Beaufort and Morehead City
Known as Fishtown until it was renamed in 1722, the charming 18th-century town of Beaufort (pop. 4,189) has quiet streets lined with churches, cemeteries filled with weather-stained monuments, and whitewashed houses with narrow porches. The nautical-themed shops and restaurants along the water on busy Front Street, three blocks south of US‑70, attract tourists and boaters traveling along the Intracoastal Waterway. The spacious North Carolina Maritime Museum (315 Front St., 252/728-7317, daily, free) features many informative exhibits on the region’s nautical and natural history, as well as a truly impressive display of over 1,000 beautiful seashells. The museum also sponsors an annual Wooden Boat Show, held the first weekend in May.
If you’re looking for a meal in Beaufort, try Clawson’s (425 Front St., 252/728-2133), a burger and seafood place housed in an old grocery store that’s been in business since 1905.
While Beaufort may be prettier, you’ll find the best food in burly Morehead City, three miles west of Beaufort and across the bridge. Try the homemade seafood cocktail sauce and Tarheel hush puppies at the Sanitary Fish Market and Restaurant (501 Evans St., 252/247-3111), a local institution since 1938 and easy to find amidst the sportfishing boats a block off US‑70. For even more famous burgers (and shrimp burgers, and onion rings, and milk shakes, and more!), head along to El’s Drive-In (3706 Arendall St., 252/726-3002), open since 1959 on US‑70, three miles south of Morehead City, a mile south of the bridge to Atlantic Beach.
315 Front Street, Beaufort, NC 28516
425 Front Street, Beaufort, NC 28516