New Bern, Beaufort, and NC’s Historic, Watery Down East


May 5 – 10, 2025


  • Up Close and personal with numerous lovely NC communities: Elizabethtown; Beaufort; New Bern; and a host of quaint small places
  • Lodging in historic venues throughout the trip; fresh seafood in abundance
  • The rural charm of the drives and the region: serendipitous encounters along the way
  • Slow travel, featuring the fun and friendliness of the small group
  • Tryon Palace; the CSS Neuse (Kinston, NC); Cape Lookout Lighthouse; the Core Sound Waterfowl Center; and more

Trip Description

Enjoy a cross-state odyssey, on this adventure to lovely New Bern, waterside Beaufort, and stories of the hardy fisher- and sea-folk who inhabited a region of isolated communities – often connected only by waterways – known as Down East. We’ll enjoy one night en route to Beaufort at an Explore Up Close favorite in the Bladen Lakes region; then arrive in Beaufort for a two-night stay (at another favorite inn). While there, here’s our program: delicious foods; maritime history; and off-the-beaten-track exploring. We’ll enjoy local cafes, dinners at two acclaimed spots – both adjacent to our inn, and sumptuous cooked from scratch breakfasts. We’ll visit the NC Maritime Museum; Harkers Island and other villages of Down East; and the Cape Lookout historic village (including the lighthouse). Our adventure will continue upon departing Beaufort . . . as we make our way by ferry to the quaint communities of Arapahoe and Oriental, NC, where we’ll enjoy lunch and spend time checking out “town” and the waterfront. A bucolic drive will take us into New Bern, one-time capital of colonial North Carolina. While there, we’ll enjoy a narrated driving tour of lovely neighborhoods and commercial streets; and we’ll visit stately Tryon Palace – built by Colonial Governor William Tryon (and restored beautifully in the 1950’s). We’ll round out our experience with an afternoon boat tour, guided by a local. Our inns in Beaufort and New Bern will be perfectly situated for walks, comfortable garden and porch nooks for reading or tea, and rest and conversation.

What's Included

  • Comfortable van transportation
  • Accommodation for 5 nights
  • Breakfast, 4 lunches, and 4 dinners
  • All touring per the itinerary
  • Guide and concierge service throughout the trip

Trip Price

$3,556 / person (double occupancy; single supplement, $645)

What's Not Included

Price does not include alcohol, other meals, or optional trip insurance.

..well-planned, from interesting and fun excursions planned each day, to comfortable lodging and transportation. Our trip leaders, Chumley and Khal, were impressive with their knowledge of each area we explored and gracious in their planning of every aspect of our trips.

Trip insurance safeguards your travel investment, your belongings, and most importantly, you. Though trip insurance is optional, we strongly encourage travelers to purchase trip insurance in the event you have to cancel or leave a trip for any reason. Please note, all trip participants should wait for confirmation from Explore Up Close that the trip has the minimum sign-up required to be a “go” before purchasing travel insurance. Please confirm with Explore Up Close before making any additional travel arrangements.

Once you have received confirmation from Explore Up Close, we recommend contacting a travel insurance provider directly to request a quote and compare pricing and features. You can find other providers that may fit your needs at, or we can gladly connect you with our travel agent.

This trip departs from Greenville / Spartanburg, South Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina. If you live elsewhere, please contact us to discuss travel arrangements, and we will look forward to assisting you!

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