Beaufort, N.C. (pronounced Bo-fort) is North Carolina's third oldest town. It follows behind Bath, and Edenton as an historic town, but with its prime waterfront location on Beaufort Inlet with easy access to the Atlantic Ocean, you are likely to see some yachts on the waterfront that rival those in Monte Carlo,
But, Beaufort is no Monte Carlo. It's not glitzy, but rather laid-back with a new trendy, preppy edge. Beaufort has always had its waterfront with big boats, historic homes, and gourmet restaurants, but now it also offers a downtown with cool coffee shops, wine bars, clothing boutiques that make Jack Rogers and Trina Turk lovers squeal with delight, art galleries, upscale gift stores with fine-linens, and a high-end pet shop with gourmet doggie biscuits. All of these factors mixed with history have really helped shape Beaufort, North Carolina into one of the coolest small towns in America.
Beaufort is a hot vacation destination among North Carolina's Crystal Coast, and a town not to be missed when you are in this area. Beaufort is filled with historic bed and breakfast inns, and a few small hotels. Most homes are privately owned, but you can find a few vacation rentals with waterfront views.
Beaufort also makes the perfect day-trip or dinner spot destination, especially if you are staying on any of the Crystal Coast beaches like we did on this trip. From Beaufort, you can also visit Cape Lookout and Shackleford Banks, the island with wild horses.
Beaufort is about 20 minutes from Atlantic Beach and surrounding beaches, 10 minutes from Morehead City, and about 30 to 40 minutes from Emerald Isle.
The Historic Double-Decker Bus Tour of Beaufort
A must-do in this town is the Historic Double Decker Bus Tour conducted on a 1967 London Double-Decker bus, operated by the Beaufort Historical Association. We loved this tour, and learned so much about the town. It is a royal treat for adults and kids. The entire tour takes about 45-minutes. The cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tours are offered every day except on Sunday.
The tour will take you by the Old Burying Ground, historic churches, and homes. I personally love the homes, and a Beaufort event that is my favorite is the annual old homes and garden tour held each June.
Lunch at Historic Spouter Inn Restaurant and Bakery
When you are on the Crystal Coast, Beaufort is certainly the place to enjoy fine dining. On this particular trip, we dined on the waterfront at the Spouter Inn Restaurant and Bakery which has been a culinary staple in this historic town for 30 years. Despite my many trips to the area, this was the first time my family has dined at the restaurant.
Here, you will dine with waterfront views like this. It is upscale, but not too formal for kids, especially during the day. They have crayons and a kid's menu. Dinner prices are above $20 for entrees, and I personally like to dine at that price point without my kids because my meals just aren't the same when I'm dining with my kids because I'm feel as if I'm always rushing or trying to focus on making sure they are behaving. I will soon post a dining guide for the Crystal Coast so look for that soon.
I loved my food at the Spouter Inn and will definitely go back. I got the crabcake salad, and it was divine. Reservations are suggested for dinner.
Desserts are the restaurant's specialty in Beaufort and it operates a public bakery. I was just too full to sample some coconut pie, and I really regret that decision now. I will do it on my next visit.
Places of Interest in Beaufort, N.C.
Historic Beaufort Double-Decker Bus Tour
The Spouter Inn Restaurant and Bakery
NC Maritime Museum
The Beaufort Coffee Shop and Cru Wine Bar
Beaufort Olive Oil Company
The Fudge Factory
The General Store
Beaufort Pet Provisions
Beaufort Linen Company
Intimate Inns and Bed and Breakfast Inns in Historic Beaufort
*Many bed and breakfast inns prefer guests over the age of 10 or 12. Please check policies before booking for family travel.
Inlet Inn (Kid-friendly)
The Cedar's Inn and Restaurant
Front Steet Inn by the Sea
Pecan Tree Inn
Beaufort Inn and Suites (Kid-Friendly)
Ann Street Inn
Langdon House Bed and Breakfast
Old Seaport Inn
Plan your Visit:
The Crystal Coast
Wild Horses, A Lighthouse, and Emerald Isle: A Quick Look at the Crystal Coast
Disclosure: The bus tour and lunch at the Spouter Inn were part of my press agenda arranged by the Crystal Coast.