Two stories prevail as to how Hyde Countys seat got its name. One legend has it named for the thousands of swan that came to "quarter" in the this little village at the head of Swan Quarter Bay. The second, less romantic story, says it was named after Samuel Swann who settled in the area in the 1700s.
Beaufort's downtown, which earned its own place on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969, is easily one of the most visited and all-encompassing "attractions" that this coastal community has to offer. The expansive series of standard city blocks feature a wide variety of historical residences, gardens, houses of worship, and ancient graveyards, and the fantastic history and antebellum legacy can be admired in person around virtually every street corner.