Blackbeard’s Pirate Trail
Arrr, mateys! Seek ye the treasure of Blackbeard the Pirate? Aye, then come ye along on this trail of NC’s coastal hideouts and the seafaring scalawags that made them home. Ye shall see the colonial town that the notorious Blackbeard called home, the salty waters under which his trusty Queen Anne’s Revenge still lay, and the bloody shoals where this feared pirate met his violent end.
Start your voyage to the place where Blackbeard’s flagship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, sits in her watery grave.
Discover ye the ways of the pirate as you travel back in time to North Carolina’s first town and Blackbeard’s last home.
Sail ye to the island called Ocracoke, where Blackbeard faced his final battle and where modern day landlubbers can seek cool ocean waters and pristine beaches.
Explore the Outer Banks with its history of pirates, lighthouses and shipwrecks.
With so much to see and do in the area, we recommend the following 4-day itinerary. Visitors can easily turn this into anything from a three-day weekend to a week-long trip. Enjoy your visit by mixing and matching events to your particular interest. Be sure to check days and hours of operation for each venue.
Start your voyage at the North Carolina Maritime Museum, where you will find a fascinating exhibit on Blackbeard the Pirate including artifacts from his ship. You will also learn about the efforts to locate Blackbeard’s flagship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge. The wreckage was found in Beaufort Inlet by a private group on November 21, 1996 and confirmed the next day… the 278th anniversary of Blackbeard’s death. The site of the wreck is under about twenty feet of water just offshore from Fort Macon State Park.
(Those who are certified SCUBA divers and who really want to get up close and personal with the QAR can even go on a charted dive of the wreckage with the Friends of the Queen Anne’s Revenge. The “Dive Down” is a scheduled, two-day program based from the group’s headquarters in Morehead City.)
For the kids, Port City Tours offers a treasure hunt adventure. Guests are ferried to Pirate Island where the crew must help the marooned pirate guide solve puzzles and riddles in order to uncover the clues that will lead them to the buried treasure. For older kids, the Beaufort Ghost Walk and Legend of Blackbeard walking tours bring the pirate stories to life on the waterfront Historic District of downtown Beaufort.
Enjoy dinner at Clawson’s 1905 Restaurant & Pub and spend the night at the Inlet Inn, both on the town’s picturesque waterfront.
Head out to Historic Bath, North Carolina’s first established town. Blackbeard arrived here in June of 1718, and immediately received the “gracious pardon” of the Royal Proclamation from colonial Governor Charles Eden. It is widely believed that Blackbeard took up residence in a home on Plum’s Point, visible across the bay from the Bonner House. Members of the Bonner family told of a ghostly phenomenon called “Blackbeard’s Lights” where during violent storms they would see a ball of fire as large or larger than a man’s head sail back and forth from Plum Point to Archbell Point all night without any deviation.
A room at the Bath State Historic Site is dedicated to Blackbeard and his men, many of whom may have been Bath residents. The historic Van Der Veer House also has a room dedicated to Blackbeard that includes a graphite vase – rumored to be the famous pirate’s money pot. Accounts say the people of colonial Bath treated their infamous pardoned pirate as somewhat of a celebrity, and when Blackbeard and his crew were in town, there were lavish dinners and wild parties.
Today visitors to Bath can party like a pirate at Blackbeard’s Slices & Ices on Main Street at this authentic Italian restaurant and pizzeria, or at the Old Town Country Kitchen for favorites such as locally-caught fish. Blackbeard’s features live entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings during the warm months.
The NC State Ferry offers a leisurely trip for you and your vehicle from Swan Quarter to the Outer Banks Village of Ocracoke, the site of Blackbeard’s last battle. Look for dolphins in the surf and see if you can spot any shipwrecks along the way.
Ocracoke Inlet was one of Blackbeard’s hideouts, and it was here that two small sloops hired by Virginia governor Alexander Spotswood found and cornered Blackbeard on the inner side of the island. In the battle that ensued, Blackbeard was killed on November 22, 1718. His headless body is believed to be buried in a mass grave somewhere on the island.
Today, all things Blackbeard and pirate can be found at Teach’s Hole, which operates as both a Blackbeard Museum and pirate specialty shop. Here you’ll find everything from pirate flags to pirate party supplies, but you can also see displays of pirate weapons and flags, and view a two-part documentary on Blackbeard’s life and death on Ocracoke.
Now, take a break from your pirate trail to enjoy Ocracoke’s charming village and pristine beaches. The Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach was named 2007’s Best Beach in America by Dr. Beach. It was the first beach outside of Hawaii or Florida to be given that honor.
Enjoy fine dining on an island paradise at the Back Porch Restaurant or the beach-side ambiance and seafood at Howard’s Pub & Raw Bar. For a historic treat, stay overnight at the family-friendly Blackbeard’s Lodge or stay in a property built with wood collected from shipwrecks at The Island Inn.
Head north on North Carolina’s famous Highway 12. This ribbon of roadway runs the length of the Outer Banks and is a National Scenic Byway. Take the free ferry to Hatteras Island and explore the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. The popular shipping lanes off the Outer Banks made piracy and warfare an integral aspect of the region's maritime history. The museum has displays of shipwrecks related to piracy and warfare off the coast from the late 17th century through 1945.
History buffs will want to tour or climb the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, America’s tallest lighthouse. Exhibits include the history, maritime heritage and natural history of the Outer Banks and the lighthouse.
Families with kids will want to climb aboard the pirate ship Sea Gypsy at Pirate Adventures of the Outer Banks where they can sail and search for sunken treasure, fire water cannons, dress up and get their face painted like a pirate and, of course, find some treasure. For meals, Pamlico Jack's Pirate Hideaway in Nags Head features island and coastal cuisine with three menus including one for little pirates or try the fresh seafood, grilled, burritos and homemade Carolina barbecue from Teach's Island Bar and Grill at Teach’s Lair Marina in Hatteras.
Rental homes are the most popular lodging option in the Outer Banks or try the Inn on Pamlico Sound, a full-service inn offering a casually elegant lodging and culinary experience in the midst of the natural beauty of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
added: May 1, 2009
updated: May 18, 2011
Ideas & What To Do
Download Trail To GoArrr, mateys! Seek ye the treasure of Blackbeard…
On a fine sunny morning the first anchor to be recovered from the…
Of all the pirates who plundered from Cape Fear to Currituck, these…
Blackbeard’s tale begins when he was known as Edward Teach.…
Teaches Hole, Teach’s Point and Bonnet’s Creek were surely…
Adventure-seekers in search of an authentic pirate haven need not look…
North Carolina’s Maritime Museum in Beaufort displays rich…
Want to know more about Pirates of the North Carolina Coast? Here are a…
The North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh announces Part One of…
Main Street was often liquid in North Carolina’s earliest days.…