Welcome to Beaufort, North Carolina. I figured we should start this tour off at a famous, historic house that has been frequented by pirates, specifically the infamous Blackbeard. More about him later. See if you can find the Hammock House. It is white, with a balcony, and the last time I checked it had a green front door. There’s also a sign in the yard that says “Hammock House circa 1700.” This is the oldest house in Beaufort, and is said to be haunted. What do you think?
Now, please follow your navigation to Front Street. We are headed toward downtown. I HIGHLY recommend that you remember this downtown spot and promise yourself that you will come back, park your car and explore this fun, historic area on foot. For now though, drive slowly and take as much in as you can.
I’d like to highlight a favorite stop here. Coming up on your right is Clawson’s 1905 Restaurant and Pub. It is cherished by locals and visitors alike, and has a great history to go along with it. Clawson’s is the oldest brick building in Beaufort, having been built around 1870. It was a grocery store which sold canned goods, fresh, local produce and baked goods. Local delivery was offered by horse carriage and the horses, “June Bug” and “Dragonfly” were well known around town.
Clawson’s was forced to close after the Great Depression and was purchased by multiple businesses until 1977 when it was bought and restored back to its original restaurant purpose.
Inside you will find memorabilia from the 1920’s that will take you back in time as you enjoy anything from seafood and steaks to hamburgers and sandwiches. Of course, cold craft beers are always on tap, so remember this place and come back soon!
What’s better than a North Carolina Maritime Museum? How about a FREE North Carolina Maritime Museum? That’s right, head on in there between 10 and 5 (noon to 5 on Sundays), and get your fill of history, artifacts, folklore and more, just inside those doors. They do accept donations, so don’t be cheap.
Have you ever heard of a pirate by the name of Edward Thatch? No? You’ve probably heard of his nickname though. Blackbeard? Yeah, I knew that would ring a bell. He was the infamous English pirate who captured the French ship known as La Concorde. Blackbeard outfitted La Concorde with 40 guns and 300 men, and promptly renamed her “Queen Anne’s Revenge.” Blackbeard managed to wreck Queen Anne’s Revenge on the shore near Beaufort, and now you can see some of these fantastic artifacts here at the Maritime Museum.
Pirate booty isn’t the only thing you can find there. You can also see fish models, shells from over 100 countries, a small aquarium and even a display of duck decoys and venomous snakes. Get in there and take a “bite” of North Carolina history!
We are just about to turn left and head over the Gallant Channel Bridge, but before we do, let me tell you about an educational center that is a gift to us all. It is located down a side street to the right, across from all the boats, just before you go over the bridge.
This center is about cetaceans. What’s that? I’m glad you asked. A cetacean is the order of marine animals that have torpedo-shaped, hairless bodies, paddle-shaped forelimbs but no back limbs, one or two blow holes and a flat, horizontal tail. Any guesses? Yup, we are talking about whales, dolphins and porpoises, and the Bonehenge Whale Center is the place to go to learn all the ins and outs of these amazing mammals. Inside you can find enormous whale skeletons with a story behind them. You can learn about the bottlenose dolphin population in the area and how the experts at the center are able to identify different dolphins by their fins.
They also have a monofilament recovery program, which is where they rescue marine animals from fishing nets and lines and rehabilitate the injured creatures for a return back to the water.
This is just a drop in the bucket of what goes on at the Bonehenge Whale Center. I suggest you put that on your list of things to do in the area.
I’m guessing that you are driving over the Gallant Channel Bridge at this point, so let me tell you a thing or two about it. This 3,395 foot bridge was completed in 2019 to replace the old Grayden Paul Bridge. It has bike paths and pedestrian paths so you can drive, bike or walk and enjoy the scenery. Take in the beauty and I’ll get back to you as we approach Radio Island.
Everyone loves the beach, right? Well Radio Island has a fantastic public beach access area that I’d like to share with you. Radio Island is perfectly located between Beaufort and Morehead City. If you are looking for a sandy shoreline and calm water perfect for water sports, this is the place for you. Kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding are popular here because of the beautiful, still water.
