Beaufort is a town in and the county seat of Carteret County, North Carolina, United States. Established in 1709, Beaufort is the third-oldest town in North Carolina (after Bath and Edenton). On February 1, 2012, Beaufort was ranked as "America's Coolest Small Town" by readers of Budget Travel Magazine.
Beaufort is located in North Carolina's "Inner Banks" region. The town is home to the North Carolina Maritime Museum, the Duke University Marine Laboratory (Nicholas School of the Environment), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research. It is also the location of the Rachel Carson Coastal Reserve. The Nicholas Sparks novel and movie A Walk to Remember is set in Beaufort.