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:

Morehead City Vacation Rentals

Morehead City Vacation Rentals

Visitors who want to be close to everything the Crystal Coast has to offer – including charming downtowns, shopping complexes, hopping beaches, and everything in between – may want to set their vacation sights on the central town of Morehead City. This barley inland small town features easy access to area beaches, a great shopping and dining scene, and a cool waterfront downtown with miles of views. As a result of these combined factors, Morehead City is a fine destination for any Crystal Coast visitor who wants to experience it all.

Rachel Carson Coastal Estuarine Reserve

Rachel Carson Coastal Estuarine Reserve

The Rachel Carson Reserve is a stunning stretch of barely-barrier island shoreline that’s found just off the coast of historic Downtown Beaufort. Covering 2,205 acres, this collection of three islands that are found along Taylor’s Creek at the mouth of the Newport River can be easily and scenically admired from veritably any waterfront vantage point from the heart of town, and are a stunning and undeveloped addition to the vast wildlife scene of the Crystal Coast.

Crystal Coast Civic Center

Crystal Coast Civic Center

The Crystal Coast Civic Center serves a variety of needs for coastal North Carolina's visitors and residents. As a popular venue for private conventions, weddings and events, as well as a public "meeting space" for local concerts and shows, the Civic Center, located along the waterfront in Morehead City, is instrumental in bringing this small coastal community together.