Morehead City, North Carolina
—  City  —
Location of Morehead City, North Carolina
Coordinates: 34°43′40″N 76°44′48″W / 34.72778, -76.74667Coordinates: 34°43′40″N 76°44′48″W / 34.72778, -76.74667
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Carteret
 • Total 5.7 sq mi (14.7 km2)
 • Land 5.1 sq mi (13.2 km2)
 • Water 0.6 sq mi (1.4 km2)
Elevation 16 ft (5 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 7,691
 • Density 1,507.6/sq mi (582.3/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 28557
Area code(s) 252
FIPS code 37-44320[1]
GNIS feature ID 1013689[2]

Morehead City is a port city in Carteret County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 8,661 at the 2010 census. Morehead City celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding on May 5, 2007. It forms part of the Crystal Coast.


In the early 1850s, a group of investors named the Shepard Point Land Company purchased 600 acres (2.4 km2) of land on the eastern tip of the peninsula that is now the site of Morehead City. Their objective was to take advantage of the deep channel of Beaufort Inlet, leading into Shepard Point, to construct a port and connect it by rail to Goldsboro.

Governor John Motley Morehead, for whom the town is named, a principal member of this group, initiated construction of the railroad in 1855 and by July 1858 rail service had been established. The town was laid out in city blocks of 16 lots each, reaching to 15th Street, with a system of alleys within each block in the form of an H, so that all houses and businesses could be serviced from the alleys. Much of this "Philadelphia plan" still exists today. The town was officially incorporated by the North Carolina Senate in 1860, by which time the town’s population had grown to more than 300.

The town continued to prosper until the American Civil War, when in 1862 it was occupied by Federal troops. The war disrupted commerce, and the economy of the port declined along with the town’s population. It was not until the 1880s, with the construction of the Atlantic Hotel at the tip of the peninsula, and its promotion by the railroad as the "Summer Capital by the Sea", that the area began to experience a resurgence. The popularity of this particular hotel, with its train depot entrance, grand ballroom, piers, sailing and ferries to the beaches of Bogue Banks, helped to establish Morehead City as a summer destination.

It was also during the 1880s and 1890s that fishermen who had lived on the island of Shackleford Banks moved on to the mainland (often transporting their houses by boat from the outer banks), settling in the areas between 10th and 15th Streets and calling it the Promised Land. These fishermen became the nucleus of the fishing industry that has remained an important part of the town's economy.

The Great Depression and World War II markedly altered the character of the town. The traditional downtown area had deteriorated and, as newer stores opened further west, the decay in the old center of town accelerated. Finally, in the 1980s, a renewal began when the town obtained a Community Development Block Grant to replace an aging infrastructure and improve the appearance of the waterfront area. Subsequent grants, private investment, and town monies have maintained the forward momentum, so that the town now has a new sea wall, underground utilities, brick paved walkways with planters along the waterfront, all in the downtown area, and tree-lined streets, renovated houses, new docks and new businesses. Regrettably much of the natural beauty of Morehead City has been marred by the lack of any real zoning controls. The result is that the highway entrances to the town are now littered with big box store buildings, some already abandoned by their original tenants. This all is at the expense of the beautiful Carolina Pine trees that once lined the roads. Such neglect also characterizes the main road through the barrier island that includes Atlantic Beach, Salter Path and Emerald Isle, with few traces left of the stately oaks that used to be ubiquitous there.

The community today[]

The economy of the town is based on tourism, commercial and sport fishing, and some light industry. Morehead City is one of the two seaports in North Carolina. Carteret General Hospital serves the entire county, and is the second largest employer in the county after the school system. Higher education also plays a significant role in the economy and culture. There is a community college as well as several research institutes, operated by the UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina State, and Duke University. The State of North Carolina also has a research and compliance arm of State Marine Fisheries located in Morehead City.

Sport fishing[]

Morehead City is widely known as a center for sport fishing. It draws enthusiasts from all over the eastern United States, and is the venue for various fishing tournaments, including a major annual Atlantic blue marlin tournament.


Fostered by the tourism industry, Morehead City has an abundance of restaurants, many in its waterfront area, and is widely known for its variety of places to eat. Art galleries and gift shops serve the tourists as well as the locals. The Beaufort-Morehead City area has been cited as being among the top 100 "best small art towns in America" in a book by John Villani.

Container terminal


The port serves both commercial[3] and military customers. It is the port of embarkation and debarkation for the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune.[4]


Morehead City is home to the Morehead City Marlins of the Coastal Plain League, a collegiate summer baseball league. The Marlins play at O'Neal Field at Big Rock Stadium in Morehead City, and began playing in the 2010 season.


Morehead City is located at 34°43′40″N 76°44′48″W / 34.72778, -76.74667 (34.727700, -76.746748).[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 5.7 square miles (14.7 km²), of which, 5.1 square miles (13.2 km²) of it is land and 0.6 square miles (1.5 km²) of it (9.89%) is water.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 7,691 people, 3,597 households, and 1,985 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,507.6 people per square mile (582.3/km²). There were 4,296 housing units at an average density of 842.1 per square mile (325.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 81.71% White, 13.98% Black (U.S. Census), 0.66% Native American, 0.77% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.13% from other races, and 1.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.34% of the population.

