Are you searching for that perfect day trip during your Emerald Isle vacation? The nearby town of Beaufort might be just what you need! This cozy town has some great attractions for the whole family, as well as some romantic things that you and your partner will appreciate. Check out some of our favorite things to do in Beaufort, NC! If you would like more suggestions for things to add to your itinerary, download our free Vacation Guide. You’ll get the inside scoop on the best of the Crystal Coast.
Discover the Best Things to do in Beaufort, NC
North Carolina Maritime Museum
The North Carolina Maritime Museum combines educational exhibits with entertainment! Your kids won’t even realize they’re learning as they look at the fascinating artifacts housed here. Do you have a future marine biologist on your hands? They’ll have fun learning about the local ecology. Is your little one interested in learning more about pirates? This museum has artifacts from Queen Anne’s Revenge, Blackbeard’s famous ship. There’s even a center that teaches visitors about boatbuilding. Enjoy a day of fun and learning when you visit!
There’s plenty of history to enjoy during your visit to Beaufort! This former seaside village is the third-oldest in North Carolina, established in 1709. Today, you’ll be able to stroll along the beautiful tree-lined streets of the downtown district and enjoy an afternoon of sightseeing. The best place to tour historic homes is The Plan of Beaufort Towne. This 12-block, two-acre historic site is open to the public and staffed from June to August. During your visit, you’ll be able to explore some of the town’s original buildings, including the Carteret County Courthouse from 1796 and The Old Jail from 1829. They even have an apothecary stocked with medicinal herbs grown in the town’s own garden. Before your visit, download the walking tour brochure, and be sure to check out the available guided tours of the historic buildings.
Book With Hungry Town Guided Tours
While some visitors prefer to conduct their own walking tours, you may prefer to buy a ticket to Hungry Town Guided Tours’ Historic Beaufort Walking Tour. It runs every day of the year and lasts for about an hour. The tour is appropriate for all ages, so bring the whole family along!
Another one of their tours delves into the little-known secrets of the town’s history. The Hidden Beaufort Tour, which lasts about an hour, goes into the legacy of Blackbeard, shipbuilding, and the homes in the downtown district. It’s only available for guests 15 or older.
The downtown walking tour isn’t the only one available. Hungry Town Guided Tours has an amazing selection available, including ones based on Nicholas Sparks novels (which are set nearby) and others focused on maritime history. One of the most popular is the Beaufort Culinary Bike Tour will take you through 300 years of Beaufort’s history. During the three-hour ride, you’ll visit three restaurants, attend a wine tasting, and sample some olive oil pairings at a chef-inspired kitchen store. Speaking of restaurants…
Dine at a Beaufort, NC, Restaurant
While Beaufort may not be a large town, there is plenty of delicious food to enjoy here! It’s the perfect place to visit if you’re craving fresh, locally caught seafood or Southern classics. Check out some of our favorite places to eat in Beaufort, NC below!
Locally sourced ingredients, seasonal fare, and reasonably priced drinks are the focuses at Aqua Restaurant. They offer an array of tapas, small plates, large plates, and desserts. Plus, you’ll find a fantastic selection of daily specials like a $5 featured martini or their WineOrama event. Twice a month, Aqua hosts a wine expert at their restaurant. For just $10, you can sample some wines and maybe find a new favorite!
Nothing pairs better with fresh seafood than gorgeous oceanfront views! City Kitchen has both in spades. Whether you’re ordering one of their delicious dishes or you’re just enjoying a cocktail at their outdoor Tiki bar, City Kitchen is worth a visit. If possible, try to arrive near sunset so you can watch nature’s most beautiful show!
This romantic date-night spot is the perfect addition to your vacation! La Perla’s menu includes exquisitely prepared dishes with a fun twist. These seasonal dishes range from Southern staples to classic Spanish fare. Their drink list is just an impressive, with a selection of mixed drinks that will suit anyone’s fancy. If you can, we suggest you attend one of their wine dinners, held on the second Wednesday of every month. You’ll enjoy five delicious courses along with two handpicked wines.
Front Street Grill at Stillwater
Located in a renovated historic marine boathouse, Front Street Grill has lunch, dinner, and an excellent Sunday brunch. If you only have time to visit once, we suggest you attend their weekly brunch. Their menu features Southern classics like shrimp and grits or biscuits and gravy, as well as huevos rancheros, a fried green tomato BLT, and an omelet of the day. No brunch is complete without a delicious Bloody Mary or mimosa!
Clawson’s Restaurant & Pub
If you’ve got a craving for some local seafood and a craft beer, Clawson’s is the destination for you. They offer daily specials as well as their Friday Night Flights beer tasting. On the first Friday of each month, Clawson’s hosts a local brewery. It’s a fantastic chance to sip some delicious North Carolina beers and enjoy some live music. There’s even a chance to win a prize at their raffle!
Queen Anne’s Revenge
Yo ho ho and a bottle of wine! Queen Anne’s Revenge is a waterfront restaurant in downtown Beaufort that features a full-service restaurant and a bottle shop. They are well known for their artisan pizzas, which features a dough and sauce that is made from scratch daily. Queen Anne’s also has an incredible selection of beer, wine, and craft cocktails. After you’ve enjoyed your meal, head to the bottle shop to browse their inventory. They hand-select each wine in their shop, so you know you’re getting quality. This local favorite provides a meal and a shopping trip all in one! That’s not the end of it, either. There are plenty more stores in town to visit!
