Travel east past Morehead City to Beaufort, the “crown jewel of the Crystal Coast.” With homes dating back to the 1700s, Beaufort has lots of charm and history. It used to be little more than a small commercial fishing village, but a couple of decades back, the town began an urban renewal program to heighten its appeal to visitors. Transient sailors were welcomed, the waterfront was restored, and today Beaufort is a wonderful walk-around small town with a rich maritime history. Begin on the town’s shop-lined main thoroughfare, Front Street, and proceed on Anglican-named back streets—Queen, Ann, Orange—where restored Colonial homes date back to the early 1700s. The third oldest town in North Carolina, Beaufort was named for Englishman Henry Somerset, the Duke of Beaufort.
Blackbeard’s ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, was found a few years ago at the mouth of Beaufort Inlet, in 24 feet of water that the locals had sailed and fished over for years. Sailors have long considered this tiny town a good jumping-off spot. Some leave here for Bermuda or the Bahamas, some stop here on their way up or down the Atlantic coast. Thus, what you’ll find here is a true sailing town and all of the charm that being so implies. If ever there was a place for you to drop anchor—or hoist your sails— Beaufort is it.
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