20 Things To Do In Beaufort NC

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Founded in 1713, Beaufort is among the oldest towns in North Carolina and is bursting with rich and varied history for you to discover. From its hotbed of pirate activity to the wars fought over the centuries, the local legends provide plenty to keep visitors enthralled. As the lively, modern fishing town it has grown into today, it also offers contemporary attractions and creative entertainment options among the things to do in Beaufort. The small but vibrant community makes the perfect destination for an exciting yet laid-back getaway.

The surrounding sea and landscape offer their own adventures. The local islands are home to wild horses, while the waves conceal numerous shipwrecks, including The Queen Anne’s Revenge, the favourite ship of the notorious Blackbeard. Let us take you through the best things to see and do in and around Beaufort, North Carolina. Keep reading to find out which of the town’s many attractions you should put at the top of your to-do list for your visit.

Beaufort, North Carolina

20 Things To Do In Beaufort

1- Explore The North Carolina Maritime Museum

You’ll want to check out the local Maritime Museum in a town with such a rich seafaring heritage.

The compact museum is bursting with exhibits on every aspect of the local marine history.

Visitors can learn about the region’s colourful history of piracy, get familiar with the wildlife that calls the area home and see how boating has evolved over the years.

The museum’s packed calendar of events adds even more ways for you to get involved in learning about the town’s maritime legacy.

Head to 315 Front St, Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

2- Visit The Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Centre

Once you’ve learnt about the various boats that have sailed the waters around Beaufort, head across the street to see some of them being made.

The Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Centre is a genuine boatbuilding workshop where craftsmen employ traditional skills and methods in creating boats.

Visitors can observe the craftsmen at work from the viewing gallery above the workshop.

The gallery area also contains various tools, artefacts, and information plaques for you to learn more about the whole boatbuilding process.

Stop by 326 Front St, Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

3- Learn Something Old At Beaufort Historic Site

Right at the heart of the town’s oldest area, the Beaufort Historic Site is dedicated to preserving and extolling the history and heritage of Beaufort.

The site is home to a cluster of restored historic buildings, presented as they would have been in their original periods.

Beaufort Historic Site’s main office houses a museum where you can see even more artefacts from throughout Beaufort’s history.

It’s also the starting point for various guided historic district tours.

Walk over to 130 Turner St, Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

Nestled in the heart of the Beaufort Historic Site, the Mattie King Davis Art Gallery presents modern, local artworks in a historic 18th-century house.

This is the best place to immerse yourself in the local art scene.

Artists from the local region have their works displayed in the gallery covering a broad range of mediums, from glasswork to oil painting and textiles.

There’s always an excellent variety for visitors to enjoy.

Go to 150 Turner St, Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

5- Swing By The Bonehenge Whale Centre

Learn even more about the local marine wildlife at the Bonehenge Whale Centre.

The centre contains a wealth of information and exhibits on local species.

Skeletons and specimens of the various animals in the waters around Beaumont are on display.

In addition to educating visitors about the animals, the whale centre is dedicated to their conservation.

Visitors can learn about the efforts going into preserving local populations and how to get involved themselves.

Head to 275 W Beaufort Rd Ext, Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

6- Browse Olde Beaufort Farmers’ Market

things to do in beaufort sc this weekend Organic vegetables on a stand at a farmers market with a sign reading locally grown.
Shopping at the farmer’s market is one of the things to do in Beaufort, North Carolina.

Get a feel for the local community atmosphere by heading to the Old Beaufort Farmers’ Market held each Saturday and mingle with the locals.

Chatting with the various stallholders is a great way to find some personalised recommendations and lesser-known local gossip and lore.

The market boasts around 50 stalls selling a wide variety of local produce.

From food and flowers to knitwear and home décor, the Olde Beaufort Farmers’ Market is ideal for picking up some unique souvenirs.

Check it out at 300 Courthouse Square, Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

7- Wander Rachel Carson Reserve

Hop across Taylor Creek to explore the islands of the Rachel Carson Reserve. The cluster of islands is a hotbed of wildlife.

The most famous inhabitants of the reserve are the wild horses you can spot galloping through the salt marshes.

Various walking trails lead around the islands, allowing you to explore the landscape easily.

The long, sandy beach stretching along the largest island’s southern length is a great spot to take a break and relax. 

Venture out to Front St, Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

8- Stroll Along Beaufort Waterfront

beaufort nc
Walking along the waterfront is another relaxing thing to do in Beaufort NC.

There’s plenty to see just from taking a stroll along Beaufort Waterfront.

The water’s edge is lined with marinas, with boats constantly drifting around Taylor Creek.

You can also enjoy beautiful views of the Rachel Carson Reserve. Keep your eyes peeled for the various small monuments, memorials, and occasional installations on the seafront.

Take a walk along Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

9- Explore The Old Burying Ground

things to do in beaufort
One of the interesting things to do in Beaufort NC is to wander around the Old Burying Ground.

The little cemetery at the heart of the historic district dates back to the early 18th century.

The hundreds of crumbling gravestones are a testament to the town’s early history and the residents who helped establish the town.

As you explore the burying ground, you will encounter several information boards and plaques marking the more historically significant graves.

Head into 411 Ann St, Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

10- Cast A Line At Fisherman’s Park

Fishing is one of the primary pastimes of the residents of Beaufort.

Fisherman’s Park is a little seafront greenspace lined with fishing piers and boat docks.

