If you're planning a day trip to Beaufort, NC, a great place to start is the North Carolina Maritime Museum on Front Street. A complete shell collection, models of boat designs throughout local history, pictorial stories of pirates and of sea rescues with brief descriptions of changing rescue equipment appear at every turn, some mounted on walls. A visit to the website www.ncmm.friends.org provides a schedule and charges for guided museum trips for kids and for adults into barrier island beaches, maritime forests, salt marshes and tidal flats. After the museum, lunch at a restaurant with a view of Carrot Island and watch for glimpses of the wild horses living there. Definitely, try a cup of Down East chowder.
The afternoon harbor tour or dolphin cruise at Mystery Boat Tours, and a walk along the waterfront just gawking at all the beautiful yachts and working boats makes a good time for all ages. Then there's shopping for everyone - artisans, antique dealers, artists and boutiques provide spaces crammed with unique items, each more interesting than the last. For souvenirs or gifts and for clothing or home decor, Beaufort offers excellent shopping with snack places and ice cream shops along the way.