We've taken two separate weekend trips to Beaufort and now it will forever hold a special place in my heart as it was the last trip we ever took with my mom before she passed away a week later unexpectedly.
Beaufort, North Carolina is roughly 2 1/2 hours away from the Raleigh area.
Beaufort is the fourth oldest town in North Carolina. Beaufort was ranked as "America's Coolest Small Town" by readers of Budget Travel Magazine. It's minutes away from beaches on the Crystal Coast.
Beaufort gives off quaint, historic, small town coastal city vibes and is featured in two Nicholas Sparks novels: A Walk to Remember and The Choice.
Strongly consider taking a weekend trip here with your kids because you won't be disappointed and it will leave you feeling relaxed.
Where We Stayed
Both times we stayed in AirBNBs.
The first time we stayed at the Beau Retreat. This was 3 miles from the city center.
The second time we stayed at the Seahorse, which was within walking distance to downtown - Front Street.
While the walls are thin and you can hear clearly someone above you, I liked this AirBNB more because it was so close to everything.
Where We Ate
There's plenty to eat in Beaufort. NC Tripping recommends Moonrakers.
Here are the places we ate and enjoyed all of them:
1. City Kitchen - Waterfront restaurant located above Town Creek Marina. This restaurant specializes in Southern American Fusion. It has an outdoor area with a tiki bar.
2. Beaufort Grocery - I didn't eat here myself, but my dad and husband did. They enjoyed it. It's located in downtown Beaufort's historic district on Queen Street.
3. 34° North - This beautiful restaurant in Beaufort is located on Taylor Creek and is a great spot to get brunch.
4. Black Sheep - This pizza joint is located right in downtown on Front Street. It offers views of the water and boardwalk.
5. Beaufort Creamery - No trip is complete without ice cream and this local parlor on Front Street sure doesn't disappoint.
What We Did
There is so much to do here.
But here's what we did:
1. Island Ferry Adventures: We took this ferry twice on two separate occasions. One time to Bird Shoal and the other time to Sand Dollar Island. Sand Dollar Island will probably be more fun for kids as they have the allure of searching for living and dead sand dollars.
2. Radio Island Beach Access: Want to enjoy the beach without the waves? Go to Beaufort's public beach. You can drive and park here.
3. Atlantic Beach: I should probably do a whole separate post on Atlantic Beach, but I like to pair Atlantic Beach with Beaufort because they are so close. It's about a 15 minute drive here and you can hang out on the ocean all day.
4. Pine Knoll Shore Aquarium: An easy 24 minute drive from Beaufort, this is a good indoor activity for kids. Although I wasn't too impressed as an adult, my 4-year old loved it.
5. Footloose on the Neuse: I have to put this on here because it was tradition for my mom, dad, and I to go. Well, we went two years in a row and were planning to go a third. Take the hour drive to New Bern and go to their Footloose on the Neuse tribute concerts. We had a blast both times. We ate at Persimmons Waterfront Restaurant both times too. Hopefully, we continue going in remembrance of my mom.
That's Beaufort for you! And my husband and I seriously talked about having a small house or condo here one day because we like it so much. Hope you can visit with your kids!
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Check out these other North Carolina destinations.