Beaufort is a town in Carteret County, North Carolina, United States. Established in 1709, it is the third-oldest town in North Carolina. 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 Earth Sciences), and the NOAA Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research. It is also the location of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge.