Beaufort NC: Reasons to Visit This Crystal Coast Town

Things to do in Beaufort NC

Crystal Coast North Carolina attracts thousands of tourists to Beaufort NC inns, area attractions, and settings familiar to readers of Nicholas Sparks books.

Situated just above the Newport River, on Taylor’s Creek and the Atlantic Ocean, the picturesque town of Beaufort, North Carolina welcomes visitors by land and sea. Tourists, out for a stroll along the Beaufort waterfront, encounter small, weather-worn fishing boats, multi-million-dollar luxury yachts and all types of sea vessels anywhere between. Land visitors as well as those traversing the 1300-mile Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway should not miss stopping in this former fishing village and third oldest town in North Carolina.

Southern Charm to North Carolina Sightseeing

Beaufort boasts the oldest wood-framed courthouse in North Carolina and is home to an old jail, an apothecary, and the Old Burying Ground, one of the oldest cemeteries in the state. Steeped in maritime history, the town consists of tree-lined streets of beautifully restored homes, many dating back well into the 1700s.

Pirates, sea captains, Confederate spies, and even modern-day authors have woven their tales of conspiracy and romance within the same few square miles. East-coast sojourners have come to love and appreciate this quiet, unassuming little town with fewer than 5,000 permanent residents for its rich and endearing history.

Crystal Coast: North Carolina Museum at Beaufort

Tourists and locals alike enjoy learning about Beaufort’s maritime heritage at the North Carolina Maritime Museum, located at 315 Front Street. Educational programs and exhibits as well as archival records and artifacts intrigue both amateur and more seasoned history buffs. Even some of Blackbeard’s flagship relics await the curious tourist.

Beaufort NC Novels: The Choice and A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks Attract Readers

North Carolina writer Nicholas Sparks sets two of his novels in this tiny waterfront community. A Walk to Remember transports readers back to a more leisurely 1950s Beaufort before the advent of daylight savings time, computers, and private telephone lines (not to mention the pesky cell phones.) Sparks novel, The Choice, has found an early 21st-century time period, yet its laid-back atmosphere could place the events in almost any decade from the 1960s onward.

Activities for Couples & Families

Visitors to Beaufort can choose from a myriad of activities, especially during spring, summer, and early fall. Charter boats provide fishing of all types and even cruises for families or larger groups.

The Beaufort waterfront on Taylor’s Creek is the stopping-off place—or stopping-on place—for a passenger ferry to Cape Lookout and Shackleford Banks, with their unsurpassed natural beauty. Foot passengers can enjoy picnics, sunbathing, fabulous shelling, and even primitive camping in as fine a place as any on the eastern seaboard. Wild ponies whose ancestors reached these shores some 400 years ago, osprey, dolphin, and even a shark or two calls this place home. Sometimes visitors can view a pony or two on Carrot Island, just across from the main dock on the waterfront.

Parasailing offers a unique birds-eye view of the area. Kayaking, jet-skiing, fishing boats, and river cruises await eager tourists. Children and adults alike love it when boats drop them off for one, two or three hours of searching for fabulous sand dollars and seashells.

Beaufort Lodging & Accommodations

A delightfully slower-paced visit to sites in and around Beaufort NC es an overnight stay in one of its historic bed-and-breakfast inns or a charming Beaufort rental home. The Inlet Inn is located at the same location where 19th-century visitors came from all over the state to partake in the ocean air of Beaufort.

Langdon House Bed and Breakfast invites guests to stay in a restored home that was built around 1733, complete with full breakfast and period antiques.

A number of other Beaufort inns and accommodations are definite possibilities. Contact the Beaufort Chamber of Commerce or Beaufort Realtors for additional information.


  • Hall, Martha L., and Stefani L. Snyder. North Carolina’s Central Coast and New Bern. Wilmington, North Carolina: By the Sea Publications, 2009.
  • Hughes, C.J. The New York Times. “Not Just Any Port for Migrating Snowbirds.” May 18, 2007.
  • Sparks, Nicholas. A Walk to Remember. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2000.
  • Sparks, Nicholas. The Choice. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2007.

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