If you’ve got kids in tow, the shallow water areas are perfect for the kids to splash around while grown-ups can just relax and enjoy the views.
For all the exploring types out there, the sand dunes and trails in the area offer ample opportunities for bird watching and nature adventures.
Bring your fishing poles as well, because Radio Island Beach is a fabulous place for reeling in a big one right out of the Bulkhead Channel. Spotted seatrout, black sea bass and red drum fish are just waiting to bite your hook.
I know what you are thinking - “But are there bathrooms?” Yes, yes there are, along with free parking and public showers so the kids don’t haul a souvenir of pounds of sand back in your car. But speaking of souvenirs, visitors love looking for shells on the beach to take home as a reminder of all the fun they had
Morehead City, here we come! Known as a “fisherman’s paradise,” this fun and exciting city is just crawling with things to do and see. Up ahead on your right is Morehead City Yacht Basin, and on your left is Portside Marina, which brings me to this public service announcement so we can clear up any boat confusion. If you are standing in your boat and facing the front, you are facing the bow. The back of the boat is called the stern. The right side is called starboard and the left side is called port. Now you know.
We are headed toward the water now and this is where I have to tell you about the North Carolina Seafood Festival. Did you know that October is National Seafood Month? True story, and the North Carolina Seafood Festival celebrates the month in all of the best ways. First let’s talk about why.
The purpose of the festival is to promote awareness of the social and economic impact of the North Carolina seafood industry. Also, to educate the public about North Carolina seafood and to increase off-season tourism in the area. Plus, the Festival raises money to donate to other non-profit groups in Carteret County.
So what does the festival look like? Imagine a 3-day party with street dances, concerts, arts and crafts, rides, games, hands-on programs for children, and fireworks. I didn’t even mention the seafood part! Imagine over a hundred seafood vendors with an endless, and I mean endless variety of seafood prepared in every way possible. There’s even an International Award-Winning Chef’s Tent and a Flounder Fling. I’m not sure what a Flounder Fling is, but it sounds really fun.
Admission to the festival is always free but bring your credit card because you KNOW you will want to make a few purchases.
As you continue on, take note of the Sanitary Fish Market, the Ruddy Duck Tavern and the Southern Salt Seafood Company and Waterfront. Each offers a unique experience for hungry travelers. This is one of those streets where you really should park and walk around to take it all in. You will come back and do that, right? Good. Carry on.
So how many restaurants have you made a mental note of? You know, the restaurants that are a MUST for you? I have at least 5. Don’t worry if you are getting hungry, because we are almost to the end of the tour. Hang in there!
Time to check out Jaycee Park! I don’t have to tell you how scenic it is here. Just look for yourself! Walk along the path and docks. Admire the boats, the water and the neighboring islands. Take in the loud explosions… during the 4th of July festival, of course. Jaycee Park gives you the best seats in the house for the amazing waterfront fireworks display.
Love live music? Jaycee Park hosts a summer concert series with rock, blues, acoustic and reggae bands.
Please look to your right. No tour is complete without a visit to a King Neptune Statue. I don’t know if that’s actually true but I tend to believe that it is. Now, the King Neptune Statue here in Morehead is… shall we say… “special” in its own right, and one that demands a selfie for all who pass. That fact that it is listed on multiple “Oddball Tourist Attraction” websites says it all. I kind of don’t wanna spoil it for you so please, PLEASE take the time to snap a photo in front of this odd Mer-man sculpture. His body proudly juts out of the dock, wielding his trident and is seemingly unphased that his tail isn’t in scale with his massive body and his paint job is mediocre at best. But again, this guy is famous so go get your selfie and then go get a bite to eat!
And just like that, this tour is complete. From historic buildings to downtown shopping, beaches to weird statues, Carteret County has a little bit of everything. I hope you had as much fun as I did on this tour. Thanks for taking the time to let me show you around!
If you’d like to learn more about this fun area, contact the Star Team! You can reach them at 252-727-5656 or email email@example.com to get started on your search for homes in Carteret County.