This is a good place to start if you want to indulge in a bit of fishing while in Beaufort.

Head to Front St & Gordon St, Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

11- Relax On Radio Island Public Beach

One of the best experiences while visiting a seaside town is relaxing on the beach.

Beaufort’s waterfront is entirely dominated by marinas, but you only need to hop across the bridge to Radio Island to reach a perfect strip of soft white sand.

There are no cafes or shops near the beach, so pack any food, drink, and necessities you’ll need for your beach day.

Hop over to 65-101 Olde Towne Yacht Clb Dr, Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

12- Have A Drink At Mill Whistle Brewing

things to do in downtown beaufort sc
Tasting local craft beer is one of the fun things to do in Beaufort NC.

If you want to enjoy local produce, stop at Mill Whistle Brewery.

This compact little taproom packs in plenty of beers for visitors to sample.

The friendly staff are on hand to provide personal recommendations on what’s best to try.

The taproom may be small, but there’s plenty of additional seating space on the patio, making it perfect for warmer afternoons.

Stop by 1354 Lennoxville Rd, Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

13- Stop By The Michael John Smith Memorial

Along the Beaufort waterfront, you can find various monuments and memorials.

The Michael John Smith memorial is dedicated to the Beaufort-born astronaut lost in the Challenger disaster.

Wander along to Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

14- Take A Dolphin Spotting Cruise

family things to do in beaufort nc Shot of a young couple spotting a dolphin while kayaking at a lake.
Searching for dolphins is one of the things to in Beaufort for nature lovers.

The vibrant wildlife of Beaufort is one of its greatest attributes and there are plenty of ways for visitors to take advantage of it.

One of the best options is to head out on a dolphin-spotting cruise.

While you float around the bay, keeping an eye out for the resident pods of dolphins and whales, passionate guides will regale you with stories of the area’s history.

Between the present wildlife populations and the colourful tales of old pirate shenanigans, this is a fantastic trip for the whole family.

Head out from 600 Front St, Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

15- Venture Out To Cape Point Lighthouse

If you have the time to explore a little further afield, head out on an excursion to Cape Point Lighthouse.

Erected in 1859 and towering 163 feet (50 m), the diamond-patterned lighthouse is an icon of the local seascape.

The keeper’s house next door to the lighthouse is now a museum dedicated to the lighthouse and the area’s history.

Visitors can get to the lighthouse from Beaufort via ferry.

Set sail for 1800 Island Rd, Harkers Island, NC 28531, United States.

16- Hop Aboard The Beaufort Pirates Revenge

fun things to do in beaufort sc
Going on a pirate cruise is a fun thing to do in Beaufort NC with kids.

Head out onto the high seas for an unforgettable adventure with the crew of the Beaufort Pirates Revenge.

The replica pirate ship sets sail along a coastline rich with pirate heritage.

It’s the perfect excursion for families, with passengers of all ages welcome to partake in face painting, sword fighting, and manning cannons to ward off enemy ships.

Brave souls might even dare to venture out on the evening Ghost Floats.

Heading into the night-dark waters, passengers should keep their eyes peeled for ghostships as they are regaled with dark tales of the area’s pirating past.

Start the adventure at 600 Front St, Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

17- Spot Some Spirits On A Beaufort Ghost Walk

One of the fun ways to discover a town’s secrets is by digging into its darker history and local legends on a ghost walk.

On the Beaufort Ghost Tour, costumed guides will lead you through the historic streets, treating you to tales of piracy and war and the spirits left behind.

The tour only takes a little over an hour, so it’s comfortable for all ages and most abilities.

Make sure to take some photos as you go along, as you never know what you’ll catch in the background.

Join the tour at 108 Middle Ln, Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

18- Zoom Around With Beaufort Cart Tours

If you’d rather take the weight off your feet, heading out on a cart tour might sound more appealing.

Each cart fits up to five guests, along with your guide.

With the option to be picked up right from your accommodation, a cart tour is super convenient.

There’s also a range of themed or specialty tours designed to appeal to guests’ personal interests.

There are plenty of options if you are interested in the local architecture or would like to sample the local cuisine as you go along.

Head out from 108A Middle Ln, Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

19- Set Sail With Cruisin Tikis Beaufort

For a unique party experience, head out on the water with Cruisin Tikis.

Less boat and more floating tiki bar, this is a novel way to take in the seafront sights.

Your experienced captain will be at the helm so you can focus on enjoying some tasty beverages as you float around the bay.

There are a variety of cruise options to choose from. Each has the option to add specific points of interest for a personalised and tailored experience.

Meet your crew at 103 Cedar St, Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

20- Kick Back In Freedom Park

If you need some space to stretch out and take a break, head to Freedom Park.

Freedom Park is a place to work off some steam in the fresh air, boasting several sports fields, including soccer and baseball, as well as general recreation areas.

Freedom Park is separated from the main town by lush forests, making it even more of a scenic escape.

It’s just a short walk through the trees to get there.

There are also two car parks if you don’t feel like walking.

Go over to Beaufort, NC 28516, United States.

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Steve Burden is an avid traveller and experienced writer. As a former pro wrestler, Steve used to travel frequently for work throughout the USA and Europe. Having spent the last decade travelling all over the world in search of new sights and experiences, he has turned his love for travel into a new career helping others decide on the best places to visit, as well as what to see when they get there.