As you can see, Beaufort has some of the best sunsets along the North Carolina coast.
It all has to do with Beaufort’s location.
So, before we tell you the best spots to catch a sunset in Beaufort, let’s talk location, as well as directions.
The town of Beaufort sits at the end of a peninsula-like strip of land between the Newport and North Rivers, near the eastern half of Carteret County, North Carolina.
Beaufort is just to the east of Morehead City very near the end of US Highway 70, a road that stretches all the way from Arizona to the coast of North Carolina. Beaufort’s waterfront is protected by Carrot Island, one of a collection of small islands and sandbars known as the Rachel Carson Reserve. Between Carrot Island and Beaufort’s historic district and waterfront area is a harbor and stretch of water known as Taylor’s Creek.
Click here for another visual.
The destination beaches of Bogue Banks (Atlantic Beach, Pine Knoll Shores, Salter Path, Indian Beach, and Emerald Isle) are a short drive from town, and both Shackleford Banks and the rest of Cape Lookout National Seashore are a short boat ride away.
Directions in the area can be tricky though, because the coastline around Beaufort runs east to west as opposed to north to south like most of the rest of the east coast of the US. This can cause a bit of confusion because if you are on a boat sailing out of an inlet on the east coast of the U.S. you expect to be sailing east, and if you take a left after sailing out of that inlet, you expect to be sailing south and headed to the Caribbean.
Along this stretch of North Carolina coast, from Cape Lookout to Bogue Inlet that is simply not the case. Another part of the North Carolina coast that runs east to west is that stretch from Cape Fear to the North Carolina – South Carolina border, so that if you are driving from Wilmington, NC to Myrtle Beach, SC, the first 30 miles or so of the drive is due west, as opposed to due south as you might imagine.
What does this weird geography do for Beaufort?
It can make directions a bit confusing.
If you are standing on the widow’s walk at the Inlet Inn and looking out across Beaufort Inlet to the ocean, you are not looking towards England, but towards the Bahamas. Which is not a bad thing at all, and for most of us just an interesting piece of trivia. However, the orientation of Beaufort does create one really good thing for residents and visitors…
It’s that east – west orientation that makes for the great sunsets in Beaufort and all along the Crystal Coast.
Beaufort’s Front Street runs just slightly off a east-west axis, and while the sunrises are a bit behind you in Beaufort, the sunsets are absolutely perfect.
So, where are the best spots in town to watch these amazing sunsets?
A stroll along the boardwalk will get you a great sunsets for free, as will a walk down to the west end of front street and a few minutes sitting on one of the stone benches at the traffic circle by the Duncan House.
Also, a walk down Ann Street ends at the Beaufort Inn’s parking lot, another great places to view a sunset.
But, there are three perfect places to view the sunset, and if you are visiting Beaufort, you will at least occasionally patronize one of these businesses if not all three on different trips.
Just make sure to get there just before sunset.
First, mentioned above, is the Inlet Inn’s widow’s walk.
Second, the lower deck of the Front Street Grill’s Rhum Bar.
Third, the balconies of the Gallants Channel-side rooms at the Beaufort Inn.
While these three are not necessarily in order, all three are excellent. If we had to chose a first place sunset location in Beaufort, it would have to be number 2 – the lower decks at the Front Street Grill’s Rhum Bar.
It’s hard to beat a great sunset paired with an excellent drink and comfortable seats!
And if you are in Beaufort for a full moon, don’t miss two things:
But, more importantly, make yourself get up early for a full moonset!
And don’t forget to:
Relax…you CAN get to Beaufort from here!
Alan Pate says
GREAT job, Mark !
Thanks so much, Alan!
Tammie Wells Schaaf says
You have done a wonderful job on this and I hope you continue! I am a native (but from the country to the west off hwy 101 in Core Creek) and love to see your photos and hear your stories. Very interesting and I’m not even a “touriesta”, or “a Dingbatter”, or a “dit-dotter” , or even a “cone-licker” !! Keep up the great work!
Many, many thanks, Tammy (and for your FB comments)! We’re having a ball with Bringing Home Beaufort, and hope to both continue and to crank things up a bit over the summer.