Morehead City was the brainchild of John Motley Morehead, governor of North Carolina from 1841 to 1845. Governor Morehead foresaw the commercial potential of Shepherd's Point,the promontory at the intersection of the Newport River and Beaufort Inlet, and envisioned "a great commercial city" there. Morehead and his associates acquired a large portion of the surrounding property and then made plans to extend the North Carolina Railroad from Goldsboro to Shepherd's Point.

A public auction was held in 1857, and 150 lots were sold in the new town. Within three days of the celebration of the railroad's completion in 1858, every property parcel in the city and the surrounding area was sold.

The Civil War interrupted Morehead City's development as a port. Following the war, the shipping terminal deteriorated, but the railroad continued hauling vast quantities of seafood to the state's inland sections.

In the late 1800s, Morehead City received a new group of residents from nearby Shackleford Banks. Many whaling families were driven from Diamond City and the other Shackleford settlements by the great hurricane of 1899. While most of these salty folk moved to Harkers Island, one group came to Morehead City and settled along present-day Bridges Street in a tract still known as the "Promised Land."

Until recently, Morehead City was known more as a resort community than a major port. A large charter-fishing fleet, the town's central location on the ICW, and the proximity to Atlantic Beach have all served to promote Morehead City as an ideal spot to spend a summer vacation. This popularity continues unabated. It is rare indeed to find a North Carolinian who has not spent at least one vacation in Morehead City.

Governor Morehead's belief in the commercial viability of the city has been vindicated at last. Under Governor Kerr Scott, a large bond program was approved which funded a modern port terminal. Commercial traffic has steadily increased since those early days.

 

Kitty Hawk Kites Beaufort

Kitty Hawk Kites Beaufort

Kitty Hawk Kites has remodeled and opened its new doors directly on the Beaufort waterfront. This shop offers the leading selection of kites, wind art, toys, t-shirts and apparel, Hobie kayaks, and more. In addition, stop by and make your reservation for one of our new Beaufort adventures:

History of Morehead City

History of Morehead City

Though not as old as some as its neighbors - like the adjacent and more than 300-year-old town of Beaufort – Morehead City nevertheless has a unique history that’s evident around every waterfront corner. Envisioned by a governor, and eventually inhabited by residents fleeing a hurricane, the town of Morehead City stands out for its deliberate creation, as well as its slow but steady rise to fame as a maritime-oriented vacation destination.

Top 10 Things to do in Morehead City

Top 10 Things to do in Morehead City

There’s much more than meets the eye in Morehead City. Though the town is known in most beach-going circles as the place to shop and dine before hitting the sand, Morehead City also has a treasure trove of attractions and activities that will make visitors want to linger and explore. From exciting live theater shows to secretive deserted islands that are hidden in plain sight, visitors will want to make sure they check out these “must see” attractions and things to do that put Morehead City on the vacationer’s map.

Camping near Morehead City

Camping near Morehead City

From the rustic barrier islands that are located offshore, to the mainland parks that resemble full scale resorts, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to camping in the Morehead City region. Best of all, because this coastal town is wonderfully close to local beaches, National Forests or National Refuges, hopping coastal towns, and everything in between, it’s easy to craft the camping adventure of a lifetime with a trip to this central Crystal Coast region.