10 Reasons to Visit Beaufort, NC

Welcome to the first official installment of the brand new “Travel Tuesday” blog category. I’m starting off strong with one of my favorite places on earth to vacation, and giving you my 10 reasons to visit Beaufort, NC. ♥ Before I continue, let me warn you about two things:

1. Once you visit this amazing little waterfront town, you’ll never want to leave.

2. Don’t do what we did and go to Beaufort (pronounced BOW-FERT) and call it Beaufort (as in BEW-FERT, which is in SC). They’ll kindly ask you to leave. Just kidding. But they will sweetly correct you and you’ll never make that mistake again.

Without further ado, let’s dive right into the top 10 reasons to visit Beaufort, NC- in no particular order because they are all amazing reasons. 🙂

1. Water-front Dining

The sweet, tiny little town of Beaufort is home to some amazing restaurants! Not only is the food delicious but a whole handful of them include amazing waterfront views. You can literally watch dolphins swim by while you shove a burger in your face. Are you kidding me?! Our family favorite has to be Black Sheep Pizza. We’re a gluten free bunch and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that Black Sheep has THE best gluten free pizza. Go there, get the Charcuterie pie and watch the sun go down over the water. Trust me, it’s magical.

2. Private Beaches

I know what you’re thinking. Private beaches in the OBX? No way… Yes way! I can’t count the number of times we’ve been completely alone on the most pristine, white sandy beach next to the most pristine, clear blue waters while visiting Beaufort. Now, let me be clear. Beaufort itself is not a beach town. If you want to put your toes in the sand you have to either take a boat to Bird Shoal or Sand Dollar island. Or, you can load your 4WD up onto the ferry in Harkers Island and make your way over to Cape Lookout National Seashore for the day. You can drive along the beach or behind the dunes and explore to your hearts content. You can find the Harkers Island ferry schedule here.

3. Superb Shelling

If I could be anyone I would be Sally who sells seashells by the seashore. But to be honest, I would probably keep them all because I am obsessed with shelling. There are SO many shells in and around Beaufort but the best ones are at the very tip of Bird Shoal Island. The ferry will drop you off on the far west side of the island and you’ll need to trek allll the way to the furthest point east that you can go. It’s a haul but it’s worth it. Plus, the view is beautiful the whole way! Despite the name, you won’t actually find many sand dollars on Sand Dollar Island. Bird Shoal is where you’ll want to go if you’re looking for mermaid money.

4. Wild Horses

The Rachel Carson Reserve (which includes Carrot Island, Town Marsh, Bird Shoal, and Horse Island) is home to a herd of beautiful wild horses. The horses feed on the wild cordgrass of the islands and can be seen grazing in different areas throughout the day. You’ll want to keep at least the distance of a bus between yourself and the horses so not to disturb their natural behaviors. Kayaking is the best way to get up close and take some photos of the horses!

5. Small Town Safety

If you like to wake up early on vacation and go for a walk or jog then you’ll love Beaufort. You’ll always be greeted by many other morning people, walking their dogs, going for a run, walking to the coffee shop etc. It’s an incredibly safe area and as many times as we’ve been, we’ve never once felt endangered.

6. Accommodations

As far as places to stay, Beaufort has no shortage of options. If you’re looking for a full service option, check out the Beaufort Hotel. If you’re more like me and you want a place to yourself, there are a ton of AirBnb’s available in the area. You can pretty much find an option within any budget. We like to stay in any of the AirBnb’s in the Beau Coast neighborhood because you get access to the community pool, clubhouse and the docks. We usually pick a place that comes with kayaks which we can put in right at the Beau Coast docks.

7. Beaufort Marina

There’s truly something special about the Beaufort Marina. Maybe it’s just me though, I’ve always loved a marina filled with boats but I’ve never loved one as much as this one. Beaufort Marina is a popular place for some of the most incredible yachts. Apparently a lot of the owners anchor down and stay for long periods of time. In the summer months you’ll be hard pressed to find a spot to park your boat because it’s such a busy little area. We like to walk the boardwalk at sunset and play a game called, “which yacht would I buy if I were a millionaire”.

8. Ice Cream Dream

Every vacation spot needs a good ice cream shop and Beaufort doesn’t disappoint. The Beaufort Creamery was ranked number 7 on the national list of best ice cream shops in July of 2023. You’ll want to get there early though because they tend to sell out.

9. Small Town Feel

You simply cannot beat the small town vibe of this little coastal city. The July Fourth parade is top notch with plenty of patriotism on display + fireworks right over the water. There is also an annual Christmas parade, a community Thanksgiving feast and the Beaufort Pirate Invasion which happens every fall and is quite the event. You can see all of the annual event’s here.

10. Stunning Sunsets

I hinted at this earlier when I mentioned the marina but pictures honestly don’t do it justice. The sunset over the water, with Beaufort Marina in the foreground is beyond beautiful. The perfect way to end a day spent hunting sand dollars in the gorgeous blue waters of the OBX.

I hope this list of 10 reasons to visit Beaufort, NC gives you the boost you need to book that trip and have one of the best vacations of your life! If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer! Be sure to pin this post to refer back to!