Just east of Morehead City, Beaufort,North Carolina is a charming and friendly small town of 4200 by the sea. Pronounced Bow-furt, it is not to be confused with the South Carolina city of the same name, pronounced B'yoo-furt (see the Retirement Guide to Beaufort, SC). The Hatteras barrier islands sweep away to the east; ferries will take you to beaches on nearby barrier islands.
This old seaport has history and beautiful housing – many homes sport historic plaques. The pirate Blackbeard lived here in the 1700’s, leaving his young (and 14th!) wife a widow. The Town Hall is on a green with banyan trees, while the commercial center is on the old port. There are a surprisingly high number of excellent restaurants here. Remarking on what it is like to live here, our innkeeper at the lovely Old Seaport Inn said that she was blown away after moving to town last year from Cape Cod. People went out of their way to introduce themselves, brought over fresh baked bread, and urged her to join many of the town's social venues. Photo of downtown courtesy of Wikipedia and Aurora30 (public domain).
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Beaufort is a top rated community for adults over 55, particularly if you like living in a small coastal town with a relaxed pace of life. In town most people live in small historic homes. Just outside of town are many active adult communities with homes and condominiums oriented around boating (the Intracoastal runs through here) and golf. Real estate is solid as so many northerners and “half-backs” (northerners who moved halfway back from Florida) flock to the Carolinas. Nearby communities include Atlantic Beach, Harkers Island, and Morehead City. Prices will vary according to location and size. Zillow.com reports the median home value to be about $232,407 in mid-2020.
What Is Special about Beaufort NC
• Water and beaches everywhere • History and charm of an old seaport • Antique housing stock • Walk or bike around town • Central downtown with many outstanding restaurants • NOAA, UNC and Duke all have research facilities in the area.
What Is Not Special about Beaufort NC
It is a small town far from any major city. Lots of tourists and boaters in season.
Who Will Like Retirement in Beaufort NC
Beachgoers, boaters, fishermen, antiquers. People who want to live in a compact, historic, and charming and walkable small town on the water.
Local Economy Is Driven by
Tourism, Port of Morehead City, defense (MCAS Cherry Point), scientific research centers, services.
Climate and Physical Environment
Beaufort is in the middle of North Carolina's Atlantic Ocean coast. It juts into the Atlantic with water on all side. Many barrier islands and bays make it a boater's paradise.
Restaurants & Cultural Scene
Beaufort has a strong library (Carteret County) that is open 4 nights per week; Although there is not a large cultural infrastructure in such a small town, there is quite a bit going on nearby; The Beaufort Historical Association is active, as is the Old Beaufort Homes and Gardens Tour. There is the Robert and Elva Faison Safrit Historical Center and the NC Maritime Museum; Carteret Community College and its Joslyn Hall provide many cultural events to the area; The Crystal Coast Civic Center is nearby; The Craven Dance Arts Council & Gallery (in New Bern) offers cultural opportunities.
The crime rate is slightly above average.
Carteret General Hospital is 7 miles away in Morehead City.
Beaufort has an airport (Michael J. Smith Field), but the nearest commercial air service is in New Bern, about 37 miles away. New Bern is serviced by US Airways Express (Charlotte) and Delta Connection (Atlanta). Beaufort is a very walkable community when compared to other towns.
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