There were 3,597 households out of which 23.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.9% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.8% were non-families. 39.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.06 and the average family size was 2.73.

In the town the population was spread out with 20.2% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 20.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 83.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $28,737, and the median income for a family was $39,290. Males had a median income of $26,852 versus $21,995 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,138. About 12.1% of families and 14.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.7% of those under age 18 and 12.3% of those age 65 or over.


  • NC 24 (often used to transport U.S. Marines to and from Camp Lejeune)[4]
  • NC 58
  • US 70


  • Carteret General Hospital

Shopping centers[]

Morehead City has multiple shopping centers, including Cypress Bay Plaza which includes Belk, Sears, Best Buy, Mcdonald's, rue21, Gold's Gym, General Nutrition Centers and more local stores. Morehead Crossing which houses stores as Walmart, Staples, Lowes, Ruby Tuesday, McDonald's and Applebees. Morehead Plaza which includes Rite Aid, Dunkin Donuts, Baskin Robbins, Hardees, Rent-A-Center, Roses, Lowes Foods, BB&T and China Garden & Mongolian Grill and other local stores.Parkway Shopping Center houses stores as Kmart, ABC Liquor, Food Lion, Sherwin Williams, The UPS Store and smaller local stores and as outparcels there is Outback Steakhouse, Bank of America and Parker GMC. Morehead Marketplace which includes Rack Room Shoes, Jersey Mike's Subs, & Blockbuster. The Westridge Center which includes Holy Rollers Tattoo & Body Piercing, Admix, Internet Connections, Holman's Office Supply. A new shopping center, The Crystal Coast Plaza, opened in the Summer of 2008. The Crystal Coast Plaza includes Ross, Arby's, Chick-Fil-A, Michaels, Ashley Furniture HomeStores, GameStop, Petsmart, TJ Maxx, Bed Bath & Beyond, AT&T Wireless, Panera Bread, Starbucks, West Marine, The Shoe Dept., Olive Garden, Buffalo Wild Wings, The Athlete's Foot, Five Guys & Fantastic Sam's. Also in late 2008 the Governors Station shopping center opened up which included U.S. Cellular, Great Clips and the Crystal Coast's first Harris Teeter. Additional stores are forthcoming in 2010 to The Crystal Coast Plaza and Governors Station Plaza.


Elementary schools[]

  • Morehead City Primary School
  • Morehead City Elementary School at Camp Glenn
  • Newport Elementary School
  • Bogue Sound Elementary School
  • Beaufort Elementary School

Middle schools[]

  • Morehead Middle School
  • Beaufort Middle School
  • Newport Middle School
  • Broad Creek Middle School

High schools[]

  • West Carteret High School
  • East Carteret High School
  • Croatan High School

Higher learning[]

  • Carteret Community College

Private schools[]

  • St. Egbert's Catholic School



The Carteret County News-Times is the local newspaper, published three times a week, and is owned by the Crystal Coast and Entertainment Publication.[1]


Morehead City is part of the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville Designated market area, which is the 109th largest in 2007 (according to Nielsen Media Research). Broadcast Television Stations serving the market include:

  • WITN-TV, the (7), Washington (NBC Affiliate)
  • WFXI-TV, the (8), Morehead City (Fox affiliate)
  • WNCT-TV, the (9), Greenville (CBS Affiliate) the CW on their digital subchannel
  • WCTI-TV, the (12), New Bern (ABC Affiliate, independent "ENC-TV" On Digital)
  • WUNM-TV, the (19), Jacksonville (PBS Affiliate of the UNC-TV Network)
  • WPXU-TV, the (35), Jacksonville (i network/My Network affiliate)

Radio stations[]

  • 88.3 FM: WXBE AFR (Christian)
  • 89.3 FM: WTEB Public Radio East (NPR/Classical)
  • 90.7 FM: WOTJ FBN (Sacred Christian)
  • 91.5 FM: WBJD Public Radio East (NPR)
  • 92.7 FM: WBNK 92.7 Big Fish fm (Contemporary Christian)
  • 94.1 FM: WNBU Kool 94.1 (Oldies)
  • 95.1 FM: WRNS-FM 95.1 WRNS (Country)
  • 96.3 FM: WRHT Thunder Country (90s/00s Country)
  • 97.9 FM: WNBB The Bear (Classic Country)
  • 98.7 FM: WRMR Modern Rock 98.7 (Modern Rock)
  • 99.5 FM: WXNR 99.5 The X (Modern/Active Rock)
  • 100.3 FM: WLGP GNN (Christian)
  • 101.9 FM: WIKS Kiss 102 (Urban)
  • 103.3 FM: WMGV V 103.3 Soft Rock (AC)
  • 105.1 FM: WLGV K-LOVE 105.1 (Contemporary Christian)
  • 106.5 FM: WSFL-FM 106.5 WSFL (Classic Rock)
  • 107.1 FM: WTKF The Talk Station 107.1 (News/Talk)
  • 107.9 FM: WNCT-FM 107.9 WNCT (Oldies)
  • 1120 AM: WSME (Classic Country/Bluegrass)


External links[]

Template:Crystal Coast

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Morehead City, North Carolina. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.