.

By the late 18th century, Beaufort was an active seaport inhabited by sailors, pirates, privateers, fishers, soldiers, and planters. While the town’s busy sea trade connected Beaufort with seaports thousands of miles away, its geography kept it isolated from the interior of the state.

Romantically called Beaufort-by-the-Sea, the town has a captivating history that spans more than 300 years — from tales about the pirate Blackbeard to its use as a port in the 18th century for Spanish and French sailing ships.

Beaufort is the “best yachting town in America.” – Yachting magazine


What’s the difference between Beaufort and Beaufort?

The difference is about 375 miles or 6 hours. There’s a Beaufort in North Carolina and South Carolina. The big difference between them is in the way you pronounce Beaufort (This is not a trivial issue). Beaufort, North Carolina is pronounced “BOW-fert,” as in a bow and arrow. If you’re going to Beaufort, South Carolina, you must say, “BEW-furd. Ironically, both are named for an Englishman, Henry Somerset, the Second Duke of Beaufort, who never came to either North Carolina or South Carolina.

Stay Connected With Beaufort


For attractions and resources in Beaufort,NC – Check out our Community Links Page.