Beaufort, founded in 1709 and the third oldest town in North Carolina, Beaufort is dedicated to preserving its rich history and retaining the charm of its early day. Recently honored as "The Coolest Small Town in America", Beaufort has been discovered for its vibrant downtown filled with great shopping, wonderful restaurants, boats in the harbor and friendly people everywhere.
On nearby Harkers Island, the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum was built as a tribute to the history and heritage of the residents to preserve the island's practice of decoy carving, a popular pastime of the area that involves skilled artisans carving a perfect replica of a duck from a block of wood. The ducks were literally used as decoys during duck hunting season. Trips to visit the black-and-white diamond pattern lighthouse at Cape Lookout can also be made from Beaufort and Harker's Island. Nearby Shackleford Banks is home to herds of feral horses called Bankers.