History of the Beaufort NC Area

Founded in 1709 and incorporated in 1723, Beaufort is the third-oldest town in North Carolina.  Robert Turner (namesake of Turner Street) surveyed the town, which was originally called “Fishtowne,” and it became a port in which British vessels could unload and supply.  Its streets were named for men and women of the times’ political and monarchical influence, and Beaufort quickly became a peaceful and self-sustained marina, inhabited mainly by fishermen and whalers surviving on the areas natural resources.  Business was conducted, in large part, by proxy from wealthy citizens of more established inland cities.  As a result, the extravagant plantation homes and sizable land holdings common to the aristocratic South are replaced by modest homes on small lots.
Throughout the mid-1700s (in particular the summer of 1747), Beaufort and the surrounding inlets were plagued with the occupation and subsequent of pirates.  As a result of this instability, military forts were commissioned and constructed throughout the area, and Beaufort was consequently involved in the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 as a large supplier of troops and militiamen.  Beaufort’s own Captain Otway Burns ably ran his vessel The Snapdragon throughout the Atlantic, laying siege to any British invaders and looting their ships.  He is buried in Beaufort’s Old Burying Ground, and a neighboring town Otway is named in his honor.
The area grew in population and influence during the mid 1800s after both the construction of a railroad connecting Morehead City to Goldsboro, and the construction of the Atlantic Hotel. The hotel was among the most lavish establishments in the American South, and attracted the wealthiest patrons and businessmen to the area until its destruction by hurricane in 1879.
In the 20th Century and until today, Beaufort maintains its small Southern town aesthetic, and champions its long and illustrious history through the preservation of historic houses and sites. Many mid-19th Century homes still stand to this day, and all are occupied with families and historians.

Recommended Activities

Island Hopping - Visitor Information in Beaufort, North Carolina - Visit Beaufort NC - Things to Do, Family Activities, Tours, Attractions, Boat Trips, Lodging, Accommodations, Hotel, Motel, Restaurants One of the few boats permitted by the Cape Lookout National Seashore to take you to any part of the National Park, charter a trip with Lookout Adventures and spend a day exploring one of the most beautiful parts of NC’s coast. The best SHELLING beaches in North Carolina are inside the Park & Shackleford Banks is home to roughly 120 WILD HORSES with a history dating back nearly 400 years!

Shark Fishing - Visitor Information in Beaufort, North Carolina - Visit Beaufort NC - Things to Do, Family Activities, Tours, Attractions, Boat Trips, Lodging, Accommodations, Hotel, Motel, Restaurants
Are you ready for a wild afternoon of fighting with the ocean’s top predator? Some of the best fighting fish in the ocean, sharks can be quite a challenge to bring to the boat, and it’s definitely a thrill to know there’s a big predator on the other end of that line. We may catch many species of sharks: black tips, hammerheads, sand sharks, lemons, bonnet heads, spiny dogfish, and more…

Dolphin Watch - Visitor Information in Beaufort, North Carolina - Visit Beaufort NC - Things to Do, Family Activities, Tours, Attractions, Boat Trips, Lodging, Accommodations, Hotel, Motel, Restaurants This private trip is available from November to May, and is about as good as it gets for “off-season” fun & relaxation. The Lookout Adventures vessel is perfect for a relaxing and intimate cruise in the winter months because the pilothouse helps protect you from any wind or cold. Just dress warmly and you’ll be perfectly comfortable. Max # of 6 guests.

Sunset Cruise - Visitor Information in Beaufort, North Carolina - Visit Beaufort NC - Things to Do, Family Activities, Tours, Attractions, Boat Trips, Lodging, Accommodations, Hotel, Motel, Restaurants This trip is available year round, and is perfect for those wanting a peaceful & memorable cruise of the local waterfronts, islands and landmarks. Step on the boat and get to relaxin’ while our friendly & professional captain takes you on a beautiful cruise through these panoramic and historic waterways. Serenity is the goal as we glide over the water towards our rendezvous with the setting sun.


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