Enjoy Beaufort, NC, Shopping
As you stroll along the town’s waterfront, you might start to feel as though you’ve traveled back in time. Beaufort’s historic downtown area harkens back to an era before chain stores and mass-made souvenirs. Start planning your shopping excursion in downtown Beaufort!
The Old Beaufort Shop
The best place to start browsing is The Old Beaufort Shop! Their inventory of gifts, books, and other fun souvenirs represents the town’s fascinating history. From pirate-themed items to handwoven works that are created on-site, you won’t find a better selection of
Beaufort Olive Oil Company
Discover global flavors in a local business. The Beaufort Olive Oil Company offers high-quality imported olive oils, vinegars, and other provisions that will make a perfect gift for the foodie in your life (even if that foodie is you!). If you find something that you love, but you don’t feel like bringing it back to Emerald Isle, don’t worry! There’s another storefront in our very own town, just a five-minute drive from Spinnaker’s Reach’s neighborhood.
The Fudge Factory
We’re heading from the savory to the sweet! The Fudge Factory specializes in making their candy confections by hand in small batches. The result is melt-in-your-mouth chocolatey goodness. The Fudge Factory uses all-natural ingredients and boasts that their product is a delicious source for omega-3 fatty acids. It’s a treat you can feel good about!
Get in the island mood! Island Traders, located in downtown Beaufort, has all the gear you need for your beach vacation. This fun shop is owned by George Rose, who opened it in 2001. Since then, it’s become a staple for visitors to the area. You’ll find hats, flip-flops, t-shirts, and other fun accessories that echo that small-town charm of Beaufort. Chat with the friendly staff and get some gifts for your loved ones back home. Island Traders carries the perfect souvenirs to remind you of your stay on the Crystal Coast.
Another fantastic gift store in town is the Shack Shoppe! Here, you’ll find plenty of pirate-themed souvenirs and gifts that’ll make you smile, as well as beautiful glassware, and art pieces. The kids will enjoy looking at the unique selection of toys and games, and you’ll love finding new decor to add to your home!
Mattie King Davis Art Gallery
Visit the oldest art gallery in Carteret County! Located at the historic Russell House, the Mattie King Davis Art Gallery displays original works by local artists. Each of these beautiful pieces is inspired in some way by the coastline. Just about every medium is represented here, including oils, watercolors, pottery, glass, jewelry, weavings, and more. Whether you’re looking to purchase one of the gorgeous artworks on display or you’re just admiring, this is a fantastic place to go during your day in Beaufort.
Attend a Beaufort, NC, Event
Beaufort Wine & Food Festival
With so many excellent restaurants in town, it’s no wonder that the Beaufort Wine & Food Festival is such a prestigious event! Chefs and winemakers from all over the world come to Beaufort for auctions, seminars, special dinners, and more. Some of the best events include the Historic District Wine Walkabout. Here, you’ll visit four historic homes and dine on a delicious course at each location. It’s an awesome chance to meet some of the honored guests of the festival. The Saturday Night Throwdown is another highlight. You’ll enjoy wine, beer, and spirit samples along with featured dishes from restaurants, combined with live music and interesting conversation. The Beaufort Wine & Food Festival takes place every year in late April.
Annual Wooden Boat Show
Every year in early May, the North Carolina Maritime Museum hosts the longest-running boat show in the Southeast! The Annual Wooden Boat Show is fun for the whole family, with free sailboat rides, races, a show for kids, and educational seminars. This festival is a fun way to make some wonderful memories with the ones you love! While you’re here for the Wooden Boat Show, check out the Annual BoatBuilding Challenge. Though these events aren’t directly affiliated, they’re held simultaneously so guests can enjoy both!
Beaufort Music Festival
The Beaufort Music Festival has a 30-year history in town, showcasing amazing artists and local breweries. This free two-day concert event has welcomed the Avett Brothers, Margo Price, and Robert Rudolph and the Family Band. You never know what up-and-coming act you’ll see! The festival is in mid-May, so be sure to book your home with Spinnaker’s Reach today!
The Annual Big Rock Tournament
Anglers from all over the region flock to Beaufort each year for the long-running Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament! This is one of the most anticipated fishing tournaments along the Crystal Coast, with big prizes and plenty of great parties. Entry fees for the competition typically range from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the level of entry. If you’ve not entered the contest, you can enjoy a full week of fun events. The Captain’s Party is always a blast, with live music and drinks. The Sunday Pig Pickin’ is a must for anyone in the mood for pork. If you’ve never tried downhome cooking, this is an excellent introduction. The tournament is in early June.
Historic Beaufort Candlelight Homes Tour
Get in the holiday spirit in Beaufort! In early December, the Beaufort Historic Association gives locals and visitors a rare glimpse into some of the private historic homes, inns, bed and breakfasts, and churches around town.
Book Today With Spinnaker’s Reach
Are you ready to have the best vacation of your life? These things to do in Beaufort, NC, are just the tip of the iceberg. The Crystal Coast is one of the best family-friendly vacation destinations in the world, and Spinnaker’s Reach has the best selection of properties along the Coast. Each of our homes is in one central neighborhood in town. Our guests can enjoy shared amenities like our pool or clubhouse, as well as the gorgeous stretch of beach along Coast Guard Road. Whether you’re searching for a beautiful oceanfront house or pet-friendly accommodations, you’ll find it on our inventory!
Browse through our full selection of homes and book today! We look forward